Mentoring Moment: Building relationships through the Sioux 52 Mentoring Initiative

Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 10:20 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Bob Thimjon is Michael Larson’s mentor through the Sioux 52 program.

They’ve been linked up since Michael was in 4th grade.

“Back then it was a little hard for me to meet people, so when I saw Bob, I was like, ‘Who is this person? I don’t know who you are.’ I didn’t talk as much,” said Larson. “i was really quiet, Bob would try to get me talking.”

Over the years, the two worked on building their relationship as mentor and mentee.

“In 5th grade, we started playing cribbage,” said Thimjon. “And so the nice thing about cribbage is a game that has some math built into it, you get pretty good at counting to 15, but at the same time you can have a conversation while the game is there.”

Michael is now a freshman at Jefferson High School. He says Bob encouraged him to join the marching band. The two enjoy a lunch hour together every week.

“They’re not just your mentor, they’re also your friend,” said Larson.

The goal of Sioux 52 is to recruit 5,200 mentors by 2026 and for the City of Sioux Falls to become known as the City of Mentoring.

Initially, Thinjon wasn’t sure he was cut out for mentoring, but he took a shot at it. And he says the relationship that’s developed is invaluable.

“I would encourage anyone who has the time, to do it. They would find it rewarding,” he said.

More information on the Sioux 52 Mentoring Initiative can be found here.