Kacey runs the Boston Marathon for PYD

Kacey and Jenna

It was the first beautiful spring day in Boston, one week before THE Marathon and the vibrant atmosphere of Life Alive in Central Square, Cambridge was the ideal setting to catch up with the luminous Kacey Fields. Kacey first learned about PYD from an outreach event at Northeastern University. She was tabling for the Friendship Network. She signed up for our E-Options, and just loved what we do from the start.

Kacey is one of four children in her family. She is blessed with three older siblings, two brothers and one sister. Jenna, her sister, has Down Syndrome and is a rock of the family. The strength is quite reciprocal as her sis has a great support network: her Mom and Dad, Grammy, brothers and Kacey. Kacey would like youth and young adults with disabilities to have the same kind of strong and supportive network that her sister is fortunate to have, and she sees PYD as providing that kind of support network for many youth and families. That is one of her main motivations for running the marathon for PYD–to help support PYD financially so that PYD can continue its important work to help youth with disabilities lead more fulfilling lives.

Fun facts about Kacey and her family:

Sister Jenna loves to sing and dance and learns a lot of lyrics to songs.

Kacey Fields Marathon 2015 2Kacey is running the marathon for the second consecutive year through Sam Adams Brewery who has 30 numbers that they provide to runners for the marathon.

A snippet of Kacey’s marathon nutrition: before a run at breakfast she’ll mic and mash organic sweet potato on a rice cake slathered with a layer of almond butter. (Try it for yourself!) She’s been eating tons of bananas, and on runs she’s been bringing along chia bars, drinking raw coconut water, and beet juice.

A PYD cheerleading squad will be catching up with her at mile 23, and her requested pick me up fuel at that point is Swedish Fish! Watch for Kacey, bib no. 30789. She’ll be wearing a purple jersey with her last name “Fields” on it.

It is PYD’s 30th Anniversary and extraordinary efforts of support like this one add to the brilliance of the milestone. Kacey’s goal was to raise $1,500 and she’s already surpassed that and raised $2,010 days before the big race! To donate, please visit Kacey’s fundraising page here.

We would like to extend our most enthusiastic feelings of gratitude to Kacey, her family, friends, and all in the PYD community coming together to support PYD through Kacey’s Boston Marathon run.

Youth & Family Disability Resources: April 2015

Finally, the snow is almost completely gone and we can go out and have fun! Enjoy the warmer weather this month with these activities and events.

What To Do in Boston This Month!

Transition/Adult Services Disability Resource Fair. On Friday, April 10th, the Franciscan Hospital for Children Transition & Adult Services Resource Fair runs 1:00pm–4:00pm, and is open to the public and families of children with special needs. Share, learn, and connect with agencies that provide transition services and support, earn about services and resources available, view exhibits and talk to the professionals! Learn more about the fair.

Parker Hill Branch Library Awesome Book Sale. Get 4 books for just a dollar! Stop by the Awesome Book Sale at the Parker Hill Branch of the Boston Public Library (1497 Tremont St. in Mission Hill) on Saturday, April 11th, from 9:00 am-1:30 pm. There’ll be amazing deals on books, movies, and music, plus there’s free swag.

Wings for Autism. Travel is stressful in general but can be particularly stressful for families who have a child with special needs. Wings for Autism events are a FREE OF CHARGE “test run” through the airport boarding process specifically designed for families who have a child with an autism spectrum disorder. Families can practice the ticketing process, going through security, waiting in the terminal, and boarding the plane. The next Wings for Autism event is at 9:00am on Saturday, April 11th, and will be located at Logan Airport, Terminal E. If you’re interested, RSVP online!

PYD Summer Jobs Workshop. In order to help prepare our mentees for employment, we are holding a Summer Job Workshop at the PYD office on Saturday, April 11th from 10:00am-12:00pm. Refreshments will be provided!  We’ll discuss completing applications, writing a resume, interview prep, and employment resources. If you have a resume, bring it to the workshop and we can help you with edits. Contact Rivka Barrett at hbarrett@pyd.org or call 617-556-4075 x19 for more information or to RSVP. We hope to see you there!

Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) Kick-off Event. From 1:00-4:00pm on Sunday, April 12th, learn more about the Youth Leadership Forum! It’s also a great way to network with past peer leaders, delegates, mentors, PCAs, and others involved in the YLF community! It’ll be at 89 South Street, Boston, MA 02111. For more information, email Youth@Eastersealsma. org or go to the event’s Facebook page.

2015 NAMI Massachusetts Advocacy Day. On Monday, April 13th, from 11am-3pm, all people with disabilities and their families are invited to speeches, lunch and visits with legislators in the Great Hall at the Massachusetts State House. The event is free but pre-registration is required. Learn more details about the event.

Career Expo Boston. On Friday, April 17th, attend the Equal Opportunity Publications’ (EOP) exciting Career Expo-Boston on April 17 at the Westin Copley Place Hotel! This event is great for those aged 18 or older looking for jobs. Dress in business attire, bring printed copies of your resume and meet with top recruiters from companies and government agencies. Pre-register to attend.

Family Autism Night – Children’s Museum of Easton. On Friday, April 17th, the Children’s Museum in Easton is open just to families with children on the autism spectrum aged 10 and under. They’ll be able to explore the museum’s interactive exhibits in a less overwhelming atomosphere. And Bailey the Therapy Dog will be there from Dog BONES! This program is free but pre-registration is required. Call the Museum at 508-230-3789 to register or learn more at their Family Autism Night website.

Boston Marathon. On Monday, April 20th, celebrate Patriot’s Day and the biggest FREE event in Boston by cheering on our runners at the Boston Marathon! In case you’ve been living under a rock and have never heard of the Boston Marathon, it’s a 26.2 human foot race that begins in Hopkinton, MA and ends one block west of Copley Square in Boston. BOSTON STRONG.

Boston College Arts Festival. The 15th Annual Boston College Arts Festival will be held on Thursday, April 23rd through Saturday, April 25th. Events start at 12:00pm and end at 11:00pm. This festival is FREE and features everything to do with art, from painting to dance, sidewalk murals to theater performances, and even an awesome petting zoo!

Acton Commission on Disabilities’ Resource Fair. On Wednesday, April 29th, the Acton Commission on Disabilities (COD) will host a resource fair for those with disabilities from 1:00pm-4:00pm in Room 204 at Town Hall on 472 Main St, Acton, MA, 01720. Representatives from over 20 organizations and town agencies will be there!

Free Museum Days in Boston.  If you haven’t guessed it yet, we at PYD generally think the best things in life are free! Check out free admission days for these local museums! Explore with your mentor/mentee and learn all about art, history, technology, dinosaurs and more!

Massachusetts Department of Public Health Survey. Help the Massachusetts Department of Public Health improve their services for families of youth with special health care needs! They’re conducting a confidential and anonymous survey of families of children and youth with special healthcare needs aged up to 24 years. It should only take 15-20 minutes to complete and you have the chance to enter a raffle for one of 20 $50 gift cards. Note: The online survey is in English only. If you’d like a paper copy of the survey (in English or Spanish) or have any questions, please call 617-624-5478 or send an email to specialhealthneeds@state.ma.us.

Need Something to Add To Your Resume?

PYD Summer Jobs Workshop. In order to help prepare our mentees for employment, we are holding a Summer Job Workshop at the PYD office on Saturday, April 11th from 10:00am-12:00pm. Refreshments will be provided!  We’ll discuss completing applications, writing a resume, interview prep, and employment resources. If you have a resume, bring it to the workshop and we can help you with edits. Contact Rivka Barrett at hbarrett@pyd.org or 617-556-4075 x19 for more information or to RSVP. We hope to see you there!

Career Expo Boston. On Friday, April 17th, attend the Equal Opportunity Publications’ (EOP) exciting Career Expo-Boston at the Westin Copley Place Hotel! This event is great for those aged 18 or older looking for jobs. Dress in business attire, bring printed copies of your resume and meet with top recruiters from companies and government agencies. Pre-register to attend.

ImprovBoston Disability Scholarship. Have a disability? Love improv or the performing arts in general? The No Limits Media and ImprovBoston scholarship is offered to a person with a disability aged 18 or older to help them learn the art of improvisational comedy. For more information contact eguadette@fcsn.org, or go ahead and apply online.

Aspire: High Cognitive Autism Spectrum Disorder Programs. MGH Aspire helps children, teens and adults with a high cognitive autism spectrum disorder or a related social profile make social connections and develop independence. Their Summer 2015 programs for children, teens, and adults are open for applications! Learn more and apply online.

NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship. Four scholarships, which can be used for the spring, summer, or fall semesters of 2015, will be offered to 2nd year associate students; undergraduate sophomores, juniors, and seniors; and graduate students with disabilities who are pursuing communications or media-related degrees. Each recipient receives $5,625 for tuition and fees at their college or university. Apply here.

Seeking responses from individuals with autism

This past Friday, we shared a Boston.com article about the individuality of people with autism. We were excited to see Autism Awareness Month get highlighted in such a prominent publication, and we do believe that the article’s intent was good: to break down stereotypes and to highlight the differing strengths and abilities of people with autism. But as our astute community members pointed out, the article didn’t feature any responses from individuals with autism!

That’s…well, that’s a huge oversight. We were disappointed that Boston.com didn’t think to ask anyone with autism to share their perspective, so we decided to do it for them.

If you are a person with autism, we want to hear from you! Who are you? What are your strengths and interests? What does “autism” look like from your perspective? We want to share your experiences and input, so you can help lead the conversation around autism this month.

We’ll be collecting our responses and then sharing them on our blog later this month. Send ’em in via email (sslowinski@pyd.org), in the comments below, or on PYD’s social media channels.