Wendi Russo 

Contact Wendi to speak to your group about the Power of Becoming an Everyday Hero and becoming a Mentor!

 Fifty years from now it will not matter what kind of car you drove, what kind of house you lived in, How much you had in your bank account, or what your clothes looked like.  But the world may be a little better because You were important in the life of a child. 
- Anonymous

Eden Prairie Women of Today  July 2009

The Eden Prairie Women of Today invited me to speak to their members about Kinship of Greater Minneapolis and to share my experience of mentoring.  I shared with them an email that had been sent from a mentee to his mentor 20 years earlier, thanking him for making those 2 years from 7-9 years old, the "best years" of his life.   Two members stepped forward to find out how to become mentors to our local little girls.  Thank you Women of Today!

Eden Prairie Lions Club   May 2009

The Eden Prairie Lions Club invited me to speak at their monthly meeting about Kinship and my passion for mentoring.  The newly appointed board members were all smiles (above) in their first group photo. 

What a jovial and civic-minded group of men!  Join us August 1st for the annual Corn Feed Fundraiser and August 3rd for the Golf Fundraiser.  Gary Stevens also invited me to call Bingo at their Annual Schooner Days event in Eden Prairie which was a ball.  (see below)


Chaska Kiwanis Club  noon-1pm--what a wonderful group of professionals.  Chaska Kiwanis has offered to donate office supplies to Kinship---Thank you for your support!!


Eden Prairie Optimist Club---Visit after Crowning

Proud as Punch to see that I was crowned, The Eden Prairie Optimist Club remains Optimistic about my future at Mrs. America!!  Thank you for your support and for promoting Kinship for Kids in Eden Prairie News!!

"Instead of sitting around in the morning drinking coffee and reading the newspaper about all the terrible things happening in our schools, I feel like I'm doing something about it--one child at a time" 

- Ethel A. , 72    Experience Corps Volunteer

January 3  7pm : Lioness Club of Eden Prairie

What a wonderful and lively group of women!  The largest group of Lionesses in the state of Minnesota, 31 Lionesses attended this meeting and what a pleasure they were!  3 members showed interest in becoming mentors with Kinship!  Thank you!

January is National Mentoring Month, a perfect time to  be speaking to many of our local organizations about becoming an everyday Hero in the life of an underprivileged child and thanking their mentor on National Thank Your Mentor Day January 24th.

January 8th  at Noon:   Excelsior Rotary Club at Bayview Events Center

Excelsior Rotarians are already active as Mentors through the STRIVE high schoolprogram --they say it's a great "return on investment"--you can tell that many of the members are bankers and accountants!!   An intelligent group of men and women--Here with President, Bob and Tom Anderson and the head of their mentoring program.  Thank you for supporting Mentoring!

January 14, 2008
St. Louis Park Rotary Club 
Double Tree Hotel 12-1:15pm

 A welcoming group of men and women, all very receptive to mentoring---three women signed up to become mentors today!  Thank you so much for engaging with the youth of your community!

January 15, 2008
Southern Minneapolis Rotary Club 7-8:30am
2901 Chicago Ave.  Midtown

 Rotarians with a heart.  Larry Knudsen, already very active as a mentor in his American Indian community will be working with me to brainstorm ways that Mentoring can help the youth of his community.  I'm pictured here with visionary President Michael Cavitt.  Today was my proudest moment...3 mentors stepped forward and our first African American, retired teacher, Jesse Lee,  volunteered to become a mentor.  Who knows, maybe he'll inspire the next Martin Luther King?

January 30th  12:15-1:15pm

MN University Rotary Club on U of M Campus
Radisson Metrodome

This energetic 40-member club is exceptionally diverse and intellectually curious.  Membership includes faculty and staff at the University of Minnesota as well as professional and business members from throughout the metropolitan area – all bring to this organization a deep interest in community and humanitarian service at both local and international levels.

An impressive and intellectual group, these Rotarians asked the most questions of any group yet!  Bringing up insightful points about the background checks and potential criminal records of African American men that may deter them from becoming mentors--this is an issue we may need to look at to help close the mentoring gap in the future.


February 19th 6:30-8pm   Wayzata Lions Club & Minnetonka Lions Club
Wayzata Country Club with  Thomas Handorff ,President

 A lively group of men with a sense of  humor and a sense of giving back to their community!  I am proud to say that this was my most successful talk with five men showing interest in becoming mentors with Kinship!  Thomas also gave Kinship a generous donation of $500!  Thank you!!

I enjoyed this group so much that I offered to serve as the auctioneer in their silent auction & wine tasting in April--My husband and I will also be donating to their silent auction!

February 24th 6pm Service

Parish Community of St. Joseph's in New Hope, MN

Jesus was a generous mentor in mentoring the 12 Apostles and he set an example for us to give to others who need guidance and support.  St. Joseph's parish sees the importance of mentoring and allowed me to speak to their members about Kinship.  Three families came forward offering to mentor and hopefully the seeds are planted for many more in the future! 

Edina Rotary Club

March 18th at 6:15pm  Brad Gruhot -Program Chair

Colony Park Church  5532 Wooddale Ave. Edina

 An adorable and jovial group!  Thank you for allowing me to speak to your group about Kinship Mentoring!  Larry Friedrichs & Brad Gruhot & I

Bloomington Lions Club

April 2, 2008 at 7:30pm

Jerry is the program chair of this diverse group of businessmen & women are involved in many sight and hearing programs throughout Minnesota.  Thank you for allowing me to come & speak to your group!

April 21st at 6:30pm-8pm

Eden Prairie Optimist Club

Chanhassen American Legion

One of my favorite groups is the Optimist Group!  Positive, Inspiring and sweet, I  bought my Christmas Tree from them to support their scholarships and Youth Groups.  President Bruce Balfanz has also signed up to become a mentor with Kinship!  He will be such an incredible role model to a lucky young boy near Eden Prairie!  Thank you and you've helped me remember to smile every time I see a living creature--I sure smiled at a lot of dogs and their owners today during my run!

My family and I also attended their very successful Kite day in May!

October 18th, 2007

Kiwanis Golden K Club of Edina

The Kiwanis Club of Edian mentored through Kinship when it was known at Kinsman almost 50 years ago!  What an amazing group of gentlemen who still give back much to their community.  After my talk, many members came up to me to talk about the mentoring experiences they  have had in their lives, that helped lead to the success they have had.  A group that truly believes in the power of mentoring!!

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