May 2014 Conference Speakers

Below is a list of speakers who have volunteered to be part of the May 19, 2014 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

Betty J. Allen-Green, Ed.D. , Founder and Executive Director, Chicago - Lawndale AMACHI Mentoring Program (LAMP)
Workshop Topic: Mentor to Greatness
Dr. Betty J. Allen-Green served as a Chicago Public Schools Educator for over 35 years.  She began her career as a teacher, worked as a counselor, assistant principal and 18 years as Principal of a North Lawndale School.  Upon retiring from Chicago Public Schools, Dr. Green founded the Lawndale AMACHI Mentoring Program (LAMP), a program that provides mentors to the children in North Lawndale.  The impetus for LAMP came from day-to-day contact with children who needed positive role models in their lives.

LAMP’s mission is to provide mentoring and support services to children who are impacted by incarceration, to improve the life prospect of children and youth by providing a helping relationship, to engage children in cultural enrichment activities designed to break the cycle of generational poverty and incarceration and to develop and enhance leadership skills in youth.

Sonya Acosta, Project YES! AmeriCorps program, Northwestern Settlement
Sonya Acosta moved to Chicago from New Mexico, where she grew up and attended college at the University of New Mexico. She studied International Studies and History and was very active in the campus social justice community through her involvement with Amnesty International. In her senior year, she acted as an advocate for a thirteen year old refugee girl and her family, an experience that inspired her to become involved in education. She loves to read (particularly history books), hike, bake, and encourage and empower others to become advocates for change.

Daniel F. Bassill, D.H.L., 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 ; and Connect on Twitter @tutormentorteam

Jacqueline Barnes, Founder of Seed of Hope Foundation and Jacqueline Barnes Ministries.
Workshop topic: Volunteer Recruitment: Who Represents You In The Community Matters
Jacqueline Barnes has worked over 20 years in the Telecommunications Industry and has spent years developing her leadership skills. She is a professional life coach and received an honorary doctorate in divinity in 2008. Her mantra to herself is, "the proof of desire is pursuit". Born out of her love of writing she started her own Desktop Publishing company called Heart 2 Heart and self-published her first book Growing In Grace.  As a licensed minister, it has always been her mission to inspire and motivate others to fulfill their potential and to pursue their dreams.

Bob Boone and Mark Henry Larson, Glencoe Study Center
Longtime teachers and writers Mark Henry Larson and Bob Boone have collaborated for over thirty years. Along with WRITE THROUGH CHICAGO, they have co-authored two other creative writing books. They have taught an online creative writing course for Northwestern University’s CTD Program and manage a website for teachers ( Larson and Boone also conduct workshops to help teachers incorporate creative writing into their classrooms.

Bob Boone holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin, an MA from Columbia Teacher College, and a PhD from Northwestern University. He began his teaching career in 1964. In 1979, he left the classroom to start the Glencoe Study Center. He founded Young Chicago Authors in 1991. In 2009, he accepted the Coming Up Taller Award at the White House on behalf of YCA. He has written textbooks, a sports biography, a memoir and a collection of short stories.

Mark Henry Larson is an established freelance writer and editor. He earned a BS and MA from Northwestern University.  A former high school teacher and athletics coach, Larson retired from teaching after a 33-year career in 2012. He co-authored the Creative Writing Handbook and is credited with many articles on writing and teaching.

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.  View photo story profile of Bishop Braxton.

Mark J. Carter, founder of ONE80, LLC
Workshop Topic:
Mentoring Myths and Realities: Creating Pivotal Mentoring Opportunities
Mark J. Carter is the founder of ONE80, LLC and the creator of Idea Climbing; a process to help groups create experiences where they gain advice, support and connections from each other and their networks which is based on 15 years of mentoring, research and conversations with some of the most successful people in their fields from CEO’s to multi-platinum artists to NY Times Bestselling authors and more. Follow Mark on Twitter @mjcarter

Adina C.  Cooper, MEd, is a Community Psychology doctoral student at DePaul University.
Workshop Topic:  Evaluation of School Based Mentoring Programs for Underserved  Youth
With formal training in community counseling, Adina C.  Cooper's research interests center on positive youth development and academic achievement for underserved youth. She is interested in evaluating school and community-based programs that aim to promote positive development for youth from urban, low-income communities. Adina is currently working with a team to conduct process evaluations of school-based male mentoring programs in three Chicago Public Schools.

Michael Crotty, Project YES! AmeriCorps program, Northwestern Settlement
Michael Crotty was born and raised in the rainy gray state of Oregon. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s degree in History. His interest in history has taken him across the pond to explore Western Europe, and has inspired him to carry a copy of the U.S. Constitution in his back pocket on a daily basis. However, his lifelong passion has been with the arts. He has been in seven choirs over the last eight years, as well as various a cappella groups, school bands, and rock groups. He has also performed in high school and college theater productions, improv acting troupes, and has worked with directing middle school students. He enjoys working with all ages of children, individual tutoring, and large group activities.

Eric Davis, Executive Director, GCE Lab School
Noon Keynote Speaker Topic: Eric and three GCE students will showcase their purpose-driven learning projects
Eric has founded, served as Executive Director, and consulted for organizations ranging from start-up non-profits to multi-million dollar institutions. After several years teaching and coaching in charter and private high schools, Eric founded Educational Endeavors (2001) and Camp of Dreams (2003). Roughly twelve years later, these organizations have sustained their impact through strategic succession. Eric has also served as Interim Executive Director with DMSF and Executive Director of the IEF (now One Million Degrees). Eric is inspired every day by the students, families, educators, and partners collaborating to build the Global Citizenship Experience.

Charlene Doland, Co-Founder, Meliora On Twitter
Workshop Topic: Using Project Based Learning

Charlene Doland is co-founder and an academic coach at the suburban learning group Meliora. Lifelong learning is one of her deepest values, as is mentoring others, especially adolescent youth. In her role at Meliora, she uses PBL to guide teens into deeper learning through the exploration of topics in history and literature. She is a certified PBL teacher through the Buck Institute for Education, and a recent participant in the Deeper Learning MOOC sponsored by

Christine Driskill, Program Manager, Working in the Schools (WITS)
Workshop Topic:  Evaluation strategies for Tutor/Mentor Programs
Christine Driskill has been teaching English as a second language and reading in Virginia and Washington, DC for the last five years.  Christine comes to WITS as a program manager to pursue her passion for  improving the literacy and language skills of urban students.  Originally, from Birmingham, Alabama, she earned her bachelor's in  education from Vanderbilt University and her master's in reading education from the University of Virginia.

Kelly Fair, KellyFairTheMentor, Founder/Executive Director, Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program
Workshop topic: Blogging to Promote and Expand Mentoring
Kelly Fair is an urban youth mentoring practitioner who has been intimately involved in developing and implementing successful youth mentoring & development programs for 10+ years.  Kelly is also the founder of the highly successful Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program that has served over 600 girls 7-17 yrs. old to be effective communicators, and career & community conscious leaders!

Jeffrey Green, Assistant Coordinator, Mars Hill Youth Mentoring Program
Workshop Topic: How to be Radical, Relevant and Relate to Urban Christian Youth through Mentoring(101)
Jeffrey Green is the Assistant Site Coordinator for the Mars Hill Baptist Church Youth Mentoring Program and has served as lead facilitator for Mentor Training for the Austin Dream Makers Youth Mentoring Program, a collection of 10 churches in the Austin Area with newly formed mentoring programs. Jeff is currently in grad school in the field of Education.

Guillermo Gutierrez, First Defense Legal Aid, Board Member/Mentor
Workshop topic: Youth Involvement in an Urban Setting
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 an 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 On Twitter
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.

Hannah Holtgeerts, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
Workshop Topic:  Communication: Youth, Conflict & the Media
Hannah Holtgeerts is the Community Engaged Scholarship Coordinator (AmeriCorps VISTA) at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is passionate about media literacy education and has worked in a Latin American slum community, student affairs, and Chicago Public Schools. After recently receiving her B.A. in Media & Cinema Studies and Relational Communication, she now hopes to keep on learning.

John Hosteny, Director of the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Illinois Office.
The corporation is the nation’s largest Federal agency that awards grants that support national service initiatives. The mission of CNCS is to engage Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service that addresses critical community needs. John manages an office that oversees a network of 85 national service programs that engage 16,000+ volunteers. John has extensive experience in community and economic development issues where service is a strategy to meet local needs. He serves on the Community Service Committee for the United States Federal Executive Board, the Illinois Elder Care Task Force, the Illinois Long-term Care Ombudsman Program and is and Ex-Officio Member of the Serve Illinois Commission, a grantee of the Corporation and chair of the Illinois Council on Aging.

Deborah Lukovich, Alinea Connect
Workshop Topic: Attracting Donors and Volunteers
Deborah Lukovich is a passionate speaker, author and community leader who proudly proclaims her life’s mission is to have a significant positive impact on the world by inspiring and empowering others to achieve more than they think they can.

Combining her private-sector experience with community service and nonprofit leadership positions, she responded to requests from small nonprofit organizations and schools to teach them how to engage community members in order to be sustainable and thrive into the future.

Dr. Jennifer Maddrell , Designers for Learning On Twitter
Workshop topic: Attracting Service-Learners to Support your Organization
Jennifer Maddrell is adjunct faculty in the Instructional Design and Technology program in the College of Education at Old Dominion University (ODU) where she completed her PhD. Jennifer is also an instructional design consultant and founder of the Designers for Learning platform that connect instructional designers with nonprofit organizations and social enterprises in need of instructional products and services to support their operations. The purpose of Designers for Learning is (a) to provide nonprofits with instructional design products that improve performance, and (b) to provide instructional design students experience to develop their skills.

Ali Mroczkowski, MA is a community psychologist in training at DePaul University
Workshop Topic:  Evaluation of School Based Mentoring Programs for Underserved  Youth
Alison’s research interests focus primarily on mentoring and the educational attainment of underserved youth. Alison has a diverse set of evaluation experiences, and she has worked on projects related to school-based mentoring, college community arts partnerships, and anti-bullying legislation. Alison is actively involved with the Chicago Scholars Program where she has been a mentor since 2012.

Fernando Moreno, Special Projects Coordinator, BUILD, Inc.
Workshop topic: Youth Involvement in an Urban Setting
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.

Cheryl Howard-Neal, Director of Programs and Partnerships, Illinois Mentoring Partnership Connect on Twitter at @ILmentoring
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.

Claudio Rivera,  PhD candidate in the Clinical-Community Psychology program at DePaul University.
Workshop Topic:  Evaluation of School Based Mentoring Programs for Underserved  Youth
Claudio Rivera's research interests are in urban, ethnic-minority adolescents, mentoring, education, community strengths. He currently conducts community-based research and provides clinical treatment and assessment with ethnic-minority adolescents and families in Chicago. Claudio has spent 9 years implementing and supervising mentoring efforts as well as collaborating with youth-serving community-based organizations in Chicago to develop strategies for supporting adolescents in overcoming gang violence, substance use, high school dropout, and involvement in the juvenile justice system. Claudio was awarded various fellowships and awards for his research and community-based efforts. Claudio resides in the Back of the Yards community in Chicago.

Rev. Mitchell Sholar, Executive Director, City Harvest Headstart Outreach Ministry
Workshop Topic: Mentor to Greatness
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.

Lauren Smith, Community Outreach Coordinator, Unit 4 School District - 2007-2014, Champaign-Urbana
Workshop topic: The Garden Hills Homework Club - Tweaking afterschool programs until they work
Lauren Smith is Coordinator of the One to One Mentoring program (celebrating 20 years of mentoring in Champaign-Urbana in 2014) for Unit 4, a program with over 300 mentor pairs in Champaign, and the Unit 4 volunteer program which welcomes over 2,000 volunteers each year who contribute upwards of 35,000 hours.  BS - Illinois State University, Industrial Technolog

Unit 4 School District serves more than 9,500 preK-12th grade students.  The district's commitment to students is guided by its vision, "In partnership with the community, Unit 4 will be an exemplary school district that promotes each student's opportunity to success in a global population."  Unit 4 has a low income rate of 57.1%, and a minority population of 59%.

Kristen Strobbe, Working in the Schools (WITS)
Workshop Topic:  Evaluation strategies for Tutor/Mentor Programs
Kristen Strobbe is a 2009 graduate of Roosevelt University. Although  she's been a Chicagoan for eight years, she still calls Kansas City,  MO home. 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.

Frank Walker, Program Coordinator, Mars Hill Baptist Church Mentoring Program
Workshop Topic: How to be Radical, Relevant and Relate to Urban Christian Youth through Mentoring(101)
Frank Walker is the lead consultant/facilitator for Pathfinders For Black Adolescent Success, a national not for profit that has spent more than 10 years providing technical assistance, capacity building and youth leadership & development training for youth serving organizations. They are known for their success with raising the graduate rates of boys of color in programs they produce. Frank was formerly the lead Site Coordinator for the Austin Dream Makers Youth Mentoring Program before pursuing other youth development endeavors. (


Rev. T.W. (Rev. Terry Weston)  from TW’s Ministry
Workshop topic:  CPS {Community - Parent - Student} After School Program
Rev. T.W. from TW's Ministry is Compassionate, Commitment and Concerns for our Nations Students as Substitute Teacher / Para, Community Engagement Leader, Correctional Leader, Chaplain Leader, Clergy Leader and Advocacy Leader.

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.

Gwendolyn L. Young. Executive Director for Seed of Hope Foundation.
Workshop topic: Volunteer Recruitment: Who Represents You In The Community Matters
Gwendolyn L. Young received her Master of Art Degree in Organizational Leadership from Lewis University and is a certified professional coach. Gwendolyn received the Elizabeth Timpton Girls Mentoring Award for her work in the community by Passages Alternative Living, Inc. and was one of twenty emerging leaders in the United States selected as the recipient of the 2012 Judith ‘Connor Scholar Award for Emerging Nonprofit Leaders by BoardSource. Most recently, Gwendolyn was honored as one of 2013’s “Influential Women in Business”,  by the Daily Herald Business Ledger.

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