Cape Girardeau’s S.T.A.R. Program: Enriching Lives of Disabled Residents for 15 Years

Post by Ryan Marx, Communications Specialist
Spring 2012 Public Information Office Intern

Throughout the U.S. over 36 million Americans are classified as disabled. Disabilities in adults include speech, hearing and vision impairments, physical, cognitive and brain disorders. Although disability levels may differ, these individuals can require certain accommodations for their needs.

Cape Girardeau’s Parks and Recreation Department has met this need for those with disabilities in the southeast Missouri area for over 15 years with the S.T.A.R. (Special Therapeutic Activities in Recreation) program. S.T.A.R. offers once a month activities for those who are unable to successfully engage in regular recreation programs.

“On average we’ll have around 40 people attend these events,” said Recreation Coordinator Stacey Welter. Participants enjoy dances, hands-on activities, summer visits to Cape Splash and haunted house at no costs.

“Most of our staff has done it for a long time and have a passion to help,” Welter says.

Recently S.T.A.R. hosted their first event of the year, Bowling Bonanza, where 33 people and 24 group leaders from different disability agencies attended.

The program is also a way to meet new friends. Welter says S.T.A.R. connects individuals from different agencies or who aren’t a part of an agency. It is a great opportunity to socialize with peers.

S.T.A.R. will host their second event of the year, the Sweetheart Dance, on Thursday, Feb. 16 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Around 100 people are expected to fill the 4-H Exhibit Hall at Arena Park. The dance will include music by Charlie’s Music Review and snacks and beverages are provided.

S.T.A.R.’s St. Patrick’s Day game night will be on March 15 at the Osage Centre followed by the April 19 flower pot painting project at A.C. Brase Arena. For more information regarding S.T.A.R. or for registration call Stacey Welter at (573) 339-6340.

Other Special Events from Parks & Recreation: www.cityofcape.org/recreationevents