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Norwalk's STAR Receives $100,000 Grant For New Vans

Bill Casale, director of operations of STAR; Paul Miller, president of Miller Nissan in Fairfield; and Katie Banzhaf, executive director of STAR – in front of the new vans. Photo Credit: Contributed
Bill Casale, director of operations of STAR and Katie Banzhaf, executive director of STAR, sign paperwork for new vans. Photo Credit: Contributed

NORWALK, Conn. -- STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Norma F. Pfriem Foundation to purchase three new vans to transport individuals with developmental disabilities each day to their jobs, medical appointments, day programs, recreational activities and other community activities.

The fuel-efficient vans purchased with the grant are two Nissan Quest mini vans and one Nissan NV3500 12-passenger van to add to the STAR fleet of vehicles serving hundreds of neighbors who have intellectual and developmental disabilities in lower Fairfield County.

“With safety always of paramount importance, we are so thankful for the generous gift from the Norma F. Pfriem Foundation that allows us to safely transport people to their daily jobs, activities and medical appointments while helping our organization’s budget by introducing new, fuel-efficient models that are under warranty and require little maintenance,” said Katie Banzhaf, executive director of STAR.

STAR provides an array of services to nearly 600 individuals with disabilities in Lower Fairfield County, from birth to their senior years, and their families. Services include: early intervention programs for infants and preschoolers; family support; job assessment and training; job placement, recreation and leisure activities; and residential housing and support to adults in group homes and apartments.

Services are provided in Norwalk, New Canaan, Wilton, Weston, Westport and Darien.

By providing transportation to these individuals, they have greater mobility and reliable transportation to work, medical appointments, social and community activities and participate in STAR’s daily programs and activities at the STAR Center and Workshop on Wolfpit Avenue, the Respire Care program on Wolfpit Avenue, as well as the TEC Employment Center on Washington Street and the STAR Senior Program on Newtown Avenue in Norwalk. STAR also provides Birth to Three Services to babies and infants and their parents from their location on East Avenue in Norwalk.

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