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Shipman stepping down as Kinship Director

Jill Shipman is stepping down as head of the Kinship Program in Otter Tail and Wadena Counties after 16 years of service. Submitted Photo

Jill Shipman is stepping down as director of the Otter Tail and Wadena County Kinship Program after 16 years.

"I am on the other side of the bell curve," Shipman quipped. "I'm going to run my coffee shop in Vergas and just sell real estate."

Shipman, 57, is turning over the reins to Abby Wallen, a member of the Kinship board.

"She's young and excited," Shipman said. "She's bringing in new enthusiasm and after 16 years I think she'll be real good for the program."

Shipman and her whole family have been involved in the mentoring program. It pairs kids 5-17 with adults for a laudable purpose—being a friend to those in need. The Kinship website includes a quote by former president John F. Kennedy: "One person can make a difference and everyone should try."

Kinship volunteers seek to improve the lives of children through strong relationships with adults. This often includes the families of those adults.

Shipman, who has found Kinship work to be "very stressful" at times, has been working with as many as 250 kids in Otter Tail and Wadena Counties. Volunteers are always needed.

Activities can vary greatly. They may involve taking a Kinship partner fishing or it could just be sitting down to talk.

Kinship's 15th annual Average Joe Triathlon is set Saturday at Paul Miller Park in Perham. The 8 a.m. swimming, biking and running competition is a benefit for the program.