VIDEO: Thrive Support & Advocacy Holds Graduation; Announces Expansion To Worcester

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MARLBOROUGH –  Thrive Support & Advocacy, a nonprofit empowering youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), today, July 16 announced that seven young adults have graduated from its Leadership Experience And Development (LEAD) initiative, and that the program will expand to Worcester in September.

Thrive’s LEAD initiative helps participants – LEADers – develop a dynamic set of leadership skills through a curriculum that includes role-play activities, public speaking, and group leadership projects. 

The year-long, application-based program is designed for young adults with IDD between the ages of 17 and 25. 

In addition to Thrive staff, LEADers engage with mentors including business leaders who share insights and real-word experiences, students from the Advanced Math and Science Academy (AMSA) in Marlborough, and past LEAD graduates.

“On behalf of the entire Thrive community, I’d like to congratulate these LEADers for completing the program.  It’s a significant accomplishment,” said Sean M. Rose, President & CEO of Thrive Support & Advocacy.  “Through LEAD, these young individuals have been able to learn and grow as both adults and leaders, and are now better prepared to advocate for themselves.  We’re proud that for years LEADers have taken active roles and have gone above in beyond in giving back to their communities.”

This year’s class of LEADers were celebrated in a virtual graduation ceremony, complete with purple caps and gowns.  Honorees include:

  • Alexander Bowler of Sturbridge
  • Liam Clinton of Framingham
  • Jason Dore of Shrewsbury
  • Melissa Qualey of Shrewsbury
  • Giles Rae of Shrewsbury
  • Alexis Sokoloff of Northborough
  • Bryna St. Pierre of Auburn

Additionally, Rumei Johnson of Westborough and Rose Mallon of Marlborough were recognized as Junior LEADers.  They participated in this past year’s virtual program, but will return in the fall to complete the program in person for a hands-on learning experience.

In September, Thrive will expand the Marlborough-based program into Worcester to serve the city and surrounding communities.  The planned expansion was possible by the opening of Thrive’s new Worcester office at 100 Grove St.  Between the two locations, a total of 20 individuals are expected to participate in the 2021-22 LEAD program.  The Marlborough group will meet in person on Mondays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and the Worcester group will meet in person on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.  The program runs from September until June. 

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Thrive Support & Advocacy has been empowering youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead active and self-directed lives since 1973.  The Marlborough-based nonprofit supports over 1,000 individuals and families living in 47 eastern and central Massachusetts communities through recreational and social initiatives for youth and adults, community residences, and individual and family supports. 

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