Spence-chapin mentorship programs

Building Community For Adopted Teens

 Registration is now open for the 2022-2023 Teen and Junior Mentorship Programs!

Spence-Chapin’s Mentorship Programs are adoptee-led and run groups for teen and tween adoptees that meet monthly with adult adoptee Mentors. Through fun group activities, discussions, and day trips to fun locations throughout New York City, Mentorship is a place where adoptees can talk about the things that are important to them and make friendships start and last a lifetime!

National Teen Mentorship Program

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For 16 years, Spence-Chapin’s Teen Mentoring Program has created a community for young adoptees in New York City and the tri-state area. And now our program is going nationwide virtually! 

We are excited to announce the launch of our national group mentoring program connecting young adoptees ages 13-18 with adoptees 21+ in fun virtual activities and adoptee centered discussions. Our “mentees” meet with peers and older adoptees, their “mentors,” as a group to have conversations about the topics that are important to them: biological family, identity, and belonging. For many, it is their first experience being in a space with only adoptees! Our mentors, some of whom have been in the program for more than 5 years, understand the importance of their role and truly value their time with the teens. Often, the mentors learn just as much from the teens, as the teens do from them! Adoptees gain a place to see themselves reflected and a community where they can openly share their experiences and ask questions.  

NYC Teen Mentorship Program

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Founded in 2005, Spence-Chapin’s Mentorship Program is adoptee-led and run, providing fun events for teen and tween adoptees. Adoptees 21+ volunteer as Mentors and act as positive role models for the kids who join.

Mentorship meets monthly on a Saturday in NYC for 3-4 hours.

Mentorship is a LOT of fun! From scavenger hunts throughout Manhattan, cooking and painting classes, rock climbing, and ice skating, kids have an opportunity to try new things while making friendships with peers.

The program has days throughout the schedule, like “Adoption Day,” and “Identity Day,” where kids and mentors have discussion and activity-based events where they discuss their experiences as adoptees. Through games and team building activities, kids have an opportunity to express themselves in new ways while learning about one another, and their mentors.  

Some discussions may center on birth family, birth place or culture, friendships, talking about adoption with others, and relationships to name a few.

Countless friendships have been made and many adoptees feel like they finally have a space where people “get” them. 

Even if your child has never been in a group of other adoptees before, that’s ok, we welcome all adoptees! We are excited to have you join us! 

Junior Mentorship Program

Junior Mentorship

The Junior Mentorship Program welcomes adoptees ages 10-12 years old to participate in monthly group activities in-person at our NYC offices, at locations throughout Manhattan.

Junior Mentorship is a group for young adoptees to have fun, while making new friends, and beginning their mentorship journey at Spence-Chapin.

The program has days throughout the schedule, like “Adoption Day,” and “Identity Day,” where kids and mentors have discussion and activity-based events where they discuss their experiences as adoptees. Through games and team building activities, kids have an opportunity to express themselves in new ways while learning about one another, and their mentors. 

Some discussions may center on birth family, birthplace or  birth-culture, friendships, talking about adoption with others, and relationships to name a few.

Junior Mentorship welcomes all adoptees whether placed through Spence-Chapin or not.

Junior Mentorship is facilitated by Spence-Chapin staff who are adoptees themselves, along with adult adoptee Mentors who are 21+.

Even if your child has never been in a group of other adoptees before, that’s ok, we welcome all adoptees! We are excited to have you join us!

FACILITATOR

Jessica M. Luciere

Jessica is a transracial adoptee born in Bogota, Colombia who grew up in Long Island, New York. She is an Adoptee Advocate, working to create supportive spaces for adoptees and their families. Jessica was one of the founding mentors in the NYC Teen Mentorship program which began in 2006, and now is the Manager of Community Engagements at Spence-Chapin, overseeing all community programming. Jessica’s passion for connecting with adoptees and their families has always been the driving force in her work and is the reason she continues to create spaces for adoptee stories and voices.

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Meet our Mentors

Our Mentors are all Adoptees themselves!

They volunteer as Mentors because they understand the importance of having Adoptee-centered spaces and creating positive role models for young Adoptees.

Every year, we welcome new faces into our group, and this year is no different! Some Mentors return year after year because this program has made such an impact on them.

Our Mentors are passionate about the work they do in creating open spaces for our adoptive community to connect and learn from one another.

GET TO KNOW OUR MENTORS!

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Jessica, Facilitator

  • Born in Bogota, Colombia; grew up on Long Island
  • Has been a Mentor since our program was founded
  • Has worked as a photojournalist and traveled the world covering amazing stories. Also worked in commercial real estate in NYC for several years.
  • “I love being a mentor to young adoptees because when I was younger, I wished I had someone to give perspective on things only adoptees can understand.”
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Andrew

  • Born in South Korea  
  • Mentor for over 10 years 
  • Always learning from all the mentees and fellow mentors in how our adoption journeys make us who we are. Each of them unique and valuable  
  • I have an identical twin brother. Though he is not in NYC anymore still will have a random stranger be convinced they know you no matter how much one might protest I’m the Other twin. 
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Doreen

  • Born in New York
  • Mentor for over 10 years
  • I’ve met a community of people with whom I can share my thoughts, fears and emotions regarding adoption and I’m hoping my vulnerability helps the kids feel more comfortable sharing their feelings as well.
  • I love to travel!
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Andie

  • Born in China 
  • Mentor for 4 years 
  • No matter the age or background of the adoptee, there is a special understanding and connection that brings us together as a community! 
  • I used to be a barista for several years and learned how to make fun latte art! 
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Lily

  • Born in China 
  • Mentor for 4 years 
  • This program has given me something I have never had in my life before—a community full of people with similar stories and shared experiences. 
  • I’ve been working on building a Greenland kayak (it’s made with fabric and a wooden frame) with my dad! 
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Liz

  • Born in New York 
  • Mentor for 6 years
  • Having a supportive community like mentorship is invaluable. I feel understood in this kind environment of like-minded people. 
  • I love fashion: mixing and matching all kinds of clothes and accessories. 
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Patricia

  • Born in Armenia, Colombia 
  • Mentor for 7 years 
  • Since being involved with the mentorship program, I realized how much I want to work with kids, families, and be more involved in the adoption world. I went back to school and got my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy.  
  • I have traveled all over the world and have been to 19 countries!
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David

  • Born in Buffalo, New York 
  • Mentor for over 10 years
  • Its always interesting and exciting to meet with other adoptees and hear their stories. 
  • I can play cello, speak Chinese pretty well, and I love to cook spicy food! 
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Sydney

  • Born in China 
  • Mentor for 3 years, I was a mentee in this program for 2 years when I was younger 
  • I have a strong sense of community within the connections I’ve made with  the mentees & mentors, I always enjoy hearing their perspective as young adoptees.  
  • enjoy singing and writing songs.  
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Dana

  • Born in North Carolina 
  • Mentor for 8 years 
  • I was once told by a very wise teen, “my favorite thing about being adopted is that I can discard the things I dislike and keep the things I like – and that’s just who I am”.  At times, the mentees ARE the mentors.
  • I love a great joke, and I love to make people laugh!
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Luke

  • Born in Bogota, Colombia
  • Mentor for 3 years 
  • I feel like I am part of a community where we are all different and accepted but we all have one thing in common. It’s a wonderful feeling and great sense of belonging. 
  • I love Star Wars! I have 2 dogs and 2 cats and used to coach diving and swimming. 
Adoption Talk

Check out our new Podcast

Check out our podcast Adoption Talk by Spence-Chapin, where we love featuring our mentors and talking about the mentorship program!

Testimonials

Hear from Mentors, Mentees, and Parents about their experiences in the program.

Contact us

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    To learn more email [email protected] or call 212-360-0276.