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Young Women’s League Awards Grant To Norwalk's STAR

Pictured left to right: Nicole Cribbins, President of Young Women’s League of New Canaan; Kristin Thomas, YWLNC Charity Research Chair; and Peter Saverine, STAR Director of Philanthropy. Photo Credit: Contributed
Members of Rubberband, STAR’s musical performance group for adults with developmental disabilities (led by musically-inclined STAR staff members Mark Minnock and Nancy Armstrong) performed at the awards ceremony. Photo Credit: Contributed

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – The early intervention programs for newborns to 3 year-olds at STAR Inc., Lighting the Way’s Rubino Family Center received a monetary boost recently in the form of a $10,000 grant from the Young Women’s League of New Canaan.

The grant was presented to STAR during the league’s annual meeting on May 21 at Waveny House of New Canaan. Grants were also given to Build On, Filling in the Blanks and Inspirica.

Peter Saverine, STAR’s director of philanthropy accepted the grant. The money, according to Katie Banzhaf, executive director of STAR, “to provide important occupational, physical and speech therapies to infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities in Fairfield County.”

These services are provided as part of the early intervention program at Rubino Family Center. Along with these types of therapy, some of the money will go toward replacing and adding new sensory stimuli teaching equipment and therapeutic toys and supplies. These are part of the toy-lending library, which helps the children’s developmental abilities gain in strength.

“Funding from generous groups like this allows us to deliver outcomes significantly above the state average", Banzof added. "Indeed, almost one third of the children we work with attain their age appropriate developmental goals before entering traditional preschool.”

The evening was rounded out with a performance by the Rubberband, a musical performance group made up of adults who have developmental disabilities, and led by STAR staff members Mark Minnock and Nancy Armstrong.

STAR Inc., Lighting the Way, is a nonprofit organization for all ages. Through the service offered at STAR, many families are able to live independently despite their disabilities. For more information about STAR, or how to volunteer or give a donation, visit the website at

The Young Women’s Leaague of New Canaan is a group of women who organize fundraisers to benefit charitable organizations through grants and providing volunteer services. For more information, visit the website at

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