Our Marvelous Mentors

We always say, “people who mentor are the best kind of people.” Take a look at the folks below and you’ll be sure to agree!

The following mentors are already matched with youth and actively mentoring. Keep scrolling to find the new mentors waiting for youth. And if you’d like to join their ranks, find the application here.

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AnitaMarie Nelson

Region: Chicago - South
Status: Matched!

Business Management, 
Robert Morris University

With two daughters currently in college, AnitaMarie knows what it takes to guide young people through this sometimes scary process. She has been so helpful in supporting her first mentee in her college access journey that she recently agreed to mentor a second young lady! 

Tracy Cupper

Region: Chicago - North
Status: Matched!

Masters of Social Work, 
University of Illinois at Chicago

BA Psychology, 
Calvin College

Tracy's heart for teenagers and background in psychology and social work make her an excellent mentor to a young lady from foster care. She helped her mentee to receive a full tuition scholarship to Northern Illinois University.  

 
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Zach Danielson

Region: Chicago - North
Status: Matched!

MS Computer Science,
DePaul University

BS Physics, 
North Park University

As a father to three boys, one adopted through foster care, Zach knows firsthand the value (and for some, the novelty) of having good male role models. Zach has been a popular SAT math tutor with our students in the past and now takes on the larger role of mentor to a young man eager to succeed in college and adulthood.  

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Jonathan Allsop

Region: Chicago - North
Status: Matched!

BA Music,
University of Pennsylvania

Jonathan grew up in one of the poorest cities in America and grabbed every educational opportunity he could to make a better life. Now he works at a Fortune 500 company and also gets to live his dream of stage acting on the side. He has always loved helping others, and we're so honored he has chosen to invest his time and talent in one of our young people, too. His mentee is currently a freshman at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where all of expenses are paid through grants and scholarships!  

 

Cara Ruffo

Region: Suburbs - Northwest
Status: Matched!

BS Marine and Atmospheric Science,
University of Miami, Florida

Cara blends her love of crafting and STEM in her work as a naturalist in a Park District preschool. She is the oldest of 24 cousins (!) and has tutored in science and math and test prep for 8+ years. She now brings all that experience and passion to her mentoring role.

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Margaret Marion

Region: Chicago - South
Status: Matched!

BA Comparative Human Development,
University of Chicago

MA Clinical Social Work,
University of Chicago

Margaret's experience growing up as a second-generation foster youth gives her insight into the barriers our students face. Her creativity and dedication to guiding youth toward a better future are invaluable assets to the young lady she mentors. 

 

Kira Schnell-Harrison

Region: Suburbs - South
Status: Matched!

BA Marketing,
Marian University

Kira grew up in a family she calls “Brady Bunch on steroids” in a small town in Wisconsin. Two of her siblings were adopted from Romania. Now, Kira is a “dog-mom” and a Strategic Account Manager in Orland Park. In her free time, she runs half and full marathons and coaches figure skating. She brings a compassionate heart and a great sense of humor to mentoring for Foster Progress.

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Leah Procopi

Region: Chicago - Central
Status: Matched!

BS System Engineering,
University of Virginia

Leah loves distance running and played competitive soccer for 12 years. She’s also an avid reader and binge watcher of sitcoms and stand-up. She is motivated to mentor by her belief that mentorship and advocacy are crucial for every person at every stage of their academic careers, professional careers and personal lives.

 
 
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Marty Beck

Region: Naperville
Status: Matched!

BS in Business, Finance
Eastern Illinois University 

Marty has been married for 31 years and is proud of his four grown children that have all completed a four year college education. Marty is passionate about guiding investors through the many facets of financial planning and brings that same passion as he guides an eager college bound student to succeed in his education. 

 
 Photo coming soon!

Photo coming soon!

Roland Jones

Region: Aurora
Status: Matched!

Criminal Justice, American InterContinental University

As our youngest participant, Roland is just a few years ahead of his mentee, making him a valuable near-peer mentor. He draws from many shared of the life experiences to help his youth thrive and succeed. Roland spend most of his spare time working out at the gym. He loves to see young people thrive in spite of difficult circumstances.

 Photo coming soon!

Photo coming soon!

LaShawn Etheridge

Region: Chicago - South
Status: Matched!

Human Development & Social Relations, Kalamazoo College

Masters of Social Work, University of Chicago SSA

LaShawn likes biking, going to the beach, coffee shops, and interior decorating - she even refurbishes furniture! She works in child welfare and brings that expertise, as well as her own first-hand experience, to her mentoring work.

 

New mentors waiting for youth

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Ellen Miller

Region: Chicago - North
Status: Waiting

MA International Human Rights Law,
American University in Cairo

BA International Studies,
DePaul University

Ellen likes to bake cookies and then give them away - so she has a lot of friends. She also loves to exercise by walking, running, or dancing. She has lived in several other countries and speaks fluent Spanish. Her mentee will be sure to love Ellen’s baking and wealth of life experience!

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Rebecca Wolf

Region: Chicago - North
Status: Waiting

Master of Information and Library Science,
Dominican University

BA Anthropology,
University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana

Rebecca loves learning new things (right now, guitar), reading, yoga, helping people with resumés and graduate school essays. She didn't have anyone that had been to college before her in her family and says, “It was a tough rode to go alone. I would like to give someone the support they need to be successful from the start.”

 
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Jenn Splinter

Region: Chicago - North
Status: Waiting

MA Force Migration - Refugee Law,
University of East London

BA International Studies,
University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign

Jenn loves running, cycling and swimming; all sports, really! She also enjoys traveling, cooking, and coffee. In addition to her work as a mother to two and in global migration, she brings the special skills of endurance, hope, and pursuit to mentoring a Foster Progress youth.

Javier Sanchez

Region: Chicago - West
Status: Waiting

Masters of Social Work,
University of Illinois at Chicago

BA Sociology,
Roosevelt University

Javier is a first-generation college graduate, native Chicagoan, and a dedicated social worker. He has over 14 years of experience working on men’s issues, including toxic masculinity, accountability, and positive anger expression. He has a passion for fostering personal and professional growth while connecting people to their own inner strengths and opportunities for success.

 
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Cynthia Valentin

Region: Chicago - South
Status: Pending….

Masters of Public Administration,
University of Illinois at Chicago

BA Psychology, Criminal Justice,
University of Illinois at Chicago

Cynthia grew up in a low-income community where access to education is poor, but she was lucky enough to have caring adults and mentors that got her to think about pursuing college. She strongly believes in giving back to communities like hers. For fun, Cynthia makes it a goal to travel to a new place every year - either nationally or internationally. She also enjoys reading and yoga and spending time with her family.

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Susan Schumacher

Region: Rockford
Status: Waiting

MA Art Education,
University of Illinois

BA Art Education,
Northern Illinois University

Sue was once a foster parent herself and now has two grown sons who both succeeded in college and beyond. She was an art teacher for 32 years and is now retired. She enjoys cooking, reading, biking and she is learning to play ukulele! Sue spends a lot of her time giving back to her community and we know she’ll be a great asset to a young person in our program.

 
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Ema Mailhot-Beutel

Region: Chicago - North
Status: Waiting

MA Social Work,
Jane Addams College of Social Work

BA Urban Ministry,
Moody Bible Institute

Ema (Alex’s wife!) likes to bike, try new restaurants in the city, go to coffee shops, create crafts with wood burning, take photos, bake and read. She has experience working in a camp for youth from foster care in California and will make a wonderful mentor.

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Alex Mailhot-Beutel

Region: Chicago - North
Status: Waiting

BA Urban Ministry,
Moody Bible Institute

Alex (Ema’s husband!) is an avid cyclist and also enjoys cooking, trying new restaurants, running, and playing card games. Alex speaks fluent Spanish and has experience working in a camp for kids from foster care in California. He is currently in seminary earning his Masters in Divinity, so he will be able to commiserate with his mentee about tuition and finals!

 
 Photo coming soon!

Photo coming soon!

Aime Baker

Region: Western Suburbs
Status: Waiting

BA, Psychology and International Studies,
Northwestern University

MBA, Business Administration,
Concordia University of Chicago

Aime is a child welfare specialist and loves working with the youth. She also enjoys playing with her dog, reading, playing video games, baking, and arts and craft projects.

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Tes Hastings

Region: Rockford
Status: Waiting

BA Mathematics,
University of Iowa

Tes used to work as a Financial Aid Officer, which comes in handy for mentoring! She currently works in higher education and believes that being able to talk to someone on the inside helps students feel more confident. For fun, Tes likes to stay active, including coaching a middle school volleyball team. She’s also a newlywed!


 
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Karen Schiller

Region: Rockford
Status: Waiting

Juris Doctor,
Northwestern University School of Law

BA History and Political Science,
Johns Hopkins University

Karen is a former foster parent and works for the Court Appointed Special Advocate Program, where she works with youth in the foster care system. She is proud of her two sons, who recently graduated from college. For fun, she loves to travel, read, and is learning how to knit.

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Diondra Wilcher

Region: Chicago - North
Status: Waiting

Business Management,
DePaul University

Diondra loves DIY projects from sewing to exploring science projects on Pinterest and Youtube. She spends her time volunteering with non-profits around Chicago and being mom to her adorable 5 year old boy. Diondra’s motivation to mentor comes from her desire to let all youth to know they have someone that they can rely on in times of need.