How much does it cost to be a part of Kinship of Iron County? There is no cost to the family or the KinKids. You will never be asked to give us money for participation in the program.
Does Kinship replace family? No. Our volunteer mentors are not going to replace family members or coaches or teachers or scout leaders or any of the many people who interact with the youth in our community. Like many of our educators and those who work with our youth, the volunteer mentors of Kinship simply care and want to support our kids. This is one of the ways each of our volunteers give back to our community.
Does a kid have to be in trouble to belong to Kinship? No. KinKids come from all walks of Iron County life. In today’s world, we see all kids as being at risk. A mentor is one more person in a child’s life helping them see the difference in the many paths before them.
Is Kinship part of ‘the system’? No. We are not supported by any government agency. All our funds come from donations from our community, not from a government program. We do not report to any agency. We do not spy on our KinFamilies and we are not here to judge. We are just here to help the kids in our community in the same way that sports and scouting and other organizations provide healthy ways for our kids to spend their free time.
How are mentors picked? Mentors are volunteers who live and work here in Iron County, MI. When someone asks to be a mentor, we put them through an extensive background check to make sure they will be a healthy mentor. We stay in touch with our mentors, KinKids and their families to make sure the relationship is a healthy one. At any time, the parents or the KinKid can ask for a new mentor if a problem or incompatibility arises.
What is the benefit of Kinship to my family and my child? For an hour or two a week, at no cost to you, your child will be actively doing something fun and healthy outside the home. This is free time for you. The mentor will communicate with you on the pick up/drop off and activity. You should never feel as if you are not a part of the program as well. When your child comes home, ask what they did, what they talked about and how your child feels about the relationship with their mentor. The kids have new adventures to share with you and each other.
What kind of involvement is there for the KinKid’s family? We ask that you make communication between you and the mentor easy. The mentor will most likely need to work with you on the time and place of the pick-up and drop-off. We ask that you support your child in being ready for pick-up, clothed appropriately for the planned outing. We ask that you respond to phone calls from the mentor and the coordinator. Other than that, it is up to you how much you and your family want to be involved with the mentor.
What is the age of a KinKid? We enroll kids as young as five years old. Kids stay in the program voluntarily through high school. Many of our ‘matches’ stay in touch with each other for life.
What makes a kid a KinKid? They just have to be a kid! Our KinKids come from many different family scenarios: single parents, parents working many hours and multiple jobs, families with a special needs child whose siblings don’t get enough adult-time, homes with lots of kids, kids who want to learn something the parents aren’t into like hunting or hiking or skiing for instance. Grandparents raising their grandkids, foster kids, merged families, normal kids from normal homes -whatever normal is! Mostly, you just have to be a kid to be a KinKid!
What is the time commitment? We ask that you spend an hour or two a week with your KinKid. This is time away from your own family and kids if you have them. Its ok to include your KinKid with whatever adventures your family takes as long as the KinFamily is ok with it and that you still get that one-on-one time too.
What does it cost to be a mentor? Nothing but your time and commitment. If you want to do an activity that costs money, you are expected to cover for yourself and your KinKid. But you don’t need to do things that cost money. Here in Iron County, there are so many wonderful things to see and do that are free. Exceptions can be made for special circumstances, reach out to the coordinator if something comes up.
Do I get any training or support? We will be having two to three mentor workshops in the 2020 designed to support you in your roll as mentor. Beyond that, you will have access to other mentors at the group events and will have constant access to the coordinator. Many of the mentors are in touch with each other outside of any formal event. Additionally, we have a working board of 10 members who are available as resources as needed.
Do I have to write a bunch of reports? NO! The coordinator will touch base with you from time to time to see how things are going, but there are no reports!!!
How do we pick my KinKid? The coordinator will interview you and look through the kids waiting for a mentor. She will discuss with you the options and together you will pick a kid. Most often you will meet ‘kids-in-waiting’ at group events so there is no pressure on the kids. The kid and his/her parents have final say on the approval of a ‘match’. Your preferences will also be taken into account.
How long will I be expected to participate? Once you have been ‘matched’, we ask that you give the match a year. If at the end of the year you and your KinKid want to dissolve the match, we will re-match you and your KinKid. This process puts the KinKid ahead of you in terms of re-matching. But to be honest-this need to rematch seldom occurs and most matches stay together through high-school graduation. Many of our mentors and past mentors stay in touch with their KinKids long after the KinKids have families of their own. Be prepared for a life-long friendship.
“We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.”
What’s in it for me? The potential for a life-long friendship. The knowledge that you are helping a kid. There are many very successful programs out there that help the youth in our community. Each program plays an important role. Scouting, sports, the arts, music. Many of these programs address kids in groups. Mentorship allows you to work with a child one-on-one. Its a slow rewarding process. Its not about what you do each week but that you show up each week. You are one more adult in their life telling them they matter, they’re important and that you care.
you can help…
How else can I help? If being a mentor is not for you, but you’d like to support what we are doing, donations are a wonderful option and are very much needed and appreciated! Send your donation to Kinship of Iron County Kids, PO Box 745, Stambaugh, MI 49964. We are a 501(c)(3).
How else can I help? Help us spread the word! Tell your friends and neighbors about us. Especially tell your friends who would make great mentors about us! If you have a bulletin board at work, put up a notice about KinShip, how to reach us and our need for donations and mentors.
How else can I help? If your workplace donates to non-profits in Iron County, suggest Kinship of Iron County Kids as a beneficiary. Contact the coordinator for details.
How else can I help? We participate in fund raisers, large and small, throughout the year. Contact the coordinator for details.
How else can I help? contact the coordinator to see if there are any volunteer opportunities in the near future.