A New Year of Making Healthy Connections

Youth at a recent MHC Springfield meeting

Making Healthy Connections (MHC) programming is now in full swing at both Boston and Springfield program sites! Boston MHC began in the fall and Springfield MHC just launched a new program session on January 11th, 2014.

Both MHC sites offer youth and parent sessions twice monthly and are working to enhance the health and well-being of youth with disabilities in the Greater Springfield and Greater Boston areas through social, recreational, and transition-focused learning opportunities. This year’s topics for MHC Youth Meetings include: Disability Pride, Nutrition, Accessible Transportation, Independent Living, Fitness, Advocacy, Relationships, Stress Management, and Talking to Healthcare Providers. Currently over 60 youth participants and peer leaders are participating in Making Healthy Connections for 2014.

MHC is fortunate to receive another three-year funding award from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Additional MHC funding received for FY2014 includes awards from the Beveridge Family Foundation, CVS Caremark Community Grants, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and the Thomas Anthony Pappas Foundation. These awards provide critical support for MHC program activities. Thank you to all our funders who make it possible to continue offering this unique and important programming!

So what do our participants like best about MHC? Let’s ask them!

“Being around everybody”

“Working independently, making friends, learning lots of new things.”

“This program has impacted my life by showing me I have a disability and I should be proud of it. Also I learned how to deal with it and the recourses… I loved cooking at American International College.”

“The group helps me cope with my Autism on a day to day basis. I truly look forward to coming to group for the last 2 years. It has been a blast. I feel like I’m a somebody in this group and I can’t thank MHC enough for making a better person with Autism.”

The parents of MHC youth participants are also enthusiastic about the group, and they believe that the program positively benefits their child in many different ways:

“He is learning about peer relationships, as well as how to advocate for himself.”

“Empowered her to advocate for herself and given her the confidence to move forward towards becoming more independent. She now sees many possibilities for herself and has enjoyed meeting others she can look up to and identify with.”

“Self-confidence grew and now he has become very interested in self advocacy and leadership opportunities. Learned how to be a peer leader.”

Thank you to all our enthusiastic youth participants and their families. It is an honor to work with all of you, and we look forward to another great year of Making Healthy Connections!

For more information about Boston MHC, contact Deep Chinappa (Director of Outreach and Recruitment) at dchinappa@pyd.org. For information about the Springfield program, contact Susan Nicastro (Deputy Director) at snicastro@pyd.org.

    Leave a Comment