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Kids in Minot awaiting mentors

BY TENDAR TSERING

Staff Writer

ttsering@minotdailynews.com

Under the aegis of Companions for Children, hundreds of children in and around Minot have been mentored since 1972, and this year, several of children are in line waiting for mentors.

“We are growing as the city grows, and we are constantly looking for new mentors,” said Heather Johnson, the executive director of Companions for Children.

Companions for Children serves families in and around Minot, mentoring children ages 6 to 18 who are from non-traditional homes. Since its founding, the center has been matching children in the city with voluntary mentors. The center said the mentors serve as role models who help the children through their challenging and crucial times.

For Carol Holmam, a long-time volunteer at the center, mentoring a child can be nothing more than taking the child out for a walk in the park, watching movies and sharing popcorns.

Three years ago, Holmam adopted a 6-year-old girl to mentor, and the girl is now 9.

“When I first met her, she was so shy, and she wouldn’t even sit next to me for a picture. She has been grown up with her male relatives, and I have been teaching her how it is to be a woman,” said Holmam.

“Now she is open, confident and literarily booming into a young lady,” said the volunteer with a big smile on her face.

“It is not about how much money you spend, but your time, being with the child and doing small but fun things that could mean a lot to the child,” added Holman. “This is what mentoring is; just being you and being available.”

Anyone is welcome to adopt a child to mentor, but the director said the mentor has first to fill out a form to help ensure the mentor matches a particular child who is in need of friendship or mentoring.

Holman said “to be a mentor, one has to commit at least a year; four hours in a month with the child.”

As of last Wednesday, 37 children have registered for the mentorship, but the organization has only 32 volunteers and is short five volunteers.

“We need mentors to be in a waiting line, but we have kids in line awaiting for mentors,” said the director.

Besides looking for mentors for the children from non-traditional families, CFC also organizes special events such as Christmas parties, golf tournament and a Martini Masquerade in April.