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!

Seeking: Positive Male Role Models, Join us on 1/25. (We know you exist!)

So real talk, Men: the past few months have not made you look very good. With all the attention being drawn to the misconduct of powerful men in our society, it’s so important right now for boys and young men to have a positive male role model in their life.

How often do we take a moment to look at the positive male influences who shaped our lives? Think for a moment: who were the important men in your life that influenced you? Many boys today don’t have that positive male presence in their lives, and are desperately in need of one.

Do you wish you could help the next generation of boys grown up to be positive, supportive, and respectful men? In our one-to-one mentoring program, there are eight boys on our waitlist for every girl. The vast majority of them want a male mentor, and are waiting for you to step up to help them!

If you want to step up, join PYD for our January 25th Bring-A-Friend Night at LIR! You’ll be able to meet current mentors and PYD staff, and can learn more about how you can make a difference in the life of a boy or young man with a disability.

Speakers will include mentor Jeffrey Weinstein, as well as PYD youth participant Austin Carr! Meet and mingle with others also interested in learning more about mentoring and advocacy work for youth with disabilities. And if in-person mentoring isn’t your thing, we’ll also have information there on our online mentoring program!

Get ready to learn how you can have fun in your community, develop key skills employers look for, and showcase reliability and commitment to your community!

Thursday, January 25th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm
LIR (903 Boylston Street Boston, MA 02115)
Appetizers provided. Must be 21 or older to attend.

To RSVP, contact Jordan Lome at!


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!

Mentor of the Year 2017: Leidy Quiceno

We want to congratulate our Mentor of the Year for Mentor Appreciation Night 2017, Leidy Quiceno! Leidy has been a mentor with PYD for 5 years supporting and empowering her mentee Seana in our Mentor Match program and setting an example we will never forget!

Leidy Quiceno was born in Medellin, Colombia and raised in Boston, MA. She is passionate about civil, racial, and educational rights. She has a BA in Criminal Justice (magna cum laude); is a member of the National Criminal Justice Honor Society (Alpha Phi Sigma); and has earned a Graduate Certificate in Gender, Leadership, and Public Policy from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

As a former teacher turned Youth Advocate, she works to racially, politically, and academically empower “at-promise” urban youth of color. She also works as a Research Assistant for UMass Boston’s Latino Student Success Initiative (LSSI) and the Latinx Leadership Opportunity Program (LLOP). Her 2016 LSSI research presentation shed light on the personal, academic, and professional experiences of Latinx transfer students from Bunker Hill Community College, whom expressed the many barriers (language, racial, cultural, and financial) they face on a day-to-day basis as non-traditional first generation students. Her presentation at the Annual Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) conference, sought to communicate how educators and higher educational institutions can listen to the voices and narratives of vulnerable and marginalized populations in order to best support such students to achieve academic success.

As a graduate student, Leidy Quiceno focuses on the School-to-prison-to-deportation pipeline and educational reform through the use of Transnational, Cultural, and Community Studies (TCCS). She aspires to continue working with Black and Latinx communities as an educator, leader, youth mentor, and advocate.

#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!

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