Global Company Puts A “STAR” On Local Organization Serving Those With Disabilities

For the last 13 years, Diageo, the global leader in beverage alcohol brands in spirits, beer, and wine has held an annual community service event to benefit an assortment of local causes. For the past two years, Diageo's Norwalk, CT-based finance team of over 100 employees helped restore the outdoor environment at the STAR Center in Norwalk, a non-profit organization that provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities in mid-Fairfield County, CT and serves over 200 people on a daily basis. The restoration is creating opportunities for individuals to live full lives with independence, freedom of choice, and personal growth.

Between last year and this year the volunteers undertook the following:

  • Brought in 8 tons of stone dust and 9 tons of gravel to build wheelchair accessible pathways and patios.
  • Installed 2 gardens that are being used for garden therapy and healthy eating classes.
  • Built a serenity garden that features meditation benches in the facility's atrium, which can be enjoyed year-round.
  • Made the front of the facility more welcoming to guests by spreading over 6 truckloads of mulch and planting flowers.
  • Repaired/refinished old picnic tables/benches and built new ones.
  • Donated patio equipment and installed a storage shed.
  • Extended a brick paver handicapped walkway.
  • Constructed a patio around the new STAR greenhouse.
  • Enclosed the new fencing.
  • Created raised beds for a wheel-chair accessible herb, vegetable, and flower garden.

"This event was truly transformational for STAR…the energy, enthusiasm, teamwork, productivity and end results were amazing! Our staff, clients, and guests are in awe over the quality and quantity of work donated by our Diageo friends from the massive brick patio complete with picnic tables and benches, to the ever-blooming landscaping welcoming STAR's visitors at our entrance, to two deer-proof gardens for garden therapy and healthy eating classes, and decorative mulch surrounding our parking areas and building! Top that off with the piece de resistance—a tranquil zen garden atrium with meditation benches to be enjoyed year-round. Nothing short of a miracle in our eyes! WOW!"

~ Katie Banzhaf, STAR Executive Director

More Feel Good Videos from STAR Inc. & HooplaHa-Only Good News

For more information visit, http://www.diageo.com and www.starct.org.

This HooplaHa original video was edited by our intern Blake Rozelle. To see more good news, follow us on Facebook and sign up for our Only Good News Newsletter.

When They Need It Most, Women Battling Cancer Get Free Home Cleaning

Debbie Sardine had a revelation in 2006. The house-cleaning business owner had just wrapped up a phone consultation with a woman who said that she couldn't afford the service because she had so many bills from fighting cancer.

Keep reading... Show less

Rosie's Place Community Garden Rebuilds Homeless Women’s Lives

Rosie's Place is a community garden where homeless and at-risk women are flourishing. Founded in 1974 as the first women's shelter in the United States, Rosie's Place looks to provide a safe and nurturing environment that helps poor and homeless women maintain their dignity, seek opportunity and find security in their lives. Rosie's Place has a plethora of workshops and opportunities that help women get back on their feet and teach them life skills.

Keep reading... Show less

This Women-Run Gourmet Catering Company Trains Refugee Women in Cooking and Service

The global refugee crisis is ever-present in the news these days, but the United States has received displaced peoples from all over the world for a long time now. The catering company we'll tell you about today found in this crisis the inspiration for its mission: to train and employ refugee women who are eager to establish new, fulfilling lives in their new homes.

Keep reading... Show less

3 Celebrities Are Following Their Passions For Helping Others

Sometimes celebrities get a bad rap for being self-centered, but not these celebrities! These 3 celebrities are following their passions outside of the music, television, and film industries, and as a result, they're helping others!

Keep reading... Show less

Deaf Choreographer Creates Touching Ballet For Deaf And Hearing Communities Alike

BalletNext's search for innovation led the New York City-based company and its Artistic Director Michele Wiles to a first-of-its-kind production, a ballet called "Follin."

Keep reading... Show less

Give Kids A Smile Program Has Promoted Health and Confidence for 15 Years

Since 2003, the ADA Foundation has offered an annual free program at New York City schools called Give Kids A Smile. The program, New York City Dental Society's largest community-focused event, unites dentists, orthodontists, dental staff, and other volunteers to provide screenings and oral health education to students, their parents, and teachers.

Keep reading... Show less

How This Mom Cracked The Code For Joy And Success—And How You Can Do The Same

At the age of 24, Shilamida felt that she had found success: she was earning a six-figure income and had a nice boyfriend. But just 2 years, everything seemed to fall apart. Her relationship ended shortly before she discovered she was pregnant. Her father passed away from cancer and her mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time; Shilamida found herself as a single mother and was living in poverty. This was rock bottom.

Keep reading... Show less

From Near-Death To The Olympics: A Transformation That Will Inspire You

AJ Muss is just 23 years old, but his has been an eventful life so far. As an alpine snowboarder, AJ qualified for this year's Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, competing for Team USA— but that's not the only reason we love his story. We've already seen a number of new young American stars be made on the mountain during these Olympic Games, including fellow snowboarders and gold medalists Chloe Kim and Red Gerard. When AJ competes in the Men's Parallel Giant Slalom beginning later this week, we hope to see him shine as brightly as his teammates have so far.

Keep reading... Show less