Teen Mentorship Program

Building Community For Adopted Teens

 Registration is now open for the 2022-2023 Teen Mentorship Program!

The NYC Mentorship Program at Spence-Chapin is an adoptee-led and -run group, connecting young adoptee mentees with older adoptee mentors.

Through monthly meetings from September through June, Mentorship meets to connect adoptees through conversations, activities, games, and off-site adventures throughout New York City.

For some, Mentorship is the first space they are able to share their stories with others who get it. Mentorship creates an open space to discuss important topics like identity, the adoptee experience, birth culture, birth place and how to share your story with others, just to name a few.

Through creative and discussion-based events, as well as off-site days throughout Manhattan, Mentorship provides a fun atmosphere for kids to make new memories, create friendships, and find community.

We have a fun-filled calendar year ahead of us starting in September, and we hope you will join us!

TESTIMONIALS

Our son participated in the Spence Chapin Mentorship Program during Middle and High Schools. We have made friends with other families in the adoption community that have lasted through the years. Having a community to turn to in difficult times, whether adoption related or not, is immeasurable. Having mentors and mentees for our son to share his adoption journey with has been nothing but positive.

~Irene and John, Former Mentorship Parents

I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Mentorship Program and have many great memories from my time with Spence. I’m also still in contact with some of the friends I made during my time in the Mentorship Program. Spence has been very important to me and my family and I even supported it by collecting items for my Eagle Scout project to distribute to children waiting for their forever family.

~John, Former Mentee

This mentorship provided a safe space for me to explore my identity and be myself with full support and no explanation. There I formed strong relationships with people of all different ages and backgrounds, who were all bonded by the one thing that had previously always isolated me. This in turn fostered a confidence in me to not only recognize but take pride in the unique experience of being a transracial adoptee.

~Dana, Mentor for 9 years

FACILITATOR

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.

GET TO KNOW OUR MENTORS!

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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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Andrew

  • Born in South Korea  
  • Mentor for over 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  
  • 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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Doreen

  • 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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Andie

  • 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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Lily

  • 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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Liz

  • 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. 
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Patricia

  • 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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David

  • 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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Sydney

  • 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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Dana

  • 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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Luke

  • 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. 

Meet our Mentors

We asked our mentors:

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

Testimonials

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

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

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