Spence-chapin mentorship programs

Building Community For Adopted Teens

Registration is now open for the Spring 2023 semester of Mentorship

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 locations throughout New York City, Mentorship is a place where adoptees can talk about the things that are important to them while making friendships that 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, the adoptee-led NYC Teen Mentorship Program welcomes adoptees 13-18 years old to join in monthly events throughout New York City from September to June. This program functions as a group mentoring program connecting young adoptees with adult adoptee mentors 21+, creating spaces for fun activities and thoughtful conversations, all while creating new friendships and community. Discussion-based days center around the adoptee experience, identity formation, how to talk about difficult topics and how adoptees navigate new spaces as we get older. Registration is offered to families per semester, or per year.

Junior Mentorship Program

Junior Mentorship

Junior Mentorship welcomes adoptees ages 10-12 years old to join in monthly events throughout New York City from September to June. This adoptee-led program was created specifically to give our pre-teens a space to make new friends, meet older adoptees and talk about the topics that are important to them. Our mentees have adult adoptee mentors age 21+, who lead the group in conversation, creative activities, games, and team-building events. Designed as a precursor to our Teen Mentoring Programs, Junior Mentorship often gives mentees their first opportunity to have mentors and make friends who share this deep connection of being adopted.


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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Rebecca Fiore

Rebecca Fiore

Rebecca is a transracial adoptee born in Paraguay and raised in New Jersey. She is a social worker who has been volunteering with Spence-Chapin for over 3 years as a Mentor in the NYC Teen Mentorship program. Rebecca is excited to return to Mentorship as the Facilitator of the Junior Mentorship Program this fall! She has a passion for working with adoptees and their families and in her spare time, she paints, writes, and likes to spend time with other adoptees in her community.

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.


Lila Nair


  • Born in Medellin, Colombia; grew up in Maplewood, NJ
  • 1st year as a mentor
  • Training for the Brooklyn Half Marathon
  • I want to support others who struggle in making sense of their adopted identity while building community in doing so.


  • Born in Brooklyn
  • 1st year as a mentor
  • Works in Human Resources
  • When Kayla is not working she spends her time fine-tuning her creativity and soaking up the world through film photography, home decor, and style.
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  • 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. 


  • Born in Cambodia
  • 1st year as a mentor
  • I love to play volleyball, take pictures and drink boba!
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  • Born in Moscow, Russia, I am Tajik and Ukrainian.
  • 1st year as a mentor.
  • Excited to meet and support other adoptees through community and openness!
  • Love hiking, traveling, and the arts!
Layla Diaz


  • Born in Guatemala City; raised in Brooklyn– a true city girl
  • Was a mentor at All Together Now (A.T.N) and an intern and mentor at Spence-Chapin during MSW program
  • Loves supporting and being supported by mentees and fellow mentors. “Learn together, grow together”.
  • Learning American Sign Language
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  • 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. 


  • Born in China
  • 1st year as a mentor
  • I was a former mentee in the program when I was in high school.
  • Being an active member of the adoptee community has introduced me to many different kinds of perspectives and broadened my horizons
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Born in Paraguay
  • 4th year as a Mentor
  • Social Worker
  • I am excited to be the Jr. Mentorship facilitator this year!
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  • 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!
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!


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

Contact us


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