Meet 2020’s Chris Dunne Peer Leadership Award winner, Cody

Cody wearing Youth Leadership Forum

For this year’s Mentor Appreciation Night, the Chris Dunne Peer Leadership Award goes to Cody! PYD’s Artistic Director of Access to Theater, Deep had a few things to say about this year’s winner: 

“Cody was a stellar Peer Leader at the 2019 Summer Institute. He was very friendly and encouraging of his fellow participants, particularly new participants. He was always on time and very supportive of helping new participants who lacked confidence.”

Cody found PYD when his high school recommended he join the Youth Leadership Forum, an overnight conference for individuals with disabilities. The purpose of this conference is to help the participants build leadership skills as well as be more prepared for future employment and independent living. He emphasized his experience with the program was memorable because he had never been away from home before staying at Bridgewater State University for the event.

“The experience of being away for two weeks was incredible and it was a pleasure working with everyone!”

The Youth Leadership Forum has also given Cody the opportunity to grow in many ways. 

“Being away in Boston for 2 weeks has helped me become more independent and know the experience away from home.”

He then decided to apply for and join our Access to Theater (ATT) program to get an idea of what it had to offer. Although Cody has only been with Access to Theater for a short time, it’s a program that means a lot to him. 

“You have to think outside the box. You have to be creative and that’s what is so special about ATT.” 

What really inspired Cody was gaining the ability to put on a virtual show in August due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Doing so demonstrated a sense of resiliency and the ability to be able to adapt in different situations.

Both the Access to Theater program and the Youth Leadership Forum, which Cody participated in three times, remain a huge part of his growth throughout his time with PYD.

“Knowing that my hard work is being paid off is a great feeling and a huge honor.”

Congratulations, Cody! We can’t wait to see you continue to shine in Access to Theater. Our community is excited to celebrate you during Mentor Appreciation Night 2020.

This blog post was written by our Communication and Marketing Coordinator, Vandita Patel