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News May 21, 2015 - 8:23:38 AM

STAR Awarded $100,000 from Norma F. Pfriem Foundation for Vans to Benefit Adults with Disabilities

By STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way...

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Bill Casale, Director of Operations of STAR with Paul Miller, President of Miller Nissan in Fairfield with Katie Banzhaf, Executive Director of STAR – in front of the new vans. (contributed photo)
STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way... was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the Norma F. Pfriem Foundation to purchase three new vans to transport individuals with developmental disabilities each day to their jobs, medical appointments, day programs, recreational activities and other community activities.

STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way… is a not-for-profit organization that has served individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1952, as well as providing support services to their families. They create opportunities for individuals to live full lives with independence, freedom of choice and personal growth by providing support, services and advocacy. They inform and encourage the community to recognize and appreciate the value of all individuals. STAR was established in 1952 by parents who believed that children with intellectual and developmental disabilities were entitled to the same basic opportunities as other children. For more information, visit www.starct.org .

The fuel-efficient vans purchased with the grant are two Nissan Quest mini vans and one Nissan NV3500 12-passenger van that add to the STAR fleet of vehicles w hich ser ve hundreds of people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities in lower Fairfield County.

Katie Banzhaf, Executive Director of STAR, said, “With safety always of paramount importance, we are so thankful for the generous gift from the Norma F. Pfriem Foundation that allows us to safely transport people to their daily jobs, activities and medical appointments while helping our organization’s budget by introducing new, fuel-efficient models that are under warranty and require little maintenance.”

Bill Casale, Director of Operations of STAR and Katie Banzhaf, Executive Director of STAR, sign paperwork for new vans (contributed photo)
STAR provides a full array of services to nearly 600 individuals with disabilities in Lower Fairfield County, from birth to their senior years, and their families. Services include: early intervention programs for infants and preschoolers; family support; job assessment and training; job placement, recreation and leisure activities; and residential housing and support to adults in group homes and apartments. By providing transportation to these individuals, they have greater mobility and reliable transportation to work, medical appointments, social and community activities and participate in STAR’s daily programs and activities at the STAR Center and Workshop on Wolfpit Avenue, the Respire Care program on Wolfpit Avenue, as well as the TEC Employment Center on Washington Street and the STAR Senior Program on Newtown Avenue in Norwalk. STAR also provides Birth to Three Services to babies and infants and their parents from their location on East Avenue in Norwalk.

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