Northern Cass Kinship Partners is a community based mentoring program serving youth ages 5 to 16.  The goal of the program is to establish quality relationships between youth and volunteer mentors who provide them with stability, support and friendship.  The mentoring relationships that are formed have proven to lead to positive attitude and self-image, strengthening of values that assist mentees in making good choices, and an increased commitment to school and learning.  Adult volunteers in our Kinship Partners program share an hour or more once per week in an activity outside of the school day.  Activities are fun-filled for both the adult and the youth.  Swimming, fishing, biking, baking, crafting, sharing a meal or going to the library are just a few of the possible ways a mentor and mentee can spend their time together.  Kinship volunteers can be individuals, couples or families who are able to commit to share time with a youth each week for at least one year.  Many of our Kinship matches result in life-long friendship, and have a positive impact on mentor as well as mentee.

Did you know children who participate in our Kinship Mentoring program are building the following assets:

  • Support
  • Empowerment
  • Boundaries & Expectations
  • Constructive Use of Time
  • Commitment to Learning
  • Social Competencies
  • Positive Identity

To learn more about each of these assets, view our Kinship Assets PDF. To learn more about the 40 DevelopmentalAssets, view our Asset Based Approach Page.

Steps to become a Kinship Partner

  1. Find out more about becoming a mentor by calling the HOWA Family Center at 218-547-4273 or emailing
  2. Complete a Volunteer Application. Click here for the Volunteer Application. This application can be printed, completed and returned to the Kinship office along with a photocopy of your driver's license and proof of car insurance.
  3. You'll need to have 3 people who know you well complete our reference form.
  4. Child safety is our top priority. Every Kinship volunteer is required to have a background check. Click here for the background check form. The form can be printed, completed and returned to the Kinship office. Everyone living in the household full-time over the age of 18 must complete this form.
  5. An interview and home visit is an opportunity for Kinship staff to get to know the prospective mentor better, which assists them in the matching process. It is also an opportunity for the mentor to ask questions regarding the Kinship program and the type of child with whom they will be matched.
  6. Making a match! Once all the paperwork and references are complete and the volunteer has been accepted as a mentor, Kinship staff will contact you with information about kids on our waiting list. If the mentor is interested in being matched with one of those children, the parent/guardian will be contacted. An introduction meeting will be scheduled at the HOWA Family Center or in the child's home.
  7. On-going support: After the match is made, Kinship staff will have ongoing contact with the child, the parent/guardian, as well as the mentor. All participants are encouraged to call or email Kinship staff if any concerns arise during the course of the relationship. We also provide ongoing training opportunities for the volunteer mentor.

How do I sign my child up for a Kinship partner?

There are children is our communities who need a friend...

A Kinship youth is a child between the ages of 5 and 15 who, for a variety of reasons, would benefit from having a special relationship with a caring adult. They are brought up in a variety of situations, often times coming from one-parent households. These children value friendship, affection, advice, guidance and meaningful adult companionship.

Northern Cass Kinship Partners serves families in the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School District. If you would like your child to be a part of the Kinship program, download and fill out the Child Referral Form and
Parent Permission Form. Your child will be placed on a waiting list. In some instances it takes time to find the right mentor for your child. Unmatched kids are encouraged to participate in all Kinship activities.



Kinship Spring 2015 Match

Meet Bryana and Darien our newest Kinship match!

Bryana enjoys arts and crafts, outdoor activities, board games and reading.

Darien says she likes to bake, watch movies and go shopping. She states she also enjoys sports and just really trying anything new.

These are some fun activities that each of them enjoy but look forward to now doing these things together!

What a great beginning to such a wonderful and important relationship!! Congratulations Bryana and Darien!!

Why not start your own friendship journey?? Contact the HOWA Family Center for more information on our Kinship Partners Program!!



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