A Journey Through Kinship
In September of 2002, after a speaker had come to Wal-Mart and talked to us about Kinship Partners… I made a decision to become involved. I went in and picked up the information forms, filled them out and was soon on my way to becoming a Kinship Partner.
Looking back – I am still amazed that here we are 7 years later and that once funny little 7 year old I had met on a fall afternoon, has become such an amazing part of our life, and now a teenager that we still love to hang out with and be a part of his life.
So how did it all begin? What did we do then? What do we do now? It began with saying “yes” to being a mentor in a child’s life. Our own boys were 11 and 13 at the time, and we were already doing the sports events anyway – why not bring someone along who may enjoy getting out and doing just that? And with that decision the door opened to Chance.
After the initial interview, I was mailed a list of possible kids who fit into the area we lived in and the types of activities we were involved in. Chance was actually chosen off that list because of his name. It spoke to me. I wanted to do just that – give this boy who I had never met before, a chance.
I remember the day I met him, and hoping he would like me… and of course that I would like him. I don’t know what I was worried about. This cute little red headed boy came out of the house and my heart knew this was a match. I had no idea that decision to become a partner was going to be a decision that brought this young man into all of our lives as almost one of our own family.
In the past 7 years we have:
went to Warrior football games watched movies biked snow angels played board games made homemade pizzas video games cookies cleaned ditched for Sertomas Cub Scouts had sleep overs made smores car races mastered Bomberman on Wii gone swimming kayaking corn maze sledding fishing shoveled snow together cleaning up at Mink Lake going to do bids with Al attending family gatherings outdoor concerts rollerblading (well… Chance attempted) talking on the phone birthdays miniature golf Valley Fair grilling on the deck school plays Harry Potter (all of them!) Playing “Pass Master” for an hour and a half in the car until our voices gave out weekends at the cabin raking leaves at Camp Jim hanging out with Justin (Chance calls him his brother) listening to IPOD Bowling making popcorn with m & m’s in it Halloween parties School Plays watching Pearl Harbor (again…. and again) helping at the Soup Kitchen Kinship Events picnics Ice fishing “hunting wabbits” years of Knex talking a lot Monopoly on Wii and also the old school board game hanging out camp fires going to movies Four wheeling Skate boarding Watching LOST reading the same book laughing at fortune cookies
I have recently become a Kinship Ambassador. Mainly because I know first hand that this is an incredible program that is extremely important to our community.
There are a few things I hear often as a Kinship Partner of why people are unable to commit and I would like to respond to those here:
- I am too busy with my own kids. (That is great! As a Mentor you can bring your Kinship Partner along with what you are already doing with your family – sports events, picnics, going to the park, hanging around the house, watching a movie…)
- I don’t have any extra money to be a mentor. (Kinship discourages Mentors spending much money on the kids. You are suppose to bring them into your every day life. Working on cleaning out the garage? Have them come over… renting a movie, working in your garden, going to the library, walking in the park, sitting and talking, going to the fair or outdoor event, it fits well). Make times like going out for ice cream, to a movie, or out to eat, a special occasion.)
- I just don’t have time to take on one more commitment. (Kinship asks that you try to spend an hour a week with the child. Does that always happen for me? No. Some weeks I barely get to talk to him, and other weeks we spend several hours together. You can at least call them on the phone and talk to them about their week for a few minutes the times you are unavailable. And again, don’t make the Kinship relationship a burden. It isn’t. You do not need to plan special projects and outings for your time out. Simply make them a part of what you are already doing.)
7 years ago Chance came into our lives. I had no idea that he would come to be such an important part of our family. I look forward to many more years with Chance and we do not regret for a minute making the decision to be Kinship Partners.
This is an update to a blog I posted about a year and a half ago (previous post).
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