Inspiring People: STARability Foundation partners with Golisano Children’s Museum

Thanks to a new partnership with the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (C’MON), members of the STARability Foundation—dedicated to helping people with physical or intellectual disabilities make social, vocational, and educational connections to the community—are learning important job and life skills.

29-year-old Jonathan White loves bowling and baseball with the Foundation, but on Wednesday morning he was with the nonprofit’s Trailblazer Academy. The group meets Monday through Friday with Madison McNally to learn vocational and life skills.

“We work,” White said. “We work hard.”

“Whether they have autism, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injury… our goal is to not focus on the disability and focus on their abilities,” McNally said.

Wednesday’s focus was janitorial tasks, but sometimes it’s clerical or social skills. And the children’s museum appreciates the help. They’ve doubled down on sanitizing during the pandemic with professional crews and now these volunteers.

“This is a very unique location just because of one: how colorful it is; two: how educational it is,” McNally said.

“They’re coming in and they’re touching not just those high-touch places but some of the out-of-reach places to make sure they’re being wiped down and cleaned,” said Dena Rae Hancock with C’MON.

The participants also learn how to make candles and bracelets as a way of learning to focus on details. C’MON is now selling those, and if you buy one, the money goes back to the nonprofit to help cover programs they offer. A shining example of how two groups can work together to touch the people in our community

Reporter:Lindsey Sablan
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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