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Reflect on the needs of America's children

September is National Child Awareness Month. Kinship Partners urges all of us to take time to reflect on the needs of America’s children.

Are we simply “aware” of the kids in our schools, on our streets or across the aisle in church? Or, are you able to join the more than 200 adults throughout Crow Wing, southern Cass and the Staples-Motley area in taking action by mentoring a child?

Chances are you are already well aware of how valuable mentors can be as agents of positive youth development. Here are some basic guidelines to help you determine if you could fulfill the role as mentor.

A mentor is …

… a friend. Like peer friendships, mentors and mentees do fun and engaging activities together. They offer support in good and tough times. They teach and help each other. And sometimes they need to ask the right questions at the right time. By being a good listener and engaging in authentic conversations with a child, you are helping to develop life skills.

… a role model. Mentors are expected to set good examples for how to live a happy and productive life. This is not the same as being perfect. Rather, it is about acknowledging imperfections and sharing your strengths. It is also about advocating for the child when dangers to physical or emotional well-being are present.

… a confidant. Building a close relationship with a child will help him/her build better relationships with parents and peers. You may hear about hopes, dreams or insecurities. Other times they may reveal mistakes made. Unless the child is in trouble and needs outside help, try to keep these conversations private.

… a nurturer of possibilities. You see the gifts and strengths of your mentee. You will encourage him/her to channel these gifts toward actions that make the child a resource to others in the family, community or school.

Actions can speak louder than words. Consider becoming a Kinship mentor. Let’s continue to focus attention on this valuable resource that guarantees greatness in the future — our children.

Kinship Partners serves families by providing positive role models to youth ages 5 to 14. Offices are located in Pequot Lakes, Brainerd, Crosby and Staples. Call 218-454-8016 or email for more information.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889