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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:

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:

“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.

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