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Seven Emmet County kids wait for mentor

By Staff | Jan 4, 2017

Kinship director Edwards says the right person can make huge impact in child’s life

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of stories about volunteer opportunities in Emmet County, leading up to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Jan. 16.

Mayor Kenny Billings signed a proclamation Wednesday morning recognizing National Mentoring Month in Estherville.

Paula Edwards, director of Kinship for Emmet and Dickinson Counties, said, “Right now, I currently have seven children in Emmet County that are waiting for a mentor: five are females and two are males.”?

Volunteering as a mentor for kinship requires one hour per week, with the invitation to attend quarterly group activities offered for all waiting and matched mentees to attend.

Last month, the group learned to make a healthy trail mix. This month is the mentor appreciation supper Jan. 17 at Pizza Ranch in Spirit Lake.

This summer, Edwards said, the group hopes to attend a minor league baseball game in Sioux City and a hockey game in the fall.

Mentors and mentees also volunteer together.

“We have a section of Adopt-A-Highway on Highway 9 that the mentors and mentees volunteer their time to clean in June, then we have a pizza party to follow.”

Reflecting on the value of volunteering together, Edwards said, “I believe it is important for the children to learn the importance of giving back to the community.”

Kinship also offers group training through Iowa State University Extension to help children learn skills that keep them safe when they are home alone.

For more information, the YMCA Kinship website is www.YMCAKinship.com.

If someone is interested in volunteering to be a mentor, contact Paula Edwards at 712-336-9622 or email paula.edwards@okobojiymca.com

The commitment for becoming a mentor is four hours per month.

Mentors must be 18 years old and out of high school with a valid driver’s license, good driving record and reliable transportation, must be able to pass all screenings and background checks, and must be a person of good character and a positive role model.

A child between ages 5 and 18 may be eligible to be mentored. Parents or guardians fill out an application about the child’s strengths and needs, and are matched with a mentor as soon as possible.

“It can take some time to find a compatible match,” Edwards said.

“We hope 2017 brings us more mentors. The need is great, and children can use a role model and friend in life.”