July Program Highlight: Autism Mentorship Program
MENTOR Minnesota has been working with a pioneering local mentoring program called AMP - Autism Mentorship Program for the last few years. AMP is an innovative and inclusive mentoring program for autistic youth in the Twin Cities. AMP is currently working on their second technical assistance grant with MENTOR Minnesota on updated policy and procedure manuals with our consultant Carolyn Scherer. We asked founder Emily Goldberg to share more about the AMP program in the Q & A below.
What is AMP's mission and how is it carried out? The Autism Mentorship Program provides mentoring for autistic people by autistic people. Designed by autistic adults and allies to support autistic youth, AMP provides a supportive environment for both mentors and mentees to openly be themselves. The vision for AMP is two-fold:
To offer autistic teens emotional support, a sense of identity and belonging, and help developing their strengths and advocating for their needs.
To invite autistic adults to serve as role models and leaders in their community, share their unique insights and experiences, and empower autistic youth to gain confidence and thrive. Autistic youth (age 14 - 18) are supported by autistic adult mentors in weekly one-to-one mentoring sessions where they talk, play games and connect. These one-hour sessions are held online and hosted by AMP staff.
What makes your program unique? Other mentorship opportunities for neurodiverse youth pair mentees with neurotypical mentors. AMP provides autistic youth with autistic mentors who can share their lived experience with their mentees. Why do youth participate in AMP? Youth tell us that AMP is a place where they can have fun, be themselves, and feel understood and supported. Mentors enjoy making a difference by being part of a program they tell us they wish they had when they were growing up. What growth is AMP currently undergoing? In its first three program years, AMP served 7 - 14 autistic students at Kennedy High School in Bloomington, with most mentors coming from Minnesota Independence College and Community in nearby Richfield. This fall, AMP is expanding beyond Bloomington/Richfield to serve 20 autistic youth (ages 14 - 18) who live within the 7 county Twin Cities metropolitan area. They will be mentored by autistic adults (18+) who also reside in the 7 county Twin Cities metropolitan area. Who is AMP looking for to join their programming in the fall? AMP is currently soliciting participants for our Fall 2022 - Spring 2023 program. We are recruiting:
Autistic youth (ages 14 -18) who live in the 7 county Twin Cities metropolitan area and would like an autistic mentor.
Autistic adults (18 or older) who live in the 7 county Twin Cities metropolitan area and would like to mentor autistic teens.
Describe different aspects of AMP and how people can be a part of the organization Our Community Advisory Board helps shape the future of AMP by advising us and providing feedback about our programming. The board consists of autistic adults, parents of autistic children, and others with connections to the autistic community. We will also be putting together a Youth Advisory Board soon to ensure regular input from the demographic we serve – autistic youth ages 14 - 18. Find out how you can get involved with AMP in these ways and more here:
Want to be a mentor or mentee? Find mentoring programs like Autism Mentorship Program and others by searching in the Mentoring Connector!
Find the Mentoring Connector here