On June 27th, nearly 1,000 mentors and mentees from across the state came to Fenway Park for Mentoring Night to celebrate relationships and watch the Red Sox take on the Twins. Some of the matches appeared on the field during the pregame activities. Representing Partners for Youth with Disabilities, mentee Matt and his mentor Nate yelled "play ball" to start the game.
In October 2015, mentor Nate and mentee Matt were matched by Partners for Youth with Disabilities. Their program empowers youth with disabilities to reach their full potential by providing transformative mentoring programs and youth development opportunities. The mentors help young people meet their full potential for personal development and independence by matching them with a caring adult mentor.
Boston University junior Nate was instantly drawn to volunteer for Partners for Youth with Disabilities because “In high school, volunteering with people with special needs was a big part of my life,” he said. “My father has a disability and he got me involved at a very young age and taught me that volunteering is important.” Nate has been committed to creating awareness about people with disabilities and how they should be included in society without judgment or stigmatization.
The mentoring program allows Nate and Matt to build a relationship that they not only consider each other as their best friend but “more of like family members.” Nate’s guidance has helped Matt succeed socially in addition to “[having] his best year academically ever.” Meanwhile, Matt has taught Nate the importance and value in remembering working hard is just as important as having fun once in a while.
When describing Matt, Nate said, “He’s the epitome of a 15-year-old boy. We’ve gone to three or four baseball games together. Those are some of my favorite moments because I remember being a little kid going to watch the Philly’s, in awe of everything going on around me, immersed in the sport that I love and that [Matt] loves. I can see all those looks that I used to make when I was a kid on his face, and it’s really cool to see that come full circle.”