PYD Expands Mentoring Opportunities to Community College Students with Disabilities on a National Scale

Cartoon mentor and mentee connected via wifiBOSTON, MA – Over the next three years, Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD) will be launching a new online, professional mentoring program to support community college students with disabilities across five states.

According to the Department of Labor, Office of Disability Policy, people with disabilities continue to have an unemployment rate over two times that of people without disabilities. While higher education often improves employment opportunities, college graduates continue to face barriers when seeking employment, which can lead to unemployment or underemployment. Thanks to a three-year grant from the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, Partners for Youth with Disabilities is planning to address this issue by expanding professional mentoring opportunities to community college students with disabilities in five states.

PYD will offer e-mentoring to 330 young adults with the goal of improved employment outcomes through partnerships with Business Leadership Networks in Massachusetts (Work Without Limits), Connecticut (Connecticut Business Leadership Network), Maine (Maine Business Leadership Network in partnership with the Maine Chamber of Commerce), Wyoming (Unita County Business Leadership Network), and Kansas (Greater Kansas City Leadership Network), as well as community colleges in these areas.

Community College students will access professional and peer mentors to increase their networks, receive advice, and gather support about achieving goals. They will also participate in topical webinars related to employment readiness, and engage in live networking and interview fairs hosted by the Business Leadership Networks.

According to Regina Snowden, Founder and Executive Director of Partners for Youth with Disabilities, “For 31 years, PYD has witnessed the transformative power of mentoring in the lives of youth and young adults with disabilities in their efforts to gain employment and achieve independence. We are thrilled to be expanding our program model beyond Massachusetts through e-Mentoring. We know that this effort between many collaborating partners will result in increased employment opportunities for the participating young adults.”

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About Partners for Youth with Disabilities
Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD) empowers youth with disabilities to reach their full potential by providing transformative mentoring programs, youth development opportunities, and inclusion expertise. To learn more, visit www.pyd.org.

About Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation
The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, based in the Washington, DC area, was established in 1991 by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and the Mitsubishi Electric U.S. companies, which produce, sell and distribute a wide range of consumer, industrial, commercial and professional electronics products. The foundation has contributed more than $15 million to organizations that are empowering young people with disabilities to lead more inclusive and productive lives. To learn more, visit the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation’s website at www.MEAF.org.

Mentors and Organizations Inducted into Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

BOSTON, MA (July 14, 2016) – [National Disability Mentoring Coalition], The National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) has named 17 individuals and four organizations as inductees into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.  Selection criteria included demonstrated commitment to mentoring and the impact of contributions on improving the lives of people with disabilities.

Substantial research has shown that mentoring is a critical element in helping youth from diverse backgrounds transition to independent adulthood and successful careers.  For youth with disabilities, mentoring is even more critical because most come from families that have no experience with disability and there are few role models to follow.  The NDMC established the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame to highlight the importance of mentoring to people with disabilities and to honor individuals and organizations that provide exemplary service.

The Class of 2016 Hall of Fame inductees are:

Mentors

  • Bob Vetere, Northrop Grumman Corporation (Mentor of the Year)
  • Alethea Alphonsah, Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries
  • Jeanne Argoff, Disability Funders Network (Retired)
  • Kathleen Brockway, Author, Consultant, Researcher
  • Mary Brougher, Bender Consulting Services, Inc.
  • Nancy J. Bazanchuk, Community Advocate & Adaptive Recreation Mentor
  • Daniel Davis, US Department of Health and Human Services
  • Claudia Gordon, US Department of Labor
  • Renee Kirby, Temple University Disability Resources and Services
  • Mathew McCollough, District of Columbia Developmental Disabilities Council
  • Donna Meltzer, National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
  • Christina Mills, CA Foundation for Independent Living Centers – Youth Organizing! Disabled
    and Proud
  • Kathy Petkauskos, Work Without Limits, UMass Medical School
  • Alicia Reagan, Spinal Network Trident Breeze Group & Blogger
  • Regina Snowden, Partners for Youth with Disabilities
  • Jeff Weinstein, Community Advocate, Partners for Youth with Disabilities Mentor
  • Anita Wright, Northrop Grumman Corporation

Mentoring Programs

  • Eye to Eye (Mentoring Program of the Year)
  • Massachusetts Commission for the Blind Project LENS
  • Partners for Youth with Disabilities
  • Vanderbilt University Next Steps Ambassadore Program

Inductees will also be honored at a number of events between July and November 2016, including:

  • American Association of People with Disabilities ADA Celebration, July 13, Washington, DC
  • Massachusetts Youth Leadership Forum, Career Mentor Luncheon, July 13, Bridgewater, MA
  • National Council on Independent Living ADA Social, July 27, Washington DC
  • US Business Leadership Network National Conference, September 22, Orlando, FL
  • US Department of Agriculture National Disability Employment Awareness Month Event, September 27, Washington, DC
  • Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0, City University of New York (CUNY) LEADS Event,
    October 31, New York, NY
  • Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities Full Access Summit,
    November 18-19, 2016, Cambridge, MA

Background information on the inductees and more details regarding the events are available online at www.disabilitymentors.org.

Sponsors for NDMC and the Hall of Fame are Cornell University Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, New Editions Consulting, and PolicyWorks.

About the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame: The Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame was established in 2015 as a legacy to Susan M. Daniels, who devoted her life to improving the lives of people with disabilities. As a person with a disability who achieved enormous professional and personal success, Dr. Daniels had significant impact as a senior policy maker, as an inspirational speaker and teacher, and as a mentor to hundreds of individuals.

Last year, the NDMC named 25 outstanding leaders as the first inductees into the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame – 25 champions marking the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2016 and in years to follow, nominations for the Hall of Fame are solicited across the country, with finalists chosen by the NDMC Selection Committee.

About the National Disability Mentoring Coalition: The mission of the National Disability Mentoring Coalition is to increase the awareness, quality and impact of mentoring for individuals with disabilities across the nation. Members include more than 30 non-profit organizations, academic institutions, government agencies, foundations and corporate entities. Learn more about the NDMC and its members at: www.disabilitymentors.org.

Christina Mills Inducted into the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

The Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame was established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) to honor those individuals 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.

We are proud to induct Christina Mills into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Christina Mills, is the Deputy Director of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers and has been an active member of the disability rights community since her involvement in the California Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities in 1995.

Born in San Diego, California, Christina began her post-secondary education while simultaneously pursing her career in Independent Living. In 1999 she began working for the Independent Living Center of Orange County, the Dayle McIntosh Center. She went on to work for Access 2 Independence in San Diego and served in a number of various positions over the five years she was there.

In 2001 she was appointed by the California Governor to serve on the State Independent Living Council. As a young professional she also served as chair of the National Council on Disability, Youth Advisory Committee and was a Project Consultant for the National Family Voices, Kids as Self Advocates (KASA) program.

In 2006 Christina left San Diego to work for the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers as the Statewide Community Organizer of the Systems Change Network. She has lead the organizing and planning of Disability Capitol Action Day for seven years and is a co-founder CFILC’s youth organizing program, Youth Organizing (YO!) Disabled & Proud.

In 2008, she was awarded Regional IX “Advocate of the Year” by the National Council on Independent Living and awarded the California Coalition for Youth Sue Matheson Mentoring Award in 2011.

Christina is an advocate, an activist, a wife, a mother of two young children, a part-time blogger, novice photographer, a serious scrapbooker and also identifies as disabled and proud.

Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame: Information and Inductees

Next Steps Ambassadores Program Inducted into the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

The Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame was established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) to honor those individuals 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.

We are proud to induct the Next Steps Ambassadores Program into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

The purpose of the Next Steps at Vanderbilt Ambassadores organization is to support Vanderbilt University’s Next Steps students as they complete their certification requirements. The mission of the Next Steps program is to provide transformational learning experiences, within an inclusive educational setting, for young adults with intellectual disabilities, university students, faculty, staff, and community leaders. An Ambassadore is someone who is a peer mentor of the highest quality who serves as a role model and person of support to the Next Step student he or she works with for 2-4 hours per week. The Ambassadores members support the Next Steps students in the areas of academics, program requirements, and social skills through building positive and trusting relationships by helping in the roles of daily planner, tutor, lunch buddy, or workout buddy.

The Ambassadore organization is led by 5 executive board members and roughly 8-10 Ambassadores for each student of the Next Steps program, one of whom serves as the Lead Ambassadore. These 8-10 peer mentors make up each student’s circle of support, which also includes any of their other sources of support (family members, Next Steps staff, behavior specialists, etc.). The Lead Ambassadore acts coordinates efforts and communication for their respective circle of support, such as helping their paired Next Steps student plan a social event for the entire circle. This person centered structure creates a more transparent communication style, resulting in well-rounded development for each student.

Learn more about the Next Steps Ambassadore Program at: http://vkc.mc.vanderbilt.edu/vkc/nextsteps/peermentors/

Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame: Information and Inductees

Project LENS Inducted into the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

The Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame was established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) to honor those individuals 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.

We are proud to induct Project LENS from the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

The objective of the MCB mentoring program Project L.E.N.S. (Linking Expertise and Networking for Success) is to develop and sustain professional mentoring relationships between MCB vocational rehabilitation (VR) consumers, particularly transition-age youth, who are actively seeking employment and/or involved in career exploration, and mentors who are blind, with the goal of maximizing employment outcomes.

Through this program, mentors and mentee have the opportunity to network with one another, to develop goals together, and to share their successes and challenges particularly as they relate to their professional experiences. The MCB mentoring program incorporates community-based mentoring and e-mentoring. This means face-to-face meetings between mentorship pairs in various public community locations, or online communication, respectively. The program also incorporates a group mentoring component with statewide events that are organized during the year which are aimed to support positive mentoring relationships and to support mentees’ professional development.

Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame: Information and Inductees

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