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A Very Special Social Club

Club203 Fills an Void

By now you’ve probably heard of Club203 - the Westport-based social club for adults who self-identify as a “special needs” individual.

It bridges the social gap between the ages of 18 to 55. After high school, “They have limited to no social opportunities to meet like minded friends until they’re picked up by senior services,” explains Stacie Curran, club co-founder with Sharuna Mahesh, and Kathryn Turley-Sonne.

They threw their inaugural party at MoCA on the evening of September 22. “I thought 30 people would show up,” says Stacie. Well, 30 people didn’t show up. Over 110 did.

Joe Agostino, a disabled young adult, was DJ and party motivator,  getting the crowd jumping and dancing. Partiers from as far Middlebury, CT joined the fun.

Staples graduate Robert Bolton, 20, attended. An intern at Stew Leonard’s and volunteer at the Center for Senior Activities, he admits that since high school “Not socializing was a big change,” and he suffered anxiety as a result. Though nervous to attend the kick-off at first - “Would it be boring?” -  he “got to dance and meet new friends, a lot of friends like me.”

“I’ve never had anything like this before, I felt so much better when I went,” Robert exclaims. “It turned out to be really fun.” And he came home with phone numbers, so he can reach out to have coffee with people he met. Robert’s mother, Linda, says of watching his experience, “I almost cried.”

After Sophia Tarsy graduated from Wilson Prep she went to Housatonic College for her associate’s degree.

Now that she’s back in Westport, working at CVS and enrolling in the Sweet P baking program, she needs a social outlet. “When I was in college I went to a bunch of parties,” she says. “But now that I’m back at home I have a different lifestyle.”

Upon learning about Club203 Sophia thought, “it was very interesting, kind of a gathering of people with disabilities.” And yes, she had fun!

At their next event, a Halloween party on October 19 at Remarkable Theater, a long line of cars stream into the lot, guided by parking lot attendants.

Parked beneath the enormous screen is a row of cars with trunks open, full of decorations and candy for trunk-or-treating. Nearly every partygoer, and many parents and guardians, are in full costume. Organizers added a mix and mingle for guardians and parents to this event “so they can meet other parents of who have an adult-child with special needs,” explains Stacie.

The mood is ebullient and everyone is thrilled to be here - Club203-ers, parents, and guardians. Clearly, we are all witness to the start of something new and needed, incredible and celebratory.

  • Robert Bolton
  • Trunk Trick or Treating.
  • Dancing before the movie begins.
  • Sophia Tarsy