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Kinship mentoring fun for the whole family

By Anna Ericksonaerickson@parkrapidsenterprise.com Kinship mentoring is not just for the retired or empty nesters. Families are also encouraged to take the challenge if they are called to mentor a child. January is National Mentoring Month and th...

Mentoring family
Jack o lantern carvers, from left, Kinship kid Ian Hurlburt and family mentors Brian, Jodi and Brenna Behrens participate in a Halloween event at St. Johns Lutheran. Carter’s Red Wagon Farm donated a pumpkin for each Kinship kid to carve and take home. (Submitted photo)

By Anna Ericksonaerickson@parkrapidsenterprise.com Kinship mentoring is not just for the retired or empty nesters. Families are also encouraged to take the challenge if they are called to mentor a child. January is National Mentoring Month and the Enterprise is highlighting Kinship of Park Rapids with several stories in a special section in today’s paper. Kinship Executive Director Jennifer Therkilsen matched the Behrens family with Ian Hurlburt and it has proved to be a great match for everyone. Brian and Jodi Behrens have two teenagers, Zach and Brenna. Although they are busy with their own activities they saw mentoring another child as an opportunity to grow as a family. “I’ve been involved with Reading Buddies for years and we saw this as a way to teach our kids about the importance of mentoring,” Brian said. They have been partnered with Ian since about mid-July. “We found out right away that Ian is very sports minded,” Brian said. The family goes to many different sporting events locally and they have thrown a ball around in the yard or played other games. Kinship has many group activities that mentors/mentees can attend throughout the year. One of the favorites is the spaghetti dinner in September. “That’s such a great one for kids. They get to help serve food and interact,” Jodi said. There doesn’t always need to be an activity, though.
“Other times we’ve just had him over and shared family time with him like reading for 30 minutes and having down time,” Jodi said. “That down time is so important for kids because they are running around so much.” The family dynamic has been an interesting change, Jodi adds. “Ian is the oldest in his family and here he is the little brother,” she said. “Zach and Ian get to play and hang out and then Brian will jump in while they’re playing on the Wii.” For Brian, the connection is the most rewarding part of mentoring. “I was at school not too long ago and a former Reading Buddy that I hadn’t seen in a couple years came up and was so excited to see me,” he said. “And recently I saw Ian at school and he waved and smiled.” Mentoring doesn’t have to be difficult, the Behrens say. “Sometimes people are worried they have to always do something or go to an event,” Jodi said. “Even something as simple as hanging out is so rewarding and important.” Call 732-0058 for more information on becoming a mentor or email kinship @unitelc.com. Visit the website at kinshipparkrapids.org to find applications for mentors, Reading Buddies, to learn more about the program and see photos. Or visit Kinship of Park Rapids on Facebook.By Anna Ericksonaerickson@parkrapidsenterprise.comKinship mentoring is not just for the retired or empty nesters. Families are also encouraged to take the challenge if they are called to mentor a child.January is National Mentoring Month and the Enterprise is highlighting Kinship of Park Rapids with several stories in a special section in today’s paper.Kinship Executive Director Jennifer Therkilsen matched the Behrens family with Ian Hurlburt and it has proved to be a great match for everyone.Brian and Jodi Behrens have two teenagers, Zach and Brenna. Although they are busy with their own activities they saw mentoring another child as an opportunity to grow as a family.“I’ve been involved with Reading Buddies for years and we saw this as a way to teach our kids about the importance of mentoring,” Brian said.They have been partnered with Ian since about mid-July.“We found out right away that Ian is very sports minded,” Brian said.The family goes to many different sporting events locally and they have thrown a ball around in the yard or played other games.Kinship has many group activities that mentors/mentees can attend throughout the year. One of the favorites is the spaghetti dinner in September.“That’s such a great one for kids. They get to help serve food and interact,” Jodi said.There doesn’t always need to be an activity, though.
“Other times we’ve just had him over and shared family time with him like reading for 30 minutes and having down time,” Jodi said. “That down time is so important for kids because they are running around so much.”The family dynamic has been an interesting change, Jodi adds.“Ian is the oldest in his family and here he is the little brother,” she said. “Zach and Ian get to play and hang out and then Brian will jump in while they’re playing on the Wii.”For Brian, the connection is the most rewarding part of mentoring.“I was at school not too long ago and a former Reading Buddy that I hadn’t seen in a couple years came up and was so excited to see me,” he said. “And recently I saw Ian at school and he waved and smiled.”Mentoring doesn’t have to be difficult, the Behrens say.“Sometimes people are worried they have to always do something or go to an event,” Jodi said. “Even something as simple as hanging out is so rewarding and important.”Call 732-0058 for more information on becoming a mentor or email kinship @unitelc.com.Visit the website atkinshipparkrapids.org to find applications for mentors, Reading Buddies, to learn more about the program and see photos. Or visit Kinship of Park Rapids on Facebook.

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