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Rochester STAR Program Provides Opportunities for the Disabled

September 12, 2017 07:15 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) - Through the years, Rochester has proved itself to be a diverse and inclusive community. PossAbilities is just one of the many organizations that strive to be a part of this vision, mostly by providing opportunities and programs for those with disabilities.

                For the past two years, PossAbilities has been running a program it says is designed provide its participants' independence, choice, and community enrichment. It’s called STARS and stands for Striving Toward Achievement, Recognizing Strengths.

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                “We found we had a need for participants that didn’t fit completely in employment and completely in life enrichment so we created something totally new that fit the need of the participants that kind of fell in the middle,” said Jamie Heyn, the STARS Program Coordinator.

               Many of the 22 STARS-participants have part-time jobs, including Travis Hatcher who has been working for The Arc for almost 25 years. His sister tells ABC 6 News that PossAbilities and the STARS program has had a tremendous effect on her brother’s community engagement and overall quality of life.

                “There’s a lot more happiness, to where it seems like he’s able to do things that he truly enjoys…he’s doing more things during the week than I can even imagine doing…so he’s very involved with the community…and as a family we’re very happy to see this side of Travis again,” Toni Kaymangskau said.

                Next month is National Disability Employment Awareness, and PossAbilities will be recognizing more than 100 businesses that it has partnered with to employ people with disabilities. The PossAbilities Employment Awards Banquet will be held October 4th at the Rochester International Center.


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