Throughout our time at PYD, we’ve had the opportunity to work with many exemplary people, and Darryl Sanchez was no exception. We’re saddened to share the news of Darryl’s passing after his courageous battle with Glioblastoma Multiforme but feel honored that he shared part of his 32 years of life with us at PYD.
Darryl, better known as “Mr. D” to his many adoring students, joined us on January 23rd, 2020 as our Career Readiness Program Coordinator after extensive work in foreign countries with a focus on community development. He served in the US Marines for 4 years, where he participated in combat and humanitarian operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Afterwards, he worked as an NGO project manager in Thailand, conducting agricultural experiments to help reduce air pollution and improve eco-friendly farming methods, alongside supporting expanding public health access to the rural community.
After receiving his BA in Economics from Amherst College, Darryl served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Moldova for 2 years, where he met his wife Angela, and lived in a Russian speaking community as a Community Organizing and Development Specialist. In this capacity, he assisted in writing grant projects for the local government and NGOs, taught Economics and English, organized after-school clubs for teenagers with a focus on life, critical thinking, social issues, entertainment, and culture sharing. Additionally, he taught English and life skills in a vocational school for students with disabilities/at-risk behavior.
Darryl was passionate about community service, volunteerism, youth empowerment/activism, and youth development. When he received his nomination to the National Disability Mentoring Coalition, he shared, “To mentor, to learn, train, and to support – this is our important duty. And to serve others, in whatever capacity, can give to them who will want to learn and also want to help each other as equals, and give back in kindness. That’s the key to having a full life!”
In his free time, you could find him reading fantasy books, dancing Salsa and Bachata, traveling, cooking, and playing with puppies. Darryl had a big love of life and was surrounded by many caring family members and friends. He was often described as a creative, innovative, smiley, funny, charming, and caring person with a bright personality — which is why it was only fitting for all who attended his celebration of life to wear the brightest of colors to match his spirit.
It’s our pleasure to honor and remember Darryl by presenting our “Mr. D for a Difference Award” to be awarded to a program participant at an annual PYD event.
The Mr. D for a Difference Award goes to a student who:
- Participates in an internship (Career Readiness student or YLF/YLR Fellow)
- Gives their full heart and energy into their work (schoolwork, job, etc.)
- Has an interest in education, community work, or in making a difference in the world
- Demonstrates leadership, inspiring others with their words and actions
- Fosters deep connections with peers
- Maintains a positive attitude and a creative flair
Potential candidates will go through the following selection process:
- PYD staff nominate youth for the award.
- The Selection Panel–consisting of various PYD staff, Darryl’s wife Angela, and a family member of Darryl’s–comes together to determine the winner.
- The Mr. D for a Difference Award is given at an annual PYD event.
Through this award, we look forward to celebrating Darryl’s legacy and all that he did for our Career Readiness program, our youth, and our mission.