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!

Chris Dunne Leadership Award 2017: Jessica Fiasconaro

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 want to congratulate our Chris Dunne Leadership Award this year to Jessica Fiasconaro for Mentor Appreciation Night 2017! Jessica has been part of PYD for a long time, serving as a Peer Leader at this year’s Youth Leadership Forum as well as active participant in Making Healthy Connections and Access to Theatre! The Chris Dunne Leadership, in honor of the memory of Chris Dunne, recognizes Jessica’s accomplishments, strong leadership, and for being a role model to the PYD community.

Jessica wanted to share her words on receiving this honor:

Hi everyone! My name is Jessica Fiasconaro.
I first found out about PYD through the Massachusetts Commission of Rehabilitation. It was suggested to me by MaryEllen MacRae that I apply as a delegate in the Massachusetts Youth Leadership Forum (YLF). I enjoyed it so much I applied and served as a Peer Leader the following year! I also did an internship under the supervision of Deep Chinappa, PYD’s director of Outreach and Recruitment. During that time, I grew as an artist, a leader, and a student!

I am honored to have been chosen to receive this year’s Chris Dunne Leadership Award!

Please RSVP to Mentor Appreciation Night here!

PYD’s online mentoring expansion continues

Thanks to funding from The Milbank Foundation, Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD) will be expanding Campus Career Connect (C3), PYD’s new online, professional e-mentoring program to support an additional 50 college students with a disability across the state of Massachusetts. This new grant will expand the program, which was originally available exclusively for community college students thanks to a generous three-year grant from Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation.

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.

The C3 network was designed specifically to support young adults with disabilities in improving their employment outcomes, including securing internships and jobs in their field of choice. Through the network, college students with disabilities 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 opportunities. Professional mentors have been recruited from a variety of industries thanks to a partnership with the Massachusetts Business Leadership Network, a program of UMass Medical School’s Work Without Limits.

According to Regina Snowden, Founder and Executive Director of Partners for Youth with Disabilities, “We are so grateful that Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation and The Milbank Foundation have invested in the power of mentoring for college students with disabilities. At PYD, we have experienced the transformative value of mentoring for over 32 years, and we know this opportunity will have meaningful impact for college students with disabilities who are ready to take the next step in their career.”

Campus Career Connect is now open to any college student with a disability from Massachusetts or attending school in Massachusetts. Sign up now at c3.pyd.org!

What does PYD mean to you? #IamPYD

On March 12th, PYD began its #IAMPYD campaign by bringing our traveling canvass to Access To Theatre, PYD’s theater arts program for teens and young adults. Participants added their art to the canvas, expressing why they are involved and what they like most about PYD. The canvas is currently filled with a rocket ship, flowers, and other colorful drawings, including proud declarations of personal identities and why PYD is important to them.

Thanks to Mary Grace, Jackie, Juan, and Olivia of the Boston University PRLab, three peer leaders shared their experiences and how PYD has impacted their lives. The following are excerpts and photos from the interviews and the young artists’ process.

“I like being a peer leader for Access To Theatre and Making Healthy Connections because I enjoy expressing my individuality through theater and having fun! I love it because it is a space where I don’t get judged.” – Lizzie Gray

“My favorite thing about being a peer leader is being with my PYD family and those that I love the most. I also like helping others” – Josh Jones

“Partners for Youth with Disabilities has helped me be a better human being. It helps me be more independent as a man and it teaches me about social skills, and how to be ready for the world. In my personal life, it helps me be prepared for anything, because it unlocks that [treasure box] of opportunities and it helps me express who I am as an individual. It helps me learn more about myself and learn new things about different people. Everyone has a story and you never what they are going through unless you sit with them and learn their story. PYD has helped me with that. I’ve been involved for nine years now. I love PYD and thank them for doing that. If PYD didn’t exist I wouldn’t have learned to be as sharp, strong, independent, and intelligent, and I woudn’t have learned all these acting and theater skills. It is so cool to express being silly, but also being artistic and consistent at the same time. Some words that describe me are fearless, risk taker, ambitious, strive for greatest, loving, loyal, dedicated to family, dedicated to my peers, dedicated to being myself, honest, caring. Anything you need I’m always there for you. That’s what describes me.” – DJ Robinson

Join us at the Party for PYD on May 18th to hear DJ perform an original rap!

We’d like to thank Blick art for the kind donation of the canvas.

Understanding the Iceberg Model of Childhood Behavior

An adult speaking to a teenage boy in a calming wayBehaviors are the result of the interactions of two things: the characteristics we possess as people and the characteristics of the situation we face. The theory behind the iceberg model of childhood behavior is that there are many things that influence the way that children act and react: skills, knowledge, experience, social role or values, self-image, traits, and motives. Some (the most conscious) of these characteristics can be seen outright – “above the water,” if you will. The more subconscious or unconscious characteristics are the ones working behind the scenes — “underwater.” It is a mixture of all of these characteristics that will shape a child’s behavior—meaning that the cause of the behavior won’t always be apparent.

The tip of the iceberg—the conscious characteristics that children have in their toolbox—are skills, knowledge, and experiences. Skills represent what children can do innately or things they have learned to do over time. Knowledge is what they know or have come to understand as they’ve grown. This knowledge is shaped by their experiences, which help build both the knowledge and skills available to them in their personal toolboxes.

Under the water, however, are the unseen forces that can shape their behaviors. This portion consists of four large components: their social role and values, self-image, traits, and motives. Continue reading “Understanding the Iceberg Model of Childhood Behavior”

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