Norman McCloud Jr. started off the new year moving to Minot with a new job.
On Jan. 3, McCloud took over as executive director for Companions For Children, a non-profit organization in Minot.
"The goal is to match every child in Minot who comes from single-parent families with a caring adult mentor," McCloud explained.
James C. Falcon/MDN •
Norman McCloud Jr., the new executive director for Companions For Children, is at work in his office on Jan. 7. Companions For Children is a non-profit organization that matches children from single-parent families with adult mentors.
While he is new to the job, McCloud is no stranger to Minot. Although he was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation, in Belcourt, he attended Minot State University, graduating in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in broadcasting and is currently finishing an MBA through the University of Mary online. For the past three years, he worked at Pathways to Prosperity, a tribal non-profit organization working to reduce poverty on the reservation.
"Working in a similar field - a non-profit - we did outreach to similar target audiences and we did work a lot with children," McCloud explained. "The experience I gained through previous employment, it just seemed like a no-brainer that I would seek work with another non-profit."
He said that he brings experience, enthusiasm and the want to create a positive environment for children to Companion for Children's table.
McCloud's work at Companions For Children is to oversee the organization, work on outreach and public relations, and to write grants. The majority of funding for Companions For Children comes from grants, but it also relies on corporate and private donations, to help pay for operating expenses and outreach, as well as internal costs to help find mentors. He noted that he plans on collaborating with other organizations to form partnerships.
To be a mentor, a person would need to be 18 years or older and have a one-year commitment to spending time with a child.
"We encourage them to spend at least one day a week with the kids, but really it's their own schedule," McCloud said. "Basically, whatever they can coordinate will determine the time they spend together."
Once the children are matched with an adult, they can then participate in a variety of activities, said Bobbie Allery, the organization's service coordinator. She recently returned to CFC and is "very excited and happy to be back."
"They can do something from going out to eat in a restaurant, going to the playground, or being outside," Allery said. "(They are) just kind of somebody that youth companions can look up to as a positive mentor."
CFC also sponsors different activities throughout the year that all youth and adult companions, whether they are matched or not, are invited to attend. This month, they will be making Valentine's Day cards for veterans.
"We do have matched children, but there are still un-matched (children), due to a lack of adult companion volunteers" McCloud said. "We are always looking for additional individuals to volunteer to be an adult companion."
According to Allery, there are 55 youth currently enrolled in the program. Of those, there are 22 unmatched boys and seven unmatched girls.
The guidelines for youth say that they must be between the ages of 6 and 14 and reside in a single-parent household within 15 miles of Minot. They also must "want to be in the program," McCloud said.
There are two types of companion programs available, Allery added. In addition to the one-year commitment program, there is a wellness companion program. For eight weeks, youth and their adult mentors participate in activities that focus on fitness and nutrition, as well as offering guidance and training. Currently, there aren't any youth-adult mentorships that are enrolled in this, Allery said.
To apply to become a mentor, or for a child to enroll, an application can be found on the organization's website (www.companionsforchildren-minot.org), or at the Companions For Children's office, located at 308-2nd Avenue Southwest.