The June 14 obituary for Shayne Schneider incorrectly spelled the first name of a daughter. Her name is Zahava Ball. (Published 6/15/2005)
Shayne Schneider, 59, the founder and former executive director of a mentoring program for District high school students, died of leukemia June 5 in Seattle. She moved from the District to Port Townsend, Wash., in 2003.
Ms. Schneider founded Mentors Inc., a nonprofit organization that matched students from District public high schools with mentors, in 1987. The program differed from other mentoring programs in that it provided a variety of services to the students such as tutoring, dental services and scholarships. Ninety-eight percent of the students in the first graduating class successfully completed high school with a plan for postsecondary education or for entering the military.
Since the program's inception, thousands of high school students have been partnered with professionals from throughout the Washington metropolitan area. Mentors Inc. received its funding from the D.C. school system and several local corporations and foundations, including The Washington Post and the Cafritz Foundation.
Ms. Schneider was a dynamic person who knew how to get people involved, said Mona Sanders, executive director of Mentors Inc. She noted that 86 percent of the current group of students is going to college.
"She saw a need in D.C.'s youth, and she saw there was an incredible opportunity in D.C." with its large professional population, Sanders said. "She pestered people to death until they listened to her."
In 1994, Ms. Schneider left Mentors Inc. to start a consulting business that specialized in helping organizations develop mentoring programs and to help organize the National Mentoring Partnership. Her clients included AOL/Time Warner, Fannie Mae, the Smithsonian Institution and Women in Technology.
She was active in Women of Washington, where she managed the mentoring program for women reentering the workforce or making a career change. She served on the board of Leadership Washington as program chairman.
In 1999, she established the Shayne Award to recognize an outstanding executive director of a Washington area nonprofit organization with an annual salary of no more than $45,000. The $1,000 award given to the winner was funded by Ms. Schneider, and the award program ran from 1999 to 2002 under the auspices of the Washington Council of Agencies, now called the Center for Nonprofit Advancement.
Ms. Schneider was born in the Bronx, N.Y., and graduated with a philosophy degree from the University of Wisconsin, where she joined demonstrations supporting civil rights and protesting the Vietnam War. She worked for a while for an employment agency and at a Washington state welfare department before receiving a master's in education from the University of Washington in Seattle. In the late 1970s, Ms. Schneider moved to the District and helped establish a program for neonatal nurse practitioners at Georgetown University.
Ms. Schneider once described herself this way: "I am a person of high intelligence, acute verbal ability, and good humor. My great joys are to be able to bring people together to accomplish a common good, and to help embolden people to take the chance on being their best selves."
Survivors included her husband, William Ball of Washington; three children, Keely Ball and Zahiva Ball of New York and Liam Ball of Washington; her parents, Louis and Prolet Schneider of Amenia, N.Y., and three sisters.