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.
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.
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.
Understanding the importance of community, adoptive parents are invited to participate in a separate monthly group. Topics include talking about adoption, advocating for your child and navigating birth family search. Parents 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.