Your Change Can Bring Changes

What is charity? We hear about people making huge donations or travelling across the world to help others, but charity is not limited to these two options. There are many of us who want to contribute to our communities, but are worried about the amount of time and money we are able to give. However, we need to remember that an ocean is made of millions of tiny water drops. When we each contribute something small, eventually it can become something big. But how small can our contribution be? It could be as small as the penny in your pocket.KidCents logo in different bright colors, red, green, yellow, blue, orange,pink

The Rite Aid Corporation is a prominent drugstore chain based in the United States. It has been devoted to improving the health and wellness of local communities through their Rite Aid Foundation. The KidCents program, founded by Rite Aid in 2014, now works with more than 440 non-profit organizations to realize their purpose of improving children’s lives. Through enrolling in the KidCents program, your purchases at the Rite Aid Pharmacy will be rounded up to the next whole dollar amount. This leftover change will go to an organization of your choosing (like PYD!)  to make meaningful differences in the lives of children in your local community.

Partners for Youth with Disabilities joined the KidCents program in 2015. Over the last two years with the KidCents program, PYD has received almost $20,000 from the Rite Aid Foundation. PYD just confirmed that we will continue to partner with KidCents for our third year in 2018! Over the past few years, close to 100 people chose us as their KidCents beneficiary. Today, we are looking forward to seeing even more people choose PYD as their charity for the KidCents program.

As a part of this mission, we would like to share the artwork created by our team and fellow artists within the community to motivate people to sign up for the KidCents program and we hope choose PYD as their beneficiary. We have produced a sketched illustration (which you can find on our Instagram) as well as a flyer that we will distribute in the community.


This sketched picture will also serve as a start of PYD’s Giving Tuesday campaign. By posting this picture on social media, PYD is encouraging more people to create artwork for the cause. If you would like to lend a hand, you can turn in your art to or submit it on social media using the hashtag #IAmPYD.


Lavinia’s #Inktober art KidCents


Join the conversation and add your #Inktober art on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Be sure to tag #IAmPYD!

This post was written by  Yidan Gao, Yuxin Dai, Lavinia Fung and Samantha Santoro of the BU PRLab. Edited by Nicole Malo.

Q&A for the PYD RFP process

The full Disability Mentoring Initiative Request for Proposals can be found at this link.

RFP timeline:

  • October 6, 2017: Proposal released
  • November 15, 2017: Proposal due date
  • December 10, 2017: Decision announced
  • January 1: 2018: Collaboration begin


Question 1: Are the monthly ongoing mentor and staff trainings through the National Center for Mentoring Youth with Disabilities delivered online?
Answer 1: Yes, the ongoing mentor and staff trainings and meetings are hosted online.

Question 2: Is the 2-hour pre-match orientation and training session prior to first mentor and mentee outing (Item no. 4a), and the additional 2 hours of training prior to mentor being matched with mentee (Item no. 4b) – are these online sessions (or, if not, where are these trainings held)?
Answer 2: These training sessions should be held and facilitated by the collaborator for their mentors. These should be offered in person.

Question 3: Quarterly in-person training sessions for mentors (Item no. 4c) – are these held in Boston? Are these trainings held during the week or on weekends? Are we able to build those travel costs into the budget?
Answer 3: These are held and facilitated by the collaborator at a time and location of their choice. Expenses related to the trainings can be built into the budget.

Question 4: Could our mentors be assigned to multiple mentees, having some one-on-one meetings with them and also group meetings?
Answer 4: Preference will be given to one-to-one matching.

Question 5: I am working with a group of young men that fit the criteria for at risk youth for this grant. They reside for a period of nine to twelve months in a low security residential DJJ facility. Are they still eligible?
Answer 5: Yes, as long as they meet all of the eligibility requirements listed in the RFP.

Question 6: In terms of partners to sustain the services beyond the grant, while I could name some potential partners I don’t think I would have enough time in four or five weeks to get absolute commitments. Would that be adequate for the purposes of applying to the RFP?
Answer 6: Listing potential partnerships can suffice for the proposal.

Question 7: I wasn’t sure if we could apply seeing we are in MA. Would you consider us because we are outside Boston?
Answer 7: Yes, as long as services are delivered in other parts of the state outside of Greater Boston (outside of the 128 beltway).

Question 8: What are the data collection and evaluation tools (do we have to download software, purchase programs, etc.)? Would we incur a cost for these tools?
Answer 8: Evaluation tools are provided as PDF documents to offer online or hard copy. Collaborators can determine the best way to store this data (examples include spreadsheets, Survey Monkey, existing data base).

Question 9: Please provide an example of the “service projects and activities throughout the year” (Item no. 24) so that we may build these costs into the budget.
Answer 9: Service projects and activities can be determined by the collaborator and can include a variety of options (sporting events, cultural events, game nights, etc.). Often community partners will donate tickets to events.

Question 10: Is a sample project budget available?
Answer 10: There is not a sample budget available.

Question 11: What is allowable rate for overhead and occupancy?
Answer 11: If an entity has an established indirect rate with a Federal agency that is valid at the commencement of the contract, it may use that indirect rate. Expired indirect rates must be renewed in a timely manner. If the entity does not have an established indirect rate, it may use the de minimis rate of 10%. Bidders should be aware that claiming indirect expense does not increase the overall amount of funds available for the project, but would reduce the amount of fund available for direct expenses.

Your Dream Is Bigger When You Think of Others

Melissa M. MacDonnell, Legends Honoree 2017

Partners for Youth with Disabilities is joyful to introduce our third and last (but certainly not least) Legends Honoree, Melissa M. MacDonnell, President of Liberty Mutual Foundation and Vice President of Liberty Mutual Insurance.  Melissa sat down with us to discuss her career path and who inspired her journey along the way. She is an example of kindness. She defines herself through the impact she has on friends, family and mentees, not external accolades.

Even though she holds a prominent position at Liberty Mutual Foundation, Melissa describes herself as an introverted person. Her goal is to “keep her eyes on the prize” to help the most vulnerable in our communities. She thinks about the impact she can have by doing her job well; she holds great respect for Liberty’s CEO David Long who himself is deeply committed to the community, and in particular, accessibility and inclusion. Melissa’s courage and motivation come from her passion in giving back to the community. In addition to working at Liberty Mutual, she also serves on the boards of Horizons for Homeless Children and the Don and Marilyn Rodman Foundation. She is a member of the Leadership Advisory Board for Rosie’s Place, and is a volunteer at the Sudanese Community Center. For fifteen years, she acted as a big sister for a young woman from Germaine Lawrence, a residential treatment program for girls. She’s also served as a Vice Chair for both the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts and Mass Mentoring Partnership, the Chair of Faith and Action at United Way, and as a board member of Bruce Wall Ministries. Think that’s all?  Not even – Melissa has helped chair record-breaking fundraisers for the Big Sister Association, Whittier Street Health Center, Salvation Army, and Community Servings, and was also a participant in LeadBoston and Boston Women Build in the Bayou.

In recognition for her great contributions to the community, she’s been awarded the Women for Whittier Award, named to the YWCA’s Academy of Women Achievers, and listed as one of the Top 40 Under 40 by Boston Magazine. While humbled by all of these honorable awards and incredible achievements, in her opinion, helping a woman from Sudan get her driver’s license is one of her greatest personal successes. Melissa has mentored the woman, who spoke very little English at the time. It took her four times to pass the permit test and seven tries to pass the road test–all to be able to drive a car– a task that for many of us, comes with the kind of freedom and liberation we often take for granted. Melissa understands the impact of aiding others in achieving even the smallest things, and because of that, she’ll continue to keep mentoring and supporting as many groups as possible. “[Your] dream always has to be bigger than a job,” Melissa advises young adults. “Follow [your] gut, and embrace who you really are.” Her dream, which included philanthropy, stems from her deeply compassionate family and her role model of a mom. Her own parents and family served as a host family welcoming in youth in addition to having ten kids of their own. Motivated by her parents’ caring words and deeds, she is dedicated to giving back to the community.

According to Melissa, PYD is succeeding in meeting the important needs of young people with disabilities and providing them with comprehensive programs to help them thrive. As a center for inclusion, PYD puts great efforts into reaching deeper into the community and encouraging more and more young people with disabilities to find their own identities.

Melissa appreciates that “PYD opens up an entire world for young people with disabilities.” PYD is humbled to have Melissa as our respectable honoree and to have this chance to recognize the greatness she has contributed to the community. We hope to see everyone on May 18th to join in the expression of gratitude to such an influential person.

This post was written by Juan Zhou, Jackie (Xiao) Yan, Olicia Mannion, and Mary Grace Alcaro of the BU PRLab. Edited by Nicole Malo.

Eli Wolff

Eli A. Wolff is a Mentoring Coordinator at Partners for Youth with Disabilities. Eli also serves as adviser for the Royce Fellowship for Sport and Society at Brown University and co-leads the Power of Sport Lab, a platform to fuel and magnify innovation, inclusion and social change through sport.

Eli’s past work has been at the intersection of research, education and advocacy in and through sport. In 2000, Eli helped to establish the ESPY Award for Best Male and Female Athlete with a Disability, and he organized the national disability sport organizations to support professional golfer Casey Martin in his successful case against the PGA before the U.S. Supreme Court. From 2003 to 2008, Eli led a global effort to include provisions addressing sport and recreation within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. More recently, Eli has helped to lead a national effort for the inclusion of student-athletes with disabilities in high school and college athletic opportunities.

Eli has also contributed to the international sport for development and social change community and has assisted with the global efforts for the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on April 6 of each year. In 2016, Eli co-developed Mentoring for Change and the International Mentoring Day as an annual part of January’s National Mentoring Month, on Muhammad Ali’s birthday, January 17, as a collaboration between the National Mentoring Partnership, the Muhammad Ali Center and Epicenter Community.

Eli was a member of the United States Paralympic Soccer Team in the 1996 and 2004 Paralympic Games. Eli is a graduate of Brown University and has an MA in Sport Studies from the German Sport University of Cologne.

Stacey Schneiderman

Stacey Schneiderman joined the PYD team in December 2016 as a part time Mentoring Specialist. She feels lucky to have been a mentor herself for the past 8 years. Stacey taught as a special educator for over 11 years ranging in settings from behavioral health hospitals, residential programs, and both urban and suburban public schools.

She is thrilled to bring her passion and experiences as both a teacher and mother of 3 to this role. She spends most of her with her family, per dog and turtle.

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