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This summer, Marilyn Stata achieved a personal goal: living in her own apartment. She enjoys the quiet of her home, its proximity to parks and nature, and the company of her beloved cat, Sophie.

Marilyn’s journey to independence started fifteen years ago when she moved from her family home into supervised apartments operated by LDA Life and Learning Services (now part of Starbridge). Marilyn found she had a knack for cooking, and her housemates enjoyed tasting what she made.

Marilyn Stata webWithin five years, Marilyn was ready for the greater independence of supportive apartments, where she was able to have a cat. Last year, she felt ready to move out on her own. "Each step of the way, I knew when it was time," comments Marilyn. Now, she lives on her own, with some support from Starbridge Community Habilitation Counselor Andrea Stanley on tasks like grocery shopping and organization. Marilyn says, "I’m working on getting to be clutter-free."

Marilyn maintains a busy schedule of work, volunteering, and fun with friends. She recently celebrated her fifth anniversary working at Sam’s Club. She also sells cosmetics independently. She is close with her family, whom she credits for supporting her independence, and her church, where she teaches Sunday school classes to young children.

Marilyn S and catMarilyn is a community leader, currently serving as President of Friends Helping Friends and as a board member of the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State. She finds fulfillment in helping others, whether she is coaching someone on how to advocate for themselves, planning a conference for self-advocates, or assisting a customer.

Marilyn cherishes the freedom of being on her own. "I feel successful in the way I have transitioned. I feel better about myself. Now I am able to explore on my own and not have so many rules. Now I just answer to the cat."


Each individual success creates a ripple effect and leads to stronger, more inclusive communities! YOU can join Starbridge in making these successes possible.

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