“If you look at people through the lens of ability versus disability, and what they can do versus what they can’t do, you’ll see so much more of someone.”
Interviewee: Steve Slowinski
Interviewer: Jenny P., Grade 12
Interview Date: February 26, 2015
Interview Location: Partners for Youth with Disabilities, Boston, MA
Steve Slowinski started working for the one-to-one mentoring program at PYD 3 years ago, in April of 2012. He went to college for child development and volunteered at a camp for kids with illnesses prior to setting his course towards Partners for Youth with Disabilities. Working at this camp was a very moving experience for him as he had actually attended that camp after his own cancer diagnosis at the age of eleven. He remembers how his counselors saw him as a person and not as an illness. This memory has not doubt remained with him and impacted his career path.
He primarily works with 14-22 year olds and helps makes the matches for PYD’s Mentor Match program by interviewing both potential mentors and mentees. There are many other programs that are part of PYD such as the the theatre arts program. One of Steve’s favorite part about working at PYD is seeing the goals that children make be realized. For him, to be witness to such a transition is amazing. PYD has been around for over 30 years and their biggest achievement is meeting the whole needs of youth through the development and growth of their various programs. It is clear that PYD sees the youths it works with as people, and not just a disability; and that is a very powerful thing.
“We serve all disability types, we seve physical disabilities, learning disabilities, sensory impairment, autism, aspergers, etc.”
“Everyone’s needs are different.”
“The fact that we serve kids with all disability types is unique and powerful.”
“It has taught me how much I love working with this population.”
“It has shown me a bit more about myself.”
“It has taught me that there are incredible people out there that many people don’t necessarily see the ability in them off the bat. If you look at people through the lens of ability versus disability, and what they can do versus what they can’t do, you’ll see so much more of someone.”
“They are capable of so much.”
“It’s all about relationships.”
“Activism means making a difference and standing up for what you believe in.”