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Their son, Jason, was 19 years old when David DeGraff and Sharon Pluta-DeGraff first encountered LDA Life and Learning Services. As Sharon recalls, "I didn’t know where to turn for guidance and assistance with an adult child with developmental disabilities and such complex needs."

David DeGraff and Sharon Pluta-DeGraffIn the 19 years Jason and his parents have worked with LDA and then Starbridge, much has occurred. "Jason has transformed into a much more accepting individual who is able to live fairly well on his own. He still needs assistance but the growth is amazing," Sharon says.

Anu Chathampally, a Service Coordinator at Starbridge, says, "I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the DeGraff family. They are exemplary in the way in which they foster their son's individuality and independence, while simultaneously ensuring that he has the supports needed to assist him in reaching his goals."

David and Sharon not only appreciate the transformation they have witnessed in their son’s life, but they also want to ensure that others in the community can benefit from the supports and services Starbridge provides. They have been steadfast supporters of the organization and its mission. In recognition of their partnership with Starbridge, the Welcome Area at 1650 South Avenue was dedicated in their names at a ceremony in September, 2015.

Colin Garwood, President/CEO of Starbridge, comments, "Dave and Sharon are great partners to Starbridge, and their commitment to help others is inspiring."


This article originally appeared in Champions, Issue 1, in Summer of 2016.