Former mentee returns to Kids ’n Kinship as employee
Matt Cady was 7 years old when he met Mike Haupt, a mentor with Apple Valley nonprofit Kids ’n Kinship. The young Eagan boy was in need of a male role model after the death of his father two years earlier.
The shy first-grader wasn’t sure what to expect from his new mentor but over the next 13 years, Haupt became much more than a role model. He became an adviser, a friend and someone Cady could always count on.
“It was really nice to know I always had someone there to talk to and try new things with,” Matt said.
They two often played chess and attend sporting events together. They also built catapults, which they would use to fling water balloons and softballs across the yard and over the top of Haupt’s home.
“We had a lot of fun trying to see how far we could get it to go,” Haupt said.
Over they years Haupt’s easy-going nature helped Cady overcome his shyness and the two have remained friends.
It’s this experience that inspired Cady to make a difference in the lives of other children and brought him back to Kids ’n Kinship as a summer intern. When Cady — a junior at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall — discovered he could complete his college credit internship in his hometown, he immediately thought of Kids ’n Kinship.
“Kids ’n Kinship made a huge impact in my life in such a positive way,” the 20-year-old psychology student said.
Upon graduating from Southwest Minnesota State, Cady plans to either attend graduate school with the goal of becoming a child psychologist or seek a career with a nonprofit that focuses on helping children.
For the past few months, Cady has helped the nonprofit handle documentation, organize its annual bike sale and is currently working on video project for Kids ’n Kinship’s annual Gala event that will be held this fall.
“Working here has really put into perspective the process that goes into matching kids with mentors and how lucky I was to be matched with a mentor,” Cady said.
To date Kids ’n Kinship has a waiting list of approximately 60 children who are in need of mentors.
Individuals, couples and families who are interested in becoming a mentor can attend an upcoming information session:
• 6-6:45 p.m. Monday, July 18, at the Burnhaven Library in Burnsville.
• 6-6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17, at the Wescott Library in Eagan.
Contact Jan Belmore at 952-892-6368 or [email protected] for more information.