High Contrast


The Board of Directors at Starbridge is delighted to announce the hiring of Nikisha Ridgeway, M.A., as the new President/CEO of Starbridge!

Nikisha Ridgeway

 B Larson bike

Julie Larson first connected with Starbridge when she began the self-direction services process for her now 7-year-old son Beau. She then signed up for Starbridge’s Family Empowerment Series, a multi-week program to prepare families to be better advocates for their children with disabilities.

2021 NDEAM poster showing outline of USA with people of diverse abilities all around the country

While the national observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is at an end, the work to increase the number of inclusive workplaces and job opportunities for individuals with disabilities continues year-round at Starbridge.

A few of our staff shared their insights on the importance of employment options:

 Cynthia and Hyacinth edited

“My life is like a tree. Everything is connected. If one branch breaks, another one will start to grow.”

Cynthia Willis, a mother and grandmother, has faced challenges in her life, but her faith keeps her optimistic that help is out there. And last year, in the midst of the pandemic, Cynthia and her 19-year-old daughter Hyacinth connected with Starbridge.

“Somebody came up with a great idea to meet at the Seneca Park pavilion. Whoever came up with that brilliant idea, it was awesome!”


Branden W 

Branden Weaver is 28 years old and has worked with Starbridge’s Employment team over the years. Branden has worked in both fast food and retail operations, and hopes someday to be a retail manager.

He sees his disability as the biggest barrier to getting and keeping a job. "It's hard to find a job and maintain it for someone like me. I try my best."

Dear friends,

I hope the new year is off to a good start for you, in spite of the continued threat of COVID-19 and the unrest on the national level.

While we are mindful of the many challenges we all face, we want to share some good news with you.

Dear friends,

It is the first day of October, which is also the first day of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This year’s NDEAM takes on a special significance because we are marking the 75th anniversary of NDEAM and the 30th anniversary of the ADA.

logo for go monroe and tagline get where you need to be

School meetings, doctors’ appointments, even going out as a family for fun… For many people with disabilities and their families, transportation for any of these needs is rarely simple.

Multiple studies in Rochester have identified the structural barriers to transportation in Monroe County for people living in poverty; however, there are unique barriers experienced by families of loved ones who have disabilities.

Image of smiling Latina woman holding certificate

Joesette Haddad enrolled in Starbridge’s Project ESTEEM in July 2017 after graduating from a non-traditional high school. Her career goal was to be a Dental Assistant.

Her Project ESTEEM Navigator, Barb Maryniak, assisted Joesette in preparing to go to Monroe Community College: registering for classes, filling out financial aid forms, and connecting to MCC’s disability services.