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Kinship makes strides in 2007 – Program has matched 21 youth with mentors

By Staff | Dec 26, 2007

ESTHERVILLE–A few years ago, a number of Emmet County citizens decided to establish a a mentoring program that would help match caring adult role models with youth who could benefit from a kind listening ear. The result was the Kinship program.

After several years, volunteers were no longer able to run the program so it disbanded.

However, Emmet County Kinship is back.

In just a little over a year, Emmet County Kinship has matched 21 youth with adult mentors. It’s that growth, and the direct benefit to Emmet County, that makes the Emmet County Kinship success story one of the top ten stories in Emmet County for 2007.

The financial benefits of mentoring programs, such as Kinship, have been long proven. Statistics show that for every dollar spent on youth mentoring programs, five dollars are saved in youth intervention programs.

In the Kinship program, mentors spend at least one hour a week with the child with whom they are matched for one year. And it’s a win-win for all parties.

There are benefits all the way around. Children have another set of ears to listen. Mentors have the rewarding experience of spending time with a child who can help enrich their lives. Parents benefit by having another adult help their child work through that very difficult process of growing up.

Thanks to the generous donations of Emmet County businesses, Kinship mentors get perks such as food items and admission to events with their kin child. Area businesses have also been very generous in donating directly to Kinship to help with operation of the program.

Emmet County Kinship has also held three major outings this past year.

This past March, kin children, mentors, board members and all their families participated in a roller skating party at Skateland.

In July, with assistance of the Friends of Fort Defiance, area Boy Scouts, the Emmet County Conservation Board and Emmet County 4-Hers, Emmet County Kinship held a campout at Fort Defiance State Park. Again, kin children, mentors, board members and all their families enjoyed a cookout followed by games and an old-fashioned hootenany with Dee McDonald and Denise Leal and campout.

In October, a third major event was a hayride at Wolden Park along with a cookout.

Outgoing Emmet County Kinship Executive Director Jan Bahr is transitioning the directorship to Hillary Clarey who will continue to foster Kinship’s growth by matching youth who can benefit with the companionship of a caring adult role model.

If you have a child who could benefit from Kinship, if you would like to be a role model, or if you are a business that would like to help, keep Emmet County Kinship in mind.

Call (712) 362-2828 for more information about Emmet County Kinship.

Contact Michael Tidemann at (712) 362-2622 or mtidemann@esthervilledailynews.com and visit our photo sharing Web site at cu.esthervilledailynews.com