I have the good fortune of knowing Deep for over 17 years. Deep has filled those mighty years of devotion to PYD’s Access to Theatre (ATT) and Making Healthy Connections (MHC). MHC has been serving youth as a group mentoring program for 25 years. Its first name was “Youth in Preparation for Independence.” It was among an entry of beginning to provide group mentoring programs to be offered to youth with disabilities, seeking supportive school year based group mentoring programs. YIPI became MHC, when we changed a focus to put the topic concentration in the area of health, fitness, recreation and sports.
For over 17 years, October through May every other Friday night, and Deep would drive from Western, MA to Boston to helm MHC. The group met at the Brighton Oak Square Y for most of those years. Deep never missed a Friday night, with the exception of winter weather.
He empowered youth with all ranges of abilities. Indeed Deep’s talents are of the range I often refer to as “the Pied Piper.” That is the analogy of a man who has the gift of talent to engage and empower youth. Deep brought more than education, title, credentials to youth service. He brought the gift of insight, dedication, synergy, empathy, and commitment. These traits are not something that can necessarily be taught in a classroom. They come with innate talent and the quality of who an individual is, by character, nature and traits, that translate in to ability to engage and transform the lives of youth to find their own empowerment, their abilities.
There are so very many times I would watch Deep work with youth individually and in the group mentoring settings. The youth would respond to his gift of kindness, insight in to what each individual youth might be experiencing. In addition to finding the best guest speakers for the youth and parent group, he would see that youth who needed transportation to or from MHC obtained that. He tackled all manners of mayhem to celebrations,teen angst to teen best of times, that can come with group settings. He could always empower, encourage and help the youth become more disciplined for their own forward movement for independence, education, individual talents and career readiness.
In addition, Deep oversaw the MHC Parent Group that met simultaneously while their youth met. Lisa Jennings, parent guide of the Parent Group, was the faithful oversight of parent support while parents had the chance to gain insights from the speakers Deep would bring for them.
At the end of each first hour of the MHC group settings, the next hour would be the engagement of the youth in sports and recreation activities that the Y facilities provide. There was Deep in the center of the mix, making baskets, and joining in the game. The guide, the teacher, the coach, the support, the base of all things MHC. Then be sure that all the youth were in the best of care for transportation home.
Imagine: A world with more individuals that are Deep. Deep’s work represents a fortune of giving, dedication, time, commitment, talent and rewards that are most enriching a return on the investment of giving –his work truly illuminates the power and potential of youth with disabilities, and his work further PYD’s mission for so many years is priceless. We salute Deep’s many years of service and are honored to work with such a rare individual whose commitment to mission and service to others is paramount.
Thank you, Deep!