Home Conferences and OnLine Forums Previous Conferences Speakers for Nov. 2013 Conference
Speakers for Nov. 2013 Conference

Below is a list of speakers who were part of the November 4, 2013 Conference at  the Metcalfe Federal Building, 77 W. Jackson Blvd, in Chicago.

Thank you all for volunteering your time and talent!

All of the speakers 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 conference focuses on Chicago, we encourage people from other cities to attend and share your ideas, while borrowing from what we're doing and applying it in your own community.


Workshop and Panel Participants

Jeremy Barahona, Student Relations Coordinator, Pursue Scholars
Workshop topic:
Reaching out to Religious Groups
Jeremy was born in New York but he grew up in South Florida. Being that his father and mother were heavily involved in the arts and in music, he aspired to make music a career after graduating high school. However, after an experience during his senior year, he felt a different calling on his life. This led him to attend the Moody Bible Institute in the fall of 2008, and he graduated in 2011 with a degree in Historical Theology.

Prior to working for PURSUE Scholars, Jeremy served at Urban Youth Impact in West Palm Beach, FL and other youth ministries in Chicago. Through these various ministries he was able to gain experience working with high school and college students.  Currently, he lives in the Humboldt Park neighborhood in Chicago's Northwest Side. In Humboldt Park he attends Good News Bible Church and serves in the youth ministry. Also, he enjoys rooting for the New York Knicks in the midst of Chicago Bulls fans.

PURSUE Scholars holistically (spiritually, socially, and financially) supports emerging urban Christian leaders in pursuit of higher education.

Daniel F. Bassill, President, Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC
Workshop topic: Mapping and visualization. Opportunities for youth in service-learning. 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

Van Bensett, Project Director, Life Directions
Workshop topic: Service-learning Projects for Common Good. 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.

Brandon Bodor, Executive Director, Serve Illinois Commission
Brandon T. Bodor was appointed by Governor Pat Quinn as Executive Director of the Serve Illinois Commission on May 17, 2012. Brandon brings with him a strong record of service. 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. He is the recipient of two Bronze Star Medals, the Combat Action Badge, and is a graduate of both the U.S. Army Ranger and Parachute schools.

Brandon 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. Brandon still serves as a Military Intelligence officer in the Army Reserves 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, Founder, Marketplace Ministries, Inc,
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 a
Freelance Writer, Author, life Coach. Also Presiding Assistant Bishop, Light of Illinois Diocese-An affiliate of COGIC, International.

Willie Cole, The Community Development Collaborative
Workshop topic: How to effectively use social media.
Willie Cole brings experience from the media, philanthropic and education arenas. Her specialties include education and youth leadership, organizational development and journalism.

Marilyn R. Danos, BA. Behavioral Sciences and MS Counseling.
Workshop topic:  Tips for Training Tutors and Mentors
Marilyn Danos has 10 years experience serving as aTutor and Mentor for at risk youth with behavioral issues.

Mark Duhon,
Executive Director, Highsight
Mark has spent almost two decades coaching students to colleges across the country.  In just the past four years, his organization has coached 100 students to be awarded more than $12,000,000 in scholarship and grants they are using at their respective schools.

Kathy Engelken, Executive Director, Illinois Campus Compact,  http://www.illinoiscampuscompact.org
Workshop topic: Engaging college students in service learning and leadership strategies based on Tutor/Mentor Connection model.

Kathy Engelken has been Executive Director of Illinois Campus Compact since 2000. ILCC is located at the Loop campus of DePaul University. Forty-one IL colleges and universities are members. Kathy travels the state to consult with and support ILCC member campuses, assists partner organizations and grantees to develop service and civic engagement initiatives. She serves on the Serve Illinois Commission, the State Service Learning Advisory Board, the Pearson Service Learning Advisory Board, the IL Civic Mission Coalition to support P-16 service learning and the Intergenerational Initiative. Kathy also served on the Cities of Service Leadership Council for the Mayor’s Office in Chicago.  During her 9-year tenure at Rockford College, she was instrumental in developing the service learning and civic engagement program. She brings  a teaching, ministry , community and college administration background to the Campus Compact Mission of Engaging Citizens and Building Communities.

Her Ministry and Education background includes teaching Junior High and High School English 7 years; Youth Ministry  12 years; Trainer for Youth Ministers  5 years; Campus Ministry  7 years; College Adjunct Professor  4 years.  At Rockford College Kathy served as Dean of Students  2 years and Vice President for Student Affairs for  5 years. She created ways to Connect Community  Partners to students with every position held.

Kathy holds a BA in English Education from the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA  and an   MA in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Kelly Fair, Founder/Executive Director, Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program
Workshop topic: Panel Discussion- Challenges facing Executive Directors as they start programs each school year.
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.

Riza Falk, Digital Media Coordinator, Youth Options Unlimited, Erie Neighborhood House
Workshop topic: Engaging youth in "News Literacy" - example of work being done at Erie Neighborhood House
Riza Falk holds a Master's degree in Photojournalism from UT-Austin and, after working for a variety of newspapers, currently teaches photography, journalism and multimedia to teens at Erie House. She also coordinates Erie's You Decide! News Literacy initiative.

Jeffrey Green, Assistant Coordinator, Mars Hill Youth Mentoring Program
Jeffrey Green is the Assistant Coordinator of the Mars Hill Youth Mentoring Program, and is currently a Grad student at DePaul University (Secondary Education)

Guillermo Gutierrez, Urban Involvement Coordinator, Urban Youth Worker
Workshop topic: Mentoring Urban Youth
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.

Jordan Hestermann, Founder/Executive Director, Becoming We The People
Workshop topic: Open discussion during mid-day. How can conference and networking help you in your efforts?
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.

Kahina Holmes, Marketing Specialist
Workshop Topic: How to effectively use social media
Kahina Holmes is an up-and-coming marketing specialist who wants to share her knowledge of marketing to help nonprofit managers fulfill their organization’s goals and mission.

L. Brian Jenkins, the Founder and CEO of StartingUp Now
Workshop topic: StartingUp Now - Teach Students to Launch Their Own Business!

StartingUp Now is a Chicago-based business development company focused on providing solution based business planning tools and resources for new startups. Brian is the author of StartingUp Now: 24 Steps to Launch Your Own Business along with the development of the StartingUp Now Skillcenter, a content and social networking platform, providing members access to their business plan and growth resources in 64 languages.  Brian also operates a nonprofit, Entrenuity, that provides entrepreneurial training and resources to under resourced urban students. Under Brian's leadership, Entrenuity-trained student businesses have generated $350,000 in combined gross sales, trained over 700 adult instructors nationally and internationally, and generated over $2.8 million in organizational revenue since Entrenuity's inception in 2000.He is a graduate of the University of Iowa with dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Religion; additionally, he earned his Masters of Arts in Theology from Wheaton College Graduate School.

Channing Lennert, Working in the Schools
Workshop Topic:  Best Practices in Program Delivery and Evaluation
Channing graduated with a BA in political science from California State University Channel Islands and is currently working on his MS in nonprofit management at the Spertus Institute.  Channing served two years with City Year Chicago. Channing also tutored 6-8th grade students in social studies and coached wrestling at the Johnson School of Excellence in the North Lawndale Community. Channing has planned and organized corporate service events as a service leader on the Civic Engagement Team in year two.  Channing is very passionate about inner-city youth development and community engagement.  Channing has worked at WITS since June, 2013.

Kathryn McCabe, Executive Director, Cluster Tutoring, www.clustertutoring.org
Workshop topic: Panel Discussion- Challenges facing Executive Directors as they start programs each school year.
Kathryn McCabe has been with Cluster since January 2001. Prior to that, she was a volunteer tutor and advisory board chair for more than a decade at the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago.  She has an MBA from the University of Chicago and BA in economics from Butler University.

Fernando Moreno, Special Projects 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 students, teachers and personnel from different schools, as well as for different universities and organizations across Chicago and neighboring states. Fernando serves on the board of the Jesus Guadalupe Foundation providing scholarships to youth in Illinois. He currently functions as the Manager of 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.

Melody Moy
Hosting Connections Cafe from Noon to 1:30pm
Melody Moy is a dynamic speaker and facilitator with expertise in leading business, organization and personal transformation. She is passionate about working with organizations that serve youth, and about helping kids develop confidence and direction. With a unique background as an educator, training expert, certified coach and business leader, she has extensive experience developing and delivering programs and serving as a strategic advisor to help organizations set direction and achieve results.

Cheryl Howard-Neal, Director of Programs and Partnerships, Illinois Mentoring Partnership
Workshop topic: Using "Elements of Effective Practice" Checklist in program development
Cheryl comes to the Illinois Mentoring Partnership with more than 20 years of service in the non-profit sector working with mentoring programs and volunteers.  Most recently, Cheryl worked at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago (BBBSMC) for five years holding various positions including Director of Community Based Programs and Program Support Specialist. Prior to BBBSMC, Cheryl served as Director of Mentor and Volunteer Services for Chicago Youth Centers.

Cheryl also lived in Houston for five years and worked at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Texas where she managed both Community and Site-Based programs. She has additionally served as a trainer and consultant to Prevention First in Illinois and Mentor TEXAS! in Houston.

Cheryl is a native of Chicago. She graduated from DePaul University where she obtained a BA in Political Science with a minor in Communications.

Brenda Palm, Executive Director, Working in the Schools (WITS), http://www.witschicago.org/
Workshop topic: Panel Discussion- Challenges facing Executive Directors as they start programs each school year.
Brenda Palm serves as Executive Director at Working in the Schools (WITS). Brenda joined WITS after serving as Executive Director of Parkways Foundation for more than seven years and as a consultant to Chicago Allies for Youth Success and the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance. Brenda launched her career as a nonprofit development professional and executive with the Chicago Humanities Festival. She has a BA from Wheaton College (Illinois) and a MA in English specializing in fiction writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Brenda's life-long love of reading and training in literary criticism drives her passion for furthering the impact of WITS.

JP Paulus, President, Do-Gooder Consulting
Workshop Topic: Reaching out to Religious Groups
JP Paulus - President of Do-Gooder Consulting, JP Paulus has had 2 decades of experience working with churches, non-profits and community groups. Through the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, he received intense training in the areas of College Access & Outreach and Financial Aid.

In his work with Uptown Baptist Church, Urban Youth Network and YouthPartnersNet, he has helped connect ministries throughout Chicagoland. He currently lives on the South Side of Chicago with his wife and daughter.  JP is a regular contributor of The Sixth Ward blog, a non-partisan blog covering the community of Chatham and surrounding neighborhoods. www.TheSixthWard.us

Do-Consulting Consulting provides for churches, nonprofits and small businesses in the areas of college access, youth ministry, community outreach, administration and other unique specialties.

Yenia Salgado, Youth Options Unlimited, Erie Neighborhood House
Yenia Salgado is a graduate of Prosser Career Academy and Erie House's TEAM program, and currently studies nursing at UIC. She has been involved with Erie's News Literacy project since its inception in April 2013.

Kristen Strobbe, Working in the Schools
Workshop Topic:  Best Practices in Program Delivery and Evaluation
Kristen is a 2009 graduate of Roosevelt University. After leaving Roosevelt with a BA in Journalism she served two years with City Year Chicago as an Americorps volunteer. During her time with City Year, Kristen tutored and mentored students at an elementary school in the Englewood neighborhood. It was there Kristen realized she liked helping students succeed, so she moved on to working with the Academy of Urban School Leadership as a fulltime math tutor at a school in Humboldt Park.  Kristen has worked at WITS since August, 2013.

Frank Walker, Program Coordinator, Mars Hill Baptist Church Mentoring Program
Workshop Topic: Starting a New Faith Based Urban Mentoring Program in Austin area of Chicago

Frank Walker is the Coordinator of the Mars Hill Youth Mentoring Program and a national youth leadership and development consultant for the past 10 years.

Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, c/o Merchandise Mart PO Box 3303, Chicago, Il. 60654 Phone. Skype #dbassill; FAX 312-787-7713; email: tutormentor2@earthlink.net | Powered by OpenSource!