STARability Foundation presented a STAR Award to Gianluca Corso, owner of Cosmos Ristorante & Pizzeria, to recognize his restaurant as a vocational partner in STARability’s Trailblazer Academy program and for his commitment to inclusive employment. The Italian restaurant, located near downtown Naples, is one of 26 area businesses and nonprofits who are helping others see the benefits of the Trailblazer program.
After three years of providing on-site vocational training for Trailblazer participants, Corso and the team at Cosmos hired Shawn Denton, one of the participants, after they recognized his abilities, work ethic and customer service skills.
“Shawn has great work ethic and is doing a fantastic job,” says Corso. “We love being a part of this program and giving back to the community.”
The Trailblazer Academy is a community-based program that combines vocational training at area businesses, employment readiness, independent living skills, academic education, health and fitness, and art enrichment experiences in an all-in-one curriculum.
“Built on community partnerships with a variety of local businesses and nonprofits, the program offers on-site vocational training and exposure to the world-of-work for participants,” says Karen Govern, Executive Director of STARability Foundation. “The participants are active and engaged with customers, employees and volunteers daily while continually discovering their unique abilities.”
The STARability Foundation launched the Trailblazer Academy to address an unmet need in Collier County, for a full-time, post-high school program for young adults with intellectual (ID) and developmental (DD) disabilities. The Trailblazer Academy fills a gap in disability services by providing daily vocational training and education for individuals 18 years and older with ID/DD who have aged out of school services.
The STARability Foundation exists to Support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing life-transforming opportunities that emphasize Teamwork and connection to the community to build Awareness and Respect for their individual abilities. A professional staff and more than 100 volunteers deliver a full calendar of engaging, innovative and creative programs to ensure that members, currently ages 14 to 70, have the quality of life they seek and deserve after aging out of school-supported services.
For more information about the Naples nonprofit and its programs, go to www.STARability.org or https://www.facebook.com/STARabilityfoundation.