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.
For some, Mentorship is the first space mentees get to share their personal adoptee stories and hear from their peers. Mentorship creates an open space to discuss important topics like connection to birth family, culture and place, how to share your story with others, and advocacy, 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.
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
Jessica is a Colombian transracial Adoptee and Adoptee Advocate. She was a founding Mentor of our NYC Teen Mentorship program and now oversees all Community Programming for Spence-Chapin. 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 voices.
Our Mentors are Adoptees! They volunteer their time because most did not have a program like this when they were younger. Being a part of this group and hearing from their fellow Mentors and the mentees helps to sculpt their own identities as Adoptees. Mentors are passionate about the work they do in creating these open spaces for our adoptive community to connect and learn from one another.
We asked a few questions so you can get to know them!
We asked our mentors:
Hear from Mentors, Mentees, and Parents about their experiences in the program.
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.