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LSS Mentoring Services

Why Your Time Can Mean Everything to a Young Person

Curt Hohman picked up mentoring when his daughters left for college.

Looking for a way to fill time, Hohman saw mentorship as his opportunity to give back while continuing to shape the lives of young people.

“As a parent, it’s very rewarding to see your child grow up, to see them develop and help them along on their journey,” he said. “With mentorship, it’s a different role, but there’s a lot of similarities. I’m an empty nester, so I figured I could give that extra time to someone who really, really needs it.”

At LSS, mentors help young people succeed by providing them with guidance and trustworthy, lifelong friendships. Mentors are dedicated role models who set a powerful example for youth and offer them support during their formative years, ensuring they feel healthy, safe and accepted.

When Hohman started with LSS Mentoring Services, he had one mentee, Dakhym, whose twin brother, Payton, was being mentored separately. Over time, Hohman stepped in and offered to mentor both boys together. He became a stable presence and a dependable friend to the boys. Of course, their younger brother had to come along too.

‘I’m not going to let them down’

“It’s really about showing that consistency and follow-through,” Hohman said.

“I tried to establish early on that they could rely on me, that when I say I’m going to be there or we’re going to do something, I’m not going to let them down.”

For some mentors, it simply might be one hour a week to eat lunch together and play a game in the school-based mentoring program. But for Hohman, he has been intentional about supplying the boys with new experiences in the community and engaging their interests. He fit best with the LSS community-based mentoring program.

“LSS does a great job of matching you up based on interests, laying out what they like and don’t like to do,” Hohman said. “And there’s a lot of businesses that support LSS with activities. I always try to give them new experiences too. Like they’d never kayaked before, so I took them kayaking up by Garretson.”

But the activities are about more than just having fun. Each new experience is an opportunity for the boys to accomplish something, to build relational skills and to gather tools to help them approach the world confidently.

“I think it’s helpful for any young person to have that new experience where maybe they’re not so good at something, but they figure it out. There’s a real sense of accomplishment to that,” Hohman explained.

“You have those little moments of conversation during or right after the activity where you can better understand where they’re at. Usually, when we’re driving somewhere, I’ll ask: ‘All right, how has school been this week? What’s been good, what’s been bad.’ Sometimes, you have to draw that out.”

‘You never know what the impact is going to be’

Hohman has always understood the importance of his role. What he didn’t realize, though, is how deep of an impression mentoring would leave on both the boys’ lives and his.

“Their mother, Cathy, said she feels like I’m a part of the family. And that means a lot to me,” Hohman said. “You never know what the impact is going to be.”

Playing a role in shaping a young person’s life is rewarding. But for the young person, it’s life-changing. There’s a constant need for more male mentors, and Hohman urges anyone interested in mentoring to get involved and not overthink it. LSS mentoring is offered in Minnehaha and Lincoln counties, as well as in Flandreau and Aberdeen.

Although both men and women are needed as mentors, “there are so many kids who don’t have a father figure. They might not even have a strong male figure in their life,” Hohman said. “It’s so important to have someone positive to emulate. I try to lead through my actions, to be an example.”

Follow this link to become a mentor today.

LSS Mentoring Services matches volunteer mentors with children in Minnehaha and Lincoln counties, Flandreau and Aberdeen. The goal is to empower young people to succeed by establishing trusting relationships with adult volunteers.

Good mentors have a significant impact on youth by providing guidance and developing consistent, long-term friendships. LSS operates three distinct youth mentoring programs:

In school: mentoring in schools, pre-K to grade 8.
High school: mentoring in and out of schools, grades 9 to 12.
Community: mentoring in the community, age 7 to 14, previously known as Big Brothers Big Sisters.