Meet our Ability Award Winners!
This month, leading up to our Annual Celebration in May, we have been featuring the recipients of each of our awards on our blog! This is our final installment in the series.
Every year at our Annual Awards Ceremony and Fundraiser, we honor Triangle, Inc. program participants who embody our mission and persevere against all odds. This year, we’re honoring the Peer IMPACT Leaders from the Henderson Inclusion school: Katiana, Ciara, Courtnie, Kaya, and Naieer.
Peer IMPACT is a youth leadership development program designed to bring students with and without disabilities together to increase understanding and prevent bullying. Operated by IMPACT, a program of Triangle, Peer IMPACT provides the opportunity for transition-aged students to teach valuable information to younger students, leading them through lessons on team building, self-advocacy, bullying prevention, and end-of-year projects to teach others in the school community what they have learned.
The Henderson Inclusion School is a K-12 school located in Dorchester where students with disabilities learn in the classroom alongside their peers without disabilities. Peer IMPACT was introduced at both the middle and high school levels during the 2014-2015 school year. IMPACT staff members believe that the earlier you teach students about these topics, the more profound the effect, so it was soon decided that the curriculum would be taught at the 5th grade level at the Henderson School. Peer Leaders began to teach the curriculum in the 2015-2016 school year, and it is now taught to all 5th grade students as a regular part of their weekly classes. The Peer Leaders have already reached an astonishing 200 students directly with the curriculum, in addition to another 200 students through their end-of-year projects which are presented to the other grades at Henderson.
These Peer Leaders are a special group, constantly impressing IMPACT staff members with their respect and support for each other. When one of them has a new teaching piece or a new challenge, the others are there to offer help. When planning for teaching, they take into account each other’s strengths and challenges. This shines through as they teach the 5th grade students because they are helping each other become the best teachers and mentors that they can be, setting a high standard for the students to follow.
Individually, they each bring their own unique strengths to the table. Ciara is able to project her voice and get students’ attention. She always keeps track of time, and remembers many details that everyone else tends to forget. Katiana has the biggest heart for her fellow leaders and for her students, leading the group in empathetic responses to challenging student behavior, on top of keeping everyone on task and following the day’s plan. Courtnie really shines through in connecting and having fun with the students, who enjoy her positive attitude and her great sense of humor. Naieer is a great presenter, able to give students clear instruction about the topic at hand during class time. Kaya shines in her flexibility, stepping in whenever the students or the Peer Leaders need help with something. She is always ready to go with the flow and support whoever needs it.
In addition to their work with Peer IMPACT, the Peer Leaders are exemplary role models in the community. They volunteer in the community at Daily Table, ETHOS, Dorchester YMCA, among others, in addition to being involved in EPIC’s Service Warrior program. In addition, they were all involved in the Biden Foundation Listening Sessions around youth violence prevention, and have been featured on panels at Harvard University and Northeastern University. Their impressive drive and incredible influence makes us proud to honor them with the Ability Award at this year’s Annual Celebration!
Join us on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum for Celebrate: Triangle’s 48th Annual Awards Ceremony and Fundraiser. Click here for tickets and sponsorship information!