Greetings STARS supporters,

Thank you for supporting our mission to improve the lives of individuals with cognitive and developmental disabilities. It seems like only a couple of months ago we were celebrating our 50th anniversary, yet we are now just 6 weeks away from #51! I hope you will mark May 25th on your calendar and join us in celebrating by making a thoughtful donation.

Several happenings of note since the 50th Fiesta:

  • As highlighted in the 2023 year-end report, the HCBS program – launched in January 2020 to serve DDD-eligible individuals with in-home services – was sunset at the end of December. We’re honored to have served the participating members and assist their families in transitioning their loved ones to alternative providers.
  • At the end of February, Henriette Content-Tavor concluded 11 years of employment with STARS. Through the years, Henriette contributed significantly to various roles related to DTA and Youth programming, and since June of 2019 served as HCBS Programs Director with the responsibility for all DDD-funded programs. We are grateful for her leadership and wish her the very best in her future endeavors.
  • I’m excited to announce that at the beginning of the year Alexandra Duarte joined the STARS leadership team as DTA Program Manager, a position that had been vacant for over a year. You can read more about Alex below in this issue of the Shooting Star.

Enjoy the beautiful spring weather while you are able!

David Henderson | STARS President & CEO


founder of our beloved STARS.

Among Mary King’s most priceless treasures is a ceramic magnet painted in vibrant colors commemorating one of STARS’s past events. And although it currently sits broken on her kitchen counter in pieces, she knows her husband “can fix anything.” At 91 years young, the visionary behind STARS knows there’s always hope behind every challenge—great or small. “Nobody should ever be in a place without hope,” King says. “There has to be somebody that will help.”

Born in Texas and raised in California, King was a high school teacher and debate coach after graduating from college in the 1950s. “I had wonderful students, and we went to national tournaments very frequently. It was great,” she exclaims.

Continue Reading Mary’s Story

Arizona residents, donations made to STARS now through April 15 are eligible for a dollar for dollar match as part of your 2023 AZ State Tax Credit.

Single Filers claim up to $421 & Joint Filers claim up to $841.

Donate By April 15th and Take The Credit!

STARS is deeply honored to be selected as one of the two organizations to receive the proceeds from this year’s breakfast. The East Valley Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast, hosted annually by various municipalities in the East Valley, is honored to be hosted by SRPMIC for 2024.  We’ve cultivated a dynamic and enduring relationship with SRPMIC, mutually supporting each other throughout the years.  Their unwavering support has been instrumental in enabling us to pursue our mission and serve our participants in the most impactful way possible.

Register For April 16th Breakfast

We’re thrilled to introduce our new Manager of Day Training for Adults (DTA) Program, Alexandra “Alex” Duarte! Let’s take a closer look at Alex’s journey and her inspiring vision for empowering individuals with developmental disabilities (I/DD).

Hailing from the sunny state of California, Alex’s passion for advocating for individuals with developmental disabilities started early on. Inspired by her experiences in the Best Buddies program during high school, she became dedicated to ensuring that everyone, regardless of ability, has access to quality education and opportunities for growth.

Continue Reading Alex’s Story

On March 30th, a group of dedicated and intrepid volunteers from Cox Communications visited our CommunityWork facility on Osborn Road and gave our primary workspace two fresh coats of much-needed paint. The impact that a bright and inviting environment has on our participants cannot be overstated.

The best part is that this workspace is used to refurbish and repackage hardware for – you guessed it – Cox Communications!

Thanks again to Cox volunteers Kathy Floyd, Dave Floyd, Shawn O’Neal, Connor O’Neal, Jennifer McCarty, Chris Koenig, Gabby Peterson, Rosie Garcia, Matt Bunn and Scott Kiker.

An enormous thank you to Rinku Sarkar, Laurie Sunderman, Jo Zizzo, Jordan Curry, Utannah Renoj, Kris Chilvers, Rae Buck, Justin MacGregor and especially Cesar Oliveira from STARS without whose preparation, planning and participation this event would not have been possible.


When someone is eager to join the Arizona workforce but requires support due to cognitive or developmental challenges, STARS CommunityWork is ready to help them achieve their dream of securing a job that not only comes with a paycheck but also provides a meaningful day-to-day routine.  Join us for an eye-opening tour on the 2nd Wednesday of the month from 10-11am at the Osborn Campus to experience our CommunityWork program in action!

What to expect on a tour? During the CommunityWork tour, you’ll see how we work closely with both our community partners and participants, ensuring we get the job done. You’ll get a glimpse of the entire process, from intake to assembly, quality control, and back to our community partners. It’s a hands-on experience of how we operate together to achieve our goals.