Independence, Inc. Disability Mentoring Day Event and Celebration Banquet

Disability Mentoring Day is an international event hosted by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) in collaboration with the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) to promote career development for students and job-seekers and make employers aware of an available pool of qualified candidates.

History of DMD: This program started as National Disability Mentoring Day in 1999 in the White House, as a program to increase the profile of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which is celebrated every October. The program began with just three dozen participants. In 2001, National Disability Mentoring Day was passed to AAPD to administer and build; that year, participation included more than 1,500 students and job-seekers, hundreds of public and private employers, and more than 70 Local Coordinators in 32 states plus Washington, D.C. 2004 had 9,000 mentees participating in every state plus Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and 14 other countries, 250 Local Coordinators, and more than 2,500 employer mentors.

Vision: For many of us, having a positive role model may have meant the difference between pursuing our full potential or merely wishing we had done so. Remember how you were influenced by a special person who made a difference in your life, possibly not even realizing the impact he or she has had on you? You now have that opportunity to make that kind of difference by becoming a Workplace Mentor for a day. Being a mentor offers the chance for you to help students and job seekers with disabilities expand their horizons, solidify career goals and learn from a practical perspective what life is like on the job. (source:

Here at Independence, Inc. we celebrate locally by hosting our own Disability Mentoring Day event beginning with a Mentoring experience for local youths and ending with a banquet where community members, businesses and our staff gather with the youth participants to celebrate the day.

The mentoring experience: The Mentorship program matches our youth participants with local Business Mentors for a morning of job shadowing and real-life work experience. The youth participant will watch, learn and listen as he/she gains insight into their mentor’s business, the workplace in general and the position for which they are shadowing. The mentors will watch, learn and listen to his/her youth while gaining valuable insight into the heart and life of a young person with a disability on the cusp of adulthood, wondering what it will be like to attempt to enter the local workforce.  A valuable partnership for all involved!

The Celebration Banquet: We follow the morning with a fun and informative banquet each year.  This years banquet featured nationally-known keynote speaker and artist Richard Hight who gave an incredible artistic performance and motivational keynote speech.  Participants enjoyed lunch, the keynote speech, networking with other community and business members, meeting our staff and enjoying some time with the local teens.

Whether you’ve mentored with us before, are a Corporate Sponsor, have joined us for our banquet in the past, or are just learning about our organization or DMD for the first time, please look ahead to DMD 2018 and decide how you would like to be involved!

  • Past DMD mentors – Consider joining us again to mentor a youth participant in 2018!
  • Community Members – Help support DMD by giving financially
  • Are you a past Corporate Sponsor?  – Please look ahead to 2018 and plan your giving in advance.
  • Interested in becoming a Business Mentor for 2018? Contact Ranita or 785-841-0333 ext. 115
  • Would you be interested in contributing to our cause by becoming a Business Sponsor? Donate Here! You can designate how you want your sponsorship to be applied!