Kinship of Polk County Highlighted Match
Dennis Tomfohrde, a longtime resident of Osceola, is a man full of knowledge on a wide variety of topics from geology, to history, to fun facts and more. That knowledge comes in quite handy as a Kinship mentor. Four years ago, Dennis began to mentor an 8-year old named Jaxson. This young man is a thinker, a ponderer and is filled to the brim with questions and curiosities. Paired together, the conversations are constant, intriguing, educational, entertaining and fun.
Since being matched, Dennis and Jaxson have spent every Thursday afternoon together. They rarely have a plan but rather, make it up as they go. Both like to adventure and explore so most weeks, that is what they do. It might be a wooded trail to discover, new agates to find, a visit to a fish hatchery, exploring land, finding snakes, discovering fossils or on some occasions, just talking.
On a recent get together, they were in deep conversation (discussing the importance of keystone species and apex predators) while riding in the car. When Dennis interrupted Jaxson to ask him where they should go, Jaxson replied, “I just want to keep talking about this.” So, that is what they did.
There is a comfortable comraderie in this relationship. According to Dennis, Jaxson is open to everybody and can talk to anybody but Jaxson says he is different with Dennis. He doesn’t always open up and talk in other environments but with Dennis, he feels safe. “He gets me,” says Jaxson. Being with Dennis “is the place where I can have fun.”
Jaxson’s mom recognizes that this relationship is quite special. “Dennis has been so helpful with building a trusting relationship with Jaxson. They have a bond like no other and for that I am grateful.”
As for Dennis, mentoring Jaxson brings back memories of what it was like to be a young boy. “It’s just fun to walk and talk and see what goes on inside that 12-year-old mind. He’s a great kid, and a joy to know.”
Dennis and Jaxson are one of many mentoring matches that are active in Polk County. Kinship of Polk County works within the communities and school districts to provide local youth with the stability, support and friendship of a mentor. Youth are currently waiting for mentoring support.