Who We Are
Your Advance, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded in June 2020. We strive to lower K-12 achievement gaps with trusted peer programs and a student-led focus.
We serve families in Manatee and Sarasota counties.
The Champion for Student Achievement!
The Executive Leadership
Our Executive Leadership team consists of experienced leaders who have come together to share their passion for inspiring the students in our community to achieve beyond the classroom.
Executive Director and Founder
Denny Lu is a dedicated champion for educational opportunities and 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 currently attends Harvard University.
Jordan Rydzinski is a dedicated honors student dual enrolled at Manatee High School and the State College of Florida. Through her studies, Jordan has been awarded the AP Capstone Diploma for excelling in college level coursework in both research and investigative studies. With Jordan's expertise as Treasurer for the Junior Class Board and Junior Leadership Manatee, her experience has helped elevate the positive impact our organization has in the community.
This fall, Jordan will be attending Florida State University to pursue a Bachelor of Arts majoring in the humanities. Through Your Advance, Jordan hopes to continue her dedicated work in education advocacy.
Born and raised in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, Maria Alonzo always had ambitions to dream big. After moving to the U.S., Maria enrolled as an academically-talented student at the Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida. Maria's dedication drives her as mentor for UnidosNow elementary and middle school students. During her time in the community, Maria is constantly looking for new ways to help young students succeed.
At a leadership capacity, Maria has also led the UnidosNow Club at Manatee High School, directed financial aid workshops, and volunteered to distribute food to the people in need in Sarasota County. As a Director, Maria ensures our networks and operations are efficient in order to amplify our mission of helping more families every day.
Strategic Initiatives Director
Joshua Segebre is an academic honors student at Macalester College pursuing a Bachelors Degree. 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. As Director, Joshua is committed to maintaining our excellence.
Instructional Management Director
Mackenzie Cokenour is a student at the University of Florida. Prior to serving as Director, Mackenzie led the way in mentoring her students and was awarded Volunteer of the Year for being our organization's most reliable tutors. Mackenzie is interested in becoming a medical professional and is enrolled in the Medical Academy at her school. Looking to the future, her compassion inspires her interest of becoming an ophthalmologist.
With her involvement in Instructional Management, Mackenzie ensures our volunteers deliver quality tutoring and mentoring that our student deserve. Mackenzie is committed to be a part of our team to help both tutors and students strive for excellence beyond the classroom.
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 Director at Your Advance and will continue to contribute to the success of our community.
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
Your Advance will provide an opportunity for students to continue and advance their learning beyond the classroom today for their future tomorrow.
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.
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.