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! 

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

Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0 Boston Summit for Disability and Media

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.”

Participants and Employers at previous Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0 event in New York at CUNY’s John Jay College during Speed Interviews and Flash Mentoring

 

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.


http://www.emmys.com/video/taking-action-lights-camera-access-20

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 

Guest Blog: Mentoring and Diversity

The following blog post was written by Bjarne P. Tellmann from the Association of Corporate Counsel, provided through the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC).

Young adult in a suit files papers in an officeOur legal department recently launched an innovative mentoring program for college students and recent graduates with disabilities, some of who were interested in pursuing a legal career. The success of this initiative, launched in partnership with the National Federation of the Blind, has revealed how mentoring can be a powerful tool to achieve more diversity.

Diversity is intrinsically desirable from a social justice perspective. But it also makes good business sense. Numerous studies show that diverse teams outperform homogenous ones in many ways. For example, a company’s financial performance improves along with its level of racial, ethnic and gender diversity . Diverse teams are also more innovative and better at solving complex, non-routine problems.

But to achieve such outperformance requires ”cognitive diversity”, which is defined as “the extent to which the group reflects differences in knowledge, including beliefs, preferences and perspectives”. That usually requires seeking diversity beyond race and gender to include educational attainment, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, and other characteristics. The deeper the level of diversity across all dimensions, the more likely a group is to be cognitively diverse. A Harvard study of 1.5 million scientific papers, for instance, found that those written by more diverse groups of authors and associated with greater geographical and intellectual diversity had more citations and higher impact factors.

Mentoring can play a vital role in promoting diversity because it is an easy and cost effective way to attract, retain, and motivate diverse talent. It sends a strong signal to marginalized groups that typically lack optimal support networks that they are valued and desirable.

Mentoring programs can be structured in different ways depending on the specific needs of the company and individuals involved. But for the program to be successful, it must be authentic. It must focus on helping mentees develop their knowledge, networks and careers and (to paraphrase Steve Jobs) how to make their dents in the universe.

At Pearson, our legal professionals are supporting disabled young mentees to develop career plans that reflect their true interests and capabilities, without regard to their disabilities or others’ perceptions of what is ‘appropriate’. The model leverages our internal resources and is innovative, inexpensive and replicable.

We decided to focus on disabled professionals because they are highly marginalized both in our profession and within the job market as a whole. Despite being the largest minority in the US, disabled people have by far the largest unemployment rate. Only 0.38 percent of all lawyers in law firms are disabled.

That is shockingly low, leaving precious few disabled lawyers to act as role models for younger disabled professionals, with the result that pathways for success can seem hard to scale. Many get discouraged. A UK study found that, even though the scope and level of career aspirations of disabled and non-disabled 16 year olds are similar, the gap between unemployed disabled and non-disabled people widens as they age. In the US, 60 percent of all 1.4 million disabled college graduates are unemployed. Those who do find work are 16 percent more likely than nondisabled graduates to be underemployed and working in service-related jobs that do not require a college degree.

A culture of low expectations is pervasive when it comes to disabled professionals. As one disabled senior in-house attorney remarked, “many professionals assume I am unemployed or work from home. Astonished to learn that I am an attorney, many proclaim me “an inspiration,” as if the biggest challenge in law school was negoti¬ating hallways in a wheelchair, not mastering the rule against perpetuities.”

Our mentoring experience has convinced me that success can lie in such simple things as being authentic, challenging self-defeating assumptions, providing gentle encouragement and helping disabled mentees to discover and then harness the power of their own narratives.

The results speak for themselves. Although our program is less than one year old, in that time our mentees have been admitted to Harvard Law School and promoted at Apple, have interviewed for and secured sought-after positions, and decided to attend or apply to great graduate programs. On a human level, this feedback from one mentee says it all: “I was able to ask [my mentor] questions of any kind without feeling silly. She brainstormed with me when I needed to solve a problem, and has also celebrated with me when I have had a success. [She] has truly had an impact on my life….”

So little effort can yield so much. If we all chipped in, we would enjoy a more diverse workforce.

Reprinted with permission of the author and the Association of Corporate Counsel as it originally appeared: Tellmann, Bjarne. “Mentoring and Diversity,” ACC Docket volume 35, issue 9 (Nov. 2017): 22-23. Copyright ©2017, the Association of Corporate Counsel. All rights reserved. If you are interested in joining ACC, please go to www.acc.com, call 202.293.4103 x360, or email membership@acc.com.

“Nothing About Us Without Us” : Mantra for a Movement

This blog post was written by Eli Wolff (Partners for Youth with Disabilities) and Mary Hums (University of Louisville). This article was originally posted on HuffPost Blog.

Traveling through an airport and being left on a plane because no one informs the airport mobility accessibility attendants that an arriving passenger needs assistance. Relocating accessible parking spaces without consulting anyone with a disability working in the closest building. Construction workers leaving equipment in hallways and elevators, blocking a student with a disability using a mobility device from passing through, and navigating the building to get to class.

These are typical everyday issues persons with a disability encounter that persons without a disability may never even think about. Over the course of time and life, these occurrences add up, resulting in people with disabilities feeling disrespected, disenfranchised and – ultimately – powerless.

But it does not have to be this way. People with disabilities have a voice that should and must be at the table from the beginning of any planning process and should never simply be an after-thought. Language, words, and actions can help us fight some of these daily battles. One example of words that can help insure people with disabilities are not cast aside is the phrase “Nothing About Us Without Us.”

These empowering words form a mantra that has fueled the disability rights movement over the years. To quote James Charlton who authored a book by this same title, the term “Nothing About Us Without Us,” “expresses the conviction of people with disabilities that they know what is best for them.” This mantra became the rallying call for the United Nations Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and continues to have relevance and significance more than ever. But why does it matter?

It matters because people with disabilities must be front and center as visible leaders to share our voice and our experience. It matters because it reinforces the role of people without disabilities as allies and partners who share the road toward inclusion and equality.  It matters because it unites us with all the marginalized and invisible individuals and groups who are demanding a seat at the table. Most of all, however, it matters because we as people with disabilities need to be the ones whose voices must lead the way.

“Nothing about Us Without Us” emphasizes how people with disabilities must be valued as integral and essential contributors to every sector, industry and community including entertainment, fashion, education, sports, medicine, business and law. While people with disabilities need to be leaders of disability-focused organizations, that is not enough. We also need to be front and center in mainstream local, national and international organizations.

For example, in the entertainment industry, people with disabilities need to represent themselves and be visible in movies, TV and advertising. Similarly in the world of sports, people with disabilities need to be leading the Paralympic, Special Olympic, and Deaflympic Movements, but also need to be front and center within the Olympic Movement, professional sport, intercollegiate athletics and youth sports.

The powerful phrase “Nothing About Us Without Us” ignites a vision for people with disabilities that represents pride and power rather than stigma and pity. It helps us realize that the disability community is an empowering and uplifting community that unites us and works for our rights and dignity. The phrase reinforces the possibilities for people with disabilities to be meaningfully included, and if we wish to, seamlessly become leaders in every type of organization and institution. We need to have a valued voice in every facet of daily life.

“Nothing About Us Without Us” moves us to re-define, re-imagine and transform what it means to be a person with a disability in all aspects and all avenues of our global society. It inspires a movement that extends beyond the status quo while demanding progress toward equality and justice. Hopefully “Nothing About Us Without Us” will continue to serve as a social justice call to action in mobilizing future generations.
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