Kinship currently serves over 250 kids in Ottertail County through individual mentoring, group mentoring, reading buddies and group activities.
Mentoring children is proven to build self-confidence, self-esteem, improve school attendance and grades, reduce drug and alcohol abuse and gives a child a sense of self-worth and stability.
Kinship is active in the communities of Perham, Richville, Ottertail, New York Mills, Parkers Prairie, Wadena, and Fergus Falls, individually mentoring over 85 kids with another 30 kids on the waiting list wanting to be matched with a new friend.
Individual mentors get together with their “mentees” two times a month, with a once a year minimum commitment. Over 80 percent of Kinship relationships are long term, which means they last more than 3 years! The child and their mentor might go fishing, canoeing, biking, play board games, spend an afternoon doing arts and crafts, bake, swim or hang out at the community center to shoot some hoops. Mentoring means showing some interest with the child and encouraging them. It can be as simple as just being a friend.
Group mentoring has a few options: GAP and BRAG are separate programs for boys and girls in grades 5-9. The groups meet for structured activities like cooking or woodworking. Group mentoring also includes monthly activities focused on building friendships, boasting self-confidence and often include community based activities such as making blankets for new born infants. Kinship collaborated with community education to provide Lego Club to over 80 children grades 1-9 in the Perham area. The kids had weekly projects to build as groups. Other groups have built kayaks from scratch and homemade pizzas!
All group programs focus on teaching our youth the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Whether it is building strong positive relationships, learning about great nutrition and hygiene, getting the kids to get active with a physical activity or just some old fashion playing without electronics. It is our hope that the children in our mentoring programs will grow to be more self-sufficient, have a stronger sense of family, and grow up knowing that it takes a whole community’s involvement to create a positive place to live.
Reading Buddies Program
Kinships collaborates with local elementary schools to provide reading buddies for children who would benefit from some more one on one time with an encouraging adult. Reading buddies get together twice a month read, practice words and spelling. Not only do the children benefit from the extra attention but this also creates more volunteering opportunities so we can create stronger communities.
Mentoring does make a difference-volunteer today!