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,
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!
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
View descriptions of job duties, skills, knowledge, education, tasks for over 1,000 occupations
PYD had the first ever opportunity to present an original panel at Anime Boston 2018 on March 30th! Our Highland Street Ambassador of Mentoring & Recruitment Specialist Jordan Lome, Steve Slowinski from our National Inclusion Center, and Mentor Match Specialist Mike Haydu (all of whom are major anime/manga fanatics) collaborated together with PYD youth in the program, writers on twitter, and students who have autism/autistic students on anime/manga characters who they can identify with as being coded or represented with having ASD, providing their own experiences with how anime and manga has empowered them!
Over 120 people were in attendance, including some PYD youth, in what was a packed house that eventual became standing room! Youth started enthusiastically sharing accessibility resources at the convention with our PYD hashtag even before the panel got started! Audience in attendance includes special education teachers, YMCA employees, youth and adults with autism/autistic youth and adults, and many more!
Topics discussed included understanding what Autism/ASD can look like and the Neurodviersity Paradigm, which “refers to the idea that neurodiversity is a natural & valuable form of diversity” and how “we should view [ASD] as simply another way of being. It’s not abnormal, which carries negative connotations.”-ASAN
The panel then talked about anime and manga (Japanese animation and graphic novels) that feature representation of ASD, including a webcomic by Japanese cosplayer Akagi Kuro on living with Asperger’s and the series With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child by Keiko Tobe! The former is not licensed but can be found online while With the Light has 8 volumes licensed and can be found in the Boston Public Library!
Akagi Kuro: “Some good personality traits of having Asperger’s are: intense focus, excellent memory, and more.”
- We can focus on completing a project.
- We can become super knowledgeable on a certain subject.
“Rather than just being able to do ‘normal things,’ I think it’s much more amazing to make use of those skills and do something no one else can do.”
(translation by Louise from Goboiano)
The panel explored how autism or ASD can be visually represented in anime/manga, from character headcanons (theories about a character not shown or stated in the material), to seeing how those traits could be coded in certain characters. We looked at both positive and negative examples of how autism could be coded or represented. Our panelists not only shared their experiences working with or having ASD in relation to this project, but opened the discussion to a standing room and packed audience to share their stories using the #PYDatAB2018!
Audience participants then got to share their own characters they identified with! Anime Boston staff writer Lauren Orsini wrote on some of the characters mentioned during the panel here!
You can also watch the full panel on our Youtube channel here!
This April, join PYD in celebrating Autism Acceptance instead of Autism Awareness!
On Wednesday, March 21st, PYD youth and staff participated in Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0 Boston, a Disability & Media Summit featuring expert panelists and professionals from Google, BBDO, National Disability Mentoring Coalition, PolicyWorks and Futuro Media Group as well as others in the entertainment and media industries to help mentor, motivate, EMPOWER, and network with aspiring professional college students, recent graduates, and career transitioning youth with disabilities.
According to the 2016 Ruderman Foundation White Paper, “95% of television characters with disabilities are portrayed by non-disabled actors. Under-representation of people with disabilities exists in ALL forms of traditional media, broadcast and entertainment, as well as emerging digital platforms in front of and behind the scenes. This stark under-representation contributes to a severe lack of professional media role models for youth with disabilities and perpetuates the myth of “invisibility” of people with disabilities.”
Because of the snow storm the panel and workshop portions of the summit were converted to a virtual webinar, and the employer and flash mentoring one-on-one sessions will be rescheduled at northeastern university later this year.
“The meeting was very good – learned a lot in there and it gave me some thoughts about my craft”-LCA2.0 Participant and actor Josh Jones.
LCA2.0 collaborative objectives include 1. Increase employment of people with disabilities in front of or behind the camera 2. Improve disability portrayals and having people with disabilities tell and share their story and 3. Enhance accessible entertainment.
At the same time, the core goal is to help participants get a head start in their passion and how to brand themselves and be part of a mentoring pipeline with professionals who share their experience.
Tari Hartman Squire, co-founder of LCA2.0, provided us a statement on the experience of bringing LCA2.0 to fruition and the roadblocks faced in the process:
“The only thing constant in life is change. This is particularly true in developing a career in media, no matter what genre or delivery platform – television, movies, advertising, theater, news or internet-based, including video games. Flexibility and creative solutions are key.
That is why we were excited to bring LCA2.0 Summit to Boston. LCA2.0 is a dynamic gathering where aspiring media professionals meet media employers and mentors with disabilities for resume review, speed interviews, flash mentoring, “How to Make it in the Media” panel discussion and two self-awareness and career-building workshops, Network and Mentoring presented by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition; and Self-Disclosure and Leveraging Your Disability to Sharpen Your Competitive Edge” presented by PolicyWorks.
Despite the snow, the show went on – virtually. After a warm welcome from Northeastern University’s Career Development and Disability Services Offices and the ReelAbilities Film Festival Boston, Google, BBDO, Futuro Media Group, and Deaf Film Camp along with our collaborators Northeastern University, ReelAbilities Film Festival Boston, UMass Boston/Institute for Community Inclusion, MA Cultural Council, No Limits Media, and WGBH
Thanks to Northeastern University for offering to host the LCA2.0 media employers and mentors down the road when the snow melts. LCA2.0 looks forward to returning to Boston,” according to Tari Hartman Squire, creator of Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0
As a Disability & Media Industry Call-to-Action Summit, LCA2.0 brings together diverse voices representing theatre, advertising, content creators, filmmakers, actors, and employment experts to guide participants in leveraging their skills to make their way their desire career path. The first panel called How to Make It in the Media Panel brought together professionals, from Jd Michaels from BBDO, Jeff Pardo from Google, and Julio Ricardo Varela from Futuro Media Group. The three discussed with moderator Anna Packman about how one gets started in the field. The moderator disclosed her disability and struggles and shared how employees warmly welcomed her. The panel goal is to share career entry experiences and strategies that helped the panel build on their personal and professional brand and content.
The first workshop was presented by barbara butz, from policyworks entitled self-disclosure and framing your disability to sharpen your competitive edge, telling how disability can be an asset during the screening and interviewing process for your desired job.
Derek shields, co-chair of the national disability mentoring coalition, provided the second workshop on networking and mentoring entitled: “nobody taught me how to network.” this session provided a networking model that helps develop a more positive mindset regarding networking and how to access mentors. After the event Derek said: “providing this content enhances the self-confidence of aspiring media professionals with disabilities. One of the Boston-area participants shared with me after the webinar that he better understands that a combination of skills, abilities and networking will help him to utilize connections to discover employment opportunities.” Derek also mentioned that the “practical experience and intentional activities” that lights! Camera! Access! 2.0 provides participants – both the aspiring professionals and the employers – helps all of us discover how to leverage mentoring as a disability inclusion strategy.
LCA2.0 was held in conjunction with the Boston ReelAbilities Film Festival (first premiere film rescheduled to this Sunday, March 25th at the Museum of Science)!
All participants and employers featured will be part of the LCA2.0 database for media professionals and aspiring career starters for LCA2.0 recruiting events, webinars, future internships, scholarships and apprenticeships, and the Cornell University/National Disability Mentoring Coalition Media Mentoring Opportunity Talent Pipeline. Participants can continue to network with each other and continue working of their content and brand!
This summit was co-founded in part by Tari Hartman Squire of EIN SOF Communications and Loreen Arbus of The Loreen Arbus foundation in collaboration with PYD, Deaf Film Camp; Easterseals Disability Film Challenge; Inclusion Films Workshop; Mass Cultural Council; National Center for Accessible Media — WGBH; National Disability Mentoring Coalition; No Limits Media; Northeastern University Career Development, Northeastern University Disability Resource Center; PolicyWorks; ReelAbilities Film Festival Boston; and UMASS Boston Institute for Community Inclusion
Boston, MA (December 8, 2017) – The Social Innovation Forum (SIF) has selected Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD) to participate in SIF’s 2018 “Social Innovator Accelerator,” a 24-month capacity-building program that helps nonprofit organizations gain visibility, expand their networks, and accelerate their impact.
As a 2018 Social Innovator, PYD will receive access to more than $150,000 of cash and in-kind services, including training, coaching, and consulting, from SIF and its partners. SIF selected PYD from a pool of 155 applicants based on its unique approach to addressing accessibility and opportunities for young people with disabilities.
“We extend a warm welcome to our newest group of Social Innovators,” said SIF Executive Director Susan Musinsky. “Our team, consultants, in-kind partners, and volunteers are excited to work with you over the next 24 months to help you accelerate the important work your organizations are doing in the local community.”
Regina Snowden, Founder and Executive Director of PYD shared: “We are humbled and honored to be selected as a Social Innovation Forum (SIF) Social Innovator 2018. Our focus as a Social Innovator will be on the bright future of PYD’s YEP Career Readiness Program primed to engage more youth. We are gratified for the ways that mentoring, group mentoring, job training and placement are at the fore of empowering young people with disabilities, a population still under-served. Youth and adults with disabilities are vastly under- and unemployed as compared to persons without a disability. Further, the larger percentage of youth in the juvenile justice system are youth with a disability. Through PYD programs young people gain life skills, career skills, and confidence. They access their rights and realize their abilities. We are grateful to SIF for this extraordinary opportunity. And we are very grateful to Liberty Mutual Insurance, our track sponsor, who leads the way for youth with disabilities and mentoring.”
The full list of organizations selected for the 2018 Social Innovator cohort includes ACT Lawrence, Community Boating Center, Fathers’ Uplift, GreenRoots, PAIR (Political Asylum / Immigration Representation Project), Partners for Youth with Disabilities, Strategies for Youth, and The Renew Collaborative.
The Social Innovator Accelerator is generously supported by the Barr Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, The Boston Foundation, Boston Open Impact, the Devonshire Foundation, Highland Street Foundation, Immigrant and Refugee Funder Collaborative, Liberty Mutual Insurance, the Margaret Stewart Lindsay Foundation, MassMutual Foundation, Schrafft Charitable Trust, and the Stifler Family Foundation.
About the Social Innovator Accelerator
The Social Innovator Accelerator provides small- to mid-sized nonprofit organizations with intensive training over a two-year period, including consulting, coaching, and connections to SIF’s network. On average, nonprofit organizations in the SIF portfolio more than double their revenue within four years after engaging with SIF, growth significantly higher than state and national rates. In the past year, organizations in the SIF portfolio impacted more than 400,000 lives across a spectrum of social issues including early childhood education, environmental sustainability, homelessness, and youth development. For more information, visit www.socialinnovationforum.org.
For thirty-two years, Partners for Youth with Disabilities has empowered youth with disabilities to reach their personal, educational, and career goals through unique mentoring, creative arts, life skills development, and career-readiness programs. We also have provided inclusion training and technical assistance to more than 100 organizations across the country to help them become more inclusive towards people living with disabilities. PYD is a founding member of the National Disability Mentoring Coalition and also co-chairs the Mentoring Task Force of the Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities. We envision an inclusive global society in which youth with disabilities have the access, support, and confidence to achieve their full potential. We believe that youth with disabilities who are educated, mentored, and empowered have a profoundly positive impact on their communities and the world. With the generous support of many individuals, organizations, foundations, businesses and corporations, our important work with this under-served population of youth will continue to thrive and grow. Partners for Youth with Disabilities, Inc. (PYD) is a designated 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization by the Internal Revenue Service. Follow us on Facebook (pydboston), Twitter and Instagram (@PYDBoston).