Monday, August 24, 2015

Raspberry Pi -Lesson 2


Best Buy finished up their Raspberry Pi classes with the students by teaching them how to create their own game!!   The students worked together with their mentor and were guided in how to use the variables in the program.  The game design consisted of having the character go back to "go" when it touched a certain designated color.  The students also created a course the character had to navigate through from beginning to end.  The students were actively engaged and totally enjoyed the process as well as the finished result!!
Excited to have created their game!!
Making a game together!!

Many thanks to Best Buy Geek Squad and Ben Harwell and Andrew Miller, who were our instructors for the class. Thanks also to the Western Service Center who hosted us again!!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Kids 'n Kinship Youth Receive Instruction on Raspberry Pi Computers through Best Buy grant!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

 Thanks to Best Buy, teens received instruction on how to use the Raspberry Pi computer and a program called “Scratch” in this year's first Tech Mentor program class!  The Raspberry Pi is a tiny and affordable computer that you can use to learn programming through fun, practical projects. In the first class students learned about what the Raspberry Pi can do. With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations. The students learned the basics of Scratch. In our second class, they will be working on creating their own game as well as all the variables in the program.

Many thanks to Best Buy Geek Squad and Ben Harwell, who was our instructor for the class. Thanks also to the Western Service Center who hosted us!!

Ben Harwell explaining the scratch program

Ready to begin!!!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Rick's Bike Sale Brings in over $21,000!

Every year, Kids 'n Kinship benefits from a bike sale that one of our mentors puts on.  He collects bike donations from September-early Spring and fixes them up to sell them, for extremely reasonable prices.  Bikes of all sizes were anywhere from $30-$350 with over 150 bikes for sale.  Thanks to Rick and all of the volunteers for help making this years sale a huge hit!

ALL of the proceeds from this sale go to Kids 'n Kinship.  2015 marks the 7th year of the sale and it brought in just over $21,000!  Kids 'n Kinship has several events throughout the year that play a large part of the funding in helping youth ages 5-16 have mentors and healthy relationships throughout their youth.    

Read more about the sale, see photos and make sure you like us on Facebook to stay in touch with us regarding the 8th annual sale in 2016.

For those of you that did join us and perhaps are the proud owners of a new bike from the sale, we would love to hear your experiences and see pictures!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Meet Adam! A monopoly and math loving sports fan

Here at Kids 'n Kinship, our mission to is provide healthy relationships through mentoring with kids aged 5-16.  We've had the honor of sharing many of the children on our waiting list, with you.  For those of you that have expressed interest in mentoring because of this, THANK YOU.  We hope to encourage others to seek out mentoring, as well.  

Meet Adam!

First NameAdam 

Age:  9 

Interests: Adam is great at playing Monopoly and he is a great reader!  He is interested in football, baseball and soccer.  He also loves movies! 

Personality/Characteristics: Adam is smart, friendly, sensitive and athletic. He helps his single parent mom, around the house.   

Goals/Dreams: Adam would like a mentor who likes sports and might want to go to a sporting event.  He is good at math and could help teach math. 

Does this sound like you and Adam could have a great time together?  With summer coming up, there would be many activities to be athletic, be outside and perhaps enjoy sports together!  We would love to connect you.

For more information: Adam is waiting for a mentor through Kids n’ Kinship in Dakota County. To learn more about this agency, contact Kids n’ Kinship at or 952-892-6368. For more information about mentoring, contact the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota at 612-370-9180 or check its online list of mentoring programs at under "Find a Program."rough Kids n’ Kinship in Dakota County.
To learn more about this agency, contact Kids n’ Ki
nship at www.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Guidelines on Gift Giving

How should I respond to my mentee's requests for gifts?
Most formal mentoring programs have specific guidelines about how to handle gifts and spending money on your mentee, so check with your coordinator first. Some programs strongly discourage or even forbid gifts. Programs that have “no gifts” policies typically put them in place to avoid offending a mentee’s family or putting mentors in situations they can’t afford. Other programs leave the decision to give or not to give entirely to the mentor’s discretion.
Some factors to help make a decision about how to respond to your mentee include your own financial situation, the type and length of the relationship, the nature and amount of the request, the boundaries you have set for the relationship, the mentee’s family’s feelings and financial situation, and the type of activities you and your mentee do together.
Deciding not to spend money on your mentee: If you decide not to buy things for your mentee, you should not feel guilty. If you wish, you can explain why but it is not necessary. A simple response (such as, “I don’t have the money for that right now”) may just end the matter. Try to avoid getting into a discussion of whether your mentee “needs” the item; it sets up and adversarial tone between you.
If you have been spending money on your mentee for activities you do together, you can say that you prefer to spend your money on activities you can do with each other rather than on things. Of course, if the requested item is related to your activities, such as a baseball mitt or a new book, you might consider talking with your mentee about how he could find the item at a cheap price.
Deciding to spend money on your mentee: Before you decide to spend money on your mentee, consider the family’s feelings. You do not want to make parents or guardians feel unable to provide for their child. If you are thinking of giving your mentee a birthday gift, for example, ask the family for advice on what your mentee may like. This will help them feel included and will give you some spending parameters.
Doing some activities with your mentee will most likely involve money, such as going to a movie or sports event or having a meal out, but be low-key about it. If you would like to work with your mentee on financial literacy, you can establish a monthly spending budget for doing things together and ask your mentee to make decisions about how you will spend it.
Reprinted with permission from The Mentor’s Field guide: Answers You Need to Help Kids Succeed by Gail Manza and Susan K. Patrick; Questions about the Mentoring Relationship, Question 33. Reprinted with permission from Search Institute®, Copyright © 2012 Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN ; 877-240-7251, ext. 1; All rights reserved.
For more information on mentoring a child age 5-16 in Dakota County through Kids 'n Kinship, go to

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Enjoy wood-working & building things? Share what you know with Steve!

A mentor match with a birdhouse they made together
Here is one youth waiting for an adult friend to hang out with:

First Name: Steve

Age: 9

Interests: Steve likes going to parks, reading comics, biking and making things.

Personality/Characteristics: Steve is fun, energetic, nice, caring and enthusiastic! Steve’s' single parent mom is interested in a male role model or couple or family for her son. Steve says lunch and recess are his favorite subjects at school and his teacher is super nice. He is a great reader!

Goals/Dreams: Steve would love to learn more about making things with metal or building things.

Steve is waiting for a mentor through Kids 'n Kinship mentoring program in Dakota County. Currently there are 62 youth ages 5-16 living in Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Farmington, Lakeville or Rosemount waiting for mentors. Volunteer mentors are individuals, couples, or family wanting to spend time with youth.  Mentors get together weekly with youth for fun and engaging everyday activities like bike riding, going to parks, having a meal together, or doing crafts or other hobbies together.  To learn more, attend our information session on March 23rd, 6-6:45 pm at the Wescott Library in Eagan.  RSVP to Rita 651-686-0990.  You can also see other profiles of waiting kids, read stories about matches and more on our website

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Like this warm weather? Spring is the perfect time to get started mentoring!

Like fishing, swimming, and spending time outdoors?  Like you, many kids can't wait to get outside!  Be a friend to a child age 5-16 and include them as you do your hobbies and sports.  

Below is one child out of the 61 who are currently waiting for mentors with Kids 'n Kinship.

First name:  Jack

Age:  9

Interests:  Jack enjoys going to parks, swimming, fishing, legos, puzzles, and playing with dogs. He also likes building things, floor hockey, basketball, and football and is a Packers fan. He would also like to go to Grandslam or to volunteer at an animal shelter with a mentor.

Personality/Characteristics:  He is smart, fun to be around, and likes to make jokes. Jack lives with his mom, younger brother, & step-dad.  His biological dad is not in his life.  He is looking for an individual mentor preferably with a dog to spend time with him.

Goals/Dreams:  Jack would like to become a police officer.

For more information on Kids 'n Kinship, go to  We have volunteer applications, child profiles, success stories, as well as date of upcoming information sessions to learn more.  The next information session will be March 23, 6-6:45 pm at the Wescott Library in Eagan.  RSVP to Rita