Inspiration is Our Mission

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.

The Executive Leadership

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

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.

 

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

Deputy Director of Instructional Management

Mackenzie Cokenour is a junior at Manatee High School in Bradenton, Florida. Prior to her nomination of Deputy 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 Deputy 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. 

Jordan Rydzinski

Deputy Director of Marketing

Jordan Rydzinski is a junior dual-enrolled at Manatee High School, and State College of Florida in Bradenton, Florida.  Prior to being nominated as Deputy 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. Jordan looks forward to serving the Suncoast as a Deputy Director.

Maria Alonzo

Maria Alonzo

Senior Director of Operations

Maria Alonzo is a senior dual-enrolled at Manatee High School and 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.

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. Gabriela is an active member of the Brain Health Initiative in Sarasota. During her time at the BHI, Gabriela focused on collaborative leadership from the Academy for Brain Health and Performance in Massachusetts General Hospital, a Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital.

 

Gabriela serves as the Deputy Director of Family Engagement, allowing us to offer the best quality of services in order to promote our communitywellness. Gabriela ensures that families, volunteers, and community partners communicate effectively.

Joshua Segebre

Deputy Director of Strategic Initiatives 

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

 

Prior to becoming a Deputy Director, Joshua served as the Lead Instructor for Your Advance and oversaw all tutors and mentors in our programs. 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.

Morgan West

Senior Director of Administrative Development

Morgan West is a junior 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.

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.

 

As a Deputy Director, Andres facilitates partnerships with other local organizations that ensure Your Advance's programs are able to achieve their mission of supporting students in their pursuit of higher learning.

Estephanie Herrera

Leadership Consultant

Estephanie Herrera is an ambitious, bilingual leader, pursuing her MBA degree in Business Administration and comes to us with 16 years of executive sales and finance experience in the recreational industry. Part of this knowledge includes leading team members in a fast-paced environment where deadlines are a priority and rapidly changing tasks are the norm. Prior to joining Your Advance, Estephanie served as the Business Manager at a well-known boating and yacht sales company.

 

As the Leadership Consultant, Estephanie is optimistic about bringing her perspectives and experience to Your Advance to help expand the benefits of our programs to low-income and socioeconomically challenged families. She believes that through great success come great responsibility to inspire the next generation of leaders to elevate the lives of people in their community.

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

Focusing on the Future

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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