Celebration of Friendships with Chef Napoli

On Saturday, February 10 from 2-4pm, mentors, mentees and staff from Partners for Youth with Disabilities, as well as the BU PRLab team had the pleasure of attending and participating in PYD’s first Chocolate Workshop. The workshop, taught by Boston’s famous pastry chef, Lee Napoli, was also known as “A Sweet Celebration of Friendships.” The goal of the workshop was to share the chocolate making experience with mentors and mentees and bond these relationships more tightly. A big group of participants, including five mentees, seven mentors, and the PYD team, were guided by Chef Napoli in making and decorating gourmet chocolate truffles.  Each participant took home their very own chocolates from their inspiring “chocolate making adventure,” but not before putting in quite a bit of work.

Making the Chocolate Truffles:

  1. Usually, you would have started by making the ganache, but thanks to the efforts of Chef Napoli, all of that was already made, panned, and waiting for the teams when they arrived. 
  2. Scoop the ganache into balls with a melon baller, roll them until they are round, and put them on a tray where they will wait to get decorated.
  3. Break and then cut GIANT chocolate blocks so they could be easily melted into liquid.  
  4. Dip the ganache balls in the melted chocolate and make sure that they are completely covered, then slide them onto the tray with a fork and get ready to decorate.  
  5. Now, the chef can either drizzle white chocolate, or drop some sprinkles onto the candy, but make sure it’s done before the chocolate coating dries.  
  6. Once the chocolate balls are dried, package them into little boxes, take them home, and indulge!  

Every attendee enjoyed preparing and decorating the chocolates alongside one another, but enjoyed getting some quality time in with their friends and mentors even more. Each mentor and mentee pair collaborated to create their special chocolates.

One mentor who participated, Sandeep, was very pleased with the inaugural Chocolate Workshop, “having mentors and mentees come out for the chocolate workshop is very special. We were making an absolute mess, but we were smiling all the way through. It was a wonderful event, we had a great time, and I don’t think anyone can wait to eat these truffles.”

Chef Napoli was very happy with the event as well. “It was a very special experience for the mentors and the mentees, and it was the first time for the PYD teams to enjoy this kind of gourmet culinary experience.”

Chef Napoli also said, “I teach people all the time; I love to teach. The more challenging, the better”, sharing her experience about the workshop. The chef claimed, “It is a very nice afternoon,” which she said with the same friendly smile that was shared among all who attended the event. It was quite generous of Chef Napoli to have donated her time and chocolate to help us learn. The final chocolate products tasted even better than they looked; a testament to the type of teacher and person she is.  

Heartfelt thanks and best wishes to Chef Napoli from PYD, each mentor and mentee pair, and all of the volunteers for participating and truly putting the icing on the truffles and sweetness in mentoring!

John, Mentee and Chef Napoli

 

This article written with <3 by PYD’s BU PRLab Team of Spring 2018.

With many, many thanks to Chef Napoli of Chocolee Chocolates for her generosity. To host your very own chocolate workshop (including birthday parties & corporate events) contact Chef Napoli at  chocoleechocolates@gmail.com.

PYD at Youth Mentoring Day 2018 with Austin Carr

On January 8, I attended with other mentees and our mentors an Advocacy Leadership Training with Mass Mentoring in collaboration with PYD (Partners for Youth with Disabilities) in preparation for Youth Mentoring Day at the State House that was on January 8th. The night was educational, active and fun. We had a great night together and we also enjoyed delicious pizza! We were prepared to share our stories at the State House.

At Youth Mentoring Day at the State House, held on January 17th, we were a great group of advocates – mentors and mentees showed up despite the snow with Mass Mentoring Partnership and PYD to share how important mentoring is.  It was powerful and exciting to listen to some awesome speakers.  State Senator Linda Doreen Forty is a big supporter for mentoring and she spoke very passionately about the subject. Her speech captivated me and even moved some of us to tears! It was exciting and I loved being a part of this important event at the State House.

Thanks to all the representatives who spoke, who took the time to meet with us after and who supported us in our mission to increase awareness and increase funding for mentoring. Mentoring fosters positive life effects on youth.  I know, I have had several great mentors who have helped me grow as a person and have always given me valuable insight in many different areas of my life.  I am grateful for all my mentors for helping me through different stages of my life!  I hope other youth with disabilities get the chance to experience the power of mentoring!

PYD Selected for Social Innovation Forum 2018 Nonprofit Accelerator

Seal that has a cartoon depiction of Boston's skyline and reads "Social Innovator"Boston, MA (December 8, 2017) – The Social Innovation Forum (SIF) has selected Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD) to participate in SIF’s 2018 “Social Innovator Accelerator,” a 24-month capacity-building program that helps nonprofit organizations gain visibility, expand their networks, and accelerate their impact.

As a 2018 Social Innovator, PYD will receive access to more than $150,000 of cash and in-kind services, including training, coaching, and consulting, from SIF and its partners. SIF selected PYD from a pool of 155 applicants based on its unique approach to addressing accessibility and opportunities for young people with disabilities.

“We extend a warm welcome to our newest group of Social Innovators,” said SIF Executive Director Susan Musinsky. “Our team, consultants, in-kind partners, and volunteers are excited to work with you over the next 24 months to help you accelerate the important work your organizations are doing in the local community.”

PYD staff and board member smiling alongside their SIF consultantRegina Snowden, Founder and Executive Director of PYD shared: “We are humbled and honored to be selected as a Social Innovation Forum (SIF) Social Innovator 2018. Our focus as a Social Innovator will be on the bright future of PYD’s YEP Career Readiness Program primed to engage more youth. We are gratified for the ways that mentoring, group mentoring, job training and placement are at the fore of empowering young people with disabilities, a population still under-served. Youth and adults with disabilities are vastly under- and unemployed as compared to persons without a disability. Further, the larger percentage of youth in the juvenile justice system are youth with a disability. Through PYD programs young people gain life skills, career skills, and confidence. They access their rights and realize their abilities. We are grateful to SIF for this extraordinary opportunity. And we are very grateful to Liberty Mutual Insurance, our track sponsor, who leads the way for youth with disabilities and mentoring.”

The full list of organizations selected for the 2018 Social Innovator cohort includes ACT Lawrence, Community Boating Center, Fathers’ Uplift, GreenRoots, PAIR (Political Asylum / Immigration Representation Project), Partners for Youth with Disabilities, Strategies for Youth, and The Renew Collaborative.

The Social Innovator Accelerator is generously supported by the Barr Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, The Boston Foundation, Boston Open Impact, the Devonshire Foundation, Highland Street Foundation, Immigrant and Refugee Funder Collaborative, Liberty Mutual Insurance, the Margaret Stewart Lindsay Foundation, MassMutual Foundation, Schrafft Charitable Trust, and the Stifler Family Foundation.

About the Social Innovator Accelerator
The Social Innovator Accelerator provides small- to mid-sized nonprofit organizations with intensive training over a two-year period, including consulting, coaching, and connections to SIF’s network. On average, nonprofit organizations in the SIF portfolio more than double their revenue within four years after engaging with SIF, growth significantly higher than state and national rates. In the past year, organizations in the SIF portfolio impacted more than 400,000 lives across a spectrum of social issues including early childhood education, environmental sustainability, homelessness, and youth development. For more information, visit www.socialinnovationforum.org.

About PYD
For thirty-two years, Partners for Youth with Disabilities has empowered youth with disabilities to reach their personal, educational, and career goals through unique mentoring, creative arts, life skills development, and career-readiness programs. We also have provided inclusion training and technical assistance to more than 100 organizations across the country to help them become more inclusive towards people living with disabilities. PYD is a founding member of the National Disability Mentoring Coalition and also co-chairs the Mentoring Task Force of the Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities. We envision an inclusive global society in which youth with disabilities have the access, support, and confidence to achieve their full potential. We believe that youth with disabilities who are educated, mentored, and empowered have a profoundly positive impact on their communities and the world. With the generous support of many individuals, organizations, foundations, businesses and corporations, our important work with this under-served population of youth will continue to thrive and grow. Partners for Youth with Disabilities, Inc. (PYD) is a designated 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization by the Internal Revenue Service. Follow us on Facebook (pydboston), Twitter and Instagram (@PYDBoston).

Rayleen Lescay Spirit Award 2017: Sophia Rose Kelley

As a lead up to Mentor Appreciation Night Friday November 3rd, we will be highlighting our award recipients for the year who we call our #illumentors!

We are pleased to announced that the recipient and #illumentor for the Rayleen Lescay Spirit Award is Sophia Rose Kelley! Sophia has been an active member in the Access to Theatre family at PYD! This award honors those dedicated to the Making Healthy Connections and Access to Theatre programs.

Sophia wanted to share her words on receiving this honor:

My name is Sophia Kelley, three years ago Partners for Youth with Disabilities changed my life for the better. Having moved to Brookline I didn’t know many people. ATT is and always will be family to me.

Please RSVP to Mentor Appreciation Night here!

Partnership Mentor of the Year: Joey Buizon

We are delighted to honor #illumentor Joey Buizon (center in the photo) as the inaugural recipient of the “Partnership Mentor of the Year” award for his tremendous collaboration on Project LENS (Linking Expertise and Networking for Success). For the past three years PYD has collaborated with Massachusetts Commission for the Blind to run LENS. The goal of LENS is to help individuals with visual impairments find employment through pairing them with a caring adult mentor who have a similar disability and are working in their intended career field. Mentors will provide job counseling, resources, and professional experience to their mentees.

Picture of Curtis, Joey (center), and ReginaJoey first connected with PYD a number of years ago to volunteer as a caring adult mentor to a young adult who was blind. Joey has dedicated his personal and professional life to creating more employment opportunities for youth with disabilities.

Professionally, Joe Buizon is the Supervisor of Employment Services at the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind where he oversees a wide range of work programs from job fairs and internships to mentoring and other opportunities to engage  with  employer  partners. He has been with the agency  for 10  plus  years  and  has worked  as  rehabilitation  teacher, a social   worker  and  an Employment service specialists.  Joe has a master’s degree in vocational rehabilitation from the  University  of Massachusetts Boston.

When reflecting on his personal and professional journey, Joey shared, “I met some of the greatest people in my life when I was going blind. ” He further described, “What we do changes peoples’ lives.”

We at PYD are so grateful for his wonderful dedication to help create more mentoring opportunities for young people with blindness or vision loss through LENS.  We deeply appreciate his commitment to illuminating and nurturing the power and potential of young people with disabilities through mentoring. With Joey’s strong collaboration and partnership, LENS is well poised to reach new heights and illuminate more futures.

#illumentors #IAmPYD

Please RSVP to Mentor Appreciation Night here!

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