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 and future.

“2019 Soaring High Award”
Maura has been a strong force for positive encouragement in her mentee’s life. She has helped empower her to be brave and confident.

2019 Push Through Award”
Vanessa has been a dedicated mentor for many years to the same mentee. She even followed her mentee to our program when she moved schools!

2019 Priceless Partner Award”
We couldn’t do our work without amazing partners like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, who continue supporting Affinity as advocates, sustainers, and champions. Not only do 8 of their employees mentor each week (and have for several years) but they cover half the costs of the mentoring relationships that each of their employees are involved in!

“2019 Longevity Award”

Suzann and Jose have been paired together for 10 years! They were matched when Jose was in Kindergarten and next year, he’s moving on to high school.After 10 YEARS together – this was Jose and Suzann’s last year together in the Mentor Center at Burton Middle School. We’re so happy to see Jose move on to high school, but we’re sad to see his time with Affinity end. Thank you Suzann Van Klompenberg for your dedication, passion, and kindness. We’re so grateful we’ve been a part of your lives for the past 10 years!

To see the full album click here >

“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 4×24 finished wooden sign in your choice of paint color with one of 50+ provided sayings using quality vinyl lettering while enjoying great food and drinks from the Knickerbocker. Leave with it finished and ready to hang. Make a sign for yourself, or to give as a gift – no art expertise needed 🙂 

Date: Wednesday, January 30th | 6:30-8:30pm
Location: The Knickerbocker | New Holland Brewing
Cost: $27 per sign ($10 of every sign sold will be donated to Affinity)
More Information: Visit the Facebook Event Page

To RSVP or ask questions contact Shawna at or 616-638-8245.

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

Leading by Example: Mentor, Donor, Partner


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 is when Jason joined the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) team.

Leadership at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Over the past 10 years Jason has worked his way up from Individual Contributor to Director of West MI/UP Customer Consulting and Reporting at BCBSM. He enjoys being an active member of the community and taking part in local events. One of those events was a “Friends of Burton” at Burton Elementary – which is where he was first introduced to Affinity Mentoring.

“Being a father of two kids – I understand homework and the extra need and push.” He instantly connected with Affinity Mentoring and the message resonated with him. “Hearing about the need tears at your heart. I came back to the office and drummed up more support. I recruited 4 or 5 more mentors.”

That was 4 years ago. The partnership between BCBSM and Affinity is growing stronger each year. This year 8 employees from BCBSM are volunteering weekly as mentors. “I’m a big believer in the program, I try to get as many people involved as possible,” says Jason. A large part of the growth is through word-of-mouth and employees returning from mentoring talking about their experience.

“People started getting involved in small events, like the Secret Santa Workshop, and I talk to my co-workers about mentoring. People want to get involved. It starts with one day, so what’s one hour per week?”

Weekly Mentoring
Jason, a mentor himself, has been working with Angel for the past 4 years. “We’re both competitive. We play a lot of Uno – but add math into it. The first one to get 100 points loses. I think I’m the proud reigning champion, but you can say he is. The first time he beat me he was so geeked,” chuckles Jason.

“I usually go on Friday mornings so I can be in my jeans and relaxed. We usually spend some time in the library and pick out a book. The last one he picked was about Abraham Lincoln, so I picked out an encyclopedia to see what else I could find about him. Then we talk about it more. I’m a nerd like that.”

Jason explains that Affinity aligns with many of his company’s values, “We like to do things that are athletic. It’s important to get kids out and active. BCBSM has a campaign to get kids active 60 minutes a day – if I can help get 20 minutes of those, that’s great. Angel loves soccer so we’ll sneak out onto the field to kick the ball around.”

Board Member
Jason wears many hats and is involved with Affinity at different levels – partner, mentor, and board member. “The people involved in Affinity’s leadership and their employees make a difference. They are there. It’s a hands on organization, in every level. They have a pulse on what’s going on,” comments Jason.

As a board member, he loves to get other people excited about the mission, share his experiences, and the personal benefits mentoring offers. “I think at work, it gives people from different areas of the company something in common. At home, it’s interesting that my mentee and son are both in 6th grade. It helps me make sure I’m holding my son accountable in his homework too.”

Community Partner
Jason has led the partnership between Affinity and BCBSM, they are big believers in mentoring and are in it for the long-haul, “As long as we’re here in GR we will always have people that want to mentor. To see the happiness of the kids – that’s what it’s all about. We are going to support local organizations that make a profound impact on children and Affinity does that. We’d like to get two more mentors each year.”

Not only do their employees donate their time, but the company also donates their “treasure.” As a partner, BCBSM has committed to covering half of the cost of each of their employees’ mentor match ($600 per match). “[Mentoring] is not free – the cost of supporting a match for a year. There’s a cost the run the program and we wanted to be able to support, not just the talent, but the time and treasure. We’d like other organizations to also donate their time, talent, and treasure. These kids are our future so let’s invest in them now,” says Jason.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out our Mentorship Opportunities and Community Partnerships.

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 education!

Read more about this program and the interview with our Development Director, Rachel Lopez, here >