High Contrast


When Yasin Gunay first met Leah Hecht, a Starbridge Prevocational Employment Counselor, he was sure of one thing: he wanted to work in Information Technology (IT).

After graduating high school with an IEP diploma several years ago, Yasin worked a number of places. As he recalls:

“I was working a lot of dead-end positions. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do. I decided I wanted to go to school. I went to BOCES and in 8 months I passed the TASC (to earn a high school equivalency diploma). It was the best decision I ever made to go back to school.”

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Dear Friends:

It’s finally spring and our annual gala is just around the corner.

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Starbridge is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Community Awards. Please join us at Among the Stars, on Saturday, May 5 to meet, congratulate, and celebrate these remarkable people!

Photo collage showing Starbridge 2018 Community award winners

Ideally, every child would go to school on time with a positive attitude and be greeted by a supportive teacher and a roomful of friendly classmates. School would offer just the right amount of challenge so that students learn and grow and earn diplomas.

Reality is often messier than that dream. Children may resist going to school, may act out while they are in school, or they may be in school but not making adequate progress.

When that happens, the adults in their lives – whether they are parents, grandparents, or other relatives – may not know what is causing the struggle or how to help.

So, what options are available?

Starbridge Board member Mary Richardson was selected as one of the 2018 ATHENA Award finalists. The ATHENA International awards recognize and highlight the achievements of women in business and in our community, and are presented locally by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and the Women’s Council.

Dianna McIntyre Douglas loves all things creative. Now 20 years old, she has been singing in talent shows and at churches and other community venues since she was a little girl. She favors country music, especially anything by Reba McIntyre or Chris Young, and she recently recorded her first CD, “Baby Go Home”. Dianna also loves to paint, draw, write, crochet, and knit, something she taught herself to do by watching YouTube. “I love being creative and coming up with new things,” she comments.

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Dear Friends:

On this first day of winter, I hope you are surrounded by the warmth of good company, and full of hope for the future.

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Thomas’* first grade year was difficult. He frequently struggled with schoolwork and his frustrations led to behaviors that disrupted class. His parents began to suspect Thomas might have a learning disability, yet they were unsure of what help they could request through the school. So they pulled Thomas from the public school, and Sarah*, his mom, quit her full-time job to homeschool him.

For two years, along with homeschooling Thomas, Sarah and her husband consulted experts. Evaluations resulted in diagnoses of high-functioning autism, ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), anxiety, and learning disabilities. Sarah described Thomas as very smart and imaginative yet “all this other stuff gets in the way”.

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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.