Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame is accepting 2016 nominations

2015 Hall of Fame inductees receive their awardsPYD is proud to be a founding organization of the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC). The mission of the NDMC is to increase the awareness, quality, and impact of mentoring for individuals with disabilities across the nation. Since its inception 18 months ago, the NDMC has grown to include 27 leading organizations around the U.S. We are pleased to be able to partner and collaborate with this committed group of organizations. We have also found the sharing of best practices to be beneficial for all involved.

One of the NDMC’s initial projects was the development of the The Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame, which was created to honor those who are making a significant difference in the lives of youth and adults with disabilities through mentoring and to raise awareness about the importance of mentoring for individuals with disabilities. The Hall of Fame’s namesake, Susan M. Daniels, devoted her life to improving the lives of others with disabilities. As a person with a disability who achieved enormous professional and personal success, she had significant impact as a senior policy maker and as a mentor to hundreds of individuals.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) last year, the NDMC named 25 outstanding leaders as the first inductees into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame. These inductees were selected for their demonstrated commitment to mentoring and for the impact of their contributions on improving the lives of people with disabilities. You can see last year’s inductees here.

In honor of National Thank Your Mentor Day (January 21), the NDMC opened the 2016 Nominations for the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame. Nominations are being accepted in the categories of individual mentor and business/organization and are being accepted until May 1, 2016. To submit a nomination or learn more: www.disabilitymentors.org.

PYD Receives a $12,500 Award from the Rite Aid Foundation KidCents Program

Partners for Youth with Disabilities was awarded a $12,500 grant from the Rite Aid Foundation as part of Rite Aid’s Big Hearts Give Challenge.  A check presentation ceremony was held Friday, February 19, 2016 at the Rite Aid Pharmacy located at 100 Cambridge Street in Boston, attended by Rite Aid officials, PYD staff members and volunteers.

Members of the PYD joined with officials from Rite Aid for the check presentation.

In 2014, Rite Aid began their journey with more than 200 charities to build a powerful coalition of organizations who share a mission to improve the well-being of children. With this mission, the Rite Aid Foundation introduced the KidCents program to provide Rite Aid customers an opportunity to give kids in need a chance for better lives and brighter futures. Through KidCents, members of Rite Aid’s wellness+ with Plenti program can round up their in-store or online purchases to the nearest dollar and designate their change to one of more than 360 kid-focused charities that now partner with KidCents. PYD is proudly part of the program!

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of KidCents, the Rite Aid Foundation launched the Big Hearts Give Challenge to award participating charities with $5,000 to $20,000 in grants depending on the number of designations the organizations received. This incentive program ran from October 1st, 2015 through January 31st, 2016. In all, The Rite Aid Foundation’s KidCents program will donate a total of $1.6 million to 182 KidCents charities!

PYD was truly excited about this opportunity and accepted the challenge with great passion and energy.  Within several weeks, we were lucky enough to reach 83 designations from PYD supporters and Rite Aid customers to qualify for the $12,500 award. “It was phenomenal to see almost 100 people sign up. We were originally shooting for the $10,000 level award, but thanks to our supporters’ time and effort, we surpassed that goal to get to the next level,” said Nicole Malo, PYD’s Development Manager. “It’s a true testament to what we can do when we come together. We’re fortunate to be part of this caring community.”

PYD staff members, board members, participants, LEND fellows, volunteers, friends, and family were all called upon to join in the challenge. It was a grassroots movement. We reached out to people via email, social media, and a lot of in-person encouraging  to sign people up and have them designate PYD as their KidCents charity. Esterlina Macinnes, who is one of PYD’s LEND Fellows, helped spearhead the challenge and she successfully signed up about ten people she knows.

Peter Hallisey, District Manager from Rite Aid, presented the check to PYD and gave a speech on behalf of the Rite Aid team. “It’s a pleasure for us to make a donation to this tremendous organization. We know our customers share our passion when it comes to giving back to the community, and that’s why KidCents was created,” said Peter. “By leveraging the power of this highly successful KidCents program, our partner organizations will have the opportunity to increase their funding to make a bigger difference in the lives of children in our communities.”

Through this special challenge, PYD succeeded in raising awareness, growing our donor network, and earning additional funds for our organization. We would like to thank the Rite Aid Foundation for their generous support and this opportunity to participate in the Big Hearts Give Challenge. Our special thanks also go out to PYD staff members, volunteers, and all the loyal supporters who assisted our organization in meeting its goal. The award funds will be used to support important PYD programs that motivate youth to reach their personal, educational, and career goals, and guide organizations in becoming more inclusive.

This post written by Sophia Xiaotong Ma, Graduate Student at the Boston University College of Communication. She is one of PYD’s BU PR Lab Account Executives. (Edited by Nicole Malo, with the additional edit help of PYD Team Members.)

Peer Mentors Help Youth Transition to Work

This blog post was written and contributed by BroadFutures, a member organization in the National Disability Mentoring Coalition.

BroadFutures is a young non-profit located in Washington, DC with a mission to empower young adults (18-26) with non-apparent disabilities through a holistic training, mentoring and paid internship program. BroadFutures partners with specialists in drama, speech therapy, yoga and meditation, bringing an innovative and unique perspective to the area of transition and workforce preparedness. BroadFutures has completed three successful pilot programs and is now taking its model to scale with its winter 2016 program.

One of the key components to BroadFutures’ success has been its peer mentoring model. Interns are supported by peer mentors (who are guided by an executive functioning coach) throughout the program. The peer mentors also serve as liaisons between interns and employers, ensuring successful outcomes for both.

In an effort to highlight the powerful impact and benefit of peer mentoring, we spoke with one of our alumni interns, Daniel Soya, who participated in the BroadFutures’ third cohort in the summer of 2015 and is now employed by the employer partner that hosted his internship, Marshall Moya Design.

When asked why he applied to the BroadFutures program, Daniel explained, “I did not have a clear idea of what I wanted to do and wanted to get experience in the workplace. I felt I got that experience.”

Continue reading “Peer Mentors Help Youth Transition to Work”

Youth and Family Disability Resources: March 2016

Happy March! We’ve got a number of resources and fun activities to close out the winter, welcome in the spring, and even give a preview for the summer.

Check out the Family Voices updated 2016 Summer Guide. This comprehensive guide for families is packed with helpful information, tips and resources to support summer planning! Included is a listing of unique camps across greater Boston, fun family activities to do within the city, sensory friendly, and social skills building games to play at home, and more!

Metro West Special-Needs Fair
Natick – March 6th, 2016, 1 – 4 p.m
Free and open to the public. MetroWest families seeking resources, activities, and services for themselves or their family members with special needs will find dozens of programs, services, products and resources at this resource fair. Children are welcome, and there will be an arts and crafts area staffed with volunteers so parents and caretakers can enjoy the fair. Hosted by the Natick Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC). A list of organizations and businesses that will be exhibiting will be posted by the Natick SEPAC on their website For more information visit the Natick SEPAC Special-Needs Resource Fair page or email NatickSEPAC@gmail.com

Celebrating The Strength of Individuals & Families
Great Hall, The State House, Boston – March 9th, 2016
The Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council and The Arc of Massachusetts would like to invite you to The 38th Annual Legislative Reception:Celebrating The Strength of Individuals and Families. This is an ideal opportunity for persons with disabilities, family members, advocates, state agency heads and their staff, and legislators to interact and catch up on legislative priorities and other important issues.    They will be honoring Senator Joan Lovely and Representative Ronald Mariano. Speaking on the theme: Isaiah Lombardo and Angela Lombardo, self-advocate and mother. Special Presenters: Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert DeLeo * Please do set up an appointment with your legislator in advance, in addition to encouraging them to attend the legislative reception.  CART and ASL interpreters will be available. Register at this link, or contact  Amelia Cordischi, The Arc of Massachusetts 781-891-6270 x104 | cordischi@arcmass.org Continue reading “Youth and Family Disability Resources: March 2016”