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"How people live should be determined by how they wish to live, not by their diagnosis."  – Thomas Pomeranz, Ed.D.

On Thursday, May 19, 2016, Starbridge kicked off its new conference series, Building Our Community: Principles and Practices of Inclusion and Self-Direction. The series is a way to invite experts to the table to engage in meaningful conversation about inclusion and self-direction. From these conversations, we will cultivate the practical tools and steps needed to achieve positive outcomes in individual lives and to transform our communities.

Dr. Thomas Pomeranz was the featured presenter at the full-day conference, held at Staybridge Suites Rochester University. More than 100 people attended the conference, and the audience included professionals in a variety of fields, self-advocates, and family members of people with disabilities.

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Just one year ago, Starbridge was launched through the merger of The Advocacy Center and LDA Life and Learning Services. Today, we celebrate the journey that we have been on together and look forward to a bright future.

Our vision is that every person leads a fulfilling life in their community. We appreciate the opportunity to work with you to make this vision a reality.

All the best,

colin transparent
Colin Garwood

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The Rochester chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) recently recognized Starbridge with a Pinnacle Award for its branding campaign to launch the new organization. The judges praised Starbridge for its clear communication objectives and strategy and described the campaign as “consistent and heartfelt.” The branding campaign included development of a new name and logo, extensive communications with audiences to establish Starbridge, and a continued commitment to living the brand through strategic planning and decision-making.

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Hello Friends:

I hope you are enjoying spring, with its warmer weather and buzz of activities available in our communities.

The vision of Starbridge is that every person will lead a fulfilling life in their community. Every person should be able to direct their own future and have the community support they need to realize their dreams. Most people would agree with us, but the next question we all ask is: how do we make this happen?

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The New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (NYS DDPC) is inviting the public to review their five-year State Plan and provide comments. They gathered data from “over 1,000 diverse New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities, family members, staff, service providers, and others”, according to the DDPC’s news release.

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By the fall of 2014, Don Schofield was struggling to meet his basic needs: “I was living couch to couch.” He had been unemployed for five years, largely because of untreated mental health disorders, and he was unable to maintain relationships with his five children and his grandchildren. As he said, “They got tired of taking care of me.”

A counselor referred Don to Starbridge’s LASR (Learning to Achieve Self Reliance) program. Shlynn Hodkinson, a Starbridge service navigator, credits Don for his hard work. Shlynn said, “He was willing to do anything but needed support to know what to do.”

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Developmental Disabilities Awareness month promotes understanding of developmental disabilities and inclusion of people who have developmental disabilities. Increased awareness leads to greater access to education, health care, employment, and community living opportunities for everyone.

During the month of March, Starbridge encourages you to check out the following resources –

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Starbridge is proud to be part of the campaign to “Spread the Word to End the Word”. Nationwide, activists are working to eliminate the use of the “r words” (retard or retarded) from common usages that are insulting, exclusionary, and disrespectful to people who have intellectual disabilities. The campaign encourages all of us to use language that promotes respect for all people.

On Wednesday, March 2, 2016, many Rochester organizations will host events and pledge drives to build awareness of this campaign. Here are ways you can participate:

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Dear Friends:

If you have ever planned a long road-trip, you know it is not enough just to know who wants to go with you. You have to decide on your destination, when you will start, what you would like to do along the way, how you will pay for the trip, and how you will all get along during the journey.

In planning for where Starbridge is headed, we have undertaken a deliberate process to map out a strategy for the next three years. Our intent is to lead the way in serving the diverse, evolving and life-long needs of people who have disabilities.

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Our first Celebration of Champions as Starbridge was a success!

The event was hosted at Locust Hill Country Club on Saturday, November 14, 2015. Nearly 300 guests enjoyed good company, great music from Mambo Kings, our ever-popular wine pull, and a silent auction. Ginny Ryan of 13 WHAM-TV served as emcee, and did a remarkable job of presenting the heartwarming stories of our Community Awards recipients. Senator Rich Funke was on hand to congratulate the recipients, too.