Frequently Asked Questions...

What is the meaning of Amachi?
“Who knows what God has brought us through this child?”  This is the English translation of the Nigerian Ibo word “Amachi,” and it forms the centerpiece to enable young people to realize their God-given potential, even though one or both parents may be incarcerated and their home life may be in crisis.

What is the importance of mentoring?
When successfully implemented, mentoring programs for children of incarcerated parents have the potential to improve socio-emotional skills and produce stronger, healthier relationships between children their peers and authority figures, leading to better outcomes in social and academic competence.

What difference can one-to-one mentoring make?

National research has shown that mentoring works to break the cycle of low achievement and delinquent behavior among high-risk youth. Specifically, youth mentored:
          • Are 52% less likely to skip school;
          • 46% less likely to begin using drugs;
          • 27% less likely to begin using alcohol;
          • 33% less likely to engage in violent behavior when compared to similar at-risk youth;
          • Show measurable and sustained improvements in school performance; and
          • Confidence and relationships with peers and adults.
Research demonstrates that mentoring works to break the cycle of low achievement and delinquent behavior among high-risk youth.

What is the total time commitment of the mentors?
We ask that a mentor spend one hour one-on-one, once a week, for one year with the mentee. Please check our Mentor Job Description for more information.

What are the eligibility requirements for the mentor?
We are looking for loving, caring adults who are willing to spend time with one child for one year to help change their life and break the cycle of incarceration. Mentors are at least 18 years of age. All mentors who are over the age of 55 will be enrolled into RSVP

What is the time commitment outside of the required one hour one-to-one weekly time commitment with the mentee?
There will occasionally be training or group activity opportunities for mentors and mentees to meet other Amachi matches.

Where do I meet with my Amachi child?
Meetings may be at a pre-selected community sites, such as the library, zoo, skating rink, museum, movies, shopping, church, etc.

What type of support and assistance will the mentor have?

Each mentor will be supported and assisted by Amachi-Break the Cycle and a caseworker from Big Brothers Big Sisters in the appropriate NJ County as needed.

What expenses are involved in mentoring?

The Amachi-Break the Cycle Mentor carries no financial responsibility for his/her Amachi child. The focus is on spending time, not money, with a child. However, if a Mentor invites his/her mentee to a sporting event, movie, lunch, etc., the Mentor will carry the expense for that particular activity. Periodically, Amachi-Break the Cycle will provide free or discount tickets to events/activities for the children and their mentors. All expenses and mileage incurred are tax-deductible.

How are the mentors screened?

Mentors are thoroughly screened through an application and interview process. Mentors also undergo a criminal background check and child abuse history clearance. You are then matched with a child based on the interests of both the child and the Mentor.

What types of activities do the mentor and mentee participate in on a normal basis?

The first rule of any relationship is to HAVE FUN! But in addition to having fun together, you and your Amachi child can:
       • Discuss positive career and life experiences
       • Exchange thoughts and observations about experiences in the workplace
       • Engage in activities that support your Amachi child’s educational goals
       • Participate in group recreational activities and events
       • Come up with activities on your own that are based on your mutual interests.

What type of training is provided?

Mentor training is conducted by United Way’s Mentor Trainer, Patrick Fennell, who is the Founder and President of Empowerment Solutions, LLC.  Empowerment Solutions specializes in the development of individuals by facilitating the skill of goal setting, applying a positive attitude toward life, and improving interpersonal skills. All training sessions are scheduled when a pool of 8 or more prospective mentors are available.

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