Lisa A. Matrundola, Ed.D.
Rehabilitation Counselor, Grant Writer, and Disability Advocate
“The magic of being a mentor is not just learning about yourself or enhancing your life, it is about the wonderful people that we meet and what we receive from them. Mentoring a youth is truly a remarkable, invigorating, and a phenomenal learning experience that has positively impacted my life.”
We are proud to induct Lisa A. Matrundola into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.
As a disabled woman with cerebral palsy, I experienced many obstacles during my life. I was the first individual with a disability to attend public schools in my community during the 60s and 70s. This was long before the 504 Rehabilitation Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. Attending public education during this time was extremely challenging due to the lack of programs and services for people with disabilities. While I was growing up, there were virtually no programs or services for individuals with disabilities. As I entered my profession as a rehabilitation counselor, I developed and implemented employment, education, and independent living programs that would enhance the lives of disabled individuals across the country.
As a disabled woman growing up during the 60s and 70s, I faced extreme discrimination educationally and in the workplace. I was blessed to have a supportive family and the resources to fight the system; although, many disabled individuals do not have the resources that I did. Therefore, we need more mentoring and other supportive programs to assist disabled individuals. Although there was a lack of mentoring and other programs to support the disabled, I excelled both educationally and in my career. Educationally, I possess a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies – Johnson and Wales University, Master of Business Management – Emmanuel College, Master of Rehabilitation Counseling – Boston University, and Bachelor Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling – Emmanuel College. Due to my extensive education and training, I developed programs throughout my career to support the disabled. I worked as a Statewide Program Director – Department of Workforce Development, Statewide Program Coordinator for Employment and Education – Department of Mental Health, Rehabilitation Counselor Division of Employment and Training – Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and grant writer for non-profit organizations – Massachusetts. While working at the state and national level, I developed numerous support programs for the disabled, including: the U.S. Department of Labor’s Disability Program Navigator Initiative – Massachusetts, Statewide Work Incentives Grant, Managed Care in Housing for the disabled, Medicaid Infrastructure Training Grants, Massachusetts Youth Partnership Employment Grants, PCA Independent Living programs, and Home Care programs for the elderly and disabled. My passion is to continue to develop and implement support programs that promote the inclusion of people with disabilities through employment and independent living.
Through my hard work and dedication, I received numerous awards at the state and national levels, including: Interstate Service Agencies Employee of the Year – United States Department of Labor, Citation for Outstanding Performance Recognition Award – Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Innovative Program of the Year Award – Department of Mental Health, Lipton Award – Independent Living Center, and the National Rehabilitation Association Award.
Due to the positive mentors that I had later in my life, I knew that when I retired I wanted to become a mentor to a young disabled individual. Being a mentor for the Partners for Youth with Disabilities program has been one of the greatest achievements in my life, both personally and professionally. In order to make a better country for all, I wholeheartedly believe that everyone within our society deserves the same opportunities within our community, including: education, employment, housing, and civil rights.