Who are the “Mentees”?
Adoptees between the ages of 11 and 18 who were born domestically or internationally.
Who are the “Mentors”?
Our diverse group of mentors are volunteers who are also are adoptees! Mentors are over the age of 21 and have been screened and trained by our licensed social work staff. They sign on to be a part of the program for the entirety of the mentoring program year (September through June). Mentors, with their varied experiences and backgrounds, bring their own unique perspectives to our program. Some of our mentors have been with us for over a decade, and some are just joining us for the first time this year. We even have mentors who were once mentees in this program when they were younger!
Why would my child be interested in a mentoring program?
Teens don’t always have their own adoptee community, and for many, they don’t realize they were looking for it until they’ve found it with our program. Adoptees have experiences in life that only other adoptees can understand, and our program provides a place where they can share, be heard, and join a group of others who can relate to them.
Is there a group for the parents of mentees?
Yes! Parents are invited to meet monthly to discuss topics that are important to them. Occasionally the themes correspond with the topic for that month’s teen group and include talking about adoption, navigating search, reunion, and advocating for your child. Parents who register their teen for the mentoring program are automatically enrolled in the parent group. Parents whose teens are not registered in the mentoring program are also welcomed to sign up for the parent sessions. For registration options, please visit.
Are mentors assigned to a child one-to-one? Do they meet individually?
Our mentoring program is a group program with no one-on-one matching. The group format encourages everyone to interact with new people at each event. Through different and unique activities each month, participants naturally make intentional and authentic bonds and with one another.
What if my child doesn’t want to participate?
It is totally understandable that your child may be hesitant to join this program initially. Many of our teens who are unsure about joining the program end up really enjoying it after the first event. We want everyone to feel comfortable when we are together and there is never any pressure to share. Sometimes after hearing other adoptees open up about their stories and experiences, our most hesitant teens start to hear themselves reflected and are encouraged to participate.
How often does the Teen Mentoring Program meet?
Once a month, our mentors and mentees meet for events to play games, do activities and have discussions. This is a year-long program running September through June; however, families can choose to enroll per semester (September-January or February-June).
What types of activities do participants engage in?
Due to COVID-19, this year’s mentoring program has been virtual. The 2021-2022 program format has yet to be determined pending COVID-19 guidelines. In years past, outings have included trips to the zoo, bowling, cooking classes, fencing, painting, and more. Some events take place at Spence-Chapin’s office in Manhattan while others take place off-site throughout New York City. No matter the format, we provide an inclusive space without expectations to discuss adoption, identity, birth families, search, reunion, relationships, and more.