Empowering Youth With Disabilities

Dedication to service

Ivana Kirola and Gary Gregerson, an instructor from The Arc.
The San Francisco Study Center is the fiscal sponsor for Empowering Youth With Disabilities

Self discovery through service
My work as a volunteer with disabled young people began in 2002. As a person with disabilities myself, I was motivated to boost their self-esteem and began volunteering with San Francisco Unified School District middle and high school students. That experience taught me that disabled adults have a great deal to gain from volunteering.

In 2007, I developed the Empowering Youth with Disabilities Project and began encouraging other adults with disabilities to become mentors. Since then, 22 disabled adults have joined me in this work.

My advice to disabled adults and students alike is to increase their own education at all levels. I earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from San Francisco State University in 1998 and a general certificate in early childhood education from City College of San Francisco in 2003.

A partnership with purpose
San Francisco Study Center has served as Empowering Youth with Disabilities’ fiscal sponsor since 2007.

Incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1972, Study Center helps other publicly and privately supported community programs succeed by serving as their fiscal sponsor or fiscal intermediary. Beginning with its first fiscally sponsored project in 1975 — administering a Bank of America grant to the San Francisco Neighborhood Bicentennial Celebration — Study Center has provided a wide spectrum of financial management services and administrative support to ensure program stability.

Study Center is a member of the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors. It publishes and distributes Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways to Do It Right, a seminal book in the field of nonprofit fund disbursement and program support. It also founded and manages the Fiscal Sponsor Directory, a nationwide database of fiscal sponsors resource for online news and information about fiscal sponsorship.

A mentor’s perspective

“July 16, 2018, was the last day for me at Mission High School for the summer. I enjoyed the summer session. I read the book ‘Creepy Pair of Underwear’ to two combined classes. Tom Duffy at our library is always very helpful in getting me books for the class. In Room 225, it is a joy to see a staff so devoted to making the students the first priority.” — Iona Lawhorn, EYD Project Mentor