Mentorship Program

Building Community For Adopted Tweens and Teens

Due to COVID-19 Spring Semester 2021 Mentorship will be virtual

The Spence-Chapin Mentorship program facilitates events once a month for adopted tweens and teens both internationally and domestically adopted. Mentors and mentees meet for fun, social gatherings, make new friends, while building community, and connecting with others who share in the adoptee experience. Through thoughtful adoption related topics, our mentees explore their identities as young adults and as adoptees. 

We provide a safe space for our mentees to grow together with our mentors, exploring their experiences as adoptees and as teens. Our mentors are also both international and domestic adoptees who are 21 years and older, some have been with our program for over 10 years.

WHO ARE OUR MENTEES?

Our mentees are Middle and High school students who live in the tri-state area and are adopted both internationally and domestically. Our families join us from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

WHO ARE OUR MENTORS?

Adult adoptees who want to contribute to their adoptive community and continue to grow within their own adoptive identity. They live in the tri state area. They serve as role models who can share their own adoption story and experiences while encouraging mentees to feel comfortable, share their stories, and explore their identities, while developing a healthy self-esteem.

All our mentors are screened and trained before entering the program.

Facilitator and Mentor

Jessica M. Luciere

Jessica is one of the founding mentors of our program, which is now it is 16th year! Connecting with adoptees and hearing their stories and experiences has been always been passion of hers. In addition to supporting our young adoptees by helping to create community, the connections she makes with her fellow mentors and mentees continues to sculpt her own ever changing adoptee narrative.

Jessica casualphoto

Meet our Mentors

Adult adoptees who want to contribute to their adoptive community and continue to grow within their own adoptive identity. They live in the tri state area. They serve as role models who can share their own adoption story and experiences while encouraging mentees to feel comfortable, share their stories, and explore their identities, while developing a healthy self-esteem.

All our mentors are screened and trained before entering the program.

We asked our mentors three questions so you can get to know them!

  1. Where were you born?
  2. How long have you been a mentor?
  3. What is the most valuable takeaway from your involvement in the Mentorship program?
  4. What are your favorite Mentorship events?
  5. What is something fun about you? 
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Jessica

  • Bogota, Colombia 
  • Since our program began almost 18 years ago! 
  • 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 covering some amazing stories all over the countries, 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
  • One 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 
  • I have been a mentor for 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 three questions so you can get to know them!

  1. How many years in mentorship?
  2. What is a fun fact about them?
  3. What is their favorite mentorship event?

Parent Groups

Parents have their own virtual group to discuss topics related to adolescence and adoption, along with hearing from adoptees as panelists. This group meets four times over the semester, usually the day after the teen/tween mentorship meetings.

QUESTIONS?

To learn more email mentorship@spence-chapin.org or call 212-360-0276.

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