Amachi: Philadelphia

Amachi began in Philadelphia in September 2000 with funding from Pew Charitable Trusts as a partnership between Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
John DiIulio, now Frederic Fox Leadership Professor of Politics, Religion and Civil Society at the University of Pennsylvania, had the idea for Amachi - and W. Wilson Goode, Sr., former Mayor of Philadelphia and currently Senior Advisor on Faith-Based Initiatives at P/PV, carried it out. The Pew Charitable Trusts supported the development and the implementation of Amachi.
     P/PV was responsible for administrative oversight and financial management of the program and for recruiting congregations and children. The organization also collected and analyzed the data used to monitor the matches and gauge the overall progress of Amachi. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern Pennsylvania screened the volunteers and children, and made the match.
     The Amachi mentoring program was developed to provide them with a different path - by establishing the consistent presence of loving, caring people of faith. Amachi mentors meet weekly with a child who has been carefully matched with them; they often live and worship in the same neighborhoods as the children. Amachi’s hope is that one-to-one mentoring by caring adults will significantly improve the life opportunities of the children. Studies have clearly demonstrated that the Big Brother Big Sister (BBBS) mentoring model has positive effects - and now through Amachi, the strengths of mentoring and congregational volunteers are brought together.
     Amachi’s success in Philadelphia has sparked interest in many cities around the country, as well as at the White House and in Congress, to implement Amachi in their communities. The Amachi model has been implemented in 101 cities in 38 states.

“Amachi” is a West African word which means, “Who knows but what God has brought us through this child..."

The Amachi model’s mission is to provide mentoring services to children who have a parent that is incarcerated, its initiative is a way to help shape the lives of children who may otherwise find themselves headed for prison.