Northern Cass Kinship Partners mission is to establish quality relationships between youth and caring adult volunteers for friendship, stability, support and community. Kinship Partners is a community based mentoring program. Adult volunteers are thoroughly screened and matched with a Kinship youth. Partners meet weekly for an activity of their choice. Large group activities are also planned for all partners and youth on the Kinship waiting list. Mentees are boys and girls between ages 5 to 15 and are typically from single-parent family homes. Many youth in the Kinship program are being raised by a grandparent or other relative. Kinship also has a special focus on mentoring children of prisoners. Without intervention these children are seven times more likely than their peers to enter the correctional system. Read our Kinship Newsletter here!
Did you know children who participate in our Kinship Mentoring program are building the following assets:
- Boundaries & Expecations
- Constructive Use of Time
- Committment to Learning
- Social Competencies
- Positive Identity
To learn more about each of these assets, view our Kinship Assets PDF. To learn more about the 40 DevelopmentalAssets, view our Asset Based Approach Page.
Search Institute research has found that the more assets young people have, the less likely they are to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviors and the more likely they are to thrive. Positive adult role models will help youth and families build many assets, including a commitment to learning as demonstrated by students completing homework, attending school regularly and parents involvement in their children’s activities, as well as assisting the youth in developing positive values and a positive identity. Please click here for a detailed list of the assets your child will build by being involved in the Kinship Program! For more information on the Search Institute and their research on Developmental Assets, please click here.
Steps to become a Kinship Partner
- Find out more about becoming a mentor by calling the HOWA Family Center at 218-547-4273 or emailing email@example.com.
- Complete a Volunteer Application. Click here for the Volunteer Application. This application can be printed, completed and returned to the Kinship office along with a photocopy of your driver's license and proof of car insurance.
- You'll need to have 3 people who know you well complete our reference form.
- Child safety is our top priority. Every Kinship volunteer is required to have a background check. Click here for the background check form. The form can be printed, completed and returned to the Kinship office. Everyone living in the household full-time over the age of 18 must complete this form.
- An interview and home visit is an opportunity for Kinship staff to get to know the prospective mentor better, which assists them in the matching process. It is also an opportunity for the mentor to ask questions regarding the Kinship program and the type of child with whom they will be matched.
- Making a match! Once all the paperwork and references are complete and the volunteer has been accepted as a mentor, Kinship staff will contact you with information about kids on our waiting list. If the mentor is interested in being matched with one of those children, the parent/guardian will be contacted. An introduction meeting will be scheduled at the HOWA Family Center or in the child's home.
- On-going support: After the match is made, Kinship staff will have ongoing contact with the child, the parent/guardian, as well as the mentor. All participants are encouraged to call or email Kinship staff if any concerns arise during the course of the relationship. We also provide ongoing training opportunities for the volunteer mentor.
How do I sign my child up for a Kinship partner?
There are children is our communities who need a friend...
A Kinship youth is a child between the ages of 5 and 15 who, for a variety of reasons, would benefit from having a special relationship with a caring adult. They are brought up in a variety of situations, often times coming from one-parent households. These children value friendship, affection, advice, guidance and meaningful adult companionship.
Northern Cass Kinship Partners serves families in the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School District. If you would like your child to be a part of the Kinship program, download and fill out the Child Referral Form and Parent Permission Form. Your child will be placed on a waiting list. In some instances it takes time to find the right mentor for your child. Unmatched kids are encouraged to participate in all Kinship activities.
Kinship May 2012 Match of the Month
Jackie Larson has a big heart for kids! She and Tehya Ruschmeier are the May Kinship Partners match of the month. They have been partners for 2 years and 8 months. Before becoming Tehya’s Kinship partner, Jackie was Tehya’s teacher.
Jackie is a kindergarten and first grade teacher at WHA Elementary School. She and her husband live in Walker. She says she had many mentors when she was growing up including a youth director at her church, 4-H leaders and neighbors.
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