Kids 'n Kinship

Kids ‘n Kinship's Annual Gala

Sunday, September 25, 2016
Brackett's Crossing, Lakeville MN

Galla 2015

Join us for an evening of dinner, Comedy Sportz, our famous auction, beer/wine pull, and mentee testimonials.

All proceeds match volunteer mentors with youth needing additional support.


Tickets: Click here.

Sponsorships: from $250 to $5000 - publicity and guest tables for 8
Donations: for the Silent Auction, Craft Beer Pull, and Wine Cork Pull

For more information contact Rita at 651-686-0990 or

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Kids 'n Kinship
14870 Granada Avenue #127
Apple Valley MN, 55124
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The power of mentoring

Published July 14, 2016


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.

Local Kids ‘n Kinship Volunteer is recognized

Eagan Man Receives National Community Hero Award

Volunteer mentor, Nick Varien, of Eagan, was nominated and won his employer's (Simpson Strong Tie) national Community Hero award. The Award was presented in Arizona. Nick is matched with a 16 year old Eagan teen; they have been together nearly four years. They enjoy food, friendship, movies, sports and family. Nick and his wife, Bree consider the mentee a part of their family. Every conversation with Nick includes a recognition of his mentees' abilities, personality, manners or attitude. Nick talks about the very bright future his mentee has; his athletic accomplishments, goals, his academic struggles and triumphs, his maturity beyond his years and how he 'looks out' for his younger sister. Think about a young teen hearing a respected successful adult talk about you that way. It is very powerful.

Along with the award came a donation for $2,500 for Kids 'n Kinship. Kids 'n Kinship staff say " Nick is an excellent supportive role model and he is caring and interested. We value Nick and all he does for his mentee and our organization."

Rick's Bike Sale

The 8th annual Rick's Bike Sale was a very big success thanks to all the volunteers and customers!

Rick, Randy and crew gathered and tuned up hundreds of bikes and brought in $27,094.00 in sales. All to benefit Kids 'n Kinship, matching kids on the wait list with an awesome mentor! Thanks to everyone involved; bike donations for next year can be directed to Rick at:

Featured Video

Did you know?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Did you know? The story of Mentor comes from Homer's Odyssey. Odysseus, king of Ithaca, fights in the Trojan War and entrusts the care of his household to Mentor, who serves as teacher and overseer of Odysseus' son, Telemachus.

The definition of a mentor, according to Merriam Webster is:
noun men·tor \ˈmen-ˌtȯr, -tər\
1capitalized : a friend of Odysseus entrusted with the education of Odysseus' son Telemachus
2a : a trusted counselor or guide

Which brings us to the question, what is the role of a mentor today? Here are some ideas to think about:

· Be a friend, not a parent or authority figure. Mentors are trusted guides helping young people make positive decisions, form their own values, and realize their potential.

· Have realistic goals and expectations.Mentors understand that change doesn’t happen overnight and that setbacks occur.

· Have fun. Getting to know the young person is the primary goal of any mentoring relationship. Activities such as hanging out, grabbing a bite to eat, or playing basketball, help build the relationship.

· Allow the mentee to have voice and choice in deciding on activities. Ask your mentee what he or she would like to do during your time together. This ensures that the young person will be interested and engaged in the activity.

· Be positive. Offer encouragement and assistance. When times are tough, help the young person focus on the future. Celebrate successes large and small.

· Let the mentee control the direction of conversations. Don’t push the mentee to tell you everything at once; allow him or her time to get to know you. Be sensitive and respectful and above all keep everything the mentee says to you confidential (unless the youth plans to hurt herself or someone else).

· Listen. Sometimes the young person will need to vent about school, work, home, or friends. By listening more than talking you can learn a lot and build your relationship.

· Respect the trust the mentee places in you. Don’t judge the mentee or provide unwanted advice. Reassure him that you will be there no matter what.

· Remember that your relationship is with the young person, not his or her parent. The focus of the match is on the youth’s goals, not those of the family. At the same time, avoid passing judgment on the mentee’s family.

· Remember that you are responsible for building the relationship. Take the initiative to keep in contact with your mentee.

(Excerpt from

Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota

Kids 'n Kinship has achieved Expert Partner status through Mentoring Partnership Minnesota's Quality Mentoring Assesment Path (QMAP) and has a 100% overall implementation rating on an extensive list of best practices and quality standards for mentoring programs. We are 1 of only 9 other programs to earn this distinguished rating under these rigorous guidelines.


Medical Monkeys

Kids 'n Kinship wishes to acknowledge the partnership with Medical Monkeys. Funds received from the purchase of the Medical Monkeys goes towards finding mentors for our waiting youth.

Kids 'n Kinship wishes to acknowledge the generous support of Mail Pack and Ship, Apple Valley and their wonderful donation of printing of our newsletter, and Media Relations, Inc for their pro bono work on publicity.