Tag: mentoring programs

Exploring Massachusetts Mentoring Resources

Magnifying glass showing motivation terms and the word "mentor"This week we share the following resources for mentors looking to make a difference and special opportunities for youth with disabilities looking to reach their full potential with support from a mentor.

1. Partners for Youth with Disabilities
(PYD) offers one-to-one & group mentoring programs where adult mentors with and without disabilities act as positive role models and provide support and guidance for youth with disabilities. PYD’s unique programs include Access to theater, recreational activities at select Boston YMCAs, healthy living, and an entrepreneur’s project. For info on the Mentor Match program, contact Jeff Lafata, at 617-556-4075 x18.

Other resources on the PYD site include:

2. Best Buddies Jobs
an inspirational program that provides leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For additional information contact Jake Laverriere,  jacoblaverriere@bestbuddies.org ,  (617) 778-0522.

3. REC Connect
a program of the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Universal Access Program serving people with physical disabilities in Greater Boston, Worcester and Holyoke, MA interested in expanding their recreation opportunities. REC Connect is currently looking for Peer Mentors and Volunteers for adaptive recreation. To apply, contact Heidi Marie-Peterson at Heidi.Marie-Peterson@ state.ma.us.

4. Mass Mentoring Partnership
is the statewide umbrella organization for more than 170 organizations supporting 23,000 youth in mentoring relationships.

  • Mentoring Opportunities Near You
    provides a searchable database by zip code and distance.  For an “Advanced” search, you can narrow it down by age group.

5. Mentor:  National Mentoring Partnership
provides a variety of mentoring resources and publications.

Also check workplace human resource department, schools and universities for possible mentor / mentee opportunities.

AJ Shares his Experience as a Mentee

Larry and AJ
Larry (mentor) and AJ (mentee)

This week I have the pleasure of introducing AJ, a mentee in the Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD) program. AJ described the program, his friend/mentor, Larry and why having a mentor made a difference in his life.

Introducing our mentee

AJ began the discussion by telling me a little about himself.

“I go to Campus Academy in Stoneham, am 18 years old and I live at home. School is going well and I would say someday I want to be a woodworker. I made a really nice coffee table for my Mom out of a piece of wood and liked doing it. I have had a mentor for about five years.”

What is a mentor?

I asked AJ how he would describe a mentor.

“A mentor is someone to talk to if you have any issues, but you can also have fun together. We go out to eat, go to bookstores, events and sometimes we go to Jordans in Reading. My mentor, Larry, lives nearby so he doesn’t have to travel far to see me.”

AJ was 14 years old when he first met Larry. He spoke of him fondly, describing a friendship that has grown over the past five years.

“Larry is my best friend. He would do anything for me and I would do anything for him.”

Yet AJ used the following qualities to describe Larry as not only a good friend, but a mentor that made an impact on his life.

“What’s important if you want to be a mentor? I would say you have to be a good listener and you need to have a good sense of humor. Larry does. We also both have disabilities, but that doesn’t really matter. We have the same interests.”

A mentee becomes a future mentor

I imagine AJ and Larry will continue their friendship in the years to come.

Yet it is also important to know that Larry has inspired AJ to give back to others. He described his plans for the future.

“I want to be a mentor myself someday, so I can help somebody the way Larry helped me.”

… And that is how a mentorship program can ultimately make a difference.