History of Kinship
Kinship of the Park Rapids Area is an affiliate of the National Kinship Network. The first Kinship program was begun in 1954 as the Christian ministry of four theological students at Luther Seminary in the Twin Cities. These students befriended some boys in a tough Minneapolis neighborhood who were in need of a positive influence. They weren’t trying to evangelize, or act as psychologists or counselors to these boys. They simply wanted to be their friend, to reach out to the less fortunate, and make a difference in their lives.
Kinship is now going strong in 24 communities around the state of Minnesota with many more programs across the country. It is still operated on that simple premise that all kids deserve our friendship. Kinship of the Park Rapids Area has been reaching out, one child at a time, since 1992, Our mission is to provide a preventive program for children, by matching them with Kinship volunteers who provide adult friendship and serve as a positive role model. We match children who need an adult friend with mentors.
Many of the children we serve come from single parent families or live with alternative guardians and have been identified as a child who can use a positive adult influence in their life. Mentors may be an individual, a couple, or a family. The goal of mentoring is not to take away from family but to encourage engagement of all involved. An adult mentor is someone a child can look to as a positive role model in their lives. The children enrolled in Kinship of the Park Rapids Area are ages 6 to 19 and live in Park Rapids, MN and surrounding area. Currently 24 children are being mentored by a caring adult. However, we continue to have 10 children in need of a mentor.
At Kinship of the Park Rapids Area the Mentor and Mentee are matched according to their interests, location, age and needs. The commitment is to spend at least an hour together each week for a minimum of one year, doing everyday activities that both enjoy. Kinship stays in contact with the matched Mentor and Mentee to offer support of the mentorship. Kinship offers a monthly activity that can be attended by all matches. Group activities can be a helpful way for the new Mentor and Mentee to find similar interests and get to know each other.
If we positively affect the life of a child, we positively affect our community’s future.