STARability Family Forum (Oct. 2021)
Wednesday from 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM EDT
STARability's October Family Forum will be a hybrid event. This event is free to attend and there will be light refreshments available for those attending in-person. Seats for in-person attendance are limited to allow for distancing in the Naples Therapeutic Riding Center's Community Room. Based on CDC guidelines, masks are currently required for all indoor programs unless eating or drinking.
At STARability Foundation, we’re a family bound together by having someone very special to us with a developmental or intellectual disability. Families started the organization more than 30 years ago to support one another and create opportunities for their loved ones. Continuing that tradition, we offer semiannual Family Forums, featuring engaging presentations, open discussion, and valuable takeaways.
You are invited to join us in celebrating by attending our next Family Forum on Employment. In the first part of the forum, a panel of speakers will be providing an overview of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, including their services, the referral process, and the stages each customer goes through; Social Security benefits, including SSI vs. SSDI, work credits, and work incentives; vocational services at STARability; and our relationships in the community and how we work with those entities. You will also have the opportunity to hear from participants and families who will share their vocational journeys.
The second part of the forum will be a mini employment and volunteer fair. Meet some of our vocational partners and learn about current and upcoming paid and volunteer opportunities. Please note that this portion of the forum will be in-person only.
★ Liv DeAngelis
STAR*Made Studio Assistant
Liv DeAngelis is a STARability participant and now a STAR*Made Studio employee. She began volunteering with the STAR*Made Studio to develop her career interests and was offered a paid position in September. Liv has experience navigating the employment and technical training landscape as a self-advocate and is passionate about the rights of individuals with disabilities.
★ Idela T. Hernandez, MS, CRC, CPWIC
Disability Benefits Specialist at IAS, LLC
Idela Hernandez is a Human Service professional with over 20 years of experience in the field. She provides Employment Services and Benefits Work Incentives Advisement to individuals with disabilities and their families. The services are designed to promote meaningful changes in people’s lives. Idela firmly believes that with the first help, many individuals are able to re-organize their lives and re-integrate into the workforce while becoming productive citizens. Idela received her Bachelor of Science in Human Services from FGCU and her Master in Rehabilitation Counseling degree from the University of Kentucky. She holds a national certification in Rehabilitation Counseling, CRC, as well as a national certification in Social Security Benefits Work Incentives Advisor, CWIC.
★ Halley Kretschmer
Vocational Services Manager at STARability
Halley Kretschmer is the Vocational Services Manager at STARability. For the past two years, she has been working to expand the range of employment services offered to our STAR participants, Trailblazers, JR. Trailblazers, and Voc Rehab clients. While pursuing her B.S.Ed. in Community Program Development at the University of Miami, she always kept her passion for working with individuals with disabilities at the center of her work. Halley also co-leads the new community garden project and vocational training setting, THRIVE*ability. Halley is dedicated to creating a more inclusive society through long-term, meaningful work experiences.
★ Mark & Matt Martel
The Martels moved to Florida in December 2016 after Mark and his wife retired from the automotive industry in Michigan. In Michigan, Matt worked part-time as a department store clerk and was involved with the Special Olympics. When they moved to Florida, Matt participated in the Special Olympics and learned about STARability. Matt joined the Trailblazer Academy in 2018 and loves it. About two ago, he started working as an office assistant at Stofft Cooney Architects, utilizing STARability’s vocational services. He has also gained experience crafting home decor and candles at the STAR*Made Studio and now has two cards featured in the Studio’s debut card collection.
★ Lisa Oleary, MS, CRC
Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant at Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Lisa Oleary is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) with over 34 years experience working with and for people with disabilities. She has been a part of the Southwest Florida community since 1991 and has served in multiple rolls with multiple agencies over the years. Lisa has been with Vocational Rehabilitation since 2016. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Pennsylvania State University and a Master in Rehabilitation Counseling degree from the University of Wisconsin, Stout.
★ Robert Richards, MA
Unit Manager at Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Robert Richards has been the Unit Supervisor for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation serving Collier, Hendry, and Glades County since 2014. Prior to that, he was the Director of Parole and Rehabilitation Services in Massachusetts from 1983 to 2013. He has an MA in Agency and Vocational Rehabilitation from Rhode Island College and is now a resident of Naples.
Each forum features a topic of interest involving different areas of community resources, information and opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Together, we’ll explore resources, issues and pathways to enhance the quality of life for these individuals and their families.
The deadline to register for this free event is Tuesday, Oct. 19, at noon.