|In the United States today, there are approximately 2.4 million children--including approximately 60,000 here in Missouri-- who have a parent in prison.
Tragically, the children of incarcerated parents are often at high risk of becoming imprisoned themselves. In fact, 70% of these children are likely to enter the correctional system.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jasper and Newton counties currently is looking for volunteers to help break this cycle of incarceration by helping to facilitate two programs: Amachi for children of prisoners in Missouri correctional facilities and the Mentoring Children of Prisoners (MCP), a program that helps a child with a parent in a local, state, or federal correctional facility. Amachi is a West African word that means “Who knows but what God has brought us through this child.”
Volunteers, who need to be willing to mentor for at least a year, must be at least 18 years of age, employed or retired, and have reliable transportation and insurance. Prior to acceptance applicants must submit three references that they have known for at least two years and pass a background check.
According to further statistics compiled by the national organization of Big Brothers Big Sisters, these programs already are showing impressive results in other parts of Missouri where the programs have been implemented. So far, among "Little Brothers and Little Sisters":
- 78% are showing improvement in self-confidence
- 61% are showing improvement in their attitude toward school
- 62% are showing improvement in academic performance.
The local chaper also is encouraging contact from anyone who knows of a child (or children) in Jasper and Newton counties that needs help. Qualifications for children entering a program are found here.
For more information call Jessica Schermacher at (417) 626-9244 or 479-427-0554 or send an e-mail here.