Amachi Pittsburgh Reaches New Milestone with 500th Match as National Mentoring Month Gets Under Way in January

- Children of Incarcerated Parents from Throughout Allegheny County Have Benefited -

Jan 05, 2010, 11:42 ET from Amachi Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Amachi Pittsburgh, an organization dedicated to helping the children of incarcerated parents in Allegheny County fulfill their potential and purpose through mentoring relationships, is proud to announce the milestone of its 500th mentor-mentee match. The match brings Amachi's total number of active mentor-mentee relationships to 325. The benchmark relationship is between mentor Henry Stoutmire of New Kensington and 9-year-old mentee Keyshawn Corlew of Penn Hills.

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"We are truly blessed to have such a dedicated group of volunteers who are willing to make time for children who need a person in their life to count on for guidance," said Anna E. Hollis, executive director of Amachi Pittsburgh. "To reach our 500th match within our first six years is an accomplishment for which we can all be proud."

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. Three years later, Amachi Pittsburgh was modeled after Philadelphia's program, relying on a broad partnership of faith-based and nonprofit agencies and community organizations working with prison inmates.

Amachi carefully matches caring men and women with children of incarcerated parents to help build trust, self-esteem, better school attendance, and study habits. Since 2003, Amachi Pittsburgh has partnered with more than 30 organizations to facilitate mentoring relationships for young people.

With about 80,000 people incarcerated in Pennsylvania, the state's children are in dire need of mentoring. Pennsylvania leads every other state in terms of growth in prison population, showing the highest increase of prisoners per 100,000 people during the past year. Figures released Dec. 8 by the U.S. Justice Department show that Pennsylvania's overall inmate count in state and federal facilities rose by 9.1 percent.

"Two thirds of the youth in our juvenile justice system have one or both parents in prison because children whose parents are involved in the system are six times more likely to engage in negative behaviors," Hollis said. "Mentoring offers them an opportunity they otherwise would not have -- the opportunity to build positive, constructive lives."

National Mentoring Month (NMM) highlights mentoring and its positive impact on young lives. Spearheaded by Harvard Mentoring Project, MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, and Corporation for National and Community Service, the first NMM was held January 2002. The month-long outreach campaign focuses national attention on the need for mentors, as well as how communities can work together to increase the number of mentors and ensure a brighter future for our young people.

Please visit www.amachipgh.org for more information about Amachi Pittsburgh.

About Amachi Pittsburgh

Who knows what God has brought us through this child? Since 2003, Amachi Pittsburgh has been dedicated to helping Allegheny County's children fulfill their God-given purpose. We take our name -- and our inspiration -- from a Nigerian Ibo word that affirms the potential that exists in each and every child. Through a unique partnership of secular and faith-based organizations, Amachi works to mentor young minds, ensuring that all children are rightfully recognized as children of promise. For more information, visit www.AmachiPgh.org.


    Contact:                Elizabeth Bacheson
                            412.642.7700
                            elizabeth.bacheson@elias-savion.com

SOURCE Amachi Pittsburgh



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