The Interview with Regina Snowden and Kristin Humphrey

Kristin and Regina with former Fellow Shailean Hardy at TPC’s 2018 Grant Awards event.

TPC liaisons, Judy Ferretti and Jane Musser Nelson had the opportunity to speak with Regina Snowden, founder and Executive Director, and Kristin Humphrey, Mentoring Director, of Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD) about their work. PYD’s goal is to create a world where young people with disabilities will be able to live with dignity and pride in who they are, and to lead self-determined lives filled with purpose.

Nearly 30 years ago, Regina saw a great need to provide services focused specifically on youth with all manner of disabilities so she founded PYD. To achieve its goal, PYD focuses on mentoring and training. First, PYD provides 1:1 mentoring for youth ranging as young as 8 years old, but primarily in their early teens to early 20s. Today the organization has over 100 mentors who work with youth. Second, PYD saw that these young people needed extra support as they transitioned to college. Thus, “ementoring” was created, a program that provides support to freshman and sophomores via email to ensure they remain and thrive in college. Third, PYD also provides group mentoring, consisting of weekend gatherings with mentors and social events throughout the year. Fourth, PYD also provides a career readiness program called “YELP,” which delivers career advice, résumé writing, interview practice, and job training. PYD works with companies to find internships and jobs for the youth it serves. Last year, PYD offered its services to 102 young people. Finally, PYD also provides inclusion training at corporations such as Liberty Mutual and Safeco.

 

Can you share a story demonstrating the impact your organization has had?

There are so many wonderful stories about the impact of our work. However, one particularly clear example is was about an 8-year-old girl who had a physical disability. She had become withdrawn and lacked confidence. Her family was unaware of the support available, nor had they the ability to pursue different options that were available to their daughter, Emily. We were ultimately introduced to the family and we matched Emily with Laura, a mentor. Laura had a physical disability and had learned how to get services that helped her thrive. Laura is still Emily’s mentor today – 10 years later – and has provided social and emotional support to Emily. In addition, she has been able to introduce Emily and her family to available support services. Emily has thrived and is now at college – an accomplishment that would likely never have been possible had it not been for her mentor and PYD. The relationship has also helped Laura, who has gone on to pursue and complete a master’s degree in special education. It is a wonderful story how both mentor and mentee have flourished.

 

Please tell us about how you are using TPC’s grant.

Recruiting and training mentors requires resources. PYD is using TPC’s grant to add 50 new mentors to our 1:1 mentoring program. So far, the grant has helped to recruit 37 new mentors and we expect to exceed the goal of 50 new mentors before the end of the year!

 

What do you hope to gain via your relationship with TPC? Are there ways TPC members can help you?

PYD is looking to build the awareness of the power of mentoring and inclusion within the Boston community as well as the TPC community. In addition, PYD is looking for people who want to get involved. TPC members can help in many ways. First, PYD is always looking for people who are interested in mentoring youth. We also work with corporations who want to encourage their workforce to volunteer. We (Regina and Kristin) are more than willing to visit companies and explain how their employees can volunteer and get involved. Second, if one’s time is short or unpredictable, PYD also needs people who are willing to “ementor” with youth who are starting college and need additional adult support via email. Third, PYD does inclusive training at corporations. If your company is considering this training, please contact Regina for more details. Last, PYD is having its annual fundraising gala on the evening of May 8 and is looking for volunteers to help with the planning. If you can’t help before, come and have fun and learn more about this wonderful organization. Please contact Regina Snowden (rsnowden@PYD.org) or Kristin Humphrey (khumphrey@pyd.org) for more details on all of the ways TPC members can get involved.