Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hope in Mentoring

I am spending my term as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Nashville, TN focusing on children who have an incarcerated parent. This population is very vulnerable to follow the same path as their parents. Without intervention there is a 70% chance that these children will end up in prison as well. Mentoring has become a major way to stop this generational cycle. My position is interesting because I actually talk to the mothers and fathers in prison to see if they are interested in referring their children. (I try not to watch the local news because I know that the stories of those guilty for murder, drugs, and robbery are the same individuals I will see). When talking to the parents my focus is on these "children of promise." Every week excitement entails as you can imagine. One time an incarcerated man asked me, "What are you doing in ten years?" His expected release. My favorite part of every month is planning Amachi Kids Club for children who have a parent in prison in a community torn by violence in Nashville. We do crafts, dance, taekwondo.

Rachel Copeland

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