STAR Inc., Lighting the Way, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving infants, children and adults with developmental disabilities, recently held its benefit, the 10th Annual Galaxy of STARs Gala Dinner Dance and Auction at Woodway Country Club in Darien. The record-breaking event was attended by more than 200 guests and raised more than $270,000 for the agency's programs and services.

STAR President Ken Harrington-Howes hosted the evening, along with executive director Katie Banzhaf and auctioneer Kathy Kingston. Jim Wall, global managing director emeritus of Deloitte was recognized at the gala for his work on behalf of STAR Inc., Lighting the Way.

Attendees of the gala enjoyed cocktails, dinner, dancing, and a live and silent auction that included an artist invitational of original, hand-painted cake plates. A presentation about people with developmental disabilities was given by Alysa Mendelson Graf, of Westport, Donna Carney, of Norwalk, Brian Holstein, of New Canaan, Robert Haines, of Norwalk, Dr. Haik Kavookjian, of New Canaan, Nancy Armstrong, of Redding, and Talisha Maxwell, of Norwalk.

Following the presentations, the live auction included several items such as a family vacation package in New York City, two VIP fantasy baseball packages, a private VIP box and tickets for 20 to Cirque du Soleil's show, "Immortal," a Tuscany villa family vacation, a red carpet package to the 2012 Emmy Awards, a Holland America Alaskan cruise, an Anywhere-Around-the-World vacation, a kids' Florida family vacation, a South African photo safari and monthly desserts for a year from pastry chef Mary Shuler of Michael Joseph's Catering prepared together with STAR participants.

The gala committee chairpersons were Rob and Meghan Cioffi, of New Canaan; Mary Ferrara and John Masanotti, of Darien; and Joseph and Nella Viesta, of Stamford.

Darien committee members are Hilary and Carol Donegan, Peter and Katherine Gogolak, Ken and Beth Harrington-Howes, John and Polly Lowman, John Masanotti and Mary Ferrara, Patrick and Katrina O'Connor, Ed and Katherine Piorkowski, and Dan and Margaret Smith. New Canaan committee members are Robert and Meghan Cioffi, Joan Dionne, Jason and Janie Konidaris and Todd and Julie Thompson.

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Proceeds will be used to support STAR's programs and services for individuals with developmental disabilities, and their families. The gala also celebrates the community of individuals with developmental disabilities leading full, productive and rewarding lives -- filled with friendships, family relationships, productive employment or volunteer work and community activities.