Arthrex partnered with the STARability Foundation’s Trailblazer Academy, giving a group of young adults the opportunity to work with the Culinary and Learning & Development teams at at Arthrex global headquarters in Naples, Florida.
STARability provides innovative, results-driven programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Southwest Florida. The Trailblazer Academy, which is STARability’s outreach program, offers community-based skill development experiences for young adults, whether they are on the path to life enrichment or have vocational aspirations.
“It’s something we love to be a part of,” said Chef William Blum, who enlisted the Trailblazers to make pizzas, fold pizza boxes, assemble sliders and serve food to Arthrex employees. “They are such amazing kids, and they want to work hard and do a great job. They just lit up when we told them they were doing a great job. I am grateful to [Senior Corporate Engagement Specialist] Meg [Hardt] for asking us to be a part of it.”
STARability Chief Programming Officer Madison McNally said STARability works with local employers to give the young adults the opportunity to use their interests and talents and contribute in a positive way.
“For many of our Trailblazers, there is nothing for them to do once they age out of the school system,” she said. “Being in the Trailblazer program gives them the opportunity to contribute. It is an inclusive experience that gives them a sense of belonging.”
Madison said the experience allows the young adults to become more independent. She said Arthrex helped the Trailblazers by giving them achievable goals.
“Some of us were making folders and the Learning & Development team had the steps labeled one to 10 to help the Trailblazers. Some of them might only be able to do steps one to four, but the next time they come, maybe they will get to five or six.”