Club 203 Fills Needed Social Niche

When an 18-year-old boy asks his mother to please help find a girlfriend, she’s  honored by his trust.

For the parent of someone with a disability, the request is especially poignant — and difficult.

“The journey for young adults is challenging,” notes Stacie Curran. “It presents a painful lack of opportunity in our community.”

Curran — a longtime advocate for people with disabilities — ticks off questions:

  • Where and how do adults with disabilities meet like-minded people, as friends, potential housemates, partners or lovers?
  • Where can these adults find safe, fun, social opportunities for enjoyment of life?
  • What about social media sites and apps? Can they be trusted?

Vulnerability and risk of exploitation often outweigh the dignity of risk enjoyed by typical adults, Curran says. Roadblocks fuel further isolation and loneliness.

She, Sharuna Mahesh and Kathryn Turley-Sonne realized there was a need to fill. Working with Westport’s Commission on People with Disabilities, and the Department of Human Services, they created Club 203: the town’s newest social opportunity.

Club 203 founders (from left): Sharuna Mahesh, Stacie Curran, Kathryn Turley-Sonne at Town Hall. Westport officials enthusiastically back Club 203.

“Neurodiverse adults need quality social interactions as they transition from structured education to more independent living,” Turley-Sonne explains.

She was taking her daughter to a vibrant social program in Manhattan. Turley-Sonne is excited to have a local, volunteer organization that offers “critical tools for interaction, relationship-building, arts, culture, healthy living, personal growth and community connections.”

A variety of organizations quickly embraced the concept. Club 203’s kickoff event is a dance party — complete with refreshments, gifts, giveaways and more — at MoCA Westport (September 7, 7:30 to 9 p.m.).

The monthly calendar is already filled, through June. Events, dates and sites include:

  • Halloween party (October 19, Remarkable Theater)
  • Gaming and pizza night (November 19, Toquet Hall)
  • Holiday celebration (December 13, Wakeman Town Farm)
  • Open gym (January 7, Westport Weston Family YMCA)
  • Valentine’s gathering (February 2, Westport Country Playhouse)
  • St. Patrick’s Day (March 16, The Porch @ Christie’s)
  • Spring ahead with fitness (April 20, TAP Strength)
  • Outing (May 18, Westport Parks & Recreation)
  • Year-end event (June 15, Westport Library)

“Thank you, Westport, for being a town that responds to the needs of all residents,” Curran says.

All adults with disabilities are invited to “join the club.” Click here for more information on Club 203.

(“06880” is a non-profit, reader-supported blog. To make a donation, please click here.)

23 responses to “Club 203 Fills Needed Social Niche

  1. Joseph Anastasi

    So needed for this community! I want to join the “Club”!!!

  2. Cornelia Fortier

    Three quick things I’d like to say: Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  3. These incredible women do it again!!! How lucky this community is to have you!

  4. Such an incredible accomplishment with a calendar that’s chock full of fun events! TAP is honored to be a part of this extraordinary CLUB!

  5. Melissa Seltzer Levy

    Kudos to these women for all they do to make our community so vibrant! Stacie Curran – you are Westport’s own Superwoman. Club 203 will be fantastic!

    • Shelley Wischkin

      Stacie, Sharuna, Kathryn…you saw what had to be done and you got it done! Thank you for enriching the hearts and lives of all the people in our community!!!

  6. This is one more thing that makes this community so great.
    Thank you Ladies

  7. I’m happy to spread the word to all past and current Challenger baseball families! I totally agree with the previous comment—Stacie Curran, a tireless advocate for people with special needs, is indeed Westport’s own Superwoman—she’s a town gem!!!!

  8. Jim Ross, Chair, Westport Commission on People with Disabilities

    Super congrats to Stacie, Sharuna and Kathryn for having the vision and leadership to make Club203 a reality. Adults with disabilities(18-65) particularly face significant “quality of life” challenges. Club203 is an important, vital initiative for our amazing adults and the town of Westport! Bravo!

  9. This is such a terrific addition to the community! Thank you for incredible work!

  10. This is fantastic! We are so lucky to have the Insight, determination and can do attitudes of these women. Thank you for creating this!

  11. Thank you, with all my heart. My family is so grateful, I do not have sufficient words to express just how much we appreciate everything you do with this project and way beyond for our community.

  12. Linda Pomerantz Novis

    Great article, great comments. (esp. Jim Ross’ comment, here 🙂

  13. Yes! Thank you, thank you to these remarkable women for creating this much needed social opportunity! This is just what I wish for in the town I live in, a supportive, inclusive community. Can’t wait to get this party started!

  14. Once the school years end, our adults with disabilities often struggle to find activities and social connections they can successfully participate in — and so many families wish there was something like this for their loved ones. Hooray for Stacie, Sharuna, and Kathryn for undertaking the mountain of work needed to make this happen!! This will be a boon to the whole community.

  15. Amazing! What an incredible opportunity for those who will benefit from the brainchild of these wonderful ladies. Stacie you are incredible! Loved seeing you btw!!

  16. This is Westport at its best- smart, creative, driven, problem solving, kick-a@@ women who get stuff DONE! You are all amazing! Kudos to you all for your untiring efforts to make this world a better place!😍

  17. Such a great idea! Something that is needed in this community! Thank you ladies!

  18. Rhona Lieberson

    If there is a Roadblock there will be a way to remove the Block and open the Road. Thanks to these tireless women, our Community will be a better place for so many who face daily Challenges. Thank you Stacie, Sharuna and Kathryn!!!!

  19. Efforts like this take unlimited energy to launch…..you ladies are SuperWomen! Stories like this make my heart soar like a hawk. So pumped for the opportunities you bring to our kids and community. Thanks again to Dan Woog for his tireless efforts to support our town and to you ladies for your heartfelt commitment to the inclusiveness you promote.

  20. Ronnie Stanford

    What a truly amazing opportunity for our community and huge kudos to Stacie and these women for their tireless efforts in building this inclusive program for everyone!

  21. Dan,

    Terrific article and great to see what the town is doing for this group of families who have members with disabilities in Westport. 3 wonderful ladies who are spearheading! Looks like a terrific program, let’s continue to let people know as get togethers begin to help support beginning in Sept! Hope it will also resonate in neighboring towns!

    We leave no one behind in Westport!!!!!

  22. Sandy Dressler Berman

    Wonderful! Happy to help in any way!

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