June 14 Conference Speakers

This is the list of Speakers for the June 14, 2012 Conference:


All speakers and panel members are volunteers who share their time and knowledge to help volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring programs grow. While most of these speakers and the conferences focus on Chicago, we encourage people from other cities to attend and share their ideas while borrowing ideas to apply in their own communities.

If you would like to present a workshop, submit handouts, or have a display table at future conferences, submit an idea using this form, or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



Workshop and Panel Participants:

Daniel F. Bassill, President, Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC
Dan Bassill has spent more than 30 years, mostly as a volunteer, leading organizations that connect workplace volunteers with youth living in  inner-city neighborhoods like Chicago's Cabrini-Green. He and six other volunteers formed Cabrini Connections in 1992 and the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in 1993. Through the TMC, and the Internet, Bassill leads a global learning strategy  intended to draw needed resources to all volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs, including Cabrini Connections, in Chicago and other major cities. Bassill was a Commissioner on the Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteering and Community Service from 2001 - 2009. In July 2011 Bassill created Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC as a new strategy to support the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago and similar strategies in other cities.  Visit http://www.tutormentorconnection.org ; http://www.cabriniconnections.net and http://tutormentor.blogspot.com

Van Bensett, Project Director, Life Directions
Founded in 1973, in Detroit, Michigan, Life Directions  (LD) was born out of the necessity to "get to the root cause of violence". The dynamic of "peers inspiring peers through forgiving" was forged in a series of neighborhood  discussions who were experiencing the effects of violence. LD's inter-generational programs seek to motivate elders, adults and young adults, especially the economically poor and "at risk" to mature into responsible, productive adults through self-direction. We focus on the "values" that drive action/behaviors".  LD has three interdependent core programs(1) the Peer Motivation Program brings achieving high school students together with their at-risk peers (2) the Peer Mentor Program facilitates meetings between successful high school students and at-risk 8th graders to prepare them for a positive transition into high school and (3) the Neighborhood Enrichment Program connects successful adults with peers and teens in an effort to "break the cycle of violence in communities."

Mr. Bensett is the Project Director for Life Directions - Chicago and has over 20 years of experience in working with young adults and community organizing.

Monique Cook-Bey, Chicago Youth Organizations
Monique J cook-Bey is a first generation college graduate who has vowed to be a change agent for the underrepresented and misunderstood.  Currently she serves as the Chief Program officer of Chicago Youth Programs.  CYP is an innovative non-profit organization that was founded 27 years ago to improve the educational, life opportunities of chicago's underserved youth.  Monique received her BA in African AMerican Studies and Masters Of Education in College Student Affairs. She has been an advocate for all issues surround minorities for over 12 years.

Lucy Hall, Jumpstart
Jumpstart is a nonprofit that collaborates with the Neighborhood Schools Program to Connect University of Chicago Students with young children in preschools in Woodlawn. By involving them in Woodlawn preschools, Jumpstart offers students the opportunity to become familiar with Southside communities, families and current education practices.  At the same time, by placing college students in their classrooms, Jumpstart offers Woodlawn preschools the attention and resources that Jumpstart staff brings to each Jumpstart session.

Carrie Harris, Tutor-Mentor Indy Summit
Carrie Harris is native Indiana Hoosier, born and raised in Indianapolis, attending the IPS schools, and graduating from Crispus Attucks. She was a part of the desegregation ordered by Judge H. Hue Dillon for the IPS school system in 1973.   Mrs. Harris was a member of the Crispus Attucks final four volleyball team.   The team made some volleyball history in Indianapolis.  She is an alumni member of the first students selected to be a part of the Center for Leadership Development.  She enjoyed attending programs, as a young person, at the Fall Creek YMCA where she was given the opportunities to learn to swim, learn about Kwanza, learned to African Dance and other life skills that make her the person she is today.

Carrie Harris is married to Nathan Harris, an Indianapolis Hoosier, born and raised in Indianapolis, attending the IPS schools and an Arsenal Tech graduate.  They have four children and four grandchildren. Mrs. Harris attended Purdue University, majoring in Biology but finishing at IUPUI in the school of Continuing Studies- majoring in Supervision.  She then went back to school, after raising and education her own children – to complete her Masters Degree in Education. 

Currently, Mrs. Harris works at the Indiana University School of Medicine in the Division of Diversity Affairs as the Coordinator of Diversity Outreach Comprehensive Science (DOCS) Initiative and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Pre-College Programs. 

Mrs. Harris has works in various other areas:  She has been the Cub Scout Master for Pack 25, at Barnes United Methodist Church, organizer of the Youth Groups for Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. , Iota Zeta Chapter and their Youth Scholarship Step Show, a Girl Scout Leader, and youth leader/teacher at 25th Street Baptist Church. 

Currently, she is the President of Fox Hill Estate Homeowners Association, organizer of the Tutor Mentor Summit Indy with her husband, working with the 100 Black Men on their new 4th Grade Mentoring Program, Crispus Attucks National Alumni Association Chair of the Brick Campaign and an active member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., a charter member of the chapter at Purdue, for 31 years.   She has sit on a number of community committees and enjoys all the opportunities given her by God to share the experiences and gifts he has been given.  “To whom much is given much is required”. She is currently a member of 25th Street Baptist Church – where the Rev. Charles Ellis, Jr. is the Pastor. 

Mrs. Harris believes that we must give back so that everyone has an opportunity to LIVE. “There were so many people who gave to me I must do all I can to give to others.” 

Ivory Harris, The Black Star Project
Ivory Harris has been Director of Mentoring of and College Bound Programming for The Black Star Project since 2009.

Mr. Harris was born and Raised in Chicago and Graduated from Jesse A. Spalding High School on the West-side of Chicago. He is a recipient of the Chicago Scholars and Pilchard Foundation scholarships and graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a B.A. in Speech Communications.

Mr. Harris was Secretary for Delta Sigma Omicron (Student Organization at the University of Illinois- Urbana-Champaign) and Letter winner for being a 4 –year member of the University of Illinois Wheelchair basketball team.  He is the recipient of the Bill A. Stewart “Pass the Baton” Award- Given to an individual that demonstrates spirit, courage, and concern for others.  Mr. Harris graduated from the Illinois Center for Broadcasting with a diploma in Radio and TV Broadcasting and is the recipient of the Appreciation of service award from a Charles Houston High School

Nathan Harris, Tutor-Mentor Indy Summit
Lifelong native of Indianapolis. Married to his, love, better half, and supporter: Carrie L Harris. They have 4 kids, and 3 grandkids.

Nate was raised with 9 brothers and sisters and lived in poor neighborhoods throughout his youth. He attended public schools 37, 45, 29, and 56 before attending Arsenal Tech High school. I did not become serious about college until I participated in the Upward Bound Program while in high school. Following high school I attended Purdue where I earned an Associates in Applied Science and a Bachelor’s of Science degree. Following Purdue I worked for the Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) Company for 20 years. While at IPL I earned my MBA at Anderson University. Following IPL I worked at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis IUPUI in my dream job as Director of Upward Bound for about 9 years. These 9 years of intense teenaged residential programming was rewarding but it limited my ability to continue to pursue my passion of serving a greater number of low-income youth.  While at IUPUI I completed the majority of my PhD program which I hope to finalize in June of 2013. My doctoral topic is based on educating educators and policymakers about the needs of low income students. Within the education arena I have observed that there exist many individuals that possess the ability to clearly articulate the theoretic solutions along with the problems of low-income students. Yet, few commit to providing real services to low-income families that help them to eliminate their problems. For example: It is known that low income parents need to participate more in their child’s education, but few enter their homes and mentor the parents and offer to represent them needed.   

“I began baby-sitting siblings when I was seven years old. If baby-sitting can be defined as a form of supervision/mentoring, then I’ve been doing this on and off for almost 50 years”

Jordan Hestermann, Founder/Executive Director, Becoming We The People
Jordan Hestermann is the Founder and Executive Director of Becoming We The People, a non-profit organization working toward ending poverty as a means of realizing equality through several initiatives. She received her bachelor's degree in management and marketing from DePaul University and will receive her MBA from California State University in December. She leads workshops and seminars regularly on leadership, networking, business-related topics, communication, poverty, racism, and more.

Sarah Karp - Deputy Editor Catalyst Newspaper
She joined the staff in 2006 after writing for five years for Catalyst's sister publication, The Chicago Reporter, where she covered children and family issues. Before that, Karp was project director at Youth Communication, which publishes New Expression, a newspaper written by and for teenagers. She also has reported for the Daily Southtown and the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her beats are high schools, special education, elementary school core instruction, desegregation, health and social services and children of the incarcerated.

Joel Newman, Director of Community Partnerships, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mississippi Valley
Joel Newman is currently serving as Director of Community Partnerships for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley. In this position, he is in charge of all volunteer recruitment, corporate and community relations and fund development within a three-county territory surrounding the Quad Cities.

Joycella Omerey, Park Manor School
Ms Omerey is a retired teacher and counselor on both the high School and elementary school levels. Upon retirement she decided to continue her service to young people by joining the PMAA. She has been a part of the PMAA for the past six years and is now the President.  The PMAA mission is to promote and foster a spirit of excellence through our service as ambassadors for the students, the principal, the school and the community, providing wisdom, experience, stewardship, mentoring, and networking opportunities.

Olivia Perlow- PIC Teaching Collective

Marcia Rothenberg, Illinois Single-Payer Coalition

Xavier Salvado, Director of Youth Services, Gads Hill Center
Gads Hill Center has been working with children, youth and families for 114 years. The agency has become a reference in providing both school and community-based mentoring services to at-risk youth in Chicago's southwest communities. Using the Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets framework, Building Leaders and New Horizons programs provide comprehensive mentoring and advocacy services to at-risk middle and high school students from Pilsen and Brighton Park neighborhoods.

Xavier Salvado, Director of Youth Services, oversees all Gads Hill after school programming. Mr. Salvado has ten years of experience working in education with the US Latino community. He holds a Masters in Public Policy from The University of Chicago and believes that, given the right opportunities, all children have the potential to succeed.

Patrick Smith, Program Director, Future Founders
Patrick Smith is Program Director, Future Founders for the Future Founders Foundation. In this role, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations, logistics, social media and marketing for the Future Founders program. He manages all program activities including our annual kickoff event, in-class mentoring sessions, field trips to various companies, business plan competitions, our summer entrepreneurship camp and student alumni activities.
He also oversees the recruitment and retention of volunteers and collaborates with teachers and program partners on creating strategies to effectively help students build and present their business plans.
Prior to joining the Future Founders Foundation, Patrick served as Program Coordinator, Future Founders at the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC). In this role, Patrick also assisted with CEC marketing and operations, client services and event coordination. Additionally, Patrick is involved with the operations of the annual Smart Bet Charity Poker Tournament and regularly volunteers at Chicago Lights Tutoring Services.
Patrick graduated from DePaul University in Chicago where he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Marketing. He was also a student athlete on the track and field team.

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