Success Stories

So Many Wonderful Successes!

“Last time Zach and I hung out, he told the waitress I was his best friend.  We’ve been a part of this mentorship program for over six years.  He said it with conviction and made me feel pretty damn good!  He makes a difference for me and perhaps I do for him.  I appreciate this Kinship Program and the opportunity to gain and be a bud.  Reach out to Patti, she is great at what she does.”

Submitted by Matt Anderson 2/1/24

This match has been matched for 7 years and is still going!
Congratulations to Renee Merrigan Family and Jacob.
Celebrating their 13 year match anniversary are Katie Carlson and Isis!
Katie and Isis currently have busy work and school schedules. Yes, these two have lately been enjoying each other’s company when able to eat a meal together and attend Kinship’s monthly activities.
9 years matched as of this month and still going! Phil and Jessie Dahl and Anthony.
Anthony likes to build things, so their recent project was building a kayak rack together.
Look who is celebrating being matched for six years as of today, Thersea/Kevin Burzynski and Dominic!
This summer you may find Dominic and Thersea riding around the lake on SeaDoos. The match also enjoys golfing, playing games, and solving riddles.
Corinne Swan and Shannon Graeber were matched on February 12, 1998. Their match was dissolved on June 10, 2010 after Shannon graduated from high school, but that did not stop these two from being life long friends…
This story begins in 1998. I was in kindergarten at St. Mary’s school when the Kinship Program started, when I was growing up as an only child with a single father. Around this time, Mrs. Swan joined the Kinship Program as a mentor. Our match was a little different from most, because I was not registered in the program at the time. When Patti asked Mrs. Swan if there was a child in mind she wanted to mentor, she asked for me. This had to be discussed with my dad, to which he agreed, and upon meeting Mrs. Swan he expressed, “I hear you want to love my daughter.”
After that, Mrs. Swan would pick me up every Wednesday after school and take me to her house. I would do homework before dinner, which was always homemade and delicious.. This was usually followed by relaxing in the hot tub watching the Game Show Network. We would play pool, bake, or work on a puzzle. Summers were always full of gardening. We would attend all the Kinship events together and celebrate holidays with Easter egg hunts and make Christmas treats.
When I transferred to public middle school, the bus would drop me off at Mrs. Swan’s every Wednesday.
Once I got my driver’s license, I drove myself to her house, still every Wednesday.
The Kinship Program ends when you graduate from high school, meaning no more events with the program. Some matches lose touch, but some keep going strong. 25 years after first meeting, we still find time to get together, usually going out to eat or having a home-cooked meal for my birthday. We are both thankful to have found each other through Kinship, and would encourage anyone thinking about mentoring to jump on in.
Shannon Graeber and Corinne Swan
Testimonial submitted January of 2023.
A Sweet Kinship Story.
A month or two ago I received a phone call from a past kinskid asking if he was able to reach out to his mentors. I took down his phone number and contacted the mentor to call him if they’d like.
Donna and Jim DeBiase were matched on 1/22/08 with then 5 1/2 year old Nick, and on 11/8/12 the match was dissolved because Nick and his mom moved away from Tomahawk. Nick is now 20 years old and wanted to connect with his mentors to tell them how much he loved their time together.
At the end of December they were able to meet up and visited for about 1 1/2 hours. Nick shared that he works changing semi-tires and will be going to diesel mechanic school. Nick remembers going to the Merrill Drag Races with Jim and plans are being made to do that together again this year.
Nick kept talking about the impact the DeBiase family had on him and how much he really liked getting out of his house and going to their house which was less stressful.
Donna said she gave him lots of hugs and was impressed how mature he was for a 20 year old. Nick told Donna to say hi to Patti at Kinship and said he follows the Kinship page.
Hi Nick, thanks for reaching out to let your mentors know how important they were in your life.
Testimonial submitted January 2023.

Hi Paula!  I live in Baltimore now, been here for almost a decade! I definitely think of you all from time to time. Thanks for all the help in my youth. It really helped and came at a time I really needed structure in my life. Hope you had a happy xmas and have a happy new year.

Testimonial sent to Paula N. January 2023.