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MAHUBE-OTWA partners with Kinship to bolster Reading Buddies program

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MAHUBE-OTWA Community Action Partnership’s Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) has partnered with Kinship of the Park Rapids Area for their mentors and Reading Buddies volunteers.

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RSVP partners with community non-profits to provide their volunteers with not only the pride of knowing they are part of the national Senior Corps but also to offer mileage reimbursement, secondary insurance and volunteer recognition events. Senior Corps has 16,000 seniors in Minnesota and over 350,000 in the country addressing community needs.

RSVP coordinator Carrie Hitchcock noted, “We are excited to partner with the Kinship program because we know that intergenerational contact - whether at school with the Reading Buddies or out in the community with mentors - has a two-way benefit. It helps young people build skills and self-confidence and gives the senior volunteers a chance to feel like they’re still contributing in a positive way.”

“The volunteers also are passing along the spirit of volunteerism to a younger generation, which helps keep communities strong and moving forward,” Hitchcock added.

Kinship is currently in the process of “recruiting” male mentors for boys in the Park Rapids area.

Jennifer Therkilsen, executive director of Kinship, noted that for many boys in the Park Rapids area, having a male figure around is an important aspect that is missing from their lives. That is why Kinship is looking for a few generous men to provide companionship to 12 boys who currently are on a waiting list for a male mentor.

The mission of Kinship is to provide a preventive program for children by matching them with Kinship volunteers who provide positive adult friendship.

“A male mentor does not take the place of a father,” Therkilsen said, “but rather offers boys opportunities to hang out with a man and do ‘guy’ things.”

These activities often include fishing and hunting, sports, hiking, boating, even volunteering with their mentors at other non-profits in the area.

For more information, contact Kinship at 732-0058.

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