Can you see the STARS in Scottsdale?

Teshara Boston, MBA
Scottsdale Leadership, Class 26

This last April, I had the pleasure of volunteering at the 39th Annual Fiesta de las Madrinas hosted by STARS – Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services. Fiesta de las Madrinas means “Party of the God Mothers.”

Since 1973, STARS has provided services for individuals with developmental and cognitive disabilities from Scottsdale and throughout the metro-Phoenix area. They serve nearly 200 people EVERY single day and host community workshops and provide social events for the participants and their families. The organization serves a range of ages from teens 15+ all the way up to the age of 75 year old individuals. Recently STARS had funding cut by the government but is still being mandated by law to provide the same level of services despite funding decreases.

Picture of the Wine Glass Markers the STARS participants created to raise funds for their organization.

Fiesta de las Madrinas is necessary to raise funds so that STARS can maintain the level of service they have to provide.  At the event several featured items that earned big returns are the wine glass markers that the participant’s hand made! Since they have some form of disability, the wine markers provided a great way to use the skills they have learned to make a beautiful, personalized message that just because they are handicapped, they are still talented and capable of great things!

This organization is one of personal importance to me. My mother was a teacher of the severe and profoundly handicapped at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Norfolk, VA. Growing up, I would go with her to work and at a very young age I had a compassion and understanding of the physical challenges handicapped persons can face. My mother taught me that patience and positive reinforcement is the key to being a change maker in the lives of those faced with physical and mental disabilities. I also have a cousin that was injured in a terrible car accident. I have seen the care and rehabilitation he has received over the past 10+ years bring him back to functioning and thriving status.

It is a special mission to uplift and encourage those that are not in main stream society. STARS’ mission is to improve the lives of individuals with developmental and cognitive disabilities. They also provide employment services and participants receive assessment, training and employment opportunities throughout the community. STARS provide businesses with product assembly, labeling, sorting, collating, packaging, disassembly, and kitting. Day programs, Creative Arts, Photography Program, and Music Therapy are also provided by STARS to encourage and promote social skills and creative thinking for participants. This assists in communication skills and gaining self-esteem, independence, and self-expression.

It was my pleasure to serve my community at this worthwhile and wonderful event. I am honored to have the opportunity to help the STARS organization in their mission to serve the Scottsdale and Phoenix-metro area.

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