A place to honor those who serve well.
By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established.
Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.
Kinship Youth Mentoring of Princeton is surely a house that has been built with wisdom and understanding which clearly shows why it's so sturdy and hearty! The builders of this program were strong in character and full of compassion as they began laying the groundwork for a long-lasting, built to last youth program that would influence and impact youth ages 5-15 in a positive and uplifting way.
Every organization has the shining example of what a faithful, dedicated volunteer looks like. These are those who model humility, service, and actually sharpen the rest of us in the process.
One such person is Dan Engblom. He is one of the pioneers who helped set the course for establishing the Kinship program in our community of Princeton. His vision, hard work, and servant's heart helped set the foundation of Kinship and establish it to help youth in our community by providing safe, quality mentor relationships. After twenty two years of being involved and wearing a plethora of hats in the program, he is stepping away. As a board, we let out our inward collective disappointment groan, knowing we're losing a power player. His response was in true Dan Engblom fashion.
"I only do things in 20 year blocks".
We are sad to see him go but after 22 years of service, you can bet we want to glean from his wisdom. Here are a few nuggets he shared about his experience with Kinship.
How long have you been involved with Kinship and in what roles did you serve in?
Dan: I was a member of an organization back in 1998 or 1999 called Healthy Communities Healthy Youth. It was through the efforts of this group that a need for community-based youth mentoring was recognized. I was part of the initiative that over the next couple years looked at various mentoring models and we ultimately decided on Kinship. On the 15th of March 2001, with the help of Attorney Steven Anderson, we filed for 501C3 nonprofit incorporation which was granted on April 6, 2001.
At that time, I was mentoring a young man through the Immanuel Lutheran Church confirmation program so I suggested to the rest of the Board of Directors that this young man and I would be a good fit for the first official Kinship mentoring match. The rest is history. Over the next 15 years, I had the distinct pleasure of mentoring three amazing youth from our community. These relationships most certainly have been the most rewarding part of my time with Kinship. A very close second is the relationships with the many good people of Princeton that have volunteered their time and talents to serve on the Kinship Board of Directors.
What would you tell someone or what advice would you give to someone who's interested in being involved in the Kinship program as a mentor or kinskid?
Dan: Mentoring doesn't happen without parents willing to entrust their children to a caring adult who they may not yet know. I have, from the very start, said EVERY child can benefit from a safe, caring relationship with another adult. I encourage parents to reach out to our director, Becky Harder, to see if Kinship and our carefully screened mentors can offer you and your child that opportunity.
Thank you, Dan, for all your hard work, dedication, wisdom, and service to Kinship Youth Mentoring of Princeton! We will miss you and look forward to you firing up the trebuchet for Pumpkin Chunkin' 2021!