In early March 2020, our 300 STARability participants were making great strides learning new work skills, staying active in fitness classes and athletic leagues, improving their reading skills in book club and engaging in many other opportunities.
They were shining light on their abilities, not their disabilities.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic invaded our lives.
We suspended our programs on March 16 to keep STAR participants and staff safe. Suddenly, the familiar faces and the structure that our STARs rely on to engage in their community were gone. But we adapted quickly by changing our in-person programs to virtual platforms to help our STARs have as normal a life as possible.
Participants logged on to virtual platforms to take cooking and art classes, learn math and personal finance, gain job skills, and engage in interactive music and improv as well as creative experiences and social gatherings.
Today, the virtual curriculum is a permanent part of our program offerings. Activities and classes focus on seven life skills for greater independence. Program benefits include improved social communication, job readiness skills and a better understanding of personal finance, good health, nutrition and safety. STARs can take as many classes and activities as they want while also participating in in-person programs. Virtual Connections, except for Trailblazer Academy curriculum, are included in enrollment.