Who We Are

Your Advance is a not-for-profit organization in Manatee County founded on June 1st, 2020, to address student learning loss and achievement gaps with student-led virtual mentoring and learning programs for K-12 students.

Inspiration is Our Mission.

Focusing on the Future

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

*U.S. Census Breau

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

The Executive Leadership

The Your Advance Executive Leadership team consists of experienced and high-achieving 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 and Founder

As a senior 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.

 

Denny has experience leading the largest health career student organization in the Suncoast for HOSA. As Regional President, 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 Your Advance team.

Mackenzie Cokenour

Director of Instruction

Mackenzie Cokenour is a senior at Manatee High School in Bradenton, Florida. Prior to her nomination of Director, Mackenzie led the way in mentoring and tutoring students by being one of Your Advance's most reliable and consistent tutors throughout the summer of 2020. Mackenzie has an interest in becoming a medical professional and is enrolled in the Medical Academy at her school.

 

As the Director of Instructional Management, Mackenzie oversees the quality and delivery of instructional and mentoring materials for volunteers. Mackenzie is excited to be a part of the Your Advance team to help both tutors and students strive to be their best. 

Maria Alonzo

Maria Alonzo

Senior Director of Operations

Maria Alonzo is an accelerated college student at State College of Florida in Bradenton, Florida. By mentoring in several programs like UnidosNow's Making Math Fun and Students for S.T.E.M. projects, Maria is continually looking for new ways to help young students succeed. Maria has dedicated her time to helping countless immigrant families with learning the English language.

 

At a leadership capacity, Maria has also led translation teams at UnidosNow community programs, directed FAFSA workshops, and volunteered to distribute food to the people in need in Sarasota County. As a Senior Director at Your Advance, Maria ensures our operations are efficient to amplify our mission of helping more families every day.

Jordan Rydzinski

Director of Marketing

Jordan Rydzinski is a senior dual-enrolled at Manatee High School, and State College of Florida in Bradenton, Florida.  Prior to being nominated as Director of Marketing, Jordan mentored elementary and middle school students for Your Advance seeking to help the next generation of scholars succeed. Jordan is also the Treasurer of the Junior Board at her school and has experience managing fundraisers and campaigns to boost community and member engagement

Outside of school, Jordan serves as a Student Ambassador for the Junior Leadership Manatee program, an innovative approach to diversifying Manatee County students about the careers within our community. 

Morgan West

Senior Director of Administration

Morgan West is a senior dual-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 managing a branch of her family's business and enjoys learning new trade and vocational skills.

 

From her previous leadership experiences, Morgan finds strength in fostering a passion for teamwork. At Your Advance, Morgan has been pivotal in enacting effective methods to streamline volunteer and student enrollment. Morgan is delighted to serve as a Senior Director at Your Advance and will continue to contribute to the success of our community.

Joshua Segebre

Director of Strategic Initiatives 

Joshua Segebre is a senior 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 President of the UnidosNow club which is dedicated to serving underrepresented students who want to pursue post-secondary education.

 

Prior to becoming a Director, Joshua served as the Lead Instructor and oversaw all tutors and mentors in our programs. Outside of the organization, Joshua's passion for international studies has motivated him to become a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange scholar, studying abroad in Germany.

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.  

Your Advance