Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD) was founded in 1985 by Regina Snowden as a one-to-one mentoring program for youth with disabilities. At the time, mentoring was gaining prominence as a key intervention for bolstering life outcomes in at-risk youth, yet youth with disabilities were being systemically excluded from ongoing programs. In PYD’s first year, Regina matched 9 youth with disabilities with adults with a similar disability-and the demand for PYD’s services skyrocketed from there.
Over the intervening 33 years, PYD has grown from this humble beginning to an array of award-winning programs that serves over 400 youth with disabilities and trains over 1,200 youth workers every year. We now run programs focusing on one-to-one, group, and online mentoring; theater arts; and job readiness training. We also provide youth workers and organizations across the country with training on how to be more inclusive of youth with disabilities, and advocate for disability mentoring and inclusion on a national scale.