Press Releases

Bender Leadership Academy Selected for Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

The Bender Leadership Academy is proud to announce that it has been selected for the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame for 2022. This honor is bestowed by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC), which honors individuals and organizations who are champions around disability mentoring. The Academy is being recognized alongside 31 inductees who are committed to supporting disability mentoring and highlighting the importance of mental health. If you would like to know more about the Hall of Fame, as well as previous classes of inductees, you can learn more by visiting here.  

The Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame was established to honor those who are making a significant difference in the lives of youth and adults with disabilities through mentoring and to raise awareness about the importance of mentoring for individuals with disabilities. The Hall of Fame’s namesake, Susan M. Daniels, devoted her life to improving the lives of others with disabilities. 

In learning this news, Joyce Bender, Founder of the Academy, said that “It is an enormous honor to be included in this hall of fame, which includes disability rights leaders and storied disability rights organizations across the country. Having this recognition only inspires us to do even more around mentorship and mental health. The future of the disability rights movement is up to us, and it’s one that we can impact the most by standing with youth with disabilities through our programs at the Academy and through public awareness campaigns. This includes our #NotAshamed campaign that was launched in 2022 to bring national awareness to mental health disabilities.” 

The Academy is committed to expanding opportunities for employment of people with disabilities from youth through adulthood. Established in 2018, the Academy is founded on over two decades of commitment to serving the disability community. Beginning as a volunteer mentoring program with the single purpose of helping youth transitioning into the workforce, the organization is now multi-faceted with programming that provides a comprehensive approach to addressing barriers to employment. 

At Bender Leadership Academy, our vision is to create sustainable programs that can be adopted as a part of a national curriculum for educators and community organizations interested in advancing pathways to success for the community of people with disabilities. Our focus is on providing work readiness competencies that focus on the value and abilities each person can contribute to the workforce. Bender Leadership Academy has a well-established network that spans across many sectors, including public, private, and nonprofit entities. These partnerships allow us to develop curriculum that leads to opportunity for program alumni to participate in and gain real-world work experiences.

To learn more about Bender Leadership Academy programming, visit