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Meyers embraces new role in Kinship mentoring program

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Lisa Meyers loves to play matchmaker.

She’s finding her niche in her new role as program coordinator for Kinship Partners in Brainerd. “I love it,” she said. “I absolutely love it.”

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Meyers accepted the position with Kinship Partners in August after the first candidate selected by the organization declined the position. Meyers heard about the position from a friend and decided now was as good a time as any to make a change in career focus. “It was a great opportunity to do something I really enjoy,” she said.

With a background in business and a decade-long career in corporate America, Meyers’s transition to Kinship has been a big adjustment, but one she said she has welcomed. “It’s worth it,” she said. “It’s not all about the numbers.

“This is a job where you can consider needs and wants. I love knowing that this really makes a difference in kids’ lives.”

A Minnesota native, Meyers moved to the Brainerd lakes area with her family in the early 1990s — a move she hoped would be temporary. “We had only intended on staying a few years,” she said. “But raising kids in a small town was something we found to be really valuable.”

Two decades later, Meyers has learned to love northern Minnesota and she said her new job has allowed her to spend more time enjoying the great outdoors and rediscovering hobbies. Among her favorites: photography.

Meyers spent part of her summer in Malawi, Africa on a church mission trip where she had the opportunity to serve the local community and bring home a photo journal of her adventure. “It’s heaven for photographers,” she said. It was while she was on her trip to Malawi that Meyers found out she had been offered the program coordinator position at Kinship.

As program coordinator for Kinship Partners, Meyers received applications from kids in need of a mentor and adults volunteering their time to serve as mentors. Meyers said matching the right child with the right mentor is a bit of a science based on location and common interests.

Many of the children in the Kinship mentoring program are considered at-risk — something Meyers says she can relate to having been an at-risk kid herself. “It definitely helps me connect,” she said. “When I go into a home I have that compassion — I just want to tell them they’re going to get through it. Keep your nose on the right path — it’s going to be OK.”

Meyers said Kinship has a huge need for mentors, particularly men looking to mentor young boys. For information on becoming a mentor visit kinshippartners.org or call 218-829-4606.

SARAH NELSON KATZENBERGER may be reached at sarah.nelsonkatzenberger@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5879.

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