Teen Mentorship Program

Building Community For Adopted Teens

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.


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.


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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.”
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.
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


  • 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!
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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. 
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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!


  • 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 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 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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  • 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 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. 

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.