NEW PHILADELPHIA — At the May 2019 regularly scheduled board meeting for the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities (TuscBDD), members communicated appreciation for the donation of $500 from the Tuscarawas Valley Film Festival (TVFF), which donated proceeds to the Starlight School for a playground project.

TVFF hosts an annual fundraising event that includes films and food at the Quaker Cinema in New Philadelphia. "Last spring, TVFF aired the film Perfectly Normal For Me, which focuses on the success that people with disabilities can have and the barriers that they can break down when they are supported well by others," expressed Nate Kamban, TuscBDD’s Superintendent. "It was a poignant film. The TVFF members heard about the need to upgrade the playground and members decided to choose the school as the recipient of the funds, which we are very grateful to receive."

Earlier in May, TVFF members stopped by Starlight School to officially donate the funds to Starlight School Principal, Holly Lawver. TVFF members and TuscBDD staff discussed plans and needs for the upcoming school year. Starting in 2019/2020 Starlight School will be offering a Specialized Service Program that aims to help school-age children with developmental disabilities and behavioral support needs. The goal of the program is to develop local capacity to serve this population in order to reduce the need for out-of-county educational placements. "We have a need to put in a basketball half-court on our playground in order to increase activities for older students who may utilize our new school program," Lawver said. "The court will help the students to burn off their high energy and manage emotions in a positive way."