Amy DohertyIn the previous blog,  I introduced Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD) and their mentoring program in Boston. This week I interviewed Amy Doherty, a woman with a visual impairment who shares her personal experience as a mentor.

Why be a mentor?

Amy was in her 20s when she first heard about PYD.

“Growing up, I would love to have known someone older with a disability; someone I could build a relationship with and learn from. So when I heard about a program where I could be a mentor for a child with a disability, I wanted to be part of it”.

Amy’s first match through PYD was with a senior in high school. “He wanted to know someone with a disability who had gone to college and was able to get accommodations since he would need them himself. When we first met, I knew he would be fabulous and he was. We still keep in touch.”

She spoke about her role. “I feel like I didn’t do much, but sometimes just simply being yourself and sharing your experiences may be all that’s needed to encourage someone”.

Being 10 again

Amy is now matched with a 10 year old girl who also has a visual impairment. “We do a lot of fun activities together: bowling, ice skating, swimming and playing in the park.”Amy Doherty and mentee

Amy explained that she didn’t have much experience with 10 year olds, but they had more in common than she first realized.
“I’m remembering what it’s like to be 10 again. It’s wonderful to be in a regular classroom, but you don’t often meet other people with visual impairments. I was the only one in my public school with a visual impairment so I know how it feels. Having a mentor who can relate, share advice and experiences is important.”

The give and take role of a mentor

Mentors in the program are required to have once a week contact with their mentees by phone or email. In addition, they meet once a month.

“The time commitment is very reasonable and it really is a lot of fun. You get to meet awesome people, and be yourself; I think it makes a huge difference for everyone. I have really grown and been inspired through mentoring and know many others who have as well.”

Next week you will hear from one of the mentees in the program who also feels it made a difference in their life. Stay tuned…

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