A Salute to Deep Chinappa, PYD’s Director of Outreach and Recruitment

Deep sitting in front of a bongo drum, alonside a row of youth with drumsI have the good fortune of knowing Deep for over 17 years. Deep has filled those mighty years of devotion to PYD’s Access to Theatre (ATT) and Making Healthy Connections (MHC). MHC has been serving youth as a group mentoring program for 25 years. Its first name was “Youth in Preparation for Independence.” It was among an entry of beginning to provide group mentoring programs to be offered to youth with disabilities, seeking supportive school year based group mentoring programs. YIPI became MHC, when we changed a focus to put the topic concentration in the area of health, fitness, recreation and sports.

For over 17 years, October through May every other Friday night, and Deep would drive from Western, MA to Boston to helm MHC. The group met at the Brighton Oak Square Y for most of those years. Deep never missed a Friday night, with the exception of winter weather.

He empowered youth with all ranges of abilities. Indeed Deep’s talents are of the range I often refer to as “the Pied Piper.” That is the analogy of a man who has the gift of talent to engage and empower youth. Deep brought more than education, title, credentials to youth service. He brought the gift of insight, dedication, synergy, empathy, and commitment. These traits are not something that can necessarily be taught in a classroom. They come with innate talent and the quality of who an individual is, by character, nature and traits, that translate in to ability to engage and transform the lives of youth to find their own empowerment, their abilities.

There are so very many times I would watch Deep work with youth individually and in the group mentoring settings. The youth would respond to his gift of kindness, insight in to what each individual youth might be experiencing. In addition to finding the best guest speakers for the youth and parent group, he would see that youth who needed transportation to or from MHC obtained that. He tackled all manners of mayhem to celebrations,teen angst to teen best of times, that can come with group settings. He could always empower, encourage and help the youth become more disciplined for their own forward movement for independence, education, individual talents and career readiness.

Young man talking animatedly, while Deep sits next to himIn addition, Deep oversaw the MHC Parent Group that met simultaneously while their youth met. Lisa Jennings, parent guide of the Parent Group, was the faithful oversight of parent support while parents had the chance to gain insights from the speakers Deep would bring for them.

At the end of each first hour of the MHC group settings, the next hour would be the engagement of the youth in sports and recreation activities that the Y facilities provide. There was Deep in the center of the mix, making baskets, and joining in the game. The guide, the teacher, the coach, the support, the base of all things MHC. Then be sure that all the youth were in the best of care for transportation home.

Imagine: A world with more individuals that are Deep. Deep’s work represents a fortune of giving, dedication, time, commitment, talent and rewards that are most enriching a return on the investment of giving –his work truly illuminates the power and potential of youth with disabilities, and his work further PYD’s mission for so many years is priceless. We salute Deep’s many years of service and are honored to work with such a rare individual whose commitment to mission and service to others is paramount. Thank You Deep!

Mentor Recruitment Night at the Lansdowne Pub

On Friday, June 1st, PYD held an event at the The Lansdowne Pub. This event was to recruit mentors, whom we ask to commit to one year in being matched with a mentee. Matches meet four to six times a month to do fun events in the community together. This recruitment event at The Lansdowne Pub was a fun night (like our mentorship program!) and it was right by Fenway park. A great social outing place!

We had a card game at the end of the night with potential mentors from London and Ireland!

Matches go to the movies on a rainy day, going out to eat with your mentor & a sporting event with a nice iced coffee. We look for high quality driven & community spirited people to become mentors who are caring and empathetic.

If you want to be matched with a mentee and are over the age of 18, sign up to be a great community mentor with us today! 

Stress Management and Self-Care Tools

The PYD’s stress management workshop was a youth focused benefited, toward reducing youth stress. Between PYD’s Eli Wolff, Jordan Lome, and Nicole Malo, attendees learned great tactics and tools on stress management. During the workshop, PYD and the attendees shared great tips of self-care, such as listening to music, recreational activities, hanging out with friends, and, most importantly,  yoga.

The important takeaway is to manage your stress and have self-care tools,; Firstly: To manage your time, and secondly, to give yourself the ability to be flexible and have self care of your personal needs. These methods go a long way in reducing your stress and building a management toolkit framework toward achieving a stress-free lifestyle.

I really enjoyed my brother Andrew who accompanied me to the event and the event was enjoyable and fun! Thanks to Eli, Jordan and Nicole!

What are your self-care tips and tricks?

Emma Kahn

Emma Kahn joined PYD as a Mentoring Specialist in April 2018. Prior to working with PYD, she served as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Boston, working at the Maurice J. Tobin K-8 School in Roxbury, Massachusetts. She served in a third grade classroom for English Language Learners. Through the Sheltered English Immersion Program, she worked with youth in both English and Spanish with a focus on English Language Arts skills.

A graduate of Brandeis University ’17, Emma double-majored in Anthropology and International & Global Studies with a minor in Hispanic Studies. She speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese and loves using language skills to empower and inspire youth. She feels language is an important tool for expression and loved growing up in a bilingual, bi-cultural household. She is pursuing a Masters degree in Public Policy at Simmons College.

Emma hopes to bring her language skills, experience with youth advocacy, and love of volunteering to her role in PYD. She will primarily be responsible for facilitating matches of youth ages 11-17 and mentors. She is excited to have the opportunity to work with amazing youth and their mentors, and to help build strong community!

Party for PYD Planning Committee

A moment of silence fell over the PYD office as a brilliant idea filled Nicole’s brain after listening to ‘In the Afternoon with Austin’ on Radio Perkins. Nicole strung up from her desk and turned to me with an overwhelming amount of enthusiasm as she spilled her idea, “Austin, do you think Kennedy would like to host PYD’s annual benefit fundraiser as the Master of Ceremonies?”

I replied, “It doesn’t hurt to ask. But, if we have any hope we have to write up the proposal opportunity email tonight!”

The email was in Kennedy’s inbox by the following morning, to which she replied almost immediately with a resounding, “YES!”

Following this new addition to Party for PYD, Nicole asked if I would be interested in joining the Party Planning Committee. I, of course, could not turn down such a valuable opportunity! I then began attending meetings twice a month until May 10th, 2018.

The planning committee meetings were a place for communication of ideas related to goals, details and logistics. Topics discussed include everything from sponsor and guest engagement, venue design, invitations, social media strategies, auction items, donors, catering, volunteers, youth performers, etc. Although being apart of the planning committee was a tedious role to fill, it was one that came with a great deal of fulfillment. Every planning committee member brought a unique set of skills and resources that contributed to the growing passion. Overall, this was a very empowering and incredible opportunity that will live on in my memory for a great deal of time.

Party for PYD day, on May 10th, 2018, began with a light breakfast and delicious lunch. Following lunch, PYD staff members and volunteers carried all the supplies and auction material to their cars. Once the cars were filled, it was off to the races! We caravanned to PwC, who generously hosted the event, jamming out along the way with my friend, who graciously donated her entire day to PYD party prep! I was updating social media periodically throughout the day and happened to be doing so as we drove down multiple stories into the parking garage. I instantly became very dizzy and needed to pause to regroup. After I felt better, I made my way into PwC where Allyson Schiller from PwC greeted me. She gracefully escorted my friend and I to the futuristic elevators. As we made our way up the elevators we quickly discovered the speed at which they traveled, contributing to yet another headache and I nearly fainted…. But, you know what they say, the show must go on!

Allyson, thankfully, paused with us as we got off the elevator, as she got me ginger ale and pretzels to ease my dizziness. From then on out, Allyson hung out by my side a majority of the day, which allowed us to bond! She showed me around the venue, helped me update my social media throughout the set up process, and graciously offered treats! Our PYD team members made a much needed caffeine run to Starbucks!

Suspense was building as the event was drawing closer to the 6pm start, putting on last minute touches. The PYD family could barely contain their excitement! We all gathered towards the nearest restrooms to change out of our set-up clothes and freshen up for the distinguished guests and stellar night. We were so happy and humbled to welcome our guests into the breath-taking venue.

As 5:30 hit, we knew it was nearly show time! Elegantly dressed Party for PYD guests filled the atrium at PwC, admiring the Boston harbor view! We mingled, took photos, ate delicious food, told stories, while awaiting Kennedy’s arrival. Kennedy’s presence immediately brought about laughs, compliments, and stories that lasted until the speaking portion of the event.

At 6:50, PYD youth leaders and volunteers, with fairy wands, rapidly ushered all guests into place for the speaking portion of the night. Guest quickly filled their seats, since the party agenda was tighter than your grandmother’s jeans!

Neil Leonard, Vice President of the PYD Board of Directors and Chair of the Planning Committee gave the crowd a formal welcome followed by a passionate introduction to me, which nearly brought me to tears. I then had the opportunity to execute the script I had spent countless hours writing and perfecting for Kennedy and me. I was given the opportunity to introduce Kennedy to the crowd and share a segment of our journey together. This was really meaningful, for it allowed us to share our passionate and spontaneous connection with the audience, demonstrating how deeply I care for her as my mentor. Following the outstanding youth performance by our 2017 Rayleen Lescay awardee, Sophia Rose Kelley, Kennedy moved into the auction portion of the event. This brought upon many jokes and high-value bids, which helped PYD to exceed their fundraising efforts! Thanks to generous guests and Kennedy helming the live auction, we raised just short of $30,000 the night of Party for PYD. THE MOST SUCCESSFUL EVER!

It was a heartfelt privilege and honor to serve with the PYD family and alongside the facilitator, Nicole Malo (Director of Development and Community Engagement), in Party for PYD 2018. Nicole was an absolute joy to work alongside, as her passion radiates and warms the hearts of many. She worked countless hours that were truly seen in the execution of Party for PYD 2018. Anybody who encounters Nicole’s presence will immediate feel her passion, warmth, and utmost drive to do an incredible job each and everyday. She is a unique asset to the team, along with each and every member of the PYD staff, who worked many hours to put on such an amazing event! The PYD family works everyday to provide our community with safe, valuable, and fulfilling opportunities. They care about all details, no matter how small!

Thank you to each and every one of you for truly helping make it a memorable night!

All the best,
Austin Carr

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