Funding for Our Future

“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

     Malcolm X

Our children are our future yet we seem to not be able to give them the proper education. Funding is not evenly distributed to schools, leaving some school districts to feel abandoned at times. Luckily, an organization called Campaign for Fair Education Funding is committed to improving education access by using additional resources to foster long term, positive outcomes for Pennsylvania students.

Amachi Pittsburgh collaborates with many Pittsburgh schools as well as the Campaign for Fair Education Funding to bring awareness to the kids of promise that we both serve. Specifically, our Amachi Ambassadors have worked with the Campaign to develop audio testimony that was published on HearMe’s website. The Ambassadors, who are learning about education justice, were able to improve their own skills and enhance their knowledge by working with the Campaign for Fair Education Funding.

Check out Amachi’s Twitter (https://twitter.com/AmachiPgh) to read more about and connect with our partners, such as the Campaign for Fair Education Funding, and spread the word!

God Bless

Rights For All

I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction. Most reforms, most problems are complicated. But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality.”

–  Alice Paul

Women’s Equality Day is August 26th. Over ninety years ago, women were given the right to vote in the United States. Women’s Equality Day and parental incarceration in some ways are connected to each other. Both groups – women and incarcerated individuals — have been positioned as second-class citizens. Both groups have felt that policies discriminate against them and the community in which they live may not understand them because of who they are and/or what they may have done. Furthermore, as stated by the American Civil Liberties Union, the incarceration and conviction of women, specifically, has upsetting effects on them and their families.[i] Related challenges include employment discrimination, bans on receiving public assistance, etc.

There are more than 8,500 kids in Allegheny County that have one parent that is incarcerated and statistics indicate that the majority of those parents are mothers – which is why the commemoration of Women’s Equality Day is so important to Amachi Pittsburgh. Amachi empowers women and children (men too) to be their very best even through hardship. Not only can Amachi provide programming for important issues surrounding parental incarceration, but it can also provide resources to handle adversity and other effects that occur with incarceration. Therefore, Amachi Pittsburgh has the power to help the 1,975 women in our state who are involved in the criminal justice system, and their families.

If you or someone you know would like to have more information on Amachi programming and how they can help you overcome matters with parental incarceration, please check out their website: http://www.amachipgh.org or call us at, 412-281-1288.

Have a blessed one.

[i] https://www.aclu.org/issues/womens-rights/women-and-criminal-justice

Ambition from Ambassadors

“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.” 

― Robert Louis Stevenson

One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to tell your child that a loved one is incarcerated. The child feels confused and slightly embarrassed. No one talks about their loved ones going to jail. Kids go to school or hang with friends but feel disconnected because they assume their peers never experience the same circumstances. Who can they talk to that would understand?

Luckily, Amachi Pittsburgh has a solution. Amachi Ambassadors takes children of promise together and gives them opportunities that they never imagined. Not only do Ambassadors improve on themselves but they also empower each other. Amachi Ambassadors Coordinator Kayla says that the Ambassadors program is unique because:

Children of incarcerated parents are often marginalized and their voices are left unheard, but Amachi Ambassadors creates a platform for civic engagement and for youth to amplify their voices as active participants and youth leaders. Rather than being the topic of discussion, they are leading the discussion. Young people have the inborn capacity to cope with challenges they face, to create opportunities for themselves, and to improve and transform their communities.”​

Twice a month, the Ambassadors meet for ongoing activities focused on leadership development, education reform, youth organizing, and community engagement and other fun activities.

The best part about the program is that the cost is free and transportation is provided through public transit tickets.

Sounds like something of interests? Contact Kayla Bowyer at kbowyer@AmachiPgh.org or at (412) 281-1288 x7 for more information!

 

God Bless!

Connect Through Amachi

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.

– Richard Bach

Sometimes, it can be hard to connect with children. There are so many different facets that kids find entertaining so the last thing kids are thinking about is spending time with mommy and daddy. Summer is the perfect time for parents to find ways to be more involved with their kids. Some ways include: family fun days, get home when your child comes home from activities, have dinner as a family, etc. Another great way to connect with your child is to attend educational meetings and outings as a family. Amachi Pittsburgh has great activities and programs dedicated to family strengthening, building strong communication and honing leadership skills.

Want to learn more about Amachi programs? Check out Amachi’s website: www.amachipgh.org and past blogs from this site. Still want more information? Stay tuned for Upcoming events listed at the bottom of most posts (like this one).

God Bless.

 ***Upcoming Events***

Pittsburgh Keepers of the Community Meetup (created by Black Men and Boys Collaborative)

Wednesday, July 29th at 6 pm – 7:30 pm

Jeron X. Grayson Community Center
1852 Enoch St
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Christmas in July Party

Saturday, August 1st at 1 pm – 4 pm

Hosanna House

807 Wallace Ave.

Wilkinsburg, PA 15221

Make a Difference to Children Month

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” 

― James Baldwin

 

What have you done to improve the lives of children in your community? Have you ever wondered how you could make a difference? The solution is mentoring. Not only does it benefit children but it also helps you understand more about yourself. Amachi Pittsburgh enrolls mentors year round. The more quality mentors that Amachi has, the more children can learn what it means to have a role model, become leaders, and never give up on their dreams.

Who are your role models? Share your story with us by posting here, on our Facebook page (Amachi Pittsburgh) or on Twitter @amachipgh!

If you would like to know more on how partnering with Amachi can make a difference in children’s lives, please contact Rebecca Maletto-Cornell, Amachi’s Mentoring Specialist, at 412-281-1288 ext. 3 or visit our website, www.amachipgh.org.

God Bless.

*Upcoming Events*

Mentor Social – opportunity for mentors to network with one another and bring their friends who may be interested in mentoring to learn more

  • July 16, 5:30-7:30 PM
  • Hofbräuhaus: 2705 S Water St., 15203

Christmas in August

  • August 1, 1-4 PM
  • Hosanna House: 807 Wallace Ave., 15221

Amachi Community Event at Carnegie Science Center & Sportsworks

  • September 13, 10 AM – 2PM
  • 1 Allegheny Ave., 15212

Summer with The Ambassadors

“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.”

– O. Fred Donaldson 

With this week starting summer, many children are trying to find things to do to occupy their newfound free time. More importantly, parents want their children involved in activities that are educational and informational. Why not join a FREE weekend program that provides a lifetime of learning?!

Amachi Ambassadors encourages youth (ages 14-18) to bring awareness of parental incarceration to not just their communities, but to important decision makers, in efforts to raise awareness and to change policies that greatly affect their lives. The Ambassadors meet the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, as well as occasional outside activities. Bus tickets and meals are provided. Summer doesn’t have to be a bore. Come join Amachi Ambassadors.

If you would like to learn more on what Amachi can offer you and your child for the summer, check out our website at, www.amachipgh.org or contact us: 412-281-1288.

Have a blessed one.

*Upcoming Events*

 Annual Christmas in August Celebration

Location: Hosanna House, Wilkinsburg, PA

Date: August 1, 2015

Time: 1-4 PM

Rebuild Your Life Month

The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.

–  Eleanor Roosevelt  

The transition to day-to-day life after being imprisoned may be just as difficult as the challenges that children and families coping with the imprisonment of a loved one go through. Incarcerated adults and their children and families both experience their own struggle during incarceration and after the parents’ release, but the transition period is an ideal time to lean on one another for support. Studies show that former inmates who have strong family ties are less likely to go back to jail (Hairston, C. F, 1988). In order to maintain or to build your strong family, programs such as Amachi are here to help. Key components to successful family reunification are:

Communication: Family members and incarcerated parents may have avoided discussing serious topics regarding incarceration, stability of the family and even life after prison. Once the family is back together, everyone should try to discuss issues that have been restrained, including changes that occurred while imprisonment. Amachi Pittsburgh develops this skill in its participants by having group discussions during Stregthening Black Families program…

Employment: Some families lose their ‘breadwinner’ during a parents’ incarceration, which results in many new financial obligations for family members. To help families get back on their feet, an important topic to discuss is job security. There are companies that allow people with a prison background to work, such as Target, US Steel Corporation and AT&T. Amachi Pittsburgh advocates for more sustainable support for the families of the incarcerated through its work with the Amachi Ambassadors. Did you know that Amachi travelled to Harrisburg, PA in March and is going back on June 23 to talk to our legislators about supporting these families? Follow us on twitter @amachiPgh to get updates. 

Transitioning home from prison can bring stress and uncertainty—but with the help of quality programming, the support of loved one, and self-help, rebuilding your life can be achievable. Please visit, www.amachipgh.org to see how we can help. 

God Bless.

*UPCOMING EVENTS*

June 23: We will have some Ambassadors join TeenBloc/A+ Schools in Harrisburg for a public hearing about the fair education funding formula. (go to Amachipgh.org for more information)
June 27: Amachi Zoo and Aquarium trip from 12-4 pm
June 29: Mentee Graduation Luncheon for high school seniors from 12 – 2 pm
July 1: Mentor Challenge (go to Amachipgh.org for more information)