NAPLES, Florida (July 29, 2021) – The Children’s Museum of Naples (CMON) announces the expansion of its partnership with the STARability Foundation’s Trailblazer Academy vocational program and STAR*Made Studio.
STARability provides programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Southwest Florida and beyond. The Trailblazer Academy is the foundation’s outreach program, which offers community-based skill development experiences for young adults, whether they are on a path to life enrichment or have vocational aspirations.
Trailblazers have worked alongside CMON staff members in the past to assist with various projects. Now, program members come to the museum on Wednesdays, when it is closed to the public, to participate in organizational, sorting, stocking, and custodial tasks.
Additionally, the museum will be adding handcrafted items from the foundation’s STAR*Made Studio to its store inventory, including candles, bracelets, and Christmas ornaments. STAR*Made Studio is a social enterprise developed by the STARability foundation, which provides vocational training for more than 30 participants of the Trailblazer Academy. At the studio, participants create items to be sold in the STAR Store and various other local businesses to help raise awareness and funds for the STARability Foundation. STAR*Made Studio’s signature items are small-batch, hand-poured natural soy candles, which will be in stock at the CMON store in the coming weeks. The handmade bracelets and Christmas ornaments will be added to the store’s inventory in the new few months. All proceeds from the STAR*Made products will be given to the STARability Foundation.
The Trailblazer Academy, established in 2016, is Collier County’s only work-based educational program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Instructors meet with the Trailblazer and their family members to discuss the individual’s goals and interests and develop an Individual Academy Plan. This helps determine their training and activities as they participate in the program.
“We are thrilled to further develop this mutually beneficial partnership with the STARability Foundation,” said Desiree Cuenca, Director of Marketing and Engagement for CMON. “The museum is a proud supporter of the foundation’s mission, and we are excited to work alongside Trailblazers seeking hands-on vocational opportunities, as well as showcasing the Trailblazers’ beautiful candles in our store.”
ABOUT Golisano Children’s Museum – A BRAIN-BUILDING POWERHOUSE
The Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples is a brain-building powerhouse and Southwest Florida’s first museum devoted for children and families to learn through play. With hands-on exhibit galleries, the accessible museum invites visitors of all ages to journey through the swamps of the Everglades, weave through a maze, climb a two-story banyan tree, or experiment with the water play station. Children can become a weather forecaster, a farmer, a chef, a fisherman, an artist, an architect or a veterinarian; explore the cold of an igloo, the whoosh of the wind, the sound of the sea, and the effects of gravity. Throughout the day special activities encourage our guests to get involved, try something new and be energized. CMON offers a variety of interactive exhibits providing kids with education, play, learning, science, technology, engineering, inventions, space exploration, art, math, storybooks, creation, building, sensory and child development.