Chris Dunne was a wonderful young man who was instrumental to the PYD community as a leader in our group mentoring programs and one of the first intergenerational matches. He always tackled challenges head on with determination and a smile. Chris passed away on August 9, 2003, at just 21 years old. Each year PYD honors a youth participant with the Chris Dunne Peer Leadership Award during Mentor Appreciation Night in January.
George Donahue was one of the first mentors at PYD and has many mentees, including Chris Dunne. George has been writing for most of his life, with articles published in The Boston Globe and the Watertown Tab. He has written over forty short stories and books spanning several genres, including poetry.
George read the following poem he penned about Chris at the dedication of the Christopher P Dunne Memorial Visitors Center at Breakheart Reservation in Saugus, MA, a new fully accessible visitors center built by the Department of Recreation and Conservation. He reflected, “Chris truly believed that to live was to love life, people, and the environment, to recognize your dreams and know they are within reach, to help someone who is in need of a helping hand and to be the best you can be because we are only here for a short while.”
Get out there! Just be yourself. Don’t be like me
Be a volunteer, a mentor, you will learn from your mentee
Your dreams will come to life you just wait and see
Soon dreams become concrete, and then a firm reality
Obstacles will always be here, sometimes even in the way
But you will get around them every minute, every hour, every day
Take the fork in the road, explore, see the beauty along the way
Learn to laugh out loud at the adventures you had that day
Grab a rope, climb a tree! See all that there is to see
Lend a hand, help for free. Put a band aide on a scraped knee
Boil water, make some tea. Take time and listen to the elderly
Volunteer, your efforts won’t go unnoticed, can you see?
Life is fast paced. All we do is we run and we run
Take some time at the day’s end to watch the setting sun
Above all, work hard and learn with others how to have fun
Try to walk in the footsteps of my friend, Christopher P Dunne.
A talented acrylic artist, George has donated paintings of nature scenes and ocean landscapes to the last several auctions at the Party for PYD gala. He is an avid photographer, videographer, and host of the cable show ‘From Where I Sit’ where he interviews persons and organizations which are involved with the disability community. George is also an award-winning writer, screenwriter, director, and co-producer of the short film The Big Ruse. He continues to work in the disability community, empowering others to overcome the challenges and obstacles of today’s world during the pandemic era.
Interested in becoming a volunteer mentor for a youth with a disability? Fill out a volunteer application.
Youth interested in being matched with a mentor or participating in one of our other programs, including youth leadership, fill out an application.