Friday, April 4, 2014

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

First, some statistics on child abuse:

In 2011, 6.2 million children were referred to Child Protective Services (CPS).
In 2011, 3.7 million children were investigated for maltreatment by CPS.
In 2011, 676,569 children were determined to be victims of abuse or neglect.*

It is staggering how many child suffer some form of abuse or neglect!  

Nurturing is what we need to do for our children and especially for children who have been abused in any form. Nurturing is showing love and caring for children. Here are some ways to nurture the children in your life:

• Acknowledge children’s right to have their own feelings, friends, activities and opinions.
• Promote independence
• Allow for privacy
• Respect feelings for (other) parent
• Believe (your) children

• Talk and act so that children feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves
• Be gentle
• Be dependable

• Provide food, shelter, clothing
• Teach personal hygiene and nutrition
• Monitor safety
• Maintain a family routine
• Attend to wounds

• Be consistent
• Ensure rules appropriate to age and development of children
• Be clear about limits and expectations
• Use discipline to give instruction, not punishment

• Express verbal and physical affection
• Be affectionate when you children are physically or emotionally hurt

• Participate in your children’s lives: activities, school, sports, special events and days, celebrations, friends
• Include your children in your activities
• Reveal who you are to your children

• Be affirming
• Encourage children to follow their interest
• Let children disagree with you
• Recognize improvement
• Teach new skills
• Let them make mistakes

• Give yourself personal time
• Keep yourself healthy
• Maintain friendships
• Accept love

* from
**Reprinted from Kinship Link; March 2014 Newsletter

If you are interested in nurturing a child in Dakota County as a mentor through Kids 'n Kinship, attend an information session on April 22, 6-6:45 pm at Wescott Library in Eagan.  Call 651-686-0990 to register.  You can learn more about our program on our website -

Friday, March 14, 2014

Join Kids 'n Kinship for Our Bowlathon!

Kids 'n Kinship is excited to host our 15th Annual Bowlathon in the spring this year! It will be Sunday April 27th, from 3:30-7 pm.  We will have two bowling sessions:

3:30-5 pm for our mentors, mentees, youth on the waiting list, and their families
5:30-7 pm for community teams (youth groups, companies, and friends of the program)$25/person includes bowling, chips & pop, as well as free gift (see below)
Register here:

Bowling with us is a great way to get service hours, to bond with your co-workers, or just have fun while making a difference for youth needing mentors in Dakota County! All community bowlers get a lovely commemorative gift like last year's cooler bag:

We are also seeking individuals and companies to sponsor us!  Funds will go directly to supporting youth needing mentors here in our community! Donations will be recognized in our newsletter.
Donate here:
For $200, you get a lane sign like in this photo:

Please consider participating by sponsoring us, gathering a team to bowl, or donating an item for our raffle baskets!

For more information on Kids 'n Kinship, check out our website

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Kids 'n Kinship Mentor Wins Be the Change Award!

Congratulations Kids 'n Kinship mentor, Judy Olhoft for being one of 4 winners of the HandsOn Twin Cities Be the Change award for 2014!  She will be given the award this Saturday February 15 at the HandsOn Twin Cities Volunteer Expo at the Mall of America.  The Volunteer Expo runs from 10 am to 3 pm and Kids 'n Kinship's booth will be located in front of Macy's.  Stop by to visit with staff, ambassadors, and mentors and learn more about mentoring youth in Dakota County!

You're also invited to attend the Awards Ceremony from 1-1:30 pm at the Rotunda to see Judy accept her award, along with her mentee.  THANKS FOR EVERYTHING, JUDY!

To learn more about Kids 'n Kinship, visit our website You're also invited to an information session on Thursday Feb. 20, 6-6:45 pm at the Burnhaven Library in Burnsville. To RSVP, call  or call 952-891-3885.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Welcome Moses Dennis!

I would like to introduce a new addition to our Kids ‘n Kinship staff family.  Moses Dennis was hired recently as our Recruitment Coordinator.  His job will be to work diligently to find mentors for the youth on our waiting list for a mentor.

Moses Dennis has more than 25 years of experience in public relations and communications with corporations and non-profits. He joins Kids ‘n Kinship after serving as communications manager for a non-profit international trade association.

"I'm excited to be a part of an organization that truly makes a difference in the lives of our youth and their families, and has an excellent reputation in the community," Dennis exclaimed.

Mr. Dennis has experience with print, web-based communication and social media. As a professional speaker, he has delivered over 100 speeches at fundraising campaigns for local chapters of national non-profit organizations.

 An avid tennis fan, Mr. Dennis has been a volunteer junior tennis coach and served on several tennis committees for the United States Tennis Association Northern Section.

He and his wife, Mary, have lived in Savage, Minnesota for the past 20 years. They have four adult sons.

For more information about Kids 'n Kinship youth mentoring program, go to  Our next information session is Thursday February 20, 6-6:45 pm at Burnhaven Library in Burnsville. To RSVP, call 952-891-3885.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Developmental Stages of Young People: Part Three

Generally, 10- to 12-year-olds still enjoy being around family members. This is typically the age when romantic relationships start to become of interest, and friends and peers become even more important in their lives. As young people mature, they begin to actively seek out ways to be more independent of their family and to bond more closely with peers.

Tips for interacting with your mentee:
  • At this age, young people are beginning to think like adults, but they don’t have the experience and judgment needed to act like adults. Help your mentee recognize this.
  • Suggest constructive behaviors, but provide multiple options to allow your mentee to make choices. For example, describe the positive aspects of helping a younger child with homework, doing chores without being asked, or volunteering with a friend at a local charity.
  • Never give up on your mentee, even when things get tough.
Reprinted with permission from Search Institute®.  From Mentoring for Meaningful Results: Asset-Building Tips, Tools, and Activities for Youth and Adults. Copyright © 2008 Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN; 800-888-7828; All rights reserved.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Developmental Stages of Young People: Part Two

Adolescents typically start to understand the consequences of different actions by about age 13 or 14. At this age they also are increasingly considering who they are in the world. As they age, adolescents mature in their ability to think through problems on their own. By the time people are close to 17 or 18 years old, they are both excited and scared to be on their own.
Tips for interacting with your mentee:
·        Encourage her to take responsibility for her actions.
·        Help him make good choices, like getting his homework done before you do a fun activity together.
·        Suggest that your mentee break planning and decision making down into a series of steps.
·        Ask questions that highlight the positive results of good decisions and the unpleasant consequences of poor planning.
·        Listen carefully without criticizing.
·        Listen to you Mentee’s thoughts about the future.
·        Support and respect his decisions.
·        Offer ideas about what you think she might like to do or be good at.
·        Find other mentors who can help direct his choices.
·        Share your own excitement about the world and its possibilities.
*Look for part three next week.
Reprinted with permission from Search Institute®.  From Mentoring for Meaningful Results: Asset-Building Tips, Tools, and Activities for Youth and Adults. Copyright © 2008 Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN; 800-888-7828; All rights reserved.

For more information on Kids 'n Kinship mentoring program in Dakota County, go to

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Developmental Stages of Young People: Part One

You may feel as if it wasn’t all that long ago that you yourself were taking that roller-coaster ride through adolescence. If you’re a peer mentor, you still may be going through adolescence yourself. Or maybe you’re an adult mentor with children who have gone through or are currently going through adolescence. No matter what your level of experience is with young people, it helps to understand a little more about typical changes that happen to them as they approach and go through different stages. This helps you identify normal behaviors in your mentee and better equips you to react to them.

Below is a summary of typical developmental experiences of young people at different ages, as well as some tips for helping your mentee thrive during these critical developmental changes.


By the time young people are between the ages of 10 and 12, they are well into puberty. As they age, they may worry about personal traits that are vital to them, but are hardly noticeable to others.

Young people also go through emotional changes that impact their self-image. By the time they are between the ages of 13 and 16, they will likely experience emotional extremes, from being happy to feeling sad or from thinking they are smart to believing they are dumb. They may want both to fit in with the crowd while at the same time stand out and be special. It is normal to see these kinds of emotional extremes continue well into their teen years as they take on more independence and make more decisions for themselves.

Tips for interacting with your mentee:
·        Be sensitive to how she feels about her body or other issues.
·        Acknowledge feelings, positive traits and abilities, and help him recognize his own genuine worth.
·        Make sure your mentee knows how important she is to you. Don’t assume she knows.
·        Bolster his self-confidence by emphasizing independent choice, encouraging self-respect, and recognizing  positive behavior.
·        Find out what your mentee loves learning about or what she’s interested in studying.

Reprinted with permission from Search Institute®.  From Mentoring for Meaningful Results: Asset-Building Tips, Tools, and Activities for Youth and Adults. Copyright © 2008 Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN; 800-888-7828; All rights reserved.