This May, we celebrated our annual fundraiser, Party 4 PYD. The event brought together local business people, participants, families, and members of our community who join us in our goal of creating a world where young people with disabilities live with pride in who they are, and lead self-determined lives filled with purpose.
Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we were able to raise over $250,000 this year! We were thrilled to celebrate this event with more than 200 guests who traveled from near and far to attend.
An Inside Look into the Event
The Program’s Hosts, Kennedy Elsey and Austin Carr
Kennedy Elsey, co-host of the Karson and Kennedy Show on Mix 104.1, and her mentee, Austin Carr, were our amazing hosts for the night. Austin kicked off the program with a wonderful opening talk where he gave a heartfelt shoutout to his mentor, Kennedy. Their mentor-mentee bond was evident to everyone in the audience, a tangible example of PYD’s lasting impact.
Introducing Our Honorees
Regina Snowden, Recipient of the Regina Snowden Founder’s Award
After serving for 37 years as Founder and Executive Director of PYD, the crowd cheered for Regina as she kicked off her well-deserved retirement. Regina gave a wonderful speech acknowledging the many individuals who have worked alongside her throughout nearly four decades, and expressed her gratitude to all who have helped make PYD what it is today.
Since founding PYD in 1985, Regina has played a crucial role in the creation of successful programs, which has enabled the organization to help youth with disabilities in Massachusetts overcome barriers by providing mentoring, education, entrepreneurship, and recreational and cultural opportunities. We’re endlessly grateful for her commitment to serving the disability community, and the positive impact that her time at PYD has had for so many people.
Keith Jones, Oswald Mondejar Innovator Award
It was our pleasure to award Keith Jones, one of PYD’s first mentees, with the Oswald Mondejar Innovator Award. Keith now serves as the President and CEO of SoulTouchin Experiences, an organization aimed at bringing perspective to issues of access inclusion and empowerment, issues which affect him as well as others with disabilities. Through SoulTouchin Experiences, Keith conducts trainings with the purpose of strengthening efforts to provide services and information for people with disabilities. These services include–but aren’t limited to–the areas of immigration, criminal justice reform, healthcare, and environmental justice. We’re fortunate to have someone as dedicated, compassionate, and inspiring as Keith in our community.
Samantha Mood, Mr. D for a Difference Award
In honor of PYD team member Darryl Sanchez, we created the Mr. D for a Difference Award to recognize a participant who has a true passion for making a difference in the world, demonstrates leadership, and pours their heart and energy into their work.
We were pleased to present this award to participant Samantha Mood this year. Throughout Samantha’s time as a participant, she has flourished into a confident and assertive person who is always willing to try new activities and pursue her passions. Last summer, she focused on learning employment skills and the different aspects of applying for a job. After completing summer classes and building a resume, Samantha began an internship with the fashion company Girls Chronically Rock. Her goals were to work on professional and communication skills, and to connect her internship with her passion for theater and fashion.
Samantha has done an excellent job working on her internship goals, giving her best effort, having a positive attitude, and being willing to try new tasks, proving that she is well deserving of the award. All of us at PYD are so proud of her dedication and hard work. Congratulations, Samantha!
We were immensely grateful to offer a silent auction throughout the night with dozens of high-value items and experiences, such as visits to Puerto Rico, Ed Sheeran tickets, a signed Patrice Bergeron picture, and more. Thanks to the hard work of PYD staff and board members, the auction was a great success.
Unwavering Support from Our Sponsors
Party 4 PYD would not have been possible without support from our generous sponsors. We would like to give specials thanks to the following people and organizations:
- Liberty Mutual Insurance
- Schawbel Industries
Role Model Sponsors
- Van & Kimberly Gurley
- United Way of Massachusetts Bay
- The TJX Companies
- Mentor Sponsors
- Steve & Donna Mastrocola
- Lori & George Andrews
- Jean Joy
- Wolf & Company PC
- Highland Partners Charitable Fund
- The Kraft Family and the New England Patriots Foundation
- Atkinson Charitable Fund
- Ben and Adean Golub
- Shapiro Family
- Tere Ramos & Meath Dunne
- Regina Snowden
- Dedham Savings
- People’s Bank of Holyoke
- Oz Mondejar & John Verlinden
- Henry Goodrow
Show Your Support Beyond Party 4 PYD
Party 4 PYD is one of various fundraisers that we host throughout the year to make it possible for us to support youth with disabilities. Please consider making a donation to help us further our mission.