Latest Posts

  • Meet Our New Interns!- Amy LaNoue | MSW Intern Amy is working towards a Master's in Social Work from Grand Valley State University. After completing her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Michigan State University, Amy moved to Quito, Ecuador, where she became fluent in Spanish and developed an interest in social justice. Since returning to West Michigan, she has… ...continue reading
  • A Mentor Story: Alexa + Arturo- Meet Alexa and Arturo. Alexa is the Public Policy Coordinator at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce and Arturo is a first grader at Burton Elementary. When he grows up, Arturo wants to be a police officer [because he likes to run and knows how to sneak]. He’s a quiet and cheerful kid that loves… ...continue reading
  • Local Mothers Group Donates 100+ Diverse Books- By: Rachel Lopez March is #ReadingMonth! We know that reading is powerful. Books allow students to step into another world, reflect on their own life, and be inspired for the future. However, 85% of books feature White Americans [1]. The majority of students we serve are children of color which is why we are intentional… ...continue reading
  • A Mentor Story: Eliano + Rafael- What do a Legal Specialist and a 2nd grader have in common? Surprisingly, quite a bit. Once a week, Rafael and Eliano stroll through the Mentor Center and Media Center, scoping out a good spot to eat their lunch. They giggle to each other and finish each other’s sentences as they recall past mentoring sessions.… ...continue reading
  • Mentoring Appreciation Awards 2019- To celebrate #NationalMentoringMonth we recognized several mentors, supporters, and partners for their dedication, service, and impact. Thank you! "2019 Ripple Effect Award" Dave and Sue are a force to be reckoned with. Their contributions of time as mentors and match sponsors have had widespread effects to Affinity Mentoring and beyond, serving families of mentees, past… ...continue reading
  • Mentor Story: Stacey + Mariana- Stacey Coffman is the Office Manager at Aon and has been for the last 25 years. She and her husband, Tim,  have been married for 31 years and live in Cedar Springs. Their daughter, Lauren, lives in Ann Arbor. She wanted an opportunity to be a friend and role model to a student in Grand… ...continue reading
  • A Mentor Story: Brandon Reyes- “When I was 5 or 6 years old my mom and I fled Veracruz, Mexico. Escaping an abusive relationship with my father,” explains Brandon. “As a young kid I still understood what was going on and why we had to leave.” Brandon vividly remembers crossing with the Coyotes to the United States, “I had really… ...continue reading
  • “Make and Take” Fundraising Event at the Knickerbocker- "Make and Take" Fundraising Event at Knickerbocker in Downtown GR Life Expressions Decor, a local company, will be hosting a "Make and Take" sign event to benefit Affinity Mentoring! Create a 4x24 finished wooden sign in your choice of paint color with one of 50+ provided sayings using quality vinyl lettering while enjoying great food… ...continue reading
  • Affinity’s Match4Match Fund-   Join Affinity Mentoring as we work to support our new cohort of 65 mentor matches, Match4Match! Each year we have over 100 students on our waiting lists, anxious to see if this is the year they'll get a mentor. With support from our community partners, volunteers, and generous donors we were able to recruit,… ...continue reading
  • 2017-2018 Annual Report- We are excited to share with you our first annual report! In this report you will find: A letter from our executive director Revenue and expenses Growth and sustainability Community impact Mentor stories Check it out now! Affinity's 2017_2018 Annual Report ...continue reading
  • Leading by Example-   Leading by Example | Board Member, Mentor, and Community Partner By Rachel Lopez Jason Loepp is a father of two young children. He and his wife, Heather, are from the East side of Michigan and lived in Tennessee for several years. In 2008 they moved back to Michigan to be closer to family, which… ...continue reading
  • To Affinity and Beyond- An interview with Affinity Mentoring's Executive Director, Laura Ward, about Affinity's Journey to Independence.   Affinity's Journey In 2001 Mars Hill Bible Church launched the Mars Hill Mentorship Program at Burton Elementary with 8 matches under the umbrella of Kids Hope USA’s “one church, one school” mentorship model. Over the years, this program grew to… ...continue reading
  • Herman Miller Cares Supports Capacity Building Efforts- October 2, 2018 Affinity Mentoring is pleased to announce it has received a $20,000 grant from the Herman Miller Cares Foundation. These funds will strengthen our capacity to serve more students, expand programming, increase literacy support, and implement our comprehensive evaluation plan. “Every day, students stop in our Mentor Centers to ask for a mentor.… ...continue reading
  • 10 Years Later | Ross’ Story- By Rachel Lopez Ten years ago Ross became a mentor with our program. Over the past decade he has mentored 3 different students, including two brothers, Martin and Mario. Ross is an Investment Executive at Fifth Third Bank, “The market was terrible when I started [mentoring]. The two hour a week break from it was… ...continue reading
  • Affinity Welcomes Newest Partner, Chemical Bank- We'd like to welcome our newest community partner and sustainer, Chemical Bank! Chemical Bank recently donated $1,000 to Affinity Mentoring to support our mentor matches with the resources needed to be successful! Our community partnerships are essential to our success! This year we aim to serve 280 students across our 3 sites. Supporting one mentor… ...continue reading
  • Affinity Receives Grant from Kars4Kids- We are excited to announce we have been selected as a grant recipient from Kars4Kids' Small Grant Program! The Kars4Kids Small Grant Program is dedicated to supporting educational initiatives around the country, helping impact more children. They're passionate about helping kids develop into community leaders and support organizations that focus on youth development, mentorship, and… ...continue reading
  • New Site Coordinator: Monica Zavala- Welcome Monica! This week we welcome Monica Zavala to the Affinity family as our new Site Coordinator for Southwest Community Campus (SWCC)! She brings with her 7 years of experience working in the Grand Rapids’ Hispanic community. Her focus has been on developing programs that help students and families discover their strengths and overcome challenges.… ...continue reading
  • Board Member, Mentor, and Donor: Maddie’s Story- Board Member, Mentor, and Partner: Maddie’s Story By Rachel Lopez A big smile and bigger heart, Madeline (Maddie) Aguillon is a long-time mentor, donor, and board member for Affinity. She has a long history of empowering and engaging the local Hispanic community in Grand Rapids. During her time as a student at Grand Valley State… ...continue reading
  • Affinity Welcomes New Interns!- Welcome Ariel and Annalise!  This week we welcomed the newest members to our team, Ariel Simaz and Annalise Piazza! Ariel Simaz  Ariel will be interning with us for the fall and winter semesters. She is earning a Bachelor’s of Social Work from Grand Valley State University. She’s looking forward to learning the ins and outs of… ...continue reading
  • A Mentor Story: Marissa and Nancy- A Mentor Story: Marissa and Nancy By Rachel Lopez Nancy quietly slides into the seat next to me, she timidly looks up and asks me my name. I tell her my name is Rachel and that I work for Affinity Mentoring. She immediately looks more relieved. I tell her that I want to learn more… ...continue reading
  • Program Alumna and Affinity Staff: Angela’s Story- Wearing her favorite pair of converse sneakers Angela lugs her rolly backpack up the last few steps. She loves school. A little timid and shy, but she absolutely loves reading. Her favorite book is Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl. She wants to do well in school, make her parents proud and their sacrifices… ...continue reading
  • Mentor, Donor, and Partner: David’s Story- Mentor, Donor, and Partner: David's Story By Rachel Lopez “Richy has a soft heart, a real soft heart. I love this kid,” smiles Dave. Over the past 7 years they have developed a deep bond, “We did a little bit of academics and a lot of playing - he’s a pretty self-motivated kid. He’s probably… ...continue reading
  • Mentor and Donor: Alicia’s Story- Mentor and Donor: Alicia's Story By Rachel Lopez Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Alicia went to Kenowa Hills and a private Catholic school. However, she didn’t feel like she fit into any standard box. Her father is Mexican and her mother is Irish. There was often a cross-over between her two cultures, both emphasizing… ...continue reading
  • Mentor Match: Larry and Jovany- A Mentor Story: Larry and Jovany By Rachel Lopez Sitting at table next to each other, just outside of Affinity’s Mentor Center at Burton Elementary School, is Jovany and Larry. Although they might be from different backgrounds, generations, and zip codes, they are brought together by their love for learning, geography, and playing Yahtzee. Excitedly,… ...continue reading

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