Who was your mentor? RSVP, a national volunteer program for those 55 years or better, began the Mentoring ChIPs (Children of Incarcerated Parents) program two years ago in Bismarck-Mandan. ChIPs volunteers mentor a child for one hour per week. Each mentoring match is very different some go to ball games, walk the neighbor’s dog, others bake, go to the park, or do homework.
In June, RSVP and Big Brothers Big Sisters merged and now Big Brothers Big Sisters is a volunteer station for RSVP. This partnership allowed RSVP to turn over the responsibility of managing the program and supervising the 24 mentors and 30 mentees. Faye Miller, director of Big Brothers Big Sisters stated, “This was a win-win for both agencies. We serve children of incarcerated parents through our program and RSVP provides volunteers to us for mentoring.” Kelsey Bless, director of RSVP says, “This merger is a great way to send one message to our community about mentoring. 7.3 million children are living life with one or both parents incarcerated. Mentors help these children be successful.” Future referrals for mentoring children of incarcerated parents will go to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program office at 701-223-4517, if you are interested in being a mentor please call 701-223-4517 or the RSVP office at 701-258-5436.