About Us

Our Mission: Kinship of Tomahawk, providing mentoring opportunities to youth and families in our community.

About Kinship Inc.

Kinship Inc. is a private nonprofit organization which believes in and promotes the concept of youth mentoring. The National Kinship office exists to serve as a resource for established and emerging local Kinship affiliates. Currently, the Kinship Affiliate Network is made up of 19 affiliates located in the upper Midwest, having established mentoring relationships for nearly 1,800 of today’s youth.

About Kinship of Tomahawk

Kinship of Tomahawk was established as a result of the community roundtable held by Tomahawk Together on February 14, 1997. At the end of the roundtable, a youth mentoring program and family resource center were the top two needs determined by the community.

  •  In the summer of 1997, the Tomahawk Together Board of Directors selected the Kinship Program as the new mentoring program for our community.
  • In August of 1997 the board of directors for Kinship of Tomahawk was selected and under the umbrella of Tomahawk Together, a mentor program began.
  • In December of 1997 Kinship of Tomahawk made their first match.
  • In May of 1999 Kinship of Tomahawk became incorporated.
  • In the Summer of 2011, the KinsKlub Program was added.
  • In September of 2013 moved into the Kinship House next to Crossbridge Community Bank.
  • In October of 2022 the Lunch Buddy Program officially started after Covid disrupted an earlier start.
  • In October of 2022 Kinship received an AT&T Foundation Grant to offer an afterschool tutoring session for Middle and High School Kinskids.
  • In August of 2023 Kinship of Tomahawk purchased a 12-passenger van. This has improved our services for our Kinskids since we are now able to transport children from school to the Kinskids programs at the Kinship House. We are also able to take Kinskids on field trips. 


 Executive Director: Patti Hilgendorf

 Data Manager: Jennie Malis

Match Coordinator: Brittney Woebbeking

 KinsKlub Coordinator: Kris Berg
 KinsKlub Assistant: Margie Welke
 KinsKlub Assistant: Pam Hosey

KinsKlub Assistant: Ella Uelmen


President: Thersea Burzynski joined the board September 18, 2018.  As President, Thersea sits on all of the committees.


I am married with three children and two grandchildren. My husband and I mentor a young man and have since 2017.  I was the Director of Teaching and Learning for the School District of Tomahawk for 6 years.  We love the outdoors especially when it is warm. 

I feel passionate about every young person having a host of people who know and care deeply about them and that is why I feel so strongly about youth mentoring and the work Kinship does for local youth.  I believe we all benefit from caring, stable relationships.

Vice President: Chris Raasch joined the board in 2016. Chris has held various roles and sits on many of the committees.

Our family of four found Tomahawk in 1990 when we wanted to finish a cabin on a small lake to enjoy with our children.  My husband suggested we move here full-time after learning that our son’s public middle school was installing metal detectors. We wanted our daughter & son to experience growing up in a smaller – safe community setting.  We made the move in late 1995 and have found our happy place.
Our daughter began Mentoring a young man in 2016 and we have welcomed our “extra grandson” at many family gatherings/Kinship Outings. We have watched him grow, become more interactive, and confident.  Our daughter, Renee Merrigan, introduced us to Kinship and the Mentoring Program and we were hooked!  I say “we” because my husband Ed also is involved – it is a family passion to help ensure our community’s next generations are shown opportunities and options they had not been positively exposed to. We feel strongly that making a difference starts at home. Offering a caring, proactive, adult influence in a young person’s life is something many of our youth yearn for in their life. 
We own a real estate firm, Woodland Lakes Realty, and through meeting our clients and customers, we promote an all-inclusive community where EVERYONE can make a difference. Together, we are all stronger.  We look forward to meeting you and learning why our paths in life needed to cross.

Secretary: Aubrey Boisvert joined the board in August of 2021. Aubrey is chair of the HR/Forms Committee.


I have been a first grade teacher at Tomahawk Elementary School since Fall of 2019. Along with teaching, I am a dance instructor at North4 Dance Studio for elementary, middle, and high school students. I enjoy being able to work with students of all different ages throughout the Tomahawk community.

As someone who works with children, I have encountered many students that I felt would benefit from having a positive mentor in their life. Kinship of Tomahawk provides mentoring opportunities to youth and their families in the Tomahawk Community. I am grateful to be a part of this organization.

Cheryl Brickner joined the board in January of 2022. Cheryl is chair of the Marketing Committee. 


My husband and I moved from Athens to Tomahawk in 2018; however we’ve had a lake home here since 1998. I retired from teaching English Composition in the English Department at UWSP in 2022. We have a daughter, Michaella. We enjoy all the Northwoods has to offer. Mike and I have a foundation, Gifts from Heaven, that awards scholarships and provides monetary donations to those experiencing traumatic illness or injury in memory of our daughters, Tara and Kendra.


Since we have been spending time in Tomahawk, and after moving here, I’ve heard so many positive things about Kinship. I truly believe community can be such an important aspect for children to be successful. I also believe it’s important to become involved in the community we call home. Kinship of Tomahawk provides so many needed resources for children in our community, and I am happy to be a part of this great organization.


LuAnn Kiander joined the board in 2021. LuAnn is on the Fundraising Committee.


I’ve been a healthcare worker in Tomahawk for over 25 years. I fish, hunt and enjoy the outdoors whenever I can. Tomahawk has been a wonderful place to raise my family.


There is such a need in our community for a mentoring program and Kinship has filled that need for many years. I believe youth mentoring helps to set youth on the right track for their futures.


Dr. Kelley Rose Milcarek joined the board in February 2024.


Dr. Kelley joined Hometown Chiropractic Center team on May 8th, 2017 as a Doctor of Chiropractic. After graduating from a high school, Dr. Kelley sought the small town, natural settings of Wisconsin. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Geoscience Environmental Analysis from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Dr. Kelley recognized that she had a passion for helping and healing others. She enrolled at National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) and earned her Doctor of Chiropractic degree graduating cum laude.



In her spare time, Dr. Kelley loves spending time outdoors camping, hiking, fishing, kayaking, and exploring Wisconsin’s lands and waters. She also enjoys traveling, having been to over 15 countries and over half of the United States. Her and her husband, Ryan, reside in Tomahawk


Dr. Kelley is always excited to share her knowledge and be an active community member. She is honored to sit as a board member for the Hatchet Booster Club, as well as being on the board of director for the Tomahawk STAR Foundation and says “I wanted to be on the Board of Directors for Kinship of Tomahawk as it is a program that I am passionate about seeing succeed and is close to my heart. My husband was a Kinskid and the mentorship he received he still speaks highly about. I have been very involved in the Kinship Program since I’ve moved to Tomahawk, participating in multiple Harlem Wizard games, hosting the Thanksgiving dinner for many years, putting on a yearly food drive (the Food Fight), and the Dr. Bobbi Voermans golf outing. I have also attended a few field trips with the Kinskids as a rent-a-ment. I am always looking to help make a positive impact in the community I live in and I believe the greatest impact can be made in the future of the community, the kids.”

Paula Norman joined the board in January of 2023. Paula is on the HR/Forms Committee.


I moved to Tomahawk in 1993 to start my teaching career. I met my husband here who is also a teacher. We have 2 adult children. I am currently the library media specialist for the district. I love to be outside as much as possible and love to spend time with my family and friends. My hobbies are quilting, stained glass, baking, and reading.


Being in the classroom opened my eyes to building relationships with students outside the school walls. I love what Kinship does for our Tomahawk community and our students and their families. I like making a positive impact in our community.

Julie Sinkula joined the board on 1/1/2022 and is on the Marketing Committee.


 After being an Elementary School Counselor for a long time, I went to seminary and became a Pastor of the ELCA Church. Grace of Tomahawk called me to be their Pastor in October of 2021, and I am enjoying ministry in this community. I live in Irma with my husband Mike and my dog Daisy.   

I really appreciate Kinship of Tomahawk because this program uplifts and empowers children/youth and families. The mentor program is based on positive relationships that students build with nurturing adults. Even if a student doesn’t have a mentor, they have opportunities to attend engaging activities and connect with positive adults. Kinship makes a difference with students and their families knowing that they are cared about and supported by their community. I am glad to be a part of Kinship Board of Directors experiencing the people and programs that make Kinship a success in Tomahawk.      

Brett Susa joined the board on 8/1/2021 and is on the Finance Committee.

My wife and I moved to Tomahawk in 2007 after I got hired as a police officer for the City of Tomahawk in 2006. We have three boys and stay busy doing a variety of different things. I am currently the School Resource Officer at the School District of Tomahawk and have been since November 2018.
All youth greatly benefit from having a positive adult mentor involved in their life. For this very reason, I believe Kinship of Tomahawk is a tremendous asset to the Tomahawk Community. It is an excellent organization that provides mentoring opportunities to area youth and their families. 

Kathy Tobin joined the board in 2010 and is on the Marketing Committee.


My husband and I moved to Tomahawk in April 1982, when we purchased the Tomahawk Leader. We owned the newspaper for 37 years, selling it and retiring in May 2019. I have two grown children and five grandchildren.


I was an original member of Tomahawk Together which, among its many accomplishments, ultimately was instrumental in the creation of Kinship of Tomahawk. I joined Kinship nearly 13 years ago and served as secretary for many years. In retirement, I’ve also become active with the Tomahawk Area Historical Society and rejoined Tomahawk Together in its efforts to build Our Dream Park in Washington Square.


I am proud to be involved with Kinship, especially because it’s clear it has had a tremendous impact on local youth, families and the community. Kinship is making a difference.

Grant Voermans joined the board in 2021. Grant is on the Marketing Committee.
I was born and raised in Tomahawk and only lived away from Tomahawk for several years for college at UW Platteville and beginning my Engineering career in Appleton.
My association and support of Kinship began around 2015 when my wife Dr. Bobbi Joy Voermans took over Dr. James Barr’s chiropractic practice where she eventually established Hometown Chiropractic. Bobbi and I felt strongly about support for such an amazing organization that provides so much love and care to our youth in the community. Bobbi joined the Kinship Board of Directors around 2019. Bobbi passed in July 2021, but the Hometown Chiropractic practice continues to thrive and support Kinship. I continued on with the board of directors to continue the support that our family has provided Kinship through the last several years.
I am currently working for the DNR in the Tomahawk Equipment Research and Development facility.

Paul Werner

Fundraising Committee

Mark Zulliger joined the board in 2022. Mark is on the Finance Committee.


I Graduated Merrill High School in 1987 and UW Oshkosh in 1991.  I have been part of the banking industry since 1989 and joined Crossbridge Community Bank in 2005.  I enjoy the outdoors. 


I joined Kinship because it is such a noble cause working with kids and the community support is outstanding!