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Ripple effect: Best Friends Mentoring Program seeks more mentors

Best Friends Mentoring Program has a new director and is looking for new mentors from the community to help benefit children.

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Mentor Joe Hauglid, left, creates a bonding moment with Kaleb. Best Friends Mentoring Program is looking for mentors from the community. (Contributed / Angie Rabbitt)

Are you interested in making a positive difference for children in your community? Best Friends Mentoring Program (BFMP) of Dickinson may have what you’re aspiring to achieve.

With the upcoming school year closing in, BFMP has received many referrals. BFMP Executive Director Angie Rabbitt noted that the organization could use more adult male mentors for boys who been on the waiting list for quite some time.

For one hour each week, mentors have the ability to make a difference in their mentee’s life.

“Mentoring works and in some cases, it is a lifeline,” Rabbitt said. “All it takes is one caring adult to take interest and invest just a little bit of time into a young person’s life to forever change its course. Whether it’s attending a basketball game, a weekly lunch meet-up at school or just checking in, the smallest investment in a youth’s life results in some of the largest gains. This investment not only benefits the child, but also their mentor and the community in which they live.”

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Executive Director Angie Rabbitt of Best Friends Mentoring Program is pictured. (Contributed / Angie Rabbitt)

Since January, the program has been under the new leadership of Rabbitt, who filled the shoes of longtime Executive Director Kris Fehr following her retirement.

“In my short time with Best Friends, I’ve discovered that this organization has a strong foundation. Because of the passionate staff, engaged board of directors, committed donors and selfless volunteers, it remains active in our community,” Rabbitt noted. “We are determined to overcome all of the challenges brought on by the pandemic, and our goal is to continue to grow and flourish as a quality mentoring program.”

More than a year ago, Rabbitt relocated to Dickinson from her hometown of Baker, Mont., where she served as the recreation director for more than 12 years. During her time in Montana, she administered Baker’s elementary after-school program and other youth activities, sports leagues and helped facilitate community events.

“With my past experience as a mentor, in youth programming and event planning as well as my lifelong passion of serving others, especially children, I step into this role to lead our team in continuing our mission to make a positive difference in children and families, one at a time,” Rabbitt said. “Best Friends has earned an exceptional reputation over the past 25 years, and I am honored to be able to serve southwest North Dakota in this capacity.”

Prior to assuming the executive role, Rabbitt volunteered as a mentor for eight years through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.

“This experience was very rewarding to me and helped me realize that small influences can have a significant effect on a child’s growth and development,” she said.

BFMP serves under the umbrella of the Western Wellness Foundation Inc., which started back in July 1994 following a group of concerned Dickinson mental health professionals who saw a need for a youth-community program, according to its website.

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“Our program gives our participants the opportunity to share simple, everyday moments with each other. This has been proven to increase self-esteem, communication skills, a more positive attitude toward school and a decrease in truancy, drugs and alcohol,” Rabbitt said. “When a child feels good about themselves, the ripple effect is amazing — they have a positive influence on their friends, in school and in their community. Our mentors earn what I like to call ‘psychic income.’ There is nothing more fulfilling than witnessing a child overcome a challenge and knowing that you had a small part in that.”

To learn more about BFMP or to fill out a mentor application, visit besfriendsnd.org or call 701-483-8615 for additional information.

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Mentor Hailey Enney, left, with Emily share a moment as part of the Best Friends Mentoring Program. (Contributed / Angie Rabbitt)

Jackie Jahfetson is a former reporter for The Dickinson Press.
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