This week I got the opportunity to sit down with Maggie Middleton, the coordinator of the Amachi Program at Lexington Leadership Foundation, and discuss one of their programs, the Amachi program. The Amachi program is a one-on-one mentor program that is specifically designed for children who have had one of both parents taken to prison. Their goal is form positive relationships between mentors and mentees, and help to build self esteem and promote academic success. I asked her several questions that people may have if they are interested in becoming a mentor through the Amachi program:
Who can become a mentor?
Anyone who is 19 years or older can become a mentor. They must first apply, pass a background test and go through an interview process before they can be set up with a mentee. Mentors and mentees and carefully selected and are set up based on similar personality characteristics. Additionally, the mentor must have their own car, car insurance and is able to go through a home visit to check out their living situation.
What is the time commitment?
If you become a mentor, you will spend at least one hour a week with your mentee. Mentors can do all sorts of things with their mentee like crafting, going to get ice cream, visiting UK’s campus or spending time outdoors at parks in the community. Amachi understands the importance of not setting rigid agendas for mentors and knows the importance of spending time in your community. The most important thing is commitment. If you decide to become a mentor, you will be committing to at least one hour a week for a whole calendar year.
What type of characteristics does Amachi look for when considering a mentor?
It is extremely important that the mentors are positive, goal-oriented and excited about education. Many of the children in the Amachi program do not have parents who went to college, and having a mentor open up the possibility of them going to college one day is extremely important. It is also extremely important that the mentor is always able to point out the strengths of the child instead of focusing on what may be going on at home. Amachi is a faith-based organization, but you do not need to be religious in order to become a mentor.
How can someone get plugged in with Amachi?
You can call the office directly at 859-389-8279, or check out the Amachi Facebok page online (Amachi Central Kentucky). The first step to getting started is to fill out an application, then you will go through a simple interview process to help find your mentee match. You will then go through a training session. Trainings are once a month.