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.”


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

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

Kiehl’s & LifeRide 7

Last Wednesday, Kiehl’s Since 1851 on Newbury Street rolled out the red carpet for LifeRide 7 in support of the extraordinary work of amfAR to fund top research to find a cure for HIV/AIDS.

Kiehl’s is in PYD’s neighborhood and they’ve generously donated to our Party for PYD’s silent auctions. As our friend and supporter, we were happy to turn out for their star-studded afternoon. It was important to us to show our support of and solidarity with community members living with and impacted by HIV/AIDS.  And feel joyful and grateful for all of the phenomenal positive impact of amfAR and AIDS Action Committee, the latter which is based right here in Boston.

The event started with thumping music on the steps of Kiehl’s. Thunderous motorcycles drove up to the boutique. Photo ops, paparazzi and adoring fans of Gilles Marini and other celebrities in tow. Chris Salgardo, CEO of Kiehl’s, and Kevin Robert Frost, amfAR’s CEO led the way. In addition to giving a gift to amfAR at the event, Kiehl’s made a generous gift to the AIDS Action Committee.

What’s more is that Kiehl’s treated guests to hand massages, mini facials, and for those that worked up an appetite, salads from Alden & Harlow that were very tasty. And the cupcakes! 15% of all store purchases went to amfAR.

Bravo to our friends for this meaningful and successful event! Thank you for allowing us to be a part.

LifeRide7 crew including, Gilles Marini, Kevin Robert Frost (CEO of amfAR), and Carl Sciortino (Executive Director AIDS Action Committee)

Arli Vargas (store manager) and Chris Salgardo (CEO of Kiehl's Since 1851)

Red ribbon cupcake

Evan Gabovitch, PYD's MLK Summer Scholar, posing with Nicole Malo and Regina Snowden

“A Dynamic Journey: My Tribute to Rayleen Lescay” displayed at PYD

Dew Jareanvai has been a visual artist for six years. Using the mediums of acrylic paints, oil pastels and everyday objects he creates abstract works. His art frequently focuses on human potential and the belief that the only limits are self-imposed.

Artist’s statement from Dew: This collection (of paintings) entitled “A Dynamic Journey: A Tribute to Rayleen Lescay” is particularly close to my heart. Rayleen was a young woman that lived freely and without placing unnecessary limits on her life, or her abilities. Unfortunately, Rayleen succumbed to cancer in 2009. As one of her closest friends, I created this collection to honor her spirit and  chronicle the journey together including Rayleen’s courageous battle against cancer.

Dew Jareanvai's four works are now on display at the PYD office through Dec. 2016

This collection is comprised of four acrylic paintings.  The red in each painting represents Rayleen.  The painting titled Limitless Possibilities is about Rayleen’s zest for life and her boundless energy and curiosity.  She loved to be center stage, and enjoyed doing pop wheelies. Her love of movement is represented by the purple and white swirly lines. The second painting titled Rayleen’s Adversary depicts Rayleen’s battle against cancer. The red is Rayleen and the scratches symbolizes Rayleen’s fighting spirit in the face of cancer’s ever strengthen power.  The third painting titled Loss Of Rayleen contains no red because it illustrates my reaction to her death. The orange lightning bolt represents my shock, the blue, my sadness, and blacks my depression at loosing such a wonderful friend.  The fourth painting is titled Rayleen holding court. Rayleen always dreamed of having her own talk show and I think this dream was fulfilled in her afterlife. As host of her own show, the red spreads across the painting because once again Rayleen has claimed center stage.  She has a brown sparkly microphone and audience hanging on her words. Rayleen is definitely in heaven.

I hope you enjoy “A Dynamic Journey:  My Tribute to Rayleen Lescay”.

A Dynamic Journey: My Tribute to Rayleen Lescay is showing at Partners for Youth with Disabilities office at 95 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA July through December 2016. The exhibit will travel to the Boston Center for the Arts Cyclorama the week of July 25th and be on exposition at PYD’s Mentor Appreciation Night in October, 2016. All are welcome to view the works.

Meet our Honorees: Steve Mastrocola

At PYD’s upcoming benefit event, we will be honoring Ernst & Young and a handful of individuals for their commitment to the inclusion and mentoring of youth with disabilities. Steve Mastrocola is one of our honorees, selected for his commitment to mentoring and service as a PYD board member. Steve is an Assurance Partner and is the Area Leader of Ernst & Young’s New England Assurance Practice, primarily serving clients in the technology and life sciences industries. Based in Boston, Steve has more than 25 years of experience with a significant focus on working with privately-owned and publicly-held companies in the technology sector including software, medical devices and e-commerce. Steve is a Member of the Board of Directors of PYD now for five years and is steadfast in his care and support in a plethora of ways. He gives of his time and expertise as a member of the finance committee, is a champion in giving and encourages, invites, and welcomes the participation of his family, friends and colleagues at PYD.

Learn more about Steve below! Continue reading “Meet our Honorees: Steve Mastrocola”

Meet our Honorees: Carol Curtin

At PYD’s upcoming benefit event, we will be honoring Ernst & Young and a handful of individuals for their commitment to the inclusion and mentoring of youth with disabilities. Dr. Carol Curtin is one of our honorees, selected for her 30 years of compassionate work and research to support people with developmental disabilities and behavioral health disorders and their families. She was also a key collaborator and author on PYD’s recently published study on the effects of mentoring on youth with autism.

Learn more about Carol below! Continue reading “Meet our Honorees: Carol Curtin”

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