Nov. 2014 Speakers

This is a list of speakers who participated in the November 7, 2014 conference.

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

Darryl E. Allen, MPM, RMP, The Mentorship Institute, Kettering, Ohio
Workshop Topic: Funders are from Mars and Community Organizers are from Venus
Darryl Allen, is a Risk Management Professional, and a Professor of Management at private and public universities.  He has been successful in securing funding for urban programming in Columbus, Ohio (schools), Dayton, Ohio (prisons), and Washington, D.C. (universities).

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

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 Carter, Founder, One80 Consulting
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 CEOâ??s to multi-platinum artists to NY Times Bestselling authors and more. See article about volunteer growth, written by Mark Carter, President of One80. Second article posted Sept. 4, 2014

Daniel Cotter, Chair, Lawyers Lend A Hand to Youth Program
Workshop topic: Evangelizing the cause- communications for effective fundraising

Dan Cotter is a lawyer who has combined his passion for mentoring with his hobby of powerlifting to raise more than $325,000 in 11 lifts.  A frequent presenter and writer, he is President if The Chicago Bar Association and Chair of Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth.

Mallory DePrekel, Manager of Project SOAR Middle School Programs at the McGaw YMCA in Evanston.
Workshop Topic: Turning Middle School Students into Leaders
Mallory DePrekel is going into her third year of running Project SOAR, a very successful mentoring program operating from the McGaw YMCA in Evanston, Illinois. SOAR is a one-on-one mentoring program where the majority of our mentors come from Northwestern and Loyola Universities. Together, the matches do anything that is free, fun and easy while spending 2-4 hours a week together. Because our mentors are primarily students, we provide them with ample support, resources, and trainings. We consider our parent-mentee-mentor-organization relationship to be of the utmost importance and focus on communication.

Toni Ellison, MA, Inner-City Studies, AmeriCorps VISTA, Illinois Campus Compact
Workshop Topic: ILCC VISTAs: Connecting Colleges to Civic Engagement & Community Service
Toni Ellison, MA, Inner-City Studies, AmeriCorps VISTA, Illinois Campus Compact is a Chicago native who is passionate about all things education. As an AmeriCorps VISTA, her position as ILCC Program Developer and Trainer gives her the opportunity to develop and initiate training for VISTA representatives including assisting the VISTAs in their engagement with community partners and various programs.

Jeffrey Fields, Special Education/Needs Advocate/Consultant and Manager at  Changing Children's Worlds Foundation
Workshop Topic: Special Education and Restorative Justice
Jeffery is a living testament of our ability as humans to overcome the worst of circumstances. Growing up Jeffery spent 9 years in special education self-contained classrooms. Jeffery's two brothers were killed and Jeffery lived in 11 homes in 10 years.
despite being dyslexia Jeffery went on to earn his BA in Counseling  and his MS in Education. While serving as asst. principal Jeffery decided to return to his passion and become a consultant/advocate for special needs children. Jeffery produced/hosted a cable show on mentoring special education foster children .

Marilyn Danos, Qualified Mental Health Professional
Workshop Topic: Understanding childhood trauma and learning development; helping volunteers understand and respond emphatically.
Marilyn Danos Holds a Master's in Human Services Counseling and BA in Behavior Studies from National Louis University  She has a 20-year career in higher learning-academia and 36 years experience as tutor and/or mentor. She is a long term activist for human and children's rights and an active community volunteer.

Melanie Foote-Davis, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago
Workshop Topic: Erin's Law: Responding to Disclosures
Melanie Foote-Davis is an Educator at the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago Sexual Violence & Support Services.  . She is a certified Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention through Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault. She received training as a Co-Active Coach from the Coaches Training Institute. She is a former Volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused and neglected youth for Cook County. She provides tools and support to make confident choices and foster healthy relationships. She works with professionals, community groups and with parents, teachers and students in schools, providing education addressing the effects of sexual violence in their communities.

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.

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.

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.

Dr. Christina Kirk, Dean/Director, Prep University, Oklahoma City, OK
Workshop Topic: Educate HER - Hosting Empowerment Revolutions
Dr. Christina R. Kirk is Dean/Director of Prep University. After dropping out of high school due to illness and attaining a GED, Christina earned a Bachelorâ??s of Arts in Psychology and Teacher Education from historic Fisk University in 2001. She attained her Juris Doctorate from University of Tulsa, School of Law in December of 2003. Christina was admitted to the Oklahoma Bar in 2004. In May 2014, Christina was sworn in as the Municipal Court Judge for the City of Langston, Oklahoma. Christina is dedicated to youth. She has received several community service and leadership awards from organizations and peers. She is the proud troop leader of the Divas of Girl Scouts Troop 17. She speaks at schools all over, encouraging youth about the importance of education. Christina uses her leadership skills to conduct professional development courses for lawyers, teachers, and mental health professionals. She also serves on the board of Aim For Success and the National Planning Board for Pretty Brown Girl. In dedication to her mentor, Christina founded Prep U in 2009 to encourage and support young ladies to a life of good success. In 2013 with the help of Steve Harvey, Christina honored her mentor and shared her story of inspiration and overcoming obstacles on the Steve Harvey Show launching her to a national platform for education.

Alexandra Kumin, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago
Workshop Topic: Erin's Law: Responding to Disclosures
Alexandra Kumin is the Interim Manager of Outreach and Education at the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago Sexual Violence & Support Services (SVSS).  The YWCA is the largest rape crisis center in the state of Illinois and provides education services, adult and child counseling, medical and legal advocacy and crisis intervention services to survivors of sexual violence. Alexandra received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Spanish and International Studies.  She is state certified in Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention through the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA) and chairs the statewide Prevention Program Committee. She has worked at the YWCA for the last four years in various capacities, including school and community based programming, curriculum development and team leadership.

Valerie F. Leonard, Expert in Community and Organizational Development, web site
Workshop Topic: If I Build It, Will They Come? How to Develop Youth Programs that Are Relevant and Impactful
Valerie F. Leonard is an expert in community and organizational development. She works with organizations to strengthen their capacity to make a positive impact on the communities they serve through technical assistance, specialized workshops, resource and organizational development and project management. Valerie is also an adjunct instructor with the University of Illinois at Chicago Online Certificate in Nonprofit Management Program, where she has taught courses in operations management, strategic management, finance and proposal writing for federal grants. Valerie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and a Master of Management degree with concentrations in finance and marketing from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Evanston, Illinois. 

Archana Lal-Tabak, M.D, Consultant/ Educator/ Advocate/ Speaker/ Author/ Storyteller/ SENG Facilitator/ Matrix Leadership Integrative Medicine/ Wholistic Psychiatry/ Ayurveda/ Homeopathy/ Nutrition, Heart of Transformation Wellness Institute,
Keynote Presentation Topic:  Understanding childhood trauma and learning development; helping volunteers understand and respond empathically.

Archana Lal-Tabak M. D. co-founders of the Heart of Transformation Wellness Institute S. C.
Keynote Presentation Title: Understanding childhood trauma and learning development; helping volunteers understand and respond empathically.
Archana Lal-Tabak M. D. is an Integrative and Holistic Mind-Body Physician who practices Ayurveda, Vastu, Homeopathy, and Body-Centered Trauma-Resolving Psychiatry.  She completed the Honors Program in Medical Education at Northwestern University and did post-graduate training at U.C.L.A., Northwestern University, Oregon Health Sciences University, R.U.S.H., University of Chicago, the National Institute of the Clinical Advancement of Behavioral Medicine, Maharishi Ayurved/ MAPI, Ayushakti Health Services, Vaidya Mishra/ Chandika, The National Center of Homeopathy, CEDH, SENG & Matrix Leadership Institute.  She assists her clients to achieve Wholeness and Health through building resources, sensorimotor trauma resolution, wellness programs, psycho-education, guided imagery, color therapies, body-centered psychotherapy, internal/ external family systems work and prudent use of conventional and natural, integrative approaches to healing.  She is an educational advocate and consultant for families and schools with expertise in giftedness, multiple intelligences, multidimensional learning processes and multipotentiality.  She is often an invited speaker, keynote presenter and guest for educational, wellness and media programs.  Currently, she is writing a book and making a documentary about learning differences, trauma, educational choices and wellness solutions with nutritional & epigenetic changes.

Jim Lal-Tabak. co-founders of the Heart of Transformation Wellness Institute S. C
Keynote Presentation Title: Understanding childhood trauma and learning development; helping volunteers understand and respond empathically.
Jim Lal-Tabak has a BA degree in Asian Studies from the University of Illinois.  He has 35 years of promoting health and healing and is a Certified Practitioner of Yuen Method,  Healing Spectrums and Access Bars.  He combines training in Yoga, Asian Studies, Tai Chi, Meditation, Diet, Fine Art, Ayurveda, Healing Spectrums, and Chinese Energetic Method, Access Bars and Mindful Parenting in his healing practice.  His mission is to facilitate the healing process on all levels including, physical, mental, emotional, psychological, psychic, and spiritual.  He sees clients privately, teaches classes, facilitates workshops, and offers lectures and demonstrations in various healing modalities.

Together, they are co-founders of the Heart of Transformation Wellness Institute S. C. located at 1618 Orrington Ave., Suite 206, Evanston, IL 60201 and conduct body-mind wellness workshops nationally in addition to maintaining private healing practices in the Chicago area.  For more information, see their website at or call (847) 425-WELL (9355).

Bonni McKeown, Teacher, Chicago School of Blues
Workshop topic:  Sing Your Own Blues Tune
Barrelhouse Bonni McKeown is a historian and blues piano player. From Chicago to her home state of West Virginia, she has played and taught with local heritage musicians.  She co-wrote Stepson of the Blues: A Chicago Song of Survival, the autobiography of blues drummer/ singer Larry Hill Taylor, and co-produced his debut CD They Were in This House.  Her purpose is to maintain the healing art of blues music by giving back to the community and sharing it with new generations.  She presented a "Sing Your Own Blues Tune" workshop with movement instructor Miss Taj at the 2011 Tutor-Mentor Conference.

Tyrina Newkirk, Recruiter/Coordinator, Boys Hope Girls Hope

Workshop Topic: Reaching, Recruiting and Engaging At-Risk Youth/Volunteers
Tyrina Newkirk joined Boys Hope Girls Hope in August 2013.  She is a graduate of Temple University where she earned a BA in African American Studies. Prior to joining BHGH, Tyrina worked as the Program Coordinator for three years at the Partnership to Educate and Advance Kids (PEAK), a non-profit scholarship and mentoring organization for at-risk youth in the Chicago-land area. Tyrina is passionate about serving the youth population in the urban areas across Chicago-land and helping them gain exposure to college access and college persistence programming.

J.P. Paulus, President, Do-Gooder Consulting
Workshop Topic: 4 Steps 2 College
JP Paulus grew up in Hoffman Estates, educated at Northwestern University, and then emigrated to Chicago's North Side. Over time, JP served with various youth ministries, becoming a leader in networking and resourcing youth workers.  He also spent time with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, gaining much knowledge and passion to help students get to college and find resources to graduate.  He now lives in the Chatham community on Chicago's South Side.  As president of Do-Gooder Consulting, JP is using the sum of his experiences to provide services for churches, non-profits and small businesses to 'help you help others'.  Read blog.

Marvin Scott, Coordinator, Community Kinections Program, University of Maryland
Workshop Topic:  Promoting Public Health Through Service-Learning
Marvin W. Scott, Ed.D., is an instructor and Coordinator of the Community Kinections Program in the Department of Kinesiology within the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland at College Park (UMCP). As Coordinator of the Community Kinections Program, Dr. Scott has foster agreements with local community-based organizations to have his students enter into collaborations with organizations in an effort to facilitate the implementation of the physical activity objectives of the Healthy People 2020 federal report. In their different roles associated with the service-learning experience, students have served as mentors of younger students and leaders of various service-learning initiatives

Rev. Mitchell Sholar, Executive Director, City Harvest Headstart Outreach Ministry
Workshop Topic: Impact of HIV and Aids among our Teens and Seniors in the Community
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.

E. Wilson,
Workshop Topic: Creating a Mobile and Social Media Strategy for Fundraising
Iesha "E" Wilson is a youth advocate, social entrepreneur, blogger, and overall tech enthusiast. Inspired by her past volunteer work with Cabrini Connections and Brehm Preparatory School, she founded Tutor For Excellence, a website for tutors and mentors who work with learning-disabled students to share best practices.  In addition to being a public school administrator, private math tutor, and writer, she enjoys training NPO leaders on how to use tech to accomplish their goals.

Cliff Wright, Jr. , Staff Consultant for Commonweal Foundation in Washington, D.C.
Workshop Topic: Funders are from Mars and Community Organizers are from Venus
Cliff Wright, Jr. is a Certified School Development Educator, and a staff consultant for Commonweal Foundation in Washington, D.C.  He manages several human capital improvement programs in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland.  His experience with guiding youth from high-risk backgrounds includes a six-year term as the Dean of Boys at Mt. Vernon Academy in Mt. Vernon, Ohio.



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