Thursday, January 28, 2010

January is National Mentoring Month!

January is National Mentoring Month and I'd be remiss to not profile Kids 'n Kinship before Groundhog Day. I've served on the board of directors for the past 2 years and been greatly privileged to be a part of its critical work.

Kids 'n Kinship's mission is to provide friendships to children ages 5-16 who are in need of a positive role model.

Kids ‘n Kinship:
* Connects volunteers with children who need a positive adult role model

* Supports the volunteer and child relationship as they have fun together

* Provides for safe and successful mentoring

* Serves children in the following communities: Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Farmington, Lakeville and Rosemount.
Kids 'n Kinship is a prevention-based mentoring program focused on youth in Dakota County in need of a positive role model. The youth, ages 5-16, are matched with a volunteer role model, who spends time with them on a weekly basis building upon their resiliency. Many of the children that Kids 'n Kinship serves are coming from home situations where there are issues that get in the way of their healthy development. This may include stresses of single parenting, financial worries, alcoholism, depression, incarceration, or abuse issues.

When youth are taught skills, interests, and hobbies, and are provided positive adults with whom to interact, the community is the beneficiary. Because the youth's time is structured, they have less unsupervised time, are engaged in healthier activities, have a sense of belonging to a community, and have a better respect for life. Other benefits are that youth report a positive connection to an adult mentor, that youth matched with volunteers will experience less isolation, and that there is an absence or decrease in serious behaviors reported.

Research has shown that the distinguishing factor in children who do not become violent perpetrators is a good attachment to a caring adult. This is Kids 'n Kinship's mission: to provide friendships to children in need of positive role models.

Does this sound like something you'd like to be a part of? For more information on becoming a mentor, see a recent Star Tribune article, "Seventy children are waiting for their role models," or visit the Kids 'n Kinship website. Mentoring is a great way, any time of year, to make a difference in the life of a child.

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