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!

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?

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

From Role Model to Role Mentor: How a Typo can Re-Frame the Impact of Mentoring Relationships

When preparing for an upcoming event, I made what at first glance was as a typo. I wanted to say “adult role model” when referring to mentors but instead role “adult role mentor”. I starting panicking since it was sent to VIPs; however, I recollected my thoughts and looked at my mistake only to see it become a mentoring epiphany.

It quickly dawned on how this mistake makes more sense in PYD’s line of work that the former, especially when we associate of the term “role model” as someone to be idolized or even as inspiration porn. The common talk today is to see fewer role models and more motivators. A role mentor, in my interpretation, takes the essence of illustrating guidance and support that others find influential and mimic that in their own work, adapting to that passion for forming durable and consistent mentoring relationships inter-generationally even.

The key aspect of mentoring has become more critical in forming healthy relationships with a young person whose experiences may be different or similar to yours and how you can support them on their journey. At PYD, our mentors are trained to help set goals, serve as a resource broker, aid in educational or job readiness skills, and be an open, consistent, reliable, and active listener (a term which we nickname as ORCA). For youth with disabilities, have a mentor who can manifest those skills is what helps illuminate their power and potential. It becomes a transferable skill to the mentee who is aiming to become more involved in their community and their personal growth.

If I were to create a definition for it, a role mentor is someone who volunteers their time and willingness to pass on these traits in training mentees to be role mentors in their community. I think of Reverse Mentoring, where the mentee teaches their mentor a skill that’s valuable to them. This was, for me, an example of having a role mentor as the sense of mentoring was passed on to the mentee. Critical mentoring, a term defined by Torie Weiston-Serdan (2017) that “places youth at the center of the process”, makes it so that those learning experiences are felt between the mentor and the mentee, maybe turning the mentee into a mentor is multiple capacities.  

It feels weird crediting a typo, something that is my ultimate vice as a writer, for sparking this cathartic realization as we rethink and re-frame mentoring in a global scope. As you have seen in our social media campaigns, we have been using #illumentors to refer mentors and mentees who have achieved the goals they have set through being driven and motivated by mentorship relationship. They illuminate the room as mentors in their own way, whether they be a parent, a youth, or a volunteer. Rather than putting those accomplishments on a peddle stool, let’s see if we can learn those skills actively and retroactively to promote an inclusive and equitable brave space! 

Tag @PYDBoston with an example of a role mentor in your life who inspired you to be a #illumentor? How was that impacted your goal setting and overall growth as an individual? 

Sources:

Weiston-Serdan, T. (2017). Critical mentoring: A practical guide. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Career Pathways and Marketing Yourself Workshop

On Saturday April 21st, PYD’s Mentor Match and C3 programs collaborated with several youth on how to find the career that’s right for them as well as how to market themselves to employers within those fields. The Career Pathways and Marketing Yourself Workshop combined topics from American psychologist John L. Holland’s RIASEC model, including personality and value assessment guides in finding how our strengths, values, personal self, and interests contribute to how we look for careers that make us happy and ready to make our own individual brands!

The event was graciously hosted by Capital One Cafe in Somerville, the perfect location in terms of helping us talk about marketing and finding careers in a creative and progressive space. presenters Amy Doherty and Jordan Lome shared their career pathways as well as networking and pre-employment pointers for attendees. One theme discussed was how employees have more equity than they think when applying for jobs as they are also observing their interviewers and employees. Finding a job is a two-way street after-all!

 

From https://personalityjunkie.com/holland-code-riasec-career-interests-myers-briggs-types/

 

The RIASEC model was developed as a theory for careers and vocational choices based upon an individual’s personality, interests, and values as to what type of work would best fit them. Holland created 6 categories that form the basis for the model: Realistic (Doers), Investigative (Thinkers), Artistic (Creators), Social (Helpers), Enterprising (Persuaders), and Conventional (Organizers). You can learn more about these types and the jobs covered by them here!

Once attendees learned where they may fit on the RIASEC model, the workshop then dived into how marketing and branding play a role in aiding individuals to  in making themselves noticeable for their career pursuits.

Marketing is a form of communication for promoting a message, idea, or brand to wider networks and/or audiences. Attendees learned how one uses marketing within organizations and as a job. This included how to use social media as both a professional and personal platform to share stories, events, and achievements. Attendees learned what someone in marketing does and the resources they use to help communicate their organization from Canva for graphic design, Constant Contact or MailChimp for email databases, Giphy for making gifs, WordPress for blogging and e-portfolios, and Vistaprint for making business!

Attendees tested how brands can make an impression through various activities during the workshop. This then turned to how social media can help promote personal brands on how Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram each contribute differently to marketing.

One social media platform mentioned was LinkedIn and how as a resource, the website can serve as a professional networking tool and online resume creator. A major point discussed was tracking performance and numbers for your resume to show employers what you have done and can do!

Feel free to share your career pathways or RIASEC results to us using the #illumentors on our social media @PYDBoston!

Are you interested in seeking more career advice and job readiness skills? Join C3 today!

Understanding your interests, strengths, personality, and values will help you find a personally satisfying path.

Interests – Interests are activities that you enjoy doing. You cannot learn interests.
Strengths – Strengths are the areas you are good at, what comes easily to you.
Personality – Personality is characteristics that form your character and can guide behavior. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a common personality assessment that provides a measure of your preferences for 4 traits:

Extroverted/Introverted: how you get energy – being with people or by yourself
Intuitive/Sensing: how you get information – interpret or directly observe
Thinking/Feeling: how you make decisions – logic or feelings
Judging/Perceiving: how you organize information – plan or spontaneous
Preference for each trait results in a 4 letter code (e.g. ISFJ) that has general tendencies and strengths that fit well with certain careers and environments.
Personality Assessment https://www.16personalities.com/

Values – Values are what is important to you.

Common values are:
Achievement: using your abilities, accomplishment
Independence: work on your own & make decisions
Recognition: opportunity for advancement, leadership
Relationships: helping others
Support: supportive boss, training
Working Conditions: job security, good working conditions
Values Assessment https://www.vawizard.org/wizard/assessment-combined

Type Description Value Personality Sample Jobs
Realistic: Doers (autonomy, practical, determined, mechanical, constructors)
Investigative: Thinkers (achievement, analytical, scientists, engineers)
Artistic: Creators (self-expression, artistic, actor)
Social Helpers (altruism, cooperative, teachers, nurses)
Enterprising Persuaders (ambition, assertive, persuasive, lawyers, politicians)
Conventional Organizers (comfort, responsible, bankers, librarians)

O*NET Interest Profiler https://www.mynextmove.org/explore/ip
Answer questions about your likes and dislikes to determine your RIASEC type and explore careers based on the results

Other Resource
O*NET https://www.onetonline.org/
View descriptions of job duties, skills, knowledge, education, tasks for over 1,000 occupations

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