Being a 2017 PYD Fellow helped all of us grow as individuals. We learned about how to get involved in the community. For example, going to State House to advocate for our rights as individuals with disabilities. We had many opportunities to meet new people at different events such as the career mentoring brunch and various other fun events. We also learned how to better manage stress at a stress management/yoga workshop.
We spent time discussing how to work as a group and listen to each other. The meetings helped guide us through the steps involved in planning an event. They improved our confidence and leadership skills to find our voices and speak up more and express our ideas. It didn’t matter if they were right or wrong we felt listened to. We really enjoyed planning events and we got to know our peers better through the group. The three of us actually all knew each other from previous events/schools, but working and being together as PYD fellows really fostered special friendships.
The year started with Porchfest held each year all around Somerville. PYD’s Deep Chinappa and his band, Deep C Divers, played at Tatiana’s house. Many PYD participants came to hear him play and we spent hours dancing, laughing and enjoying ourselves. The food was wonderful too. Regina also joined us. We combined Porch Fest with a photo shoot with Disability Images. It was great fun to be models for a day.
As PYD fellows our year end event was around the Honk Parade held each year in Davis Square. The parade included activist street bands from the area. The bands performing had a lot of brass, percussion, and acoustic instruments. These bands don’t just play for the people; they play among the people and invited everyone to join the fun. They are active, activist, and deeply engaged in their communities promoting inclusion. They can be outrageous and do community-building activities.
By organizing this event we were able to bring together mentors and mentees. We met at Tatiana’s house for a wonderful lunch. We were worried about the rain, but while enjoying lunch the rain stopped, and we were all able to head out to the Parade. We saw dancers, stilts, bands and bicycles. It was a very diverse crowd. After we all returned to Tatiana’s from the parade we ate cake and ice cream. It was a wonderful day for all who joined us.
It was a very fulfilling and fun experience to be a PYD fellow.
Thank you PYD for the opportunity!
Your 2017 PYD Fellows