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Kinship, mentoring and community

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opinion Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Significance — that’s what Kinship Partners is all about. Each one of us, someday, wakes up and asks ourselves, “What did I do to make a difference in this world?” And some of us, including me, didn’t have a good answer for that question.

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I became a Kinship Partner in September 2011. My goal wasn’t to help some underprivileged child out of the devastating life they were experiencing. It was to fill a void in MY life with whatever qualities and abilities the Good Lord saw fit for me to share. Sure, I have grandkids, but they live a hundred miles away. The joy I experience with them helped me understand the importance of an older adult in the life of a child. Let me define older adult — anyone between 18 and 100. After that things might get a little difficult for driving the child around!

Procrastination often kept me from attaining my goal. Applying to be a Kinship partner eluded me until I read a weekly posting in this newspaper about a little girl who was looking for a partner with interests similar to mine. Finally I picked up the phone and called Kinship. After filling out the paperwork and going through the interview process, they found a perfect match for me within a month. Ever since my introductory meeting with my partner, I have had the delight of sharing myself with someone who appreciates me for who I am. That qualification isn’t always easy with adults, but children are more accepting than adults. Keep that in mind when you’re trying to decide if you should become a mentor!

I wanted someone to play with and share with. Being a mentor filled that need. Taking a walk and seeing who could fly the highest in a swing was one of our first experiences together at Kiwanis Park. Since then I’ve been able to share all my life’s joys with her — painting, scrapbooking, sewing, reading, walking. Whether your interests lie indoors or out, active or sedentary, Kinship can find you a partner that will put some sunshine in your day.

There are currently 29 boys and 19 girls looking for someone to share their hopes and dreams with. Adults have dreams too. If you have moments when you long to pass along your years of accumulated wisdom and experience, won’t you seriously consider becoming a Kinship Partner? If you think it will be a monetary burden to ‘partner up,’ think again. It’s not your money that’s needed, it’s your time. Time with a child is an investment — in you, the child and the community. Kinship gives you a second chance to make a first impression. It’s not hard to impress a child, but you can be an influence in the life of another human being. Giving of yourself to make someone’s life brighter doesn’t take electricity — but it does take commitment. Commitment is what makes us stronger, and growing stronger helps us build our community. Why not pick up the phone and call (218) 829-4606 now to make a significant difference in this world. What do you have to lose?

SUE STERLING is a Brainerd resident.

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