Hewitt Public Library hosts STARS program for young adults with disabilities | KWKT

HEWITT, Texas (FOX 44) — The Hewitt Public Library has launched a program called STARS to help young adults with special needs.

STARS stands for support, together, advocacy, resources and success. It gives people with special needs aged 18 and over the opportunity to meet other people, learn skills and grow into adulthood.

“We have a community there that needs help,” said program coordinator Traci Villa.

Each month offers a new activity. In October there will be a spooky story hour to help with public speaking, a cooking class in November and this month a karaoke and dance party which Kade Perry loved.

“I just want to encourage more people to come dance and karaoke with us, and I just want everyone to have a lot of fun,” Perry said.

Ultimately, this program aims to direct them to where to go once they get out of their school routine.

“A lot of kids, they have to have a schedule,” Villa said. “They have to know what they’re doing hour by hour. Otherwise, they feel lost.

Young adults also meet with a police officer to show them that there is nothing to fear if they come into contact with law enforcement.

“They have to make sure that because some people have special needs that they have to manage them well,” Perry said. “Like, like, like they’re sensitive to light, they can turn their lights off or just dim them a bit.”

The program not only serves the young adult, but also their carer, showing them resources and skills as well.

“Building that kind of connection for parents is almost as important as providing that social outlet for kids,” parent James Karney said.

Karney has a 24-year-old son with autism and says a program like this is so important to the special needs community and gives them the social interaction they need.

“Especially our young adults, a lot of them, once they get out of high school, they sort of wander because of that,” Karney said. “This yellow bus is not coming to the house anymore.”

The Hewitt Public Library saw a need, then determined what its role could be in supporting young adults with special needs.

“What makes libraries so beautiful is that we can connect with these resource professionals and act as a conduit,” said library director Waynette Ditto.

Sign up for the Hewitt STARS program here.

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