Click here to view the September 2020 Gratitude Report from Mission Empower!

Thank You For Answering Our Call to Action! 

Thank you for being our hero! Within the unknown virtual world, families and youth  are feeling discouraged and overwhelmed. Your generous gift helped families feel  supported and empowered during this scary world we all find ourselves now, and your  donation has made all the difference! We see the effects of this pandemic every day,  and now this study confirms what we already know. 

Nearly a quarter of people in the United States are experiencing symptoms of  depression, according to a study published September 2, 2020. That’s nearly three  times the number before the COVID-19 pandemic began. And those with a lower  income, smaller savings and people severely affected by the pandemic — either  through a job loss, for example, or by the death of a loved one — are more likely to be  bearing the burden of these symptoms. When a population experiences something  traumatic, such as a pandemic or a natural disaster, researchers usually expect a rise  in mental illnesses in the weeks and months following the event. But the mental health  toll of the coronavirus pandemic seems to be far greater than previous mass traumas,  says Catherine Ettman, a doctoral student in public health at Brown University and  an author of the study, which was published in the current issue of the American  Medical Association journal JAMA Network Open. “We were surprised at the high  levels of depression,” Ettman says. “These rates were higher than what we’ve seen in  the general population after other large-scale traumas like September 11, Hurricane  Katrina and the Hong Kong unrest.” (Source: shots/2020/09/02/908551297/pandemics-emotional-hammer-hits-hard) 

And now add to this stress, families desperately working with their child with  disabilities to engage with the new virtual world of school. It can be overwhelming  trying to prevent their child from falling further behind, but through support like yours, Mission Empower will continue sending life lines to families and their children  with disabilities during these chaotic times. Thank you again for partnering with us!

Back to School! 

These times with the COVID-19 Pandemic are  very uncertain. Schools have been scrambling  to develop protocols to keep the learning  environment safe and are overwhelmed to find  solutions for an effective learning experience.  

However, these protocols and solutions are not perfect, even for the average student, so what about those who need more inclusive help to be  successful? We fear that many students will  not be able to succeed, and those who need extra support will be left even further behind. 

Mission Empower strives to help concerned  parents advocate and work with school administration to carry out a plan that benefits their children to learn to the best  of their ability. Our help is always available!

Wonderful Wednesdays with Wendi 

It has been our pleasure to bring you the podcast, Wonderful Wednesdays with Wendi! As Erie County’s Community Parent Resource Center, Mission Empower developed this podcast as an alternative and more current way to bring you the resources and information you need. Our weekly discussions have touched on many topics, from compensatory services and IEPS, to free services from local nonprofits to help during your time of need, and many things in-between.  

Every episode is catalogued on Mission Empower’s YouTube channel, so the information you need is available to you at any time, right at your fingertips! You can find the link to tune in live and join the discussion on our Facebook page, Instagram page and newsletter. 

If you have an idea or would like to be a guest speaker, please feel free to reach out to Wendi at  

Hope to see you there, every Wednesday at 3PM!

Youth Summit 

Mission Empower’s 2020 Youth Summit in August was once again a success. Unfortunately, we could not conduct our summit in person like other years, but we still made the best of a virtual adventure.  

Youth participated in enriching trainings that included topics about goal-setting, resilience, positive mental health, and tips on doing school  

Mission Empower has  participated in the Highmark  Walk since 2009, and 2020 was  no exception. However, this  year we had to take a different  approach to our fundraising.  Due to COVID-19, the walk was  moved to be all virtual  participation as opposed to our  usual in-person event. We were  also unable to seek support from  local businesses in the same  capacity as previous years.  Despite these obstacles we were  faced with, this year’s walk was  still successful, and we  appreciate every bit of  generosity from the community.  We look forward to walking  with you next year in 2021!

The students enjoyed being  interactive, like typing their responses to questions on the Zoom white  board, making gratitude trees, and of course dance breaks!  

Our summit is not the only time we empower youth! We host trainings  year round to help youth with every day life skills and being a part of  the community. If you or someone you know may benefit from our  youth program, please contact our Youth ENVISION Connector,  Britney Myers via email at

An Update From Director of Mission Employment’s Desk!

Paid Work Experience this month was located at McQuillen Chevrolet-Buick-GMC Truck, INC. in Girard. Andrew Smith is an energetic student that loves to  work with cars. Mission Empower obtained an  opportunity for Andrew to learn how to do detailing of new and used cars. Andrew learned the skills quickly and after the 40 hours of Paid Work Experience, McQuillen’s offered him a part-time position. Mission Empower enjoyed working with  

Andrew and we want to shout out a big THANK YOU to McQuillen’s in Girard for giving a student the chance to grow and be part of their community.  

Thank you for another successful year of Erie  Gives! We have been a part of this event since its  beginning 10 years ago. This year, you helped raise  a little over $4,000, which is incredible to us. Your  gifts will be used to support our youth to be more  prepared for life after high school.  

Next year’s Erie Gives is set for Tuesday, August 10th, 2021.  Don’t forget that checks will still be accepted on August 9th! We  appreciate everyone who supported us this year, and all the other  years we have been a part of this event! Thank you!

Searching for Board Members! 

Are you passionate about what we do? Mission Empower is looking for  individuals who are interested in sharing their talents to help improve  Mission Empower! 

Our board members are extremely important to help decide the direction  Mission Empower should go in. We believe that every organization needs a  strong and effective board to fully realize its potential for good. Board  members become active advocates and ambassadors for the organization, and  are engaged in identifying and securing financial resources and partnerships  that will assist us in achieving our mission

If you are interested in joining or have any questions, visit our website at or contact Jill Hrinda-Patten, the Executive Director of  Mission Empower at

Knowing your rights w/ Curtis Jones

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Knowing Your Rights in the Midst of a Pandemic

A Webinar Series Discussing How to Advocate for Your Child During Virtual Schooling

Join Curtis Jones on three Thursdays in October starting at 6 PM for guidance on your child receiving the accommodations they need to be successful during this new school experience! Register on our website at
  • October 8th—Advocating in the New Virtual World
  • October 15th— Rights and Responsibilities
  • October 22nd— Assistive Technology Tips