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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Kids 'n Kinship Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adult & Child Matching Programs, Children & Youth, Youth Development Programs

Mission: The program is primarily for children from single parent families or children who have a need for an additional positive adult role model.  The goal is that the child will form a long-term friendship with a responsible, consistent adult role model. Through their Kinship relationship children receive positive attention, experience a variety of activities, and are helped to develop the sense of self-worth that is essential to successfully functioning in school, in healthy relationships, and eventually on the job. The volunteer mentors model responsible citizenship; being involved in our community, sharing skills, taking pride in providing for oneself and ones'' family. Throughout a mentor relationship, the volunteer plans and carries out activities with the child, one on one in the community. Volunteers are individuals, couples and families. Some examples of typical activities are: picnicking, attending sporting events, hobbies, baking cookies, and going to a movie.

Target demographics: strengthen youth through mentoring

Geographic areas served: Dakota County area

Programs: Kids 'n Kinship provides a community mentoring program for children who live in Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Farmington, Lakeville and Rosemount. Currently 110 volunteers mentor 88 youth and 84 youth are on a waiting list. Mentors spend time on a weekly basis with the child for a minimum of one year. The average relationship lasts 3 years! Kids 'n Kinship also has a school-based mentoring project in collaboration with Glacier Hills Elementary school. School based mentoring serves children with the following identifying factors: high transience rate, low income, not eligible for formal educational assistance, but needing help to keep up with grade level. Mentors meet with the child at school once a week and then get together during school breaks for community activities.

Community Stories

25 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with this great organization as a mentor for over 5 years and have just recently accepted a position on the board. The commitment to providing the best possible mentor match for the youth of our community is simply amazing! My Mentee and I have enjoyed so many great experiences together and I can say that at this point we are family. Over the years, seeing the efforts of Kids n' Kinship has humbled me and I am SO proud to be a part an organization that is making an immediate and lasting difference!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Joined Kids n Kinship to give back about a year and a half ago. Been nothing but a truly rewarding experience. We found lifelong friends in our mentee and her family.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Have volunteered for 8 months now and have enjoyed working with our mentee. Kids 'n Kinship is very helpful in making a great match and providing any further assistance with the relationship!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am honored to be a part of this organization. I have been involved for several years with this group and currently serve on the board. I can not say enough great things about the experiences, how well it is run and impact on our youth. The staff is a group of dedicated people that have a tremendous amount of power to serve our youth through mentoring. They are professional and have keen insights into making the best mentor/mentee matches! I have witness how mentoring can be life changing and secure brighter futures. I have seen children blossom is areas they never thought possible. Youth in this program develop a sense of hope and excitement for the future. Some of them become leaders, college students or working towards or in fulfilling career paths. If you are considering becoming a mentor or volunteering, Kids 'n Kinship is a great organization to invest your time.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Kids 'n Kinship has been a wonderful experience for both us as a mentor family and for our mentee. We have been able to enjoy so many things in the community together, form a connection with another person in our community, and be more intentional about the time we spend together. Kinship staff are very organized and committed to matching up mentees and mentors in matches that have a high likelihood of success. They also are great about sharing ideas for new experiences and activities to do together.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Great organization dedicated to improving the lives of youth in Dakota County! This organization has a great group of mentors committed to helping prepare youth for the future while having fun. Engaged, caring staff facilitate mentor/mentee matches and remain available to provide guidance and support throughout the ongoing relationship.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Going through the process to become a mentor my thoughts were on a teenager. I made my choice but even before meeting, her family moved away.

Then I met Mentee who was 11. It was an instant click as we found how much we had in common. We both are middle children from large Catholic families. We both have five sisters and our birthdays are a week apart.

It's now two years later, I have my teenager and I can't imagine my life without her. Thank you Kids-n-Kinship.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a mentor with Kids 'n Kinship for 11 years. This organization is invaluable because it not only focuses on making excellent, long term matches (after my first mentee moved out of state, I've been matched with the same young lady for 9 years!), it follows through with continual support to all sides of the match. We get detailed personal support as mentors, and the organization even provides fun events for mentor/mentee pairs. Over the years, I've seen amazing growth in my match, and she's on track to finish high school with excellent grades, and she knows she's going to college, it's just a matter of where. Without Kids 'n Kinship, she wouldn't have the confidence to have overcome life obstacles and see a bright future! The best part about Kids 'n Kinship is individuals, couples, and families can all mentor a child in need, making it a great option for any family. Mentoring is the most rewarding volunteer activity I have participated in, particularly because there's a long term relationship. My mentee is now a member of my family, and Kids 'n Kinship made that happen.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a mentor with Kids 'n Kinship for 10 years. It's a great feeling to know that a small investment of time pays amazing dividends in the life of my mentee. I've seen her grow from a shy 8-year old with very little self-confidence into a lovely young lady who is mature, applies herself in school, and dreams of going to college. The best part is that she and I spend time together doing the silliest and easiest of things: we go for walks, scrapbook, and even draw on my driveway with chalk just for fun. Spending time with her is a highlight of my week, takes very little effort, and is just plain fun. This organization is important for kids like my mentee who are looking for a positive adult role model. I'm grateful that Kids 'n Kinship supports our match and gives us opportunities to spend time together by providing free events and suggestions for activities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My wife and I became mentors 11 years ago and mentored Jon. About 4 years ago we added his brother Marcus. It has been a very rewarding experience with both boys. Jon is off to college this fall and we are still mentoring Marcus. Fun to watch them grow and learn. I also started a bike sale where we accept donated bikes, clean and fix them and have a sale every May. We have had 9 sales and raised over $130,000 for Kids 'n Kinship. People gladly donate bikes. we enjoy bringing them back to life and keeping them out of the dumpster, someone gets a smile on their face because they get a new bike at a good price and Kids 'n Kinship get money to operate their program. Win-Win-Win-Win which does not happen that often. Volunteer somewhere, it will make you feel good. Rick and Lise

cheerful

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the great pleasure of being a mentor to twin girls from ages 5 to 13. We experienced many fun Sunday afternoons going for walks, baking cookies, and a number of "firsts." I had an opportunity to watch the girls enjoy their first carousel ride, first baseball game, a chance to go fishing, and first time to visit a college campus. When they moved to Alaska, I felt like I lost some of my family. However, a few years later they came knocking on my door to visit, and recently both girls joined the National Guard and promised to keep in touch.

I could not have had this tremendous experience if it were not for Kids-n-Kinship. Because of their well-run program and amazing staff, they make it a privilege to be a mentor.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of being a mentor to twin girls for eight years. We enjoyed many "firsts" together -- simple things like baking cookies and going to the county fair. I was sad when they moved to Alaska with their family but overjoyed when they came back to visit four years later and said that they want to stay connected.

Being a mentor is one of those things you do where you might never know the impact on the lives of others as well as your own.

Read more

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been mentoring an 11 year old girl through Kids-n-kinship for 4 months. We are having a blast. We meet once a week for 2 to 4 hours and do fun stuff together: ball games, shopping, bowling, etc. It gives us both a break from our regular lives - mine is otherwise consumed with my job and she has a somewhat chaotic home. It gives us both balance and much needed perspective.

The organization does a great job of keeping me connected with other mentors as well as giving us our own space. It also helps with finding activities and tickets to events.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We have been mentoring through Kids-n-Kinship for almost 15 years. Our first experience was with a 9 year old young man who came from a single parent home with no male role model. We invested in his life (and he in ours) for 12 years. Most of our time together was simply including him in all our family activities. We encouraged him during his difficult times in school and let him know how much we cared for him. The Kids-N-Kinship coordinators were always there as a resource to us whenever we needed guidance for any situations that needed to be addressed. Our mentee is now 24 and has since moved to another state as is working for a law firm. We still keep in contact with him and spend time together whenever he comes back to our neck of the woods! We are now mentoring two young brothers who also come from a single parent home and need guidance to navigate through the environment that surrounds them. Kids-'N-Kinship has been a wonderful organization to work with. Their outreach to the community and program support for mentee/mentor matches has been awesome! They also have plenty of fun things to do with your mentee(s) by providing tickets for sporting events, recreational activities, educational trips , and great ideas on how to interact with and support your mentee. I can't say enough about our positive experience with this organization.....

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with Kids nKinship, is a good one . I saw the information about the orgianation
At my health clinic. I was a little bit hesitant to call for more info because I had never been an mentor before. When I gathered enough confidence to call, I talked to Ingrid, she gave me more information and we had set a date and a place to meet. There was paperwork I needed to start the ball rolling. When it got rolling, I hopped on. The staff at Kids nKinship are great, whenever had a question about being a mentor. I mentored an individual for over 2 years and I learned a lot about myself and learned a lot from my mentee. Right now I am doing volunteering for Kids n Kinship. The program helps kids and the community and when I am able to mentor again, I will be first in line.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Kids N Kinship is such a great organization. I started volunteering when my kids were teenagers and I had more free time on my hands..I was matched with a shy 11 year-old named Ashley who turned out to one of the best things I've ever done for myself and my family. Kinship really did a great job in matching us up, it was like a perfect match from the start and our friendship has now lasted 18 years and that shy little girl has turned out to be part of our family. Kinship made it easy with outings to do fun things together, they always were a great support if you needed anything, just can't say enough good things about this organization and the people that run it. Shelley Nordling

John347

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I served as a mentor and was matched with an 11 year old boy through Kids n' Kinship. We were matched together until he reached adulthood. The organization provided us with guidance and support from beginning to end. I like to think being matched together made a difference in a boy's life and helped him develop into the young man he is today. Kids n' Kinship provides that same support for scores of children in need of an adult friend every year.

Karen356

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been associated with Kids 'n Kinship for over 25 years.; as a mentor and later a long-time board member. I have seen so many wonderful friendships grow through the careful matching of mentee and mentor in the program. Many, many youth have benefited from a caring adult helping them navigate the rocky road through adolescence.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the wonderful experience of being a volunteer with Kids 'N Kinship for 15 years!
"Kinship" is a great organization that carefully and thoughtfully pairs mentors with kids in need of an adult role model. They are very well organized and have a fabulous, experienced staff. The organization goes out of its way to provide all the coaching and help needed to make these relationships a rewarding experience for both the mentor and mentee.
I would HIGHLY recommend Kids 'N Kinship!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

They do excellent work! Organized, they follow up, great staff to work with. They believe in what they do! They really make a difference in the lives of mentors, and mentees.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

We were matched with a child for 6 years, and it was a very positive experience for both of us!
Kids 'n Kinship does a good job making sure that the matches are appropriate for both parties and that the ongoing relationship is well maintained and valuable. Their staff follows up on tasks and is professional in their contact and activities. I would recommend this organization to anyone that is looking to make a difference in the life of a child.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My husband started mentoring over 10 yrs ago. He was very apprehensive and certain he'd never make a difference in a child's life. Now, that young man is a sophomore in college and frequently keeps in touch, sharing how's he's doing in school, what's going on in college, etc. The simple fact that the two of them still make time for each other, even 10 yrs later, tells me that both of them have had an impact on the other.