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Dear Friends:

Each October, we observe two national initiatives: National Disability Employment Awareness Month and Bullying Prevention Month.

Both causes link to a vital part of our mission: transforming communities to include everyone.

Starbridge is grateful to be the recipient of a generous donation from the Kickball League of Rochester's summer teams.

Ron Knapp describes his early experiences advocating for his son, Gavin, as "stumbling in the dark." Planning meetings for Gavin where numerous professionals sat around a large table felt intimidating and caused Ron to sometimes get defensive.

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Dear Friends:

I hope you are enjoying summer. I would like to share some information on a new statewide initiative and some upcoming educational opportunities for you.

The Parkes and McNally Family Legacy

To understand why Walter and Barbara Parkes are longtime supporters of Starbridge, you would have to know their granddaughter Kristina McNally’s story. Kristina does not tell it often, but agreed to share with us.

"When I was in first grade, I wasn't able to understand what was going on in the classroom. I was diagnosed with learning disabilities. At times, my parents were told I would not go to college," says Kristina.

In 2015, Jessica McTiernan abruptly received a notice from Social Security (SSA) that they were terminating her benefits. She immediately reached out to Julie Marks, Work Incentives Counselor at Starbridge, to ask for help in appealing the termination. As Jessica remembers, "I was scared to death. There’s so much involved and I’m afraid of doing something wrong."

Bob and his wife Jane are the parents of two children, Julia and Steven. Bob works as a Vice President at Key Insurance & Benefits Services.

Why did you decide to get involved as a board member?

I knew LDA Life and Learning Services, and I wanted to give back to the community. The bank I worked for at the time was very supportive of community involvement, which I appreciated. I have volunteered over the years for the American Diabetes Association and various Autism organizations.

Ten years ago, Shanai Webster took and passed the entrance exam for the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program at the Rochester Educational Opportunity Center. However, she was not able to start the program. Instead, she focused her energies on taking care of her children and working.

On Saturday, May 13, more than 200 guests gathered in the Grand Ballroom of the Holiday Inn Downtown to raise money to support Starbridge and celebrate the good work done by our 2017 Community Award recipients.

Laura Arrington and Starbridge were nominated for a Community Partner Award and honored at the fourth annual Civic Engagement Awards ceremony at St. John Fisher College on April 28, 2017. The awards recognize students and faculty at Fisher, and community partners like Starbridge who collaborate with the college to promote civic engagement and community service.