NYC Teen Mentoring Program

Building Community For Adopted Teens

Spring Semester 2021 Mentorship will be virtual

Founded in 2005, Mentorship is an adoptee-led and run program for adoptees only. All adoptees ages 11-18 meet monthly as a group with adult adoptee “mentors.”  

As adoptees, our relationship with our identity can be more complex. In our meetings, wdo activitiesplay games, and talk about adoption, our birth families, friendships, and what it’s like to be in a home where you may not look like anyone in your family. Most importantly, we have a lot of fun! Countless friendships have been made and many adoptees feel like they finally have a space where people “get” them.  

We understand adoptees might be hesitant to join a group like this if they’ve never been with other adoptees before, and that’s ok! That’s true for many of us and we’re all figuring this out togetherThere is no expectation to share. We hope you join us! 

Facilitator

Jessica M. Luciere

Jessica is a Colombian transracial adoptee and Adoptee Advocate. She was a founding mentor of our NYC program and now oversees the Teen Mentoring Program at Spence-Chapin. Jessica’s passion for connecting with adoptees has always been the driving force in her work and is the reason she continues to create spaces for adoptees and adoptive parents to hear and learn from each other.

Jessica casualphoto

Meet our Mentors

Mentors volunteer their time because many of them did not have a program like this when they were younger. Listening to the group’s experiences changes how they think about their own stories. Our mentors believe there is truly nothing like being in a room full of adoptees and knowing that, while everyone has different stories, they share a deep-rooted bond.

We asked a few questions so you can get to know them!

  1. Where were you born?
  2. How long have you been a mentor?
  3. What do you value most about the program?
  4. What is your favorite program event?
  5. Tell us something fun about you!
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Jessica

  • Bogota, Colombia 
  • 16 years
  • Everyone who has participated in this program over the years has helped shape each other’s narrative, the mentors learn just as much from the mentees as we hope they take away from us. 
  • Adoption and Identity Dayswhen we really get to hear from each other and share our stories.  
  • I am a photojournalist and have traveled the world covering amazing stories, my dad really encouraged my love for photography
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Rae

  • The Bronx, New York 
  • 3 years 
  • We have a right to our story as adoptees (no matter our age) and decide when/if we share it. 
    National Geographic Underwater Encounter 
  • I am a GREAT dancer! 
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Luke

  • Bogota, Colombia
  • 1 year 
  • 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.
  • Identity Day & National Geographic Underwater Encounter. 
  • I love Star Wars! I have 2 dogs and 2 cats and used to coach diving and swimming. 
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Julie

  • South Korea
  • 2 years
  • Being part of this program has reinforced that wherever you are in your adoption journey is absolutely okNavigating life as an adoptee within this community is special and powerful.
  • Identity Day – Urban Word
  • I am a professional dancer and have performed for audiences in eight different countries! 
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Andrew

  • South Korea  
  • 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  
  • Adoption Day which is also our potluck food events, & Central Park. 
  • 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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Dana

  • North Carolina 
  • 6 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. 
  • National Geographic Underwater Encounter,  painting and cooking 
  • I love a great joke, and I love to make people laugh!
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Andie

  • China 
  • 2 years 
  • No matter the age or background of the adoptee, there is a special understanding and connection that brings us together as a community! 
  • Painting at the Painting Lounge, and Identity Day with Urban Word
  • I used to be a barista for several years and learned how to make fun latte art! 
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David

  • Buffalo, New York 
  • 11 years
  • Its always interesting and exciting to meet with other adoptees and hear their stories.
  • Ice skating, karaoke, & Adoption Day 
  • I can play cello, speak Chinese pretty well, and I love to cook spicy food! 
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Sydney

  • 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. 
  • Painting classes, “Found in Korea” with Nam Holtz.  
  • enjoy singing and writing songs.  
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Amelia

  • New Jersey 
  • 3 years 
  • Mentorship is a safe space to create a more collaborative depiction of adoption, through a collective adoptee lens.
  • Identity Day – Identity Pizzas!  
  • I strive to make the ordinary, extraordinary!  
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Jess

  • China 
  • This is my first year! 
  • Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and supporting others to do the same. 
  • When we all got to meet Nam Holtz, hear her incredible story and share our own stories, thoughts and perspectives! 
  • I am a graduate of the University of Delaware – go Blue Hens! 
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Rebecca

  • Paraguay 
  • 2 years 
  • Having the space to learn and grow with other adoptees of all ages has significantly helped me better understand who I am as an individual and as part of a diverse community  
  • I love going to the National Geographic under water experience. One mentee and I screamed when the giant fake whale ate us!  
  • If I wasn’t a social worker, I would have been a clown!  
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Patricia

  • Colombia 
  • 5 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.  
  • Identity Day – Urban Word 
  • I have traveled all over the world and have been to 19 countries so far (my husband keeps count)  
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Rebecca

  • South Korea 
  • 3 years 
  • Most valuable take away- my adoption narrative is a continued journey and is constantly changing and evolving!  
  • My favorite event was Identity Day with Urban Word – I appreciate everyone’s engagement and level of vulnerability. 
  • I enjoy traveling and cooking 
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Lilia

  • China 
  • 2 years 
  • Connecting with a community of all adoptees – from the mentees to mentors. 
  • Identity Day – Urban Word. Not only was listening to their poetry powerful, I loved hearing the poetry it inspired from the mentees. 
  • I was the Capitan of Vassar’s Varsity Fencing team having walked on my freshman year (and was chosen for my leadership skills rather than my fencing prowess…) 
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Doreen

  • New York
  • 9 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.
  • Outdoor activites.
  • I love to travel! 
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Lily

  • China 
  • 2 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. 
  • Our discussion about search and reunion with Nam Hotlz viewing her doc “Found in Korea”. 
  • 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

  • New York 
  • 4 years
  • Having a supportive community like mentorship is invaluable. I feel understood in this kind environment of like-minded people.  
  • National Geographic and Identity Day. 
  • I love fashion: mixing and matching all kinds of clothes and accessories. 

Meet our Mentors

We asked our mentors:

  • Their most valuable takeaway from the Mentorship program
  • Where they were born

Parent Groups

Understanding the importance of community, adoptive parents are invited to participate in a separate monthly group. Topics include talking about adoptionadvocating for your child and navigating birth family searchParents whose children participate in the mentorship program are automatically enrolled. If your child is between the ages of 11 and 18 but is not participating in the program, you are welcome to join us. 

Contact us

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

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