Beth Cohen Early Intervention Fund

The Beth Cohen Early Intervention Fund was created as a tribute to the lifetime work of Beth Cohen, an Occupational Therapist with 20 years at STAR and 40 years in the field, who retired in July 2015. The new fund is specifically designated to provide assistance to families in purchasing supplies to aid their child’s development, to provide educational and social opportunities for parents in the B to 3 program to network and strengthen their support community, and to enhance the connections with STAR for children and families beyond their therapy years.  


During her time at STAR, Beth helped hundreds of children reach their developmental milestones with therapies and exercises to address their specific needs and those of their families and caregivers.She saw 10 to 14 children in a typical week, offering them critical support in helping them overcome obstacles that impeded their progress while improving life in the home with their families.Using a coaching model  to help teach the parents, caregivers and even nursery school teachers how to work with the child, Beth concentrated on important first steps for children such as learning to eat, swallow, play, crawl, sit up, walk and dress. This beloved professional and member of the STAR family received her Occupational Therapist certification from Columbia University Physicians and Surgeons Programs. 


STAR parents Catherine and Ed Piorkowski of Darien spoke fondly of Beth’s work with their daughter Hope and family, “When we were expecting our baby, we dreamed that she would have a life full of learning, fulfillment, and happiness as part of our family and the community. We made a conscious choice not to change those dreams when we found out that she would be born with a disability. Beth first saw Hope when she was less than a month old. It was immediately clear that she shared our sense of optimism for the future and over the next years gave us a road map for how to help Hope develop to the best of her abilities. A regular visitor to our home, Beth came armed with a canvas bag full of toys and tools, strategies, and a reassuring smile. She patiently answered questions, trained and educated various family members, and guided us through the Birth to Three process. While her visits ended when Hope turned three, she will always be a part of Hope’s history and successes, and she will forever be part of our family..”


Katie Banzhaf, STAR’s Executive Director says, “Beth epitomizes the level of professionalism, sensitivity, and passion needed to help our children who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.  As she embarks on her well-deserved retirement years, she must feel good knowing about the many, many lives she has improved through her skills and dedication.”


When asked her feelings about the retirement of her colleague and friend, STAR’s Rubino Family Center Director Barbara Fitzpatrick commented, “Beth has been an integral part of the STAR Rubino Family Center team.  Beth's commitment to the STAR mission speaks volumes to the expertise and dedication she has shared with each STAR Rubino child and family. We are planning to inaugurate a Skype program for Beth to continue to guide families and their children with her professional knowledge and skills.”


To donate to the Beth Cohen B to 3 Family Fund, please click HERE and select the Beth Cohen B to 3 Family Fund under your donation "designation".