MEET THE TEAM
Sarah Schaefer, M.Ed
Sarah (pronouns: she/her) comes to MENTOR Minnesota following almost five years as the Program Director at Bolder Options where she simultaneously served on both the MENTOR Minnesota Board of Directors and the MENTOR Minnesota Program Services Council. In December 2019, the US Department of State recruited her to represent the field of mentoring in a professional exchange program with youth development leaders in Northern Ireland.
Sarah is originally from Maine. She has a BA in Religion with a minor in Gender Studies from Mount Holyoke College and a Masters of Special Education from George Mason University. She taught high school Special Education and English inclusion for three years before moving to Minneapolis to canoe the entire Mississippi River.
She lives in South Minneapolis with her wife and their dog.
Emily (pronouns: she/her) grew up in a small town on the White Earth Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. This is where her passion for building positive connections began. Emily is Anishinaabe and proud of the beautiful culture that helped weave the fabric of her life. For more than a decade she has been dedicated to working with students within the public school setting in both Special Education and Behavior Intervention. One of her greatest accomplishments was the opportunity to be part of the day-to-day for kids. Seeing the reassurance in student's eyes when she would greet them at the door each day spoke to her genuine advocacy for students for which she is most proud of.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou
Emily is truly ecstatic to be joining MENTOR Minnesota as Program Director. She looks forward to her roles in leading and supporting programmatic opportunities, building strong community partnerships, and facilitating valuable contributions through a lens of authenticity and transparency.
Program Coordinator VISTA
Alli (pronouns: she/her) is an Americorps VISTA member working with MENTOR Minnesota. Alli graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the University of Minnesota Duluth in the spring of 2020. Alli is looking forward to using her process and organization skills to help Mentor MN build capacity in order to provide services to more programs and increase MENTOR MN’s impact. She is also excited to increase her knowledge and contribution to the mentoring community. Alli is passionate about increasing equitable opportunities for all youth.
Technical Assistance Consultant
April Riordan is an expert connector, innovator and strategist. She is an inclusive leader, who excels at maximizing and celebrating the talents of others. As Vice President Strategy and Innovation for Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities, she oversaw the development and implementation of the agency’s strategic plan, lead research, evaluation, and continuous improvement efforts, and provided leadershipfor new strategic initiatives. Prior to joining BBBS, April spent 10+ years in capacity building roles with statewide support organizations, Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota and MENTOR MN. In her role at MENTOR Minnesota, Riordan created the collaborative mentoring webinar series now led by the National Mentoring Resource Center. She was also instrumental in the development of Minnesota’s quality mentoring assessment tool, the model for the national quality mentoring system (NQMS). She also created a mentor training on social identities and implicit bias and directed a professional development cohort aimed at increasing the diversity of quality mentoring programs available in Minneapolis. Having worked in youth development, housing, community development, and social justice, April has a broad view of the nonprofit and public service field, and is passionate about tackling complex system-level problems with a holistic approach and bold vision. Her personal mission is to end work every day knowing she has contributed to creating a more just, equitable world.
Carolyn Scherer, MSW
Technical Assistance Consultant
Having spent nearly 20 years working in the youth development and mentoring fields, Carolyn is known for her knowledge, skills, expertise, and commitment to mentoring best practices. Carolyn works one-on-one with Minnesota youth mentoring programs to help ensure they have the resources needed to provide high quality, long-lasting, and effective mentoring experiences for youth and volunteers.
Make an Impact on the Mentoring Movement
MENTOR Minnesota is dedicated to quality mentoring experiences for all young people. Yet, 1 in 3 young people still need and could benefit from a caring adult mentor. Your gift helps us close that mentoring gap. Donate today.