“The Buddy System: A Dog Makes A Difference" is an award-winning new documentary film about the extraordinary bond between specially-trained assistance dogs and children on the autism spectrum. The screening will take place on Thursday, December 7, 2017, at the Darien Library, in the Louis Parker Berry Community Room from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. There will also be guest appearances by the film makers, and stars, which, of course, includes Buddy the dog. Admittance is FREE; however space is limited and seating is on a first come, first serve basis. Mallory Arents, Head of Adult Programming and Community Engagement at Darien Library, adds, “The Darien Library is overjoyed to work with STAR, Inc. to screen ‘The Buddy System’. It’s through events, resources, and services like this that we will ensure lower Fairfield County is one that welcomes and supports its community members, of all abilities.”
"The Buddy System" follows the story of Buddy, a pup who is raised and trained by a Connecticut mom who first recognized the benefits of an assistance dog while raising her son, who was on the spectrum. She went on to get her Master’s degree in psychology and created an innovative breeding program to raise, train and match specific dogs to specific children; Buddy is the 250th dog she has placed. The film has been endorsed by leading autism support organizations, winning an award at the Autism Society of America's inaugural film festival, AutFest, and a screening as the closing night event for the US Autism & Asperger Association's World Conference w/ Dr. Temple Grandin. Katie Banzhaf, the Executive Director at STAR Inc. said, “We are so pleased to feature such an admired and inspirational film with the help of Darien Library. Community inclusion begins with awareness of all.” The film was also previewed at the offices of Sesame Street Workshop as they were preparing to introduce "Julia", the first Muppet on the spectrum.
The Darien Library, established in 1894, is located on 1441 Post Road. Their mission is to provide compassionate area for education, entertainment, enrichment, and community building. The Darien Library is among the busiest public libraries in the state, and provides on average over 1000 people daily with access to wifi and computers in addition to the collection of books. There are also activities consistently available to youth and adults alike, adding up to over public 1,500 annually. These range from arts & crafts to business classes. Finally, the Library boasts a 5 star rating from the Library Journal, and an ecological LEED Gold certification. For more information on the Darien Library, please visit https://www.darienlibrary.org/.
STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way is a not–for-profit organization established in 1952 to serve individuals of all ages who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as providing support services to their families. STAR creates opportunities for individuals to live full lives with independence, freedom of choice and personal growth by providing support, services and advocacy. STAR’s customized employment program for people with I/DD leads the state in job placements and hours worked. Likewise, STAR’s Birth to Three program continues to exceed state and local average results with 100% of the children reducing the gap, and 93% caught up in developmental milestones. Headquartered in Norwalk and with new offices in 15 Cross Street, Norwalk and 111 Elm Street, New Canaan, STAR is able to serve over 600 individuals from birth through their senior years in Fairfield County. STAR aims to inform and encourage the community to recognize and appreciate the value of all individuals.
For more information about STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way, visit www.starct.org .