Why we LOVE summer!


Participating in walks

Summer is nearly gone, so we thought it was time to share some of our favorite things to do in the summer.

Rosa:  No school – when I was younger!  And the SUN!

Don:  Cook-Outs

Taylor:  Going to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and shopping at Cabela’s

Richard:  Going to summer camp

Cheryl:  Flowers

Susan:  It’s nice out!

James F:  I like growing vegetables.


We love making S’Mores!

Diana:  Going swimming and also watching the flowers grow.

Denny:  Camping

Gary W.:  Fishing & Cook-Outs

Twila:  Going to Okoboji

Luke:  Eating outside

Stacey:  Swimming

Eric:  Going on walks and riding bikes

Tony:  I like the heat and I like storms

Michael B.:  Biking



Tabitha:  Hanging out with my friends and swimming

Sarah:  Shopping

Brandon:  I like to go out into the community!

“Look for the Bare Necessities!”

Here at North Star, it’s “all hands on deck” as we are busy getting ready for our musical, which is four weeks from tomorrow!  Instead of the usual post, this time I am talking a little about our special inclusive community theatre project.

Lee Robinson & Mike Roskamp prepare for their roles as Tailorbirds!

Lee Robinson & Mike Roskamp prepare for their roles as Tailorbirds!

On Wednesday, June 3rd at 7:00 p.m. the stage at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa will come alive with the wild jungle antics of Mowgli, Baloo, and the rest of the characters of one of Disney’s enduring favorites, “The Jungle Book.”

North Star Community Services’ inclusive community theatre production of “The Jungle Book” is the fifth musical for the agency.  Directed by Mr. Greg Holt, the show features an ensemble cast of actors with a wide range of abilities, including 80 participants from North Star.

The play is based on Rudyard Kipling’s 1893 collection of short stories set in the heart of the Indian jungle and Walt Disney’s 1967 animated film.

Leading the cast is Tristan Holt as Mowgli, the young, spunky orphan boy who is raised by a family of wolves; Brian John McCarty as Bagheera, the wise black panther; Chelsey Linza as Baloo, the carefree, fun-loving bear; Chad Hackenmiller as King Louie, an ambitious, scheming orangutan; Russell Hamilton as Shere Khan, a man-eating Bengal tiger and the crafty, dangerous, arch-villain; and Kaa, the hungry, s-s-s-slithering Indian python played by Kylie Paton and the “Coils,” (Luke George, Blaine Johnson, Wendy Moore, LaShunda Wilson, and Wendy Moore).  Carrie Rhode is playing the beautiful young village girl, Shanti.  A complete cast list will be available on North Star’s website, www.northstarcs.org

Production coordinator for this show is Haley Krall and the sets are being created in a collaborative effort led by Kate Fineran and Mr. Bill Close.  Costumes are being designed and sewn by Diane Fineran and Haley Krall.  Musical direction is being led by Chelsey Linza, Amanda Spencer, and Chad Hackenmiller.

North Star has some wonderful supporters and sponsors for this theatrical production.  Special thanks for grants from the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, the Iowa Arts Council (a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts), the U.S. Bank Foundation, Teen Trust (a program of the Community Foundation of NEIA), and Lincoln Savings Bank Foundation.  We are so grateful for the generosity of these sponsors:  Veridian Credit Union, Quota Club of Waterloo, Ms. Jean M. Trainor, HGS (Hinduja Global Solutions), Designer Genes Down Syndrome Group, Joint Volunteer’s Arc of Cedar Valley, AHTS Architects, Aspro, Inc., Greenwood Pharmacy and Compounding Center, Magee Construction Company, The Pump Haus Pub & Grill, and Standard Golf Company. Special thanks also to Memory Makers’ Photography by Eileen Crotty and Pioneer Graphics.

North Star’s inclusive community theatre projects were first created in 2008 as a special opportunity for people with disabilities and non-disabled volunteers to learn and work together in a collaborative effort to create amazing costumes, wonderful sets and props, and produce a fantastic, full-scale musical production for the public.  The project allows participants to use the process as a meaningful form of personal expression and growth, as well as provide a valuable life experience – promoting teamwork, responsibility, collaboration, leadership, and communication skills.  The project creates a community presence, builds relationships, and serves as an inclusive experience for the community as a whole.  And, besides that, it’s really fun!

For more information, visit North Star’s website:  www.northstarcs.org

I like to play bingo!

twilaI am Twila J.  I am 49 and will be 50 in October – I like to go to Godfather’s Pizza for my birthday.  I live in Cedar Falls with my roommates and my staff:  Becky, Donna and Marilyn.  My mom lives in Parkersburg but my dad passed away.  I have four brothers – Ron, Dale, Troy, Lugene and one sister named Linda.   I have a lot of nieces and nephews.  I got a new nephew.  His name is Sam and I will get to hold him at Easter.  On Easter I will go to Parkersburg to see my family.

I went to River Hills School until I graduated.  My mom gave me flowers.  I like to go to North Star.  I like to be in the play and this time I am going to be a tree!  My family will come to see me.

On the weekend I go to Hy-Vee.  I buy groceries and stuff.  Sometimes I get my boyfriend sugar-free candy.  My favorite pop is caffeine-free diet Coke.  I like to have nice fingernails – today they are pink.  I like to dress nice and I like to have matching socks – I have a lot of socks!

At home I have chores.  I know how to cook and I like to make meatloaf.  (Twila’s boyfriend Gary relates that Twila cooks a “really good meatloaf!”). I like to walk around and play bingo.

I just moved to a new home!

I am Don G. and I am 48.  My birthday is December 26th.  I go to the Day Hab program at North Star.  I used to have a job washing dishes and I used to work on muffler clamps and CD’s.

My favorite colors are green and red.  I like Godfather’s Pizza.  I like mushroom pizza and breadsticks.  I also like pizza rolls.  I make lists for when we go shopping at Dollar Tree.  We buy groceries at Fareway.

I used to live with my mom, but I just moved to a new group home in Cedar Falls.  I have my own key.  One of the people there is named Kevin.  I have staff at my house that helps with cooking and laundry.  They help me with my meds and shaving.  I made my bed and we made fudge.  My bedtime is 10:00 and I have a c-pap machine – it has tubes and water in it.

On Friday we are going to make Mother’s Day cards at North Star.  I am going to get my mom flowers and some candy (I hope she shares).  My dad passed away and he went to Heaven to be with Jesus.

This weekend I am going to a birthday party for my Aunt Eva in Ames and I am going to go to church.  On May 20th I am going to go bowling at Cadillac Lanes.  In June I am going on an airplane to Las Vegas and am going to the casinos.

North Star is having an art show on June 4th.  I made some art for it.

Don dressed as an elf at Christmas

In this picture I am dressed as an elf and helping out at the Cookie Walk.

Getting mad doesn’t get you anywhere!

I am Pam W. and I am 55 years old. I have come to North Star for a very long time. Last night was good – I got to get a perm for my hair and then we went out to eat at a Chinese buffet place. I live in my own apartment over by Covenant. I don’t have a roommate, but I have staff that helps me cook and clean. Once I burned up a toaster, but I got to get a new one. Sometimes I burn popcorn, but that’s okay.Pam W

I have a dad and one brother, but no mom because she passed away. My brother doesn’t live around here. I went to Central and graduated in 1977 – tests are hard because I have trouble spelling sometimes.

I don’t always have any money, so it’s hard to go anywhere without money. But, I can watch movies at my house without money. My favorite movie is Beethoven. That dog grows to be HUGE! I have two televisions – one in the living room and one in my bedroom. I like to watch T.V. every night before I go to sleep. One time my T.V. broke in a storm. And, I like to watch church on television! I like to read and have lots of books! I need some crosswords.

When I was 26 years old, I used to work at Burger King: Monday to Friday and sometimes Saturday or Sunday. I got to clean tables and wash dishes. It was hard, but I got laid-off.  It doesn’t do any good to get mad, because it doesn’t get you anywhere. I should smile. I learned you should always count to 10!

Hi! My name is Susan.

susanI’m Susan and I am 56.  I live in a nice house in Cedar Falls with Carol and Diane and my staff, Vicki.  We have a cat named Madison – she is tiger striped and I like her a lot.  I watch t.v. in my room and I like to watch about everything.

We go grocery shopping at the Hy-Vee on University.  We make a list and we will buy milk and pop and stuff.  Tonight we are going to get Easter candy – I like chocolate the best!  I like t.v. dinners, and spaghetti, alfredo, and chicken pot pies.

I like to eat at Applebee’s.  I usually like to get ribs and drink water.  My favorite color is pink.

I go to North Star (Susan has been going to North Star for more than 25 years!).  I was born and raised in Waterloo and went to West High.  I have two brothers and two sisters.  They don’t live around here so I don’t see them.  I am the youngest.  My mom lives in the nursing home in LaPorte City.  I am going to see her this weekend and bring her an Easter lily.

Once I was in North Star’s play, the “Wizard of Oz,” and I was a witch.  That was fun.

(Susan is a very kind lady and she likes to keep candy and gum in her pocket to share with people).

I like it here at North Star!

IMG_8450My name is Eric B. and I am 50 years old.  I was born at the old St. Francis hospital in Waterloo and I went to River Hills School until I graduated.  I used to live in a group home in Waterloo, but now I live in Cedar Falls and I have one roommate named Michael; we might be getting some more roommates.  At home I like to cook casseroles and things like that.  I come to work at North Star.  I used to ride the city bus, but now I have to take the EPI bus because it is easier and they take me right to my house.

I walk for exercise and I like to go out for a walk when the weather is good, but I don’t walk outside in the winter.  I love to walk in downtown Cedar Falls.  On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I get to play the Wii in the Art Room – that’s fun!  Every single Monday I go to Spicoli’s and sometimes on Wednesday I go to Lofty’s for karaoke, but I don’t sing – I just watch!

I used to work at United Beverage sorting bottles.  Then I worked at Pepper’s for four years until I started working for the Western Home.  When I was a kid I had asthma, but I outgrew that.  I spent time at Covenant so they could help me walk better, but I use a cane to help me balance.  I spent four months in Iowa City so they could see if I have lupus.

I have been in plays at North Star.  I was the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, Grandpa Joe in Willy Wonka and I got to be a squirrel in Peter Pan.

I like it here at North Star and I started coming on September 2, 2008.  I like the people in Day Hab, but I miss going to OES – I wish I still could.  But I got used to Day Hab.  I have a staffing every single August.  My best friends at North Star are Russell, David S., and Michael B. and we hang out. I get to go on special outings sometimes.  Sometimes I do latch hook.  I wear my earphones a lot and I like to listen to the radio and like KNWS and KUNI.