It’s always difficult to know how to answer when people ask, “What is the Star Center?” Sometimes I start by talking about our history. Well, the Star Center was founded in 1988 when two children began losing their eyesight and their parents believed their community could support people with disabilities. Sometimes I start by talking about the range of our services. Well, we provide 6 areas of service to people across West Tennessee. Many of our clients will make use of multiple areas of service during their time at the Star Center.
Lately, when people ask me what the Star Center is, my answer is much more simple: The Star Center creates opportunities for people with disabilities. This is why I get out of bed every morning. Because I know the feeling of having hopes and expectations, only to find that the door to my future has been shut in my face. Then I look at statistics that indicate people with disabilities have a much harder time getting a job than their non-disabled peers. This isn’t because they are worse at jobs. In fact, people with disabilities tend to perform more consistently and stay in jobs longer than the general population. Imagine how frustrating it would be if you knew you could do a great job, but no one would give you a chance. And just as I know what it feels like to confront a seemingly insurmountable barrier, I also know how it feels when someone comes alongside me and partners with me in order to overcome the obstacles that are before me.
I get to see these hopes become reality every day at the Star Center. The people I work with do an amazing job of helping any person, with any disability, to realize their potential. Sure, the Star Center provides services to 1,500 people in 21 counties in West Tennessee. We have 28 years of history in this community, and we look forward to many more years. But at the end of the day, the Star Center isn’t defined by the number of clients we serve or the years behind us. This place is special because the people who work here every day believe that everyone has potential and deserves a chance to fulfill their potential. Stay tuned as we dive into the different types of services we provide, such as music therapy and home care, but remember that the most important thing about the Star Center is the mission and vision that drive the people who work here.