June 2013 conference speakers


Thank you to all speakers and workshop presenters who were part of the June 7th Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking conference.

The spring 2013 conference was held at the Metcalfe Federal Building, 77 W. Jackson Blvd, Chicago, Il.
If you would like to present a workshop or submit handouts, 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 40 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 ; and http://tutormentor.blogspot.com

arie Beasley, Graduate Student, Morgan State University
Workshop topic: Impacting Academic Achievement by Building Scholastic Long-Term Learners
Marie E. Beasley is a doctoral student at Morgan State University's Department of Urban Educational Advanced Studies Leadership and Policy. In brief, my dissertation research focuses on understanding mentor/mentee relationship and its impact on academic achievement. I currently intern for a non-profit organization that works to reduce risk factors and increase opportunities for youth.   My sincere passion for young students has fostered my commitment to become involved in researching various intervention programs that support at-risk students.

Jillayne Benjamin, Program Manager, Working in the Schools (WITS)
Workshop topic: Building Strong Programs: How to Leverage Evaluation to Strengthen Program Practices
Jillayne Benjamin holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and minor in Spanish from the University of Arizona. In 2007, Jillayne completed her Master's Degree in Child Development from Erikson Institute. Jillayne has over 10 years of experience working with children and their families in various settings. She has taught 2nd and 3rd grade, preschool, and lead various after-school programs. Jillayne also completed a yearlong internship at Children's Memorial Hospital where she coordinated the education of patients ranging from 3-18 years old. Most recently, she was the Program Director at Common Threads, a non-profit organization that teaches children and families about nutrition and culture through cooking.

Brandon Bodor, Executive Director, ServeIllinois Commission on Volunteering and Community Service
Workshop topic: Intelligence Gathering-Network Building
Brandon T. Bodor was appointed by Governor Pat Quinn as Executive Director of the Serve Illinois Commission on May 17, 2012. He is coming off of a distinguished military career in the United States Army, which included combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan between 2005 and 2012. Bodor is the recipient of two Bronze Star Medals, the Combat Action Badge, and is a graduate of both U.S. Army Ranger and Parachute schools.  Bodor graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2005, finishing in the top 3% of his class. At West Point, he served as Class Treasurer, was the Director of both the Special Olympics and Big Brothers Big Sisters programs, and spent a summer working on HIV/AIDS awareness initiatives in a village in the southern African country of Lesotho.  He continues to serve as an Army Reservist out of Fort Sheridan, Illinois, and is currently completing his MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He resides with his wife and two sons in Chicago.

Steve Braxton
, Bishop, Light of Illinois Diocese
Workshop topic:
Stopping The Violence: The embodiment of core values and keys components that must be employed and embraced
Rev. Braxton is a faith leader, mentor, coach, youth counselor and crisis intervention professional.  He is also an advisor, Restorative Criminal Justice Facilitator, moderator and presenter.


Samuel Carter, Concordia College, former student of the FunDay School Tutoring Program
Morning Keynote Speaker
Samuel is a former student of the FunDay School tutoring program.  He is now entering my sophomore year at Concordia College where he is on the football team. He says, "My years at FunDay helped to prepare me to go to Concordia and maintain good grades while playing on the team."

Daniel Cotter, Vice President, General Counsel &  Secretary, Fidelity Life Association, Chair of the Executive Committee of Layers Lend  A Hand to Youth
Workshop topic:
Mobilizing Business and Professional Volunteers
Daniel Cotter is a founding Member of Korey Cotter Heather & Richardson, LLC, a full-service law firm serving business needs.  Dan is Chair of Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth and is Treasurer of the Chicago Bar Association.  He provides services to many startups, small businesses and non-profits and counsels them on various aspects of their businesses.  He is a frequent lecturer and writer on various topics. Daniel Cotter recently returned to the practice of law inhouse at Fidelity Life Association, where he is Vice President, General Counsel &  Secretary.

Kelly Fair, Founder/Executive Director, Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program
Workshop topic: Panel Discussion-How to Build Collaborative Support from Business and Professionals
Literacy advocate and mentor, Kelly Fair, founded Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program in 2009.   An active member in her community, Kelly’s passion for youth and female-specific enrichment programs inspired her to consult for several other non-profit organizations as an educational consultant and trainer in addition to Polished Pebbles.

Kelly’s current and previous board memberships include Bronzeville Community Action Council, Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League, Chicago Women in Publishing, the International Reading Association, the Advocacy Council of Women Employed, Inc., and the Christ Universal Temple Board of Directors. She continues to support organizations where she can collaborate with others interested in community improvement and literacy. She recently received recognition from Verizon Wireless’ Everyday Heroes initiative for her service in the community. But she wasn’t always in the non-profit business.  Prior to working in the non-profit sector, Kelly implemented literacy programs, performed research studies training and designed curriculum for various college prep programs.  While working for McGraw-Hill, Kelly’s roles included management of national marketing for literacy products and oversight of research studies.   That professional experience helped to inspire her transition to the non-profit world and to launch Polished Pebbles.

Kelly graduated from Howard University with a degree in Speech Pathology minoring in Psychology and completed her master’s degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology at the University of Iowa.  She uses her educational background to instill effective communication skills via the Polished Pebbles S.H.I.N.E. acronym: Smile, Hello, Introduce, Nod your head, End the conversation. You can find more information at www.polishedpebbles.com.

Gary Goldman, Author, Empowering Students to Transform Schools and President, KidzAmerica.net
Workshop topic: Creating Caring and Safe Youth Centered Communities
Gary Goldman holds an M.A. in organization development and is a nationally recognized leader in education reform and youth empowerment for over 25 years. His mission is to empower students and adults as leaders, change agents, and lifelong learners who work collaboratively for building healthy and safe communities. He is the co-author of Empowering Students to Transform Schools. He has worked to build sustainable and healthy communities in Chicago K-12 schools and communities across the nation. Goldman has developed a comprehensive youth-centered community model and is working collaboratively on a national Education Empowerment Plan utilizing the power of innovative and sustainable youth/community development. He has been featured in the media including CBS, NBC, ABC, WGN, CNN, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, and has hosted his own weekly Chicago radio show, A Voice for America's Children. He has presented at major conferences including the Illinois Mayor's Conference, National Governor’s Conference, United States Mayors Conference, and the Council of Great City Schools. Mr. Goldman has published articles nationally on his innovative work and has guest lectured overseas and at major universities including Northwestern, DePaul, Loyola and the University of Illinois on educational leadership and reform and student empowerment

Derrick Grace,  President, GRACE Media Group, Film Producers of Award Winning {www.onthefrontlinemovie.com} On The Front Line
Workshop topic: Panel Discussion - Peace Summit ideas
As president of GRACE Media Group, Derek Grace has produced documentaries and promotional videos for the past 20 years. Before pursuing a career in video production, he spent 10 years as a computer programmer and systems engineer with the IBM Corporation. Derek has been passionately involved with, and deeply committed to youth programs for many years. He has produced several video projects that deal with day-to-day issues that teenagers face, but has not produced a video more important and urgent than ON THE FRONTLINE: Taking Back Our Streets.

Derek wants viewers of ON THE FRONTLINE: Taking Back Our Streets to understand that there is something that we all can do to prevent gun violence. He based the entire documentary on the belief that "If we ALL do a little, a LOT can be done".

Rev. Tom-Louis Gray, Sr. CEO, Amazing Nutrition Company
Workshop topic: Panel Discussion-How to Build Collaborative Support from Business and Professionals
Rev Tom-Louis W Gray Sr. is the CEO of Amazing Nutrition Company. He is the founder of this company and has worked exclusively as a Qualified Mental Health Professional within Administrative positions for 25years.  Rev. Gray has authored several books and released several gospel recordings. He began his career as a direct care worker and moved into management, implementing programs for youth of all ethnicities who were placed in the care of the State due to being willfully abandoned, neglected, physically and sexually abused. In addition to direct care, He has been instrumental in providing clinical counseling and therapy for individuals, groups and their families’ that sought solutions to their problems in our society. His career has been built on his ability to take a proactive initiative and recognize areas of procedural and operational improvements when and where needed. His current role as an executive administrator has garnered him many awards in the social services arena. His area of expertise is in leadership management and organizational development. Rev. Tom has years of experience in directing multiple facets within the departments of organizations; in additions to collaborating with other community agencies. His background in social services includes repeated successes of turning lives and poor performing programs within agencies around with the demonstrated ability to motivate others to perpetuate the same spirit of achievement.

Guillermo Gutierrez, Urban Involvement Coordinator, BUILD, INC
Workshop topic: Mentoring Urban Youth
BUILD' Mission is to engage at-Hope youth in the schools and in the streets so they can realize their educational and career potential and contribute to the stability, safety and well being of our community.

As a practitioner of Positive Youth Development Guillermo Gutierrez has been servicing the greater Chicago community providing resources as well as advocating for marginalized youth to create self sustainability paths of success for youth. Through and Asset Based Approach Guillermo has transformed lives with array of youth with challenges from being incarcerated to self esteem challenges.

Terrence Harrington, Executive Director, Helping Others Provide Excellence
Workshop topic: Nonprofit communicators workshop: Web sites and Newsletters that Work
Terrance brings skills from the nonprofit, business and military sector to his services as an executive coach and capacity-building consultant and trainer on a range of topics, including raising funds from individuals, foundations and corporations, board development, organizational development, marketing and strategic planning. In addition to providing consulting services, Terrance develops high-impact training and educational programs focusing on building the effectiveness, capacity and sustainability of nonprofit organizations, and strengthening management and leadership skills of executives and board members.  He has been coaching and consulting for nonprofit organizations for more than 10 years.

Rena Henderson Mason, President, Bold Agenda, www.boldagenda.net
Workshop topic: Building Muscle on your Board - Recruiting, Retention and Evaluation
Rena Henderson Mason leads Bold Agenda, a consulting firm focused on empowering board and staff leaders to embrace change, push bold ideas and build great teams through a range of cycles. Currently, Rena serves on the Arts Alliance Illinois board and brings knowledge of housing and social services through her former board service.  Prior to launching Bold Agenda, Rena spent over 20 years helping scale businesses in the food, commercial real estate, publishing and investment banking industries. Rena has an MBA from Harvard University and Bachelorâ??s in Finance from Georgetown University.   She is a BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer and experienced facilitator.

Jordan Hestermann, Founder/Executive Director, Becoming We The People
Workshop topic: Ten tips to be a More Outstanding Leader
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.

Kevin Hogan, Manager of Development Communications for the Saint Anthony Hospital Foundation
Workshop topic: How Many, How Often, How Well, THEN How Much - Guide for fund raising
Kevin Hogan has worked for the Saint Anthony Hospital Foundation in Little Village returning from teaching English as a Second (and Third) Language to elementary and high school students at a public school in Tapa, Estonia. Before living and working a couple of hours from the Russian border, Kevin was the Manager of Corporate and Foundation Grants for the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. Prior to working for the Y, he was a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Bernard Key, Technologist, Key Link Technologies
Workshop topic: Building Collaborative Support from Business and Professional Associations, panel discussion

Bernard Key, Technology Consultant for Key Link Technologies has been involved in the community and schools for the past 20 years. Key Link Technologies has been involved in the community and schools for the past 20 years. Technologist, Bernard Key recognized the need to implement STEM/STEAM in the inner city schools and suburban communities.

In 2005, National Association of Black Engineers (NSBE) Alumni Chicago Chapter awarded Mr. Key for his robotic after school enrichment programs and community commitment.  In the 2006, NSBE, “After School Matters” and “Motorola” contracted Mr. Key to organize a US FIRST Robotic Program for “Englewood Technology Preparatory High School”. The first year rookie team finished 13th out of 60 teams and advanced to number two seed in the Midwest Finals. NSBE awarded Bernard “2007 Technologist of the Year” at their National Convention’s”30th Annual Golden Torch Awards”.

He helped organize “Windy City CARES” a mentoring circle city of the National CARES Mentoring movement started and spearheaded by Susan Taylor. In 2009 “The First Black Entrepreneur Inventor Organization” nominated Bernard for the prestigious “Chicago Innovation Award” for his community services, wireless and STEM enrichment programs. In 2012 he was one of the 12 Top Finalists in Senator Mark Kirk sponsored “Top Chicago Entrepreneur”. He was recently awarded “NSBE 2013 Golden Torch Honoree Award” for “Corporate Community Service”.  He mentored his youth “NASCAR Nubian Engineering Ten 80 Student Challenge Racing Team” to place 3rd in NASCAR NSBE Ten 80 National Competition.

Dr. Tony Kline, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Elementary Education, Ball State University
Workshop topic: The Two Year Waits: Today's Crisis in Male Mentoring
Tony Kline, Ph.D. is an assistant professor for the Department of Elementary Education at Ball State University, where he teaches courses focusing on pre-service teacher training, social justice, and practicum instruction.  Tony has founded and now directs two immersive learning programs that serve the educational needs of local and international communities.  Tony was recently identified by Phi Delta Kappa International as an Emerging Leader, an honor recognizing top educators under 40 from around the world for their leadership.  In 2012, Ball State named him the university's recipient of the Excellence in Teaching award. 

Deida Massey from Reel Beauty
Workshop topic: Panel Discussion-How to Build Collaborative Support from Business and Professionals
Prior to pursuing her dream of being a makeup artist in the beauty, fashion, music and entertainment industry, Deida obtained a Master’s of Jurisprudence from Loyola School of Law in Child and Family Law. While in school, Deida worked as a paralegal for the Cook County Public Guardian’s Office in Chicago, Illinois.During the day she advocated for abused and neglected children as a paralegal, but her love for makeup led her to moonlight as a makeup artist at night and on the weekends. In fact, it didn’t take her long to trade in her cushy, nine-to-five job for a more creative and rewarding career in makeup artistry. She took a courageous leap of faith, left the Windy City and moved to Los Angeles, CA in 2002. In 2004, Deida’s vision to create Reel Beauty manifested while living in LA. She then decided to bridge the gap between her love and passion for makeup artistry and helping young women. Today Deida Massey is the Founder and Executive Director of Reel Beauty, Inc – an organization that assists at risk urban girls. “We teach them to value themselves and empower them with self worth, self-esteem and self confidence so they will be productive citizens within their environment. We do that by offering 10 activity-based workshops designed to help these young women resolve the problems they struggle with day to day.” Deida realized how detrimental the messages in today’s music, culture and media portrayal were. “I wanted to do something to combat all the negativity.”

Deanna McCleary of TrueStar Media and Foundation
Workshop topic: Panel Discussion-How to Build Collaborative Support from Business and Professionals
DeAnna M. McLeary, executive director of True Star Foundation and co-founder of True Star Magazine oversees the publishing duties of the magazine. A publication geared to giving a voice to urban youth, True Star fit within one of her lifetime goals -- educating and empowering urban youth.

McLeary's prior work experience crosses several industries including investment banking with JP Morgan Chase, global corporate finance with Arthur Andersen, manufacturing finance with DaimlerChrysler, management consulting with Accenture Ltd, and advertising sales with Essence Magazine. Much of her spare time is spent mentoring teenagers through the National Black MBA Association, where she is an active member. And she often gives back to the community by participating in workshops and seminars, primarily sharing her business knowledge and motivating young people. In addition, McLeary is a much sought after speaker for young people. She has been the keynote speaker for the 2005 Youth Conference, National Black MBA Leaders of Tomorrow Conference, and countless other schools and community centers.

Having worked with leading corporate entities and youth programming, McLeary understands what is required for long-term success in each field. Her current work undoubtedly serves as a testament to her vision to improve the urban community and change the lives of young people who live within it.  McLeary graduated magna cum laude from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), earning a bachelor's of science degree and a master's in business administration with a concentration in both marketing and finance.

Shanna McLeod, Program Evaluation Manager, Working in the Schools
Workshop topic: Building Strong Programs: How to Leverage Evaluation to Strengthen Program Practices
Shaunna MacLeod holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto and a Master's Degree in Education (Reading Research) from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Shaunna has over 10 years of experience in program evaluation and research design.  She has been involved with multiple university-level research projects, focused on reading and writing development, as well as an investigation into the ways in which students critically examine information while engaging in online reading.  At WITS, Shaunna continually strives to strengthen our evaluation process through a mixed-method approach which involves collecting data from multiple stake-holders.  Shaunna considers herself a life-long volunteer, and volunteers weekly with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Sheila Merry, Executive Director, Illinois Mentoring Partnership
Workshop topic: Enhancing the Infrastructure:  Collective Impact through Volunteerism and Mentor Connector Organizations
Sheila M. Merry has over 20 years of executive leadership experience in the nonprofit sector.  Before joining the Illinois Mentoring Partnership, Ms. Merry served as Executive Director of the Jane Addams Juvenile Court Foundation spearheading juvenile court reform. Ms. Merry has substantial experience directing specialized foster and residential care programs and has served as a senior researcher at the Chapin Hall Center for Children.  In addition to creating a Special Big Brother Big Sister Program serving developmentally disabled state wards, she has been a mentor herself for most of the last 25 years.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Policy from Northwestern University and a Masters in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.

Fernando Moreno, Leadership Development Coordinator, BUILD, INC
Workshop topic: Mentoring Urban Youth
Fernando has been involved in youth development since 1999. He provides training, lectures, and sessions on team-building, social/community topics, and leadership development to teachers and personnel from different schools, as well as for different universities and organizations across Chicago and neighboring states. He holds certifications for Advanced Youth Development and Youth Practitioner from Chicago Area Project.  Fernando has served as a facilitator for the ENLACE Futures Leaders Camp providing team building activities and mentoring to 8th and 9th grade CPS students. He has also served as a tutor and mentor in the Chicago Gear Up Alliance for 7th to 12th grade students. He currently functions as the Administrative Coordinator for the Community Violence Prevention Program at Logan Square, Coordinator of the Exelon/United Way Stay In School Initiative and Y-MAD’s lead staff, amongst other projects.

Debra Natenshon, CEO, The Center for What Works at The Rensselaerville Institute
Workshop Topic: “Understanding your funders:  Are they grant-makers or investors?
Debra B. Natenshon is the CEO for The Center for What Works. She is an influential leader in the field of outcome-based thinking and practical management. Ms. Natenshon successfully re-launched The Center for What Works™ strategy and infrastructure and led all efforts until March 2011, when she and WhatWorks joined forces with the outcome practice of The Rensselaerville Institute.

Together with the Urban Institute, she completed ground-breaking research to develop outcome frameworks that are currently used by a wide spectrum of foundations and nonprofit organizations. She bridges research with practice in highly effective engagements across the social sector. She is a member of the Alliance for Effective Social Investing and has advised many leading organizations, including GuideStar, FSG Social Impact Advisors and McKinsey.

Ms. Natenshon founded the Chicago chapter of Net Impact, a global network of leaders changing the world through business. She holds a masters degree in organizational management from the SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont.

Rev. Mitchell Sholar, Executive Director, City Harvest Headstart Outreach Ministry
Workshop Topic: Expanding Social Capital - Neighborhood Network Building

Mr. Mitchell Sholar, founder and CEO of City Harvest Headstart Outreach Ministry provides the North Lawndale Community with workshops that are both beneficial to ex-felons and their children as well as youth in the community.  Lessons are taught understanding that everyone represents the social capital of their community and that change comes from residents. While outside influence can only help the community by scratching the surface, those who live within a community are the true vessels of change. As the director of CHHOM, Mr. Sholar's first involvement in N. Lawndale was the result of being a mentor to youth within the community through the mentorship program provide by Dr. Betty Allen-Green Executive Director of Chicago-Lawndale AMACHI Mentoring Program. His devotion and dedication to the youth in the community lead him to become appointed by Dr. Allen-Green as a lead coordinator for the Chicago-Lawndale Amachi Agency chosen to help resolve the problem of violence within the community by implementing a program called the NRI (Neighborhood Recovery Initiative) employing youth from within the community to provide positive messages through their outreach activities funded and approved to reduce the negative impact of violence through educating the community with literature of positive messages, and conversations by youth involved from agency.

Mr. Sholar and CHHOM has also worked closely with schools in the neighborhood, and during the summer presented The Penguin Project at Chalmers Elementary School. Principal Dr. Nolan opened up the gym and allowed CHHOM's volunteers access to several students who were on the 'cusp' and needed an outlet, and place where they could be safe in a non-threatening, entertaining environment. The Penguin Project recognizes the lack of intensive nurturing experiences some children face, and the constant violence they are bombarded with outside, and provided - through games, projects and positive reinforcement exercises - an environment that challenged the youth to work cooperatively, ask questions, and feel the pride that comes from completing fun projects in a lovingly controlled environment, at the school where they were already comfortable.


Jacquita Smith, Founder/Director, Seeds of Success Youth Development Project

Workshop Topic: Strengthening The "Linked In" Your Change: Using Social Media to Improve Organizational Capacity
acquita earned a B.A. in Journalism and a B.A. in Geography/Urban Planning from The University of Alabama before pursuing graduate studies in Urban Policy Studies/Non-profit Management from the Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University. She considers herself a "professional volunteer" who is dedicated to empowering youth, mentoring other mentors, and increasing the organizational capacity of small nonprofits.  Having lived in the South her entire life, Jacquita decided to move from Atlanta, GA, in 2010 to get a taste of Chicago.

Sue Sowle, Director, Youth Enrichment and Initiatives, McGaw YMCA, Evanston, IL
Workshop Topic: Volunteer Recruitment and Screening
Sue Sowle is Senior Director of Youth Initiatives and Enrichment at the McGaw YMCA in Evanston.  Sue is a licensed clinical social worker with 15 years of experience 11 of which have been in the mentoring field.  Sue is an Evanstonian who is happily married and the mother of two boys ages 22 and 15.

Rev. T.W. (Rev. Terry Weston)  from TW’s Ministry
Workshop topic: Panel Discussion - Peace Summit ideas
Rev. T.W has more than a decade of ministry and engineering experience.That allows TW’s Ministry to integrate engineering and ministry principles to develop programs that address real community problems from a Faith Based Initiatives perspective.  TW’s Ministry, faith based initiative principal, is to commit to God’s Church, Congregation, Constituent and Community, as well as to all who are served by them.

Reverend Terry Weston, a native of the Chicago Suburban Village of Maywood, Illinois was raised by a single mother with Mississippi values and Spiritual beliefs. TW’s overcame many of the obstacles that face the children, youth and young adults of today, including growing up poor, in poverty and in a polluted gang and drug infested area.

TW’s Ministry assisted local agencies in community-based gang prevention and community-based children, youth and young adult self development programs from 1994 to 1997.  TW’s Ministry is partnering {1997 to present} with agencies (churches, congressional, counties, educational, foundations, and organizations) on Faith Based Initiative community programs.


Maxine Williams,  Coordinator for the FunDay School tutoring program that was operated by SunRise Missionary Baptist Church from about 2003 to 2008. Morning Keynote Speaker
Maxine Williams is a woman with a passion for pushing youth to achieve positive possibilities.  She has volunteered with Literacy Volunteers of America, The Blue Gargoyle Adult Literacy Program and the Smart Club which was run by the Chicago Youth Centers at the old Cabrini-Green housing project.  Most recently, Maxine was the coordinator for the FunDay School tutoring program at the Sun Rise Missionary Baptist Church.   Maxine is also a career federal employee who is within a year of retirement as a policy and systems analyst at the US Railroad Retirement Board.  Her Christian heart and analytical background have given her the desire to want to help youth and the ability to effectively communicate with them.  Maxine is considering volunteering with the T/M Connection when she retires.

Rafael Yanez, School Visitation Team, Special Activities Section, Chicago Police Department.
founder and President of UNION Impact Center
Workshop topic:
Mentoring Programs in High Crime Areas: An Observation of Mentoring Programs in Chicago’s Englewood Neighborhood
Mr. Rafael Yañez is not only the founder and President of UNION Impact Center, he is also a Chicago Police Officer.   In 2003, Yanez was working as a security guard when he found himself standing at a crime scene where a neighborhood kid had been shot dead. The experience made a powerful impression on him, and he decided he wanted to do more to help children in his Back of the Yards neighborhood. Yanez joined the Chicago Police Department a year later and was assigned to the Englewood neighborhood. Later, he worked in a gang unit. Since 2007, he has coordinated the police youth-mentoring programs in Englewood. In 2009, Yanez founded the anti-violence organization Union Impact Center in Back of the Yards. The nonprofit group offers after-school programs in a local church for more than 200 kids ages 7 to 18. The kids drop by in the evening to play soccer, learn to dance, play the guitar or take art and computer classes.

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