Byron Nash, Chris Dunne Peer Leadership Awardee
Byron is a long-time participant at Mentor Match, Access to Theatre, and Making Healthy Connections – he’s been with us for nine years. He also has the distinction of being one of our Peer Leaders, and was part of our Youth Leadership Forum and ATT Summer Production this year. In the last few years, Byron has overcome a lot of obstacles and worked towards achieving more independence. Right now, he works at the MBTA and lives on his own in Malden. We are very proud of Byron and consider him a stellar role model.
DJ Robinson, Rayleen Lescay Spirit Awardee
DJ is also a long-time participant in many of our programs, including our Young Entrepreneurs Program, Access to Theatre and Making Healthy Connections. We’ve known DJ for six years. He is another one of our Peer Leaders, and has proven to be a valuable source of support in the Access to Theatre program at Mass Hospital. He works full-time and focuses on helping other PYD participants develop new friendships and develop a more positive perspective on having disabilities. We would like to thank DJ for setting such a great example for us all.
Carl Richardson, Mentor of the Year
Carl has been a mentor with PYD for the past two years, and since being matched with his mentee, Dejan, Carl has consistently gone above and beyond in his role. Carl and Dejan both have a visual impairment, and Carl has been a huge influence in helping Dejan become more independent and more involved in the Blind community. He has introduced Dejan to the American Council for the Blind, and helped Dejan learn to take the Ride independently, gain greater comfort and familiarity with assistive technology, and pursue his academic goals.
Diagnosed with Usher Syndrome at 17 years old, Carl currently works as the ADA Coordinator at the Massachusetts State House. He is a champion for those who need accommodations on the Hill, and he has provided training to participants on advocacy. He has been an amazing role model for Dejan and our other mentors and mentees. In addition to going above and beyond as a mentor, he goes above and beyond for the Mentor Match program as a whole. He has been a voice to increase the awareness about the importance of mentoring youth with disabilities and help us recruit more quality, caring mentors. We’re so lucky to have him as a volunteer!