The Team

The Team

Stronger Staff, Stronger Matches

Our staff members are highly qualified, with degrees in social work and public administration, which enables us to navigate the larger system and effectively advocate for our students. A major goal of Affinity is building strong relationships with the school administration and teachers, which makes us a critical partner that is routinely invited to work closely and proactively in at-risk students’ support teams. This expertise leads to greater retention rates among mentor matches and greater outcomes for youth. Only 3% of Affinity matches close prematurely, compared to an approximately 50% premature closure rate among mentoring programs nationally.


laura-ward

  LAURA WARD
Executive Director  

Laura has been leading our team since 2011. With over 16 years of experience in youth development and program administration, she has always had the goal of helping young people to thrive and reach their potential. Laura has been a champion for social justice and human rights throughout her career working with refugee and immigrant children and families in the Grand Rapids area. Before leading the Affinity Mentoring team, Laura was a Case Manager and Team Leader in Bethany Christian Services Refugee Foster Care Program. Laura has Master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Administration from Grand Valley State University. Laura is bilingual in Spanish and English. Laura and her husband, Wayne, live in Grand Rapids with their daughter, Adelyn, and son, Zander. As a family, they enjoy sports (especially football), boating, swimming, hiking and reading.

616.406.3987 | lward@affinitymentoring.org


 

  RACHEL LOPEZ
Development Director

Rachel joined our team in May 2018. She brings with her 8 years of experience from the nonprofit and philanthropic sector as well as a passion for racial equity and social justice. Rachel has a Master of Science in Communication Studies from Grand Valley State University. Her emphasis is in organizational leadership and inclusion initiatives. She is passionate about community-building and empowering youth through mentorship. She has strong ties with the Hispanic community and local community leaders. Before joining Affinity she served as the Director of Youth Services at the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan and as a consultant for the DeVos Foundation. Rachel is bilingual in English and Spanish. She lives in Wyoming with her husband, Salvador, and their twin daughters. Their family adventures include bike-riding, walking their dog, and attending local events.

616.406.3967 | rlopez@affinitymentoring.org


 

  MONICA ZAVALA
SWCC Site Coordinator

Monica joined Affinity in September 2018. 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. Before joining our team she worked at Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities (GAAH) as the Program Manager for the Cook Library Center (CLC). Her passion is to serve, learn, and empower the local community. Monica is an advocate and leader in the Hispanic Community, she has served as a Parent Action Leader (PALS) for Cesar E. Chavez Elementary and received the Independent Spirit Award from LINC Up. Monica is constantly working on personal growth and taking advantage of opportunities to learn. She is currently pursuing her degree in Social Work at Grand Rapids Community College. In her spare time she enjoys learning about technology, psychology, parenting skills, and much more.

616.819.6799 | mzavala@affinitymentoring.org


 

  ROCIO MORENO
Burton Site Coordinator

Rocio joined the Affinity team in April 2017. She has a Bachelor’s in Social Work from Hope College and her Master’s in Social Work from Grand Vally State University. Rocio is bilingual in Spanish/English and has experience working with children using Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Rocio Moreno currently lives in Holland MI. During her free time, she enjoys exercising, cooking, and playing with her two sons.

616.819.1901 | rmoreno@affinitymentoring.org


 

  ANGELA REYNA PEREZ
Mentoring Program Assistant  

Angela joined the Affinity team in February 2018. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Social Work at Grand Valley State University. Angela attended Burton Elementary in 2003 and was one of the first matches for the mentoring program. Through first-hand experience, she understands the positive impact that a mentor can have on youth experiencing poverty. Angela believes that a long lasting relationship between a mentor and a mentee is impactful – she still keeps in touch with the mentor she had in elementary school. Living in Grand Rapids throughout her life, she enjoys interacting and creating relationships with the Hispanic community. Angela hopes to emphasize and promote the importance of the mentoring program to future mentors, students, and their families. During her free time, she enjoys playing soccer and going on adventures with her youngest sister, Sophia.

616.819.1901 (Burton) | 616.819.6799 (SWCC) | areyna@affinitymentoring.org


  KEYLA ARAUJO
Godfrey-Lee ECC Site Coordinator  

Keyla joined our team in July 2019 to help launch our expansion to Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Center [ECC]. She brings a broad experience of community engagement and volunteer coordination. Keyla is bilingual in Spanish/English, has experience coordinating programs and volunteers through her church’s Family Leadership Initiative and other programs. She’s an active community member who has been connected at Godfrey-Lee ECC for some time. In her spare time, she likes to work on her garden, get involved in her church, and spend time with her husband and four children.

karaujo@affinitymentoring.org



MEET OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Front Row [L-R]: Johana Rodriquez-Quist, Meaghan Miracle, Madeline Aguillon, and Adam Russo.
Back Row [L-R]: John Robinson, Missy Jackson, Susan Lukaart, Benjamin Borisch, and Jason Loepp.




PRESIDENT

SUSAN LUKAART | Community Leader & Educator

VICE PRESIDENT

JOHN ROBINSON | Head Start for Kent County

TREASURER

BENJAMIN BORISCH | DWH, LLC

SECRETARY

MADELINE AGUILLON| Gordon Food Service


Interested in joining the board?
BOARD OPPORTUNITY HANDOUT




DIRECTORS

MISSY JACKSON | Herman Miller

JASON LOEPP | Blue Cross Blue Shield

MEAGHAN MIRACLE | Willis Law

JOHANA RODRIGUEZ-QUIST | Literacy Center of West Michigan

ADAM RUSSO | COM 616

Have Questions? Call Us

616-406-3987