Achieve More and Prosper Program Prepares Young Adults for the Future

When Amy Kerns first joined the staff at St. Stephen’s Community House, she was a mentor for students as part of the Summer Employment Program. She and the other coaches helped students get jobs over the summer. Almost nine years later, Amy is the director of a flourishing Neighborhood Services department. This includes the Achieve More and Prosper (A.M.P.) Program, which has grown tremendously since it was remodeled a couple of years ago.

Formerly the Summer Employment Program, the A.M.P. Program pairs Franklin County youth, ages 14-24, referred to as interns, with coaches. These coaches meet with their interns throughout the year to help support them as they transition to the next stages of their life. Our six coaches help a combined 150 interns, with school, job placement and the financial burdens of education and career planning, among other things.

St. Stephen’s, and the other four agencies that work with Franklin County on youth development, all made the switch to the A.M.P. Program at the same time. This helped to unify the services in the county. Because the program is now year-long, mentors can foster a deeper bond with their interns. The coaches say they often get to know their interns like family. Amy said this program is very special to her, and she is happy that the county recognized the necessity for it to be expanded from just a summer program. She believes that the program can be beneficial to all of the interns who participate.

Some interns might need financial help with college, or help with being connected to the proper resources and employment. Others have experienced trauma in their lives before joining the program, and really need someone to be an advocate for them. Our coaches can cater to each of their interns, so they can provide the best support that is needed.

A.M.P Coach Dee Capers

Eric was one of Dee’s first interns. When their relationship began, he was very quiet. He was the type of person that did not speak unless he was spoken to. Dee was one of the first leading male figures in Eric’s life.

The two bonded over basketball and Eric shared his fear of not making his school team with Dee. From there, Eric was able to open up to Dee and realize he was someone who would answer any questions he had and truly be a support system. Now, they talk frequently, with Eric even initiating conversations. Dee thinks this vast improvement in communication skills will help Eric navigate other situations in his life, even beyond high school.

“We have a lot of supportive services that we provide,” A.M.P. coach Jennifer Jean-Baptiste said.

When Jennifer first met Magaly, she was quiet, but she was doing well in school and was on the basketball team. After graduating high school in 2020, she decided to enroll in Columbus State Community College, where she is currently taking classes for the second semester.

Magaly’s mother is Hispanic, and English is the second language in their household. College is a new experience for the family, but Jennifer is able to help Magaly navigate all the new experiences.

A.M.P Interns at Mapfre Stadium with Columbus Crew SC

Jennifer’s mother is from Haiti. She was the first one in her family to go to college, so she had to figure it out for herself. This included everything from where to find the syllabus, to how to buy textbooks, to how to write emails to professors. It means a lot to her that she is now able to help her interns, especially those who are first-generation college students, navigate their college experience. She is able to be the mentor that she did not have through college.

“It is so meaningful to us when kids use the resources provided to them when they need the help. I love that we can really provide for them and guide them on thier journey.”

A.M.P. coach Ian Nixson has been a mentor in the program almost as long as Amy has been with St. Stephens. He joined as a mentor in the Summer Employment Program in 2014, and got to watch the program transform into the A.M.P. Program. Once the A.M.P. Program was born, Ian was able to get to know his interns on a deeper level.

“It became much more personal,” he said. “We started going on school visits and seeing the interns all year. We became more than just an advocate for them in their job.”

When Ashlee joined the A.M.P. Program, she already knew her goal. She wants to own her own daycare and to be a business owner.  A.M.P. Coach Tae Green was able to help her gain some of the resources and knowledge she needs to accomplish her goal.

Over the summer of 2020, Ashlee was able to get an internship with Aventi Enterprises, a small business management consulting firm. Here, she was able to take classes and create her own business plan. Tae thinks this program really put things in perspective and truly gave her a path forward.

“I’ve never seen someone so driven and determined to succeed,” Tae said, “I’m just happy I get to be a small part of her journey, and I know she will go on to do amazing things. ”

“She has become an advocate herself, she speaks up when she knows she is stuggling, and recognizes asking for help is not a weakness, but a sign of strengh.”

The Achieve More and Prosper (A.M.P.) program is funded by Franklin County Job and Family Services. If you are interested in enrolling your child in this program, please call 614-294-6347 ext 404 or email us at
Written By: Emily Scott, SSCH Marketing and Development Intern | Emily is a Journalism major at Miami University. She is currently the Features and Digital Editor of The Miami Quarterly.


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