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National Mentoring Month and Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Complimenting One Another

by: Jena Monahan

According to the Cambridge Dictionary a mentor is "a person who gives a younger or less experienced person help and advice over a period of time, [especially at work or school]". An exceptional example of a mentor was the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was mentored himself by multiple individuals. Paying it forward, not only did Dr. King directly mentor individuals, he also mentored hundreds of thousands indirectly as a minister and an activist. 
As a kinship caregiver you may not think of yourself as a mentor, but you most certainly are. Each day you are "doing for others", you are providing the children you are raising with the tools, guidance and support they need to grow into successful adults. At times, it may be as simple as providing them with basic life skills such as managing money, personal hygiene, or cooking, or it may be something a little more complex such as teaching them how to manage their emotions or what a safe and loving relationship looks like. You do so much, and your roles may seem endless so we encourage you to consider others who may be able to provide mentorship in an area that you may not have expertise in. 

If you are interested in the child(ren) in your care having a mentor there are a few different opportunities for mentorship across the state of Wyoming. Unfortunately, mentorship programs in the state are sparse and these programs often have wait lists, so it is important to contact them as soon as you are able. If you need help navigating the process to apply for a mentor, please contact your Kinship Navigator or simply dial 2-1-1 and ask for Kinship Connections of Wyoming. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America – Statewide
When you think of a mentorship program it is likely that Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBS) comes to mind as they are one of the largest one-to-one mentorship programs in the United States. BBBS “seeks to change the lives of children facing adversity” and they serve children between 6 to 18 years of age. At this time, BBBS is offering both in-person and virtual mentorships.

You can simply visit to enter your zip code to find the nearest Big Brothers Big Sisters location. Once a location has been identified you will be able to submit the necessary information for a staff member to contact you about the next steps of the process for your child to be assigned a mentor.

Youth Alternatives: Special Friends – Cheyenne and surrounding areas
Special Friends is a youth mentoring program that assigns an adult volunteer to a youth between ages 6 to 14. A mentor with engage with a mentee at least three hours a week over three to twelve months.

You can visit to learn more about this mentorship opportunity, the process to apply for the program and to complete the necessary application. Scroll to the “Mentoring” section and click the “Volunteer Application” link.

University of Wyoming Family Mentorship Program – Laramie
The Wyoming Family Mentorship Program is more unique mentorship program as it pairs families with families “who know the joys and challenges of raising a child with a disability”.       

You can learn more about the program or submit an application at the following link

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