The Team

The Team

Stronger Staff, Stronger Matches

Our Affinity team is 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 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.

Year Joined: April 2022

SHARALLE ANKRAH (she/her/hers) | Executive Director | 616.209.8435

Sharalle Ankrah is a graduate from Grand Valley State University with a degree in English for Secondary Education. A Detroit native, Sharalle has always had a heart for community development through inspiring the forthcoming generation. Sharalle holds a wealth of experience in both education and mentoring. She’s worked as an educator within an authorized GRPS Charter School, a Director of after school programming, and a Director of other mentoring organizations. Sharalle has worked hard to develop curricula and facilitate programming that influences student’s conduct, decisions, leadership, and helped reveal identity. Sharalle enjoys directing youth ministry at her local church and spending quality time with family and friends. She values the relationships created with her students in Grand Rapids, South Africa, and West Africa, and being a continued resource for students and families. Sharalle’s personal mission statement is to aid in identity development through education and example. She has a vision to be a leader in youth development in Grand Rapids with influence on a systematic level that brings revenue, impact, and action into Affinity Mentoring, public school system, and communities.

Year Joined: January 2022
Se habla español 

MAYRA RODRIGUEZ (she/her/hers) | Office Coordinator| 616.209.8510

Mayra has a passion for working with people and has dedicated over 15 years to serving her community in various capacities–from creating community awareness events in the greater Grand Rapids area, volunteering as a Sunday school teacher at her church, to missionary work in Mexico. Mayra is the owner and creative mind behind Mayra's Glamour Photography and loves bringing smiles to the faces of those she photographs. Mayra is always looking for opportunities to learn and grow her skills. She is currently working towards gaining more knowledge in the communication and human behavior realm. Mayra is an aspiring writer and is working on her very first book as well as becoming a motivational speaker. Besides the passion she has for her community, Mayra enjoys spending time with her family, singing, photography, arts and crafts, meditation, and traveling.

Year Joined: July 2019
Se habla español

KEYLA ARAUJO (she/her/hers) | Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Center (ECC) and Elementary School Site Coordinator| 616.241.4722 ext.1336

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.

Year Joined: April 2017
Se habla español

ROCIO MORENO (she/her/hers) | Program Director | 616.819.1901

Rocio has a Bachelor’s in Social Work from Hope College and her Master’s in Social Work from Grand Valley 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.

Year Joined: September 2018
Se habla español

MONICA ZAVALA (she/her/hers) | Southwest Community Campus (SWCC) Site Coordinator| 616.819.6799

Monica 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.

YANITZA VALDEZ (she/her/hers) | Burton Site Coordinator | 616.819.1901

Yanitza has worked for several years serving youth in various capacities. She has worked with Affinity Mentoring in a mentor and speaking capacity at Better Together. She enjoys serving youth, communities, families through her job as site coordinator for Burton Elementary and Middle. Yanitza enjoys embracing outdoors, coordinating family events, and spending time with family and friends.

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