In response to the increased pressure for additional staff in our Human Services department, our court systems, health care systems and schools, one of our County Commissioners, Jeanne Ennen, took an innovative approach to mobilize our community to support these existing agencies. Through a community needs assessment performed in partnership with the Center for Small Towns at the University of Minnesota, Morris, a steering committee began the conversation in our community about the need for mentoring.
During the preliminary planning process, the committee held community interest meetings in each of the towns in Stevens County. These discussions helped focus the mission of the organization to serve children, youth and families. Jeanne received support from the Bush Foundation through a Bush Fellowship to fund the start-up of a mentoring organization. RUSC Kinship Mentoring became an affiliate of Kinship, Inc. and a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in February 2015.
Raising Up Stevens County Kinship Mentoring (RUSC Kinship Mentoring) is an affiliate in good standing with Kinship, Inc. founded as a grass-roots effort in 2015 serving Stevens County, MN. RUSC Kinship Mentoring is a community-based youth mentoring program seeking program support to expand high-quality mentoring opportunities to children, youth, and families in rural Minnesota, specifically the Stevens County area. RUSC Kinship Mentoring matches youth ages 5 to 17 with caring adults from our community who volunteer as mentors to build relationships and provide positive role influences, guidance, and opportunities for youth to feel more connected to their communities. We believe that creating opportunities for mentoring in our community will create a healthier, more vibrant community where opportunities for economic, civic, and social participation are within everyone’s reach.