This blog post was written and contributed by BroadFutures, a member organization in the National Disability Mentoring Coalition.
BroadFutures is a young non-profit located in Washington, DC with a mission to empower young adults (18-26) with non-apparent disabilities through a holistic training, mentoring and paid internship program. BroadFutures partners with specialists in drama, speech therapy, yoga and meditation, bringing an innovative and unique perspective to the area of transition and workforce preparedness. BroadFutures has completed three successful pilot programs and is now taking its model to scale with its winter 2016 program.
One of the key components to BroadFutures’ success has been its peer mentoring model. Interns are supported by peer mentors (who are guided by an executive functioning coach) throughout the program. The peer mentors also serve as liaisons between interns and employers, ensuring successful outcomes for both.
In an effort to highlight the powerful impact and benefit of peer mentoring, we spoke with one of our alumni interns, Daniel Soya, who participated in the BroadFutures’ third cohort in the summer of 2015 and is now employed by the employer partner that hosted his internship, Marshall Moya Design.
When asked why he applied to the BroadFutures program, Daniel explained, “I did not have a clear idea of what I wanted to do and wanted to get experience in the workplace. I felt I got that experience.”
Daniel freely admits that prior to BroadFutures, he had never had a mentor before. He found the experience invaluable. When asked to further explain the impact of mentoring, he said:
“Having a mentor gave me someone to talk to, someone to support me, someone to help me get things done. Having a mentor helped me to be successful because it helped to give me the confidence to believe in myself. It helped me in general to keep moving forward. I liked that the mentor was my age. She was laid back and relaxed. I felt I could talk to her easily. I was able to talk about things that were a challenge. Having a peer mentor helped me to become more organized and understand what I needed to do for the future.”
Finally, Daniel described how he benefited from the peer mentor relationship:
“I developed the skill of being able to talk to people and reach out and ask for help. I would not have been successful in the BroadFutures program if I had not had a mentor. My mentor pushed me and kept me back on track. There was always someone to talk to and you felt like you were not always on your own. I will continue to seek out mentors in my professional and academic life if I can find them. I definitely feel that all internship programs should incorporate mentors.”
While Daniel has graduated from the BroadFutures program, he continues to rely on mentors. Daniel now considers Marshall Moya Design Director and Principle Michael Marshall his professional mentor. “Having Michael as a professional mentor gives me the confidence that someday I can be successful like Michael.” Daniel, like many young people who have benefitted from mentorship, understands the power of the proposition and how its expression can be felt in diverse ways.
BroadFutures believes innovative internship experiences with embedded mentoring empowers young adults with non-apparent disabilities in transition and workforce preparedness. By working with peer mentors, our interns are finding success in building confidence, developing workplace skills, and transitioning to professional careers.
If you or someone you know is interested in having a similar BroadFutures experience, applications for its summer internship program are being accepted until April 1, 2016. Apply online at www.broadfutures.org/interns.
Did a mentor help broaden your future? Nominate your mentor or mentoring program for the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame. Nominations are being accepted for the 2016 Class online at: www.pyd.org/hall-of-fame.php.
About BroadFutures: BroadFutures provides holistic training, mentoring and meaningful paid transitional work experiences for young adults with learning disabilities to empower their potential for positive and successful futures. By actively engaging and supporting young people with learning challenges to tolerate, manage and reduce stress, the program helps interns successfully navigate the workplace while broadening their futures. Learn more about BroadFutures at www.broadfutures.org. Follow BroadFutures on Twitter or Facebook.
About the National Disability Mentoring Coalition: The mission of the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) is to increase the awareness, quality and impact of mentoring for individuals with disabilities across the nation. Member organizations share core values and align with the Coalition’s objectives to streamline communication, standardize and systematize data collection, reduce duplication of efforts, increase mentoring opportunities, and improve outcomes for youth and adults with disabilities. Learn more about the NDMC, review its Membership, and visit the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame at www.disabilitymentors.org. You can also follow NDMC on Twitter.