STARability Awarded $80,000 Grant from the Naples Children & Education Foundation to Expand Jr. Trailblazer Academy

STARability Foundation is honored to announce it has been awarded an $80,000 grant from the Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), founders of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, to expand its Jr. Trailblazer Academy program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities during the 2023-2024 cycle.

“We are grateful to the Naples Children & Education Foundation for this generous investment in our mission,” said Karen Govern, CEO of STARability Foundation. “These funds will help us offer vital support to students in our community and facilitate successful transitions in their next stage of life.”

Modeled after the Trailblazer Academy, STARability’s centerpiece program, the Jr. Trailblazer Academy is a structured after-school program that offers vocational training, continuing education and life-enriching opportunities such as art, health and wellness activities to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities between the ages 14 and 22 who attend Collier County high schools. The program also focuses on employment readiness training, life skills education and community connections through the arts and environment.

“We are proud to provide funding that allows individuals involved in the Jr. Trailblazer Academy to achieve greater independence as they progress into young adulthood,” said NCEF Chief Executive Officer Maria Jimenez-Lara. “Providing students with disabilities the skills needed to excel post-high school graduation is extremely important. We are honored and excited to fund this program through STARability’s newest grant award. We look forward to seeing how this program changes lives and provides unique opportunities to many young people in our community.”

Through its annual grants and strategic initiatives, NCEF has impacted 60 of the most effective nonprofits in the community, providing over 300,000 children with the services and resources they need to excel.