Tag: REC Connect

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.

Recreate Yourself through Recreation

Several individuals hiking some with wheel chairs

This week I am pleased to introduce guest blogger, Marcy Marchello, an Accessible Recreation Coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Universal Access Program. This wonderful program serves people with disabilities and their families, friends and caregivers interested in accessing our state parks.Marcy Marchello sitting by a stream

Marcy finds her role

“How did I end up in such a unique role? Though I do not have a disability, I was introduced to many people with disabilities in my youth and worked as a personal care assistant as an adult. I spent quite a few hours accompanying my father while he visited a institutions and therapeutic settings to design various products, such a custom wheelchair seating, helmets, and swimming aids.

As an avid outdoors person, I have explored many pursuits from birding to skiing, and experienced the personal benefits of exercise, play, nature observation, teamwork, and outdoor exploration. When an opportunity arose to combine these experiences to improve outdoor accessibility for those with disabilities, I went for it!”

Blog offers excellent resources

Everyone Outdoors is a blog I designed to be a “go-to” resource for people with disabilities, their friends and family. It was written in conjunction with a grant project, REC Connect, seeking to assist people with disabilities in their exploration of recreation and skills progression.

Here you’ll find accessible places to visit and things to do, from a quiet nature walk to adventurous excursions such as sailing in Boston Harbor or hiking in a state park. Personal stories, program opportunities, equipment reviews and more are featured, covering a wide range of disability and recreation experiences.

I hope you’ll visit Everyone Outdoors and find useful information and new opportunities within its pages. Enjoy the blog at https://www.everyoneoutdoors.blogspot.com/.

Feedback and comments are welcome. In addition, if you’d like to submit a blog post about your own experience, feel free to contact me at marcy.marchello@state.ma.us.”