The Disability Peer Mentor Program (DPMP), currently in its fifth year, aims to pair students with peers of similar backgrounds to create networks of support for people with disabilities at Yale. DPMP is run under the purview of the Academic Strategies Program at the Poorvu Center. Founded as a core initiative of Disability Empowerment for Yale (that’s us!), we now collaborate with several disability affinity organizations at Yale University, including ThinkDifferent, the Graduate Student Disability Alliance, and DivineAbilities; Yalies of any class year and any constituent school are always welcome to request a mentor!
Everyone is welcome here, and the experiences of disability among both mentors and mentees in this program are diverse. Our community includes people with physical & mobility disabilities, chronic illnesses, mental illnesses & psychiatric disabilities, neurodiversity & learning disabilities (including ADHD, dyslexia, autism), sensory disabilities & processing disorders (including vision impairments, blindness, and d/Deafness) and other conditions. You do not need to identify as disabled to request a mentor, and you do not need to have a formal diagnosis. Further, you can specify what identities & experiences are most important for you and your mentor to have in common.
In general, Disability Peer Mentors provide support for navigating institutional resources, developing critical self-advocacy skills, and building community around disability identity. Some mentors also have specific expertise in using assistive technology. In general, we can be there to problem-solve or just to listen. Every mentoring relationship is unique and should respond to the needs of the mentee — whether that’s meeting just a couple of times to address specific questions or concerns or checking in regularly throughout the year. We are excited and honored to do this work and to have the privilege of connecting with & supporting so many wonderful people in the disability community here.
Anyone can request a mentor at any time throughout the school year; please allow one week to facilitate matching. If you fill out this form (tinyurl.com/2021MentorRequest) and do not hear from your assigned mentor within that timeframe, if you need support more urgently and would like your request expedited, or if you would like to receive alternative or additional support from another peer mentor, please email Program Coordinator Josie Steuer Ingall at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you are matched with a Disability Peer Mentor, they will periodically check in with you and set up informal meetings in whatever modality & setting you mutually find most comfortable.
Please know that DPMP will protect your privacy. We will never talk about you or your status to anyone outside of the program; only the Program Coordinator and your assigned mentor have access to your identifying information, which will be anonymized in any program reports.