Your future is full of possibilities, it's Your Advance.

We are Your Advance, a not-for-profit organization in Manatee County founded on June 1st, 2020, to address summer learning loss and student achievement gaps by establishing virtual and in-person learning programs for students in K-12 schools.

In the Suncoast region, the population experiences many financial challenges, with 11% of residents below the poverty line.* Families who cannot access essential and necessary tutoring services cannot be offered these opportunities for their child to enrich their learning. Locally, these students in Manatee and Sarasota witness districtwide achievement gaps that pose a barrier to successful learning. A recent report conducted by the School District of Manatee County, more than a quarter of all district students, 27% of total students, are failing one or more coursing as of the end of the fall semester of 2020.**

With this need, Your Advance's programs and community-orientated tutoring efforts will help engage students to continually learn and reinforces academic content outside of the classroom setting. Through its launch in the summer of 2020, Your Advance will close gaps in learning for all students regardless of financial hardships. We will meet or exceed the goals of successfully preparing and addressing summer learning loss to inspire students to dream big. Our organization will drive students who are willing to commit and challenge themselves in their academia to achieve excellence beyond the classroom and school year for society's benefit.  

 

*U.S. Census Bureau Data from 2019

**School District of Manatee County/Florida Department of Education Spring 2021 Educational Plan and Assurance

Greetings from the

Executive Director

Welcome to Your Advance,

 

My name is Denny Lu, founder, and Executive Director. Your Advance is a not-for-profit organization profit based in Manatee and Sarasota counties dedicated to helping families, regardless of their socio-economic challenges, navigate their child's success in their academic endeavors. Our leadership team and expansive network of hard-working volunteer instructors can provide these impactful services to our community without any cost to our families. The Your Advance website is our presentation to the public of our commitment to our community, and we appreciate you for taking the time to visit us virtually. We are entirely operated by hard-working, mission-driven minds who are all high-achieving high school students who want to see our community correctly for a better tomorrow. Here at Your Advance, we appreciate the time you have taken out of your day to learn more about what we do and our vision for our community. Feel free to reach out to me or any member of the leadership team on our "Contact" page if you are interested in contributing to our organization or would like to share your support and feedback. Thank you for your support, and let's advance the Suncoast for a brighter future together.

Best Wishes,

Denny Lu

Executive Director

Meet the Board of Directors

The Your Advance Executive Leadership team consists of experienced and high-achieving high school scholars who have come together to share their passion for inspiring the students in our community to achieve beyond the classroom.

Denny Lu

Denny Lu

Executive Director, Founder

As a junior at Manatee High School in Bradenton, Florida, Denny spends his time promoting West Florida's community wellness. Being a passionate leader about sharing opportunities to succeed, Denny founded Your Advance to be the first non-profit, student-led organization in the Suncoast area to inspire all students, regardless of their socio-economic challenges, a chance to succeed. Before founding Your Advance, Denny led one of Manatee and Sarasota counties' most extensive career and technical student organizations as the Gulf Coast Regional President for HOSA-Future Health Professionals serving Manatee, Sarasota, and Desoto counties. During his tenure with HOSA, Denny empowered middle and high school students entering the healthcare profession a chance to explore their ambitions through access to school-based learning opportunities. Denny is honored to be a part of the integral team of leaders at Your Advance in supporting students from all economic backgrounds a chance for a successful academic journey.

Gabriela Gonzalez-Duarte

Gabriela Gonzalez-Duarte

Deputy Director of Family Engagement

As a senior in the dual-enrollment program at Riverview High School and Suncoast Technical College in Sarasota, Florida, Gabriela is a student of practical nursing and honor classes. She is the Treasurer of the HOSA-Future Health Professionals club at her school and is an active member of the Brain Health Initiative in Sarasota. During her time at BHI, Gabriela focused on collaborative leadership from the Academy for Brain Health and Performance in Massachusetts General Hospital, a Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital. Before joining the Executive Leadership team, Gabriela was a tutor at Your Advance. As Deputy Director, Gabriela is very excited to be part of the group of leaders who help Your Advance continue to offer the best quality of services and promote the community.

Joshua Segebre

Lead Instructor

Joshua Segebre is a junior enrolled in the Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) program at North Port High School in North Port, Florida. Joshua has helped students realize their academic potential through his leadership. At school, Joshua is the Founder and President of the UnidosNow club which is dedicated to serving underrepresented students who want to pursue postsecondary education. Before becoming the Lead Instructor, Joshua served as a Junior Instructor for Your Advance. Joshua dedicates his time to organizations such as the Brain Health Initiative to support the research of brain health. Joshua is honored to serve students of all backgrounds in order to achieve their dreams.

Maria Alonzo

Maria Alonzo

Senior Director of Operations

Maria Alonzo is a senior dually-enrolled at Manatee High School and State College of Florida in Bradenton, Florida. By volunteering in several tutoring programs like Making Math Fun and Students for S.T.E.M., Maria is continually looking for new ways to get involved in her community and help young students succeed. She has helped countless families that are struggling with the language of English. Besides her tutoring experiences, Maria has also volunteered to translate from English to Spanish workshops about college financial aid, directed FAFSA workshops, and volunteered to distribute food to the people in need in Sarasota County. She is inspired to be a Senior Director at Your Advance and continues to help more families every day.

Megan Watters

Megan Watters

Deputy Director of Marketing Strategies

As a junior dually-enrolled at Manatee High School and State College of Florida, Megan Watters strives to be connected in her community and provided a sense of unity during these challenging times. Megan is currently Secretary of Key Club for Manatee High School and is responsible for the club hours and works to resolve any club members' problems.  As a Dual Enrollment and AP student, Megan spends countless hours studying for these rigorous courses, but still, she finds time to be active in her community. Megan is honored to help promote Your Advance and spread progress in the community.

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Mackenzie Cokenour

Deputy Director of Instructional Management

Mackenzie Cokenour is a junior at Manatee High School in Bradenton, Florida. She works to be a reliable and consistent tutor for those in need. Despite participating in several extracurriculars and working part-time, she strives to be a stable and consistent tool for her peers and students in need. Mackenzie is happy to be apart of the Your Advance team to help both tutors and students strive to be their best. 

Morgan West

Senior Director of Administrative Development

Morgan West is a junior dually-enrolled at Fellowship Baptist Academy and Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kansas. Morgan is currently working towards her Associate's Degree in Business and a Certificate in Business Administration Technology. Morgan has experience owning a branch of her father's business and enjoys learning how to do new trade work types. As Morgan is a full-time high school and college student who works two part-time jobs, her free time is minimal, but she enjoys using that time to volunteer and helps others in her community. Morgan is delighted to lead Your Advance and contribute to the success of our mission. 

Andres Gutierrez-Quintero

Andres Gutierrez-Quintero

Deputy Director of Community Outreach

Andres is an IB senior at Riverview High School in Sarasota, Florida.  Andres has dedicated much of his time to promoting education in the community. He has done this through an after school history tutoring program at Alta Vista Elementary that he helped create with a group of students in Riverview’s Rho Kappa National History Honor Society. Andres is also the president of Riverview’s Cornerstone Club, a boy’s mentorship and service club, where he along with members of the club coordinate clean ups across Sarasota county and provide mentorship to incoming freshmen through service. Along with these experiences, Andres is a tutor with Your Advance and is honored to be able to dedicate his time to help it achieve its mission of supporting students in their pursuit of higher learning.

Our Volunteer Instructors

At Your Advance, our Volunteer Instructors not only tutor students in Manatee and Sarasota County, but also inspire success as a mentor.  They provide countless hours of support with Your Advance and are instrumental to our success as an organization. We are very appreciative for their commitment of service for our communities.

Roselyn Avila

Junior Instructor

Karla Cruz

Junior Instructor

Destin Gollamudi

Junior Instructor

Olivia Johnson

Junior Instructor

Bethany Mahurin

Junior Instructor

Davide Montanari

Junior Instructor

Camila Moran-Yonamine

Junior Instructor

Jordan Rydzinski

Junior Instructor

Zyonn Singleton

Senior Instructor

Joceylyn Zegarra-Paredes

Junior Instructor

Mission

Your Advance will provide an opportunity for students to continue and advance their learning

beyond the classroom today for their future tomorrow.

Purpose

Your Advance will aim to reduce the achievement gap amongst disadvantaged students through competitive and accessible opportunities to constantly advance their knowledge, reduce the loss of learning material, and better prepare for the challenges of classes for the upcoming school year.

 

Values

Your Advance emphasizes inclusivity with access to educational opportunities regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, or disabilities. We believe that every student who is willing to continue their learning beyond the bounds of the academic school year deserves the chance to succeed. At Your Advance, we believe every student has the opportunity to be SMART: Skillful, Masterly, Able, Ready, and Talented.  

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