MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — January marks national mentoring month.

A mentor is someone who can help grow your skills, make better decisions, and gain new perspectives. In Minot, Companions for Children offers mentoring for children, both in person and by letter.

“I’m personally a Pen Pal and I look forward to receiving a letter from my mentee and also sending one each month,” said KX News Reporter Lauren Davis.

When people think of mentoring, they might think of in-person, but the Pen Pals program offers a different approach.

“Mentors are communicating back and forth through letters,” said Heather Cymbaluk, executive director of Companions for Children, “and it’s been really interesting to see how their literacy has improved and how they’re able to make that connection even though it’s through a virtual type of mentoring.”

The organization has been serving the community since 1972, and the Executive Director says it’s the only youth mentoring program in the city.

“Companions for children currently has four different types of youth mentoring programs. We have in-person, over your lunch hour, and a Pen Pals written mentoring program.”

Mentoring is beneficial to children because it gives them a positive role model.

But it also has a strong impact on those who volunteer to mentor kids.

“All children can really benefit from a role model in their lives,” said Cymbaluk. “Someone to look up to, to confide in, to share their thoughts with. And just someone who’s gonna be there for them. Mentoring not only impacts the child, it also impacts the mentor. It’s a great way to give back to the community, to get involved, and to make a long-lasting impact on the child.”

Those who volunteer to be a mentor have to be over 18, and must be able to commit to the mentor program for a certain amount of time.

Companions for Children is always looking for mentees and mentors.