Community

‘Best Friends’ Arrives in Bowman

A few members from the Bowman Community Action Group:
Front Row: L-R Stephi Nohava, Petra Larkin, Jennifer Wild
Second Row: L-R Retta Jacobi, Chantell Walby,
Melissa Buchholz Back Row: L-R Jordan Fisher, Dave Moench, Ron Olson, Mark Nygard, Leah Honeyman (Submitted Photo)

There’s a new program in town, one that will benefit any child in Bowman County. It’s called the Best Friends Mentoring program.

By Chris Slone
reporternd@countrymedia.net
t@crslone

“Any child that may need help with homework, maybe socially awkward, might need help making friends, it might be a child that comes from a single parent home and needs an extra adult in their life, and it might be a kid that is being bullied or might be the bully,” Emily Grain, coordinator with Best Friends Mentoring program, said.

Thursday, March 14, Grain arrived in Bowman to train her first set of mentors. Best Friend Mentoring has been in Dickinson for 23 years.

“It was started by a concerned group of community members, saying there was a need for some youth and adult interaction,” Grain said. “It’s very similar big brother/big sister, but we are an independent, nonprofit.”

First group of mentors trained in Bowman L-R: Carl Soreide, Kaitlin Brooks, Benji Schaaf (Submitted Photo)

Last year, Grain was contacted by Bowman County Social Services about starting a youth mentoring group in the area. However, Grain decided, why reinvent the wheel?

“We would just expand Best Friend Services down in Bowman,” Grain said. “The group that reached out to us, they call themselves the Bowman Community Action Group. It’s comprised of various members of the community. There’s church representatives, school members,

basically, all walks of life. They are just concerned about the youth in the community.”

Grain said the Best Friends Mentoring program is a preventive program.

Shaunda Schultz, Stephi Nohava, Emil Gran (Best Friends Mentoring) Dave Moench Group signs MOU (Submitted Photo)

“The kids that come into our program aren’t necessarily in trouble. We’re preventing trouble from happening,” Grain said. “It’s about helping kids stay away from drugs and alcohol and other risky behaviors. It gives them a best friend, an adult, a mentor that can help them make right choices. It’s a caring adult outside of the family or the school system.”

To be a mentor, an individual as to be 18 years or older. Applications are available on their website, www.bestfriendsnd.org. Once the application is filled out and returned, a complete application background check and five references are required. Once those have cleared, an applicant goes through a two-hour training.

“We accept children from all walks of life, 8 to 18,” Grain said. “That form is also on our website. They also have physical forms at social services.”