Photo: Parkinson's Connect

Empowering Parkinson's Patients and Caregivers: The Neuro Challenge Foundation's New Mentorship Program

Posted on September 22, 2023 by Ericia Henry, Nonprofit Internship Program

Editor's Note: Since 2018, The Patterson Foundation has strengthened a collaborative partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy (LFSOP) through the Advancing Philanthropic Leadership (APL) initiative. The Nonprofit Internship Program, one piece of the APL initiative, offers current LFSOP students an opportunity to gain valuable, hands-on experience through PAID remote internships while strengthening nonprofits in the Suncoast region.


The new Parkinson's Connect mentoring program at the Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson's aims to empower, connect, and uplift people with Parkinson's disease and their caregivers during this challenging phase.

Mentorship is the single most influential program an organization can implement. Mentoring programs can have many benefits not only for mentees but mentors. When thinking about what benefits a mentor can offer, here is what we can expect

  • A desire to help people who have experienced similar struggles.
  • Gratitude to be able to help others.
  • An interest in continuing to learn and self-develop.
  • Non-reactionary – a calm demeanor and a voice of reason.
  • Good time management skills, does not overextend.
  • Able to maintain confidentiality.
  • Excellent listening skills and positive communication skills.
  • Assess and understand limitations and boundaries.
  • Ability to share relevant personal experience.
  • Ability to assist mentees with developing problem-solving, decision-making, and coping skills.
The Parkinson's Connect mentorship program is an evolution of The Parkinson's Association Mentorship Program, based in San Diego. This program's successful model was replicated in various locations, including northern Nevada and Michigan. Drawing inspiration from the foundation laid by The Parkinson's Association Mentorship Program, our initiative has transformed from a mentor-friendly application system to a comprehensive resource hub designed to empower mentors with educational tools.

During this process, I have connected with program participants who have emphasized the importance of its execution and its potential to positively impact those with Parkinson's, especially those who are newly diagnosed.

As an intern with the Neuro Challenge Foundation, I took the lead in implementing this mentorship program. It has undoubtedly been one of my most rewarding and educational experiences. I eagerly anticipate applying the knowledge and skills gained with the foundation to my future career endeavors.

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