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.
Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 passed, with Section 504 prohibiting discrimination toward those with disabilities in federal programs and services and all other programs or services receiving federal funds.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (originally The Education of All Handicapped Children Act) passed, guaranteeing a free, appropriate, and minimally restrictive public education for all children with disabilities.
Partners for Youth with Disabilities is established. Mentor Match begins with nine matches, both mentors and mentees all individuals with physical disabilities.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is signed into law, classifying discrimination based on disability as a violation of civil rights.
PYD Access to Theatre
PYD’s Access to Theatre launches its first workshop.
PYD Young Entrepreneurs Project
PYD’s Young Entrepreneurs Project begins as a collaboration with Boston Public Schools.
PYD Making Healthy Connections
Making Healthy Connections is established as a PYD program.
Disability Pride Parade
First Disability Pride parade takes place in Chicago, Illinois.
National Center Established
PYD establishes the National Center to promote inclusion to other youth-serving organizations.
ADA Amendments Act
The ADA Amendments Act is signed into law, extending the ADA to protect and include people with all kinds of disabilities.
Tufts Medical Center Project
In conjunction with Tufts Medical Center, PYD completes a research project on the benefits of mentoring for youth on the autism spectrum.