Pillars of Light & Love is a registered 501c3 charity founded in 2014
Our mission is to enrich the lives of those with disabilities through art,
music, movement, learning, and fun while developing social skills, vocational skills, and increased independence within a community setting.
The classes for Ages 15 to Adult are under the direction of Maureen Stanko, the creator of the So Much to Give Program. A variety of classes and activities are facilitated by dedicated staff invested in helping differently-abled teens and adults to develop social skills, independence, and vocational skills in a fun and supportive environment within the community. Weekday workshops include art, music, movement, and task-oriented activities while accommodating the wide range of abilities of the individuals in attendance.
Our evening social skills events include dancing, games, Karaoke, and more! Inclusion in the community is further promoted through our dinner events at our nearby So Much to Give Inclusive Cafe where attendees get to play Bingo or Trivia with their peers instead of their parents!
New to the Inspiration Studio Family? Please complete the following required registration form so we may know how to best accommodate the participant's individual needs. REGISTRATION FORM. We will be in touch once the form is received.
Already an Established Participant? Feel free to e-mail Suzanne at Somuchtogivestudio@gmail.com to let her know what sessions you would like to sign up for.
Our fun and engaging inclusive class for ages 4-6, with and without disabilities, are designed to introduce them to the world of music and dance movement to support the development of coordination, rhythm, and self-expression. Children attend with their adult for this delightful one hour session called "FAM JAM" with Miss Hannah Rowan and Miss Emilie McGinley on Saturday mornings from 9:30am-10:30am
We are going to begin a 6-week Theater class on Saturday mornings starting on October 14th from 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. where students will be immersed in the experience of music, dance and acting! If you are interested, please email us at InspirationStudiosmtg@gmail.com.
Your support and contributions will enable us to cover our startup costs and offer scholarships for those with disabilities who have a financial need and would like to attend classes
Located across from the So Much to Give Inclusive Cafe in the Shops at Cedars
3401 W Skippack Pike, Cedars PA 19423
Pillars of Light and Love is a 501c3 non-profit with headquarters located at 511 W Main St. in Trappe, PA, just outside of Collegeville at the Empowering U Center. The charity was founded in 2014 by Kathy Opperman, the President of the organization, with the mission of teaching life and stress management through empowerment programs for ages 5 to adult. A variety of workshops and support groups are offered for youth and adults to learn tools to build confidence, coping techniques, positive communication skills, and healthy relationships.
Since the inception of the charity, Pillars has offered over 1,000 free workshops and support groups along with youth empowerment programs, some of which include BE ME Kids, Julia's Joy, COURAGEOUS KIDS, and the annual Julia's Joy Voice Idol Competition for ages 11-18. Through all of our programs, we strive to empower youth and adults to become the best and most peace-filled versions of themselves by learning self-acceptance, self-responsibility and self-love. See upcoming programs and workshops, and learn more, by visiting Pillars of Light and Love's website.
The "Pillars" of light and love reflected in the charity's name are those in the community who help us by volunteering, facilitating support groups and workshops, attending our two Monthly Kindness Projects, and further supporting our mission by finding creative ways to share their time, talent, and treasure. In October of 2021, just as Kathy was seeking to expand the programs at Pillars to include those in the community with disabilities, one such "Pillar," Maureen Stanko, known only as a Facebook Friend to Kathy, contacted her with an idea....
Maureen wanted to fulfill a pressing need in the community by creating a program to provide opportunities for young adults with disabilities to gain personal fulfillment by utilizing their unique gifts and talents to make a positive difference for others. With Kathy's help, So Much to Give was launched as a program of Pillars of Light and Love in January of 2022. Maureen is a 25+ year Methacton School District teacher, a certified Health & Wellness Coach, Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, local musician, and mother of Nicholas, who is aging out of the school system and struggles with autism and intellectual challenges. The mission of So Much to Give has been to enhance the lives of those with disabilities and their families by providing opportunities for socialization, volunteerism, parent support, and community integration....
So Much to Give has been providing community activities where differently-abled adults and their caregivers gather with the help of volunteers to participate in music, crafts, puzzles, games and fun! Participants often make items to distribute in the community because Maureen believes that EVERYONE has "so much to give" to the world! Many new friendships and support systems have evolved from the So Much to Give Program. This photo is from February of 2022, when the group decorated hearts to distribute to the elderly in the community. The So Much to Give Social Skills Group, created by Maureen (center), has been meeting monthly at the Empowering U Center, home of Pillars of Light and Love, just outside of Collegeville, PA.
One day, Maureen asked Kathy to consider putting in a kitchen at the Empowering U Center so Maureen could teach the young adults in the So Much to Give Program to bake. Kathy came up with a more exciting idea: to open a restaurant to employ those with disabilities! Maureen recommended that Kathy speak to her friend, Tyler Kammerle, a certified Special Education Teacher with extensive experience integrating those with disabilities into the workforce. Tyler had previously shared with Maureen his dream to create an Inclusive Cafe to show the community how those with disabilities can learn and work just as others do.
Kathy and Tyler met in April of 2022, and a few weeks later, the concept was presented to the Board of Directors of Pillars of Light and Love. The Board approved the opening of the So Much to Give Inclusive Café with a focus on employing those with disabilities. A fundraising campaign was launched which raised over $200,000 to install a commercial kitchen and renovate a building located just outside Skippack Village, PA. The Cafe opened just 6 months later in November of 2022. The exciting and overwhelming community support is a testament to the need for an inclusive and welcoming place.
The mission of the So Much to Give Inclusive Café, which is a full-service restaurant, is to empower all people, including those with disabilities and their families, to have equal opportunities to work, dine, socialize, volunteer, and learn. There are currently over 60 employees at the café, and approximately 80% have voluntarily disclosed that they have a diagnosed disability. We have dozens more on a waiting list for employment!
Tyler Kammerle, the visionary for this project, is the heartbeat of the Cafe. As the General Manager, he oversees the daily operations, employee training, and implementation of systems to run our unique establishment.
To learn more, check out the news clips on the Cafe's Youtube channel here: So Much to Give Inclusive Cafe - YouTube.
Just one year from signing a lease on the Cafe, another exciting project is on the horizon.....
Each time Kathy would leave the Inclusive Cafe, she would admire the beautiful, vacant building across the parking lot. Upon learning from Maureen that some of our amazing cafe workers were stuck at home on weekdays due to the tremendous void of available daytime activities, Kathy began brainstorming with Tyler, Maureen and the parents of Cafe employees. Tyler explained there was a great need for opportunities for teens and adults with disabilities to make new friends and to learn outside of the school system. The trio came up with the idea of expanding the So Much to Give Program into day and evening studio sessions. Once again, the plan was presented and unanimously approved by the Pillars' Board, and our newest initiative, the So Much to Give Inspiration Studio was created with a mission to enrich the lives of those with disabilities through art, music, movement, learning and fun!
At the So Much to Give Inspiration Studio, we believe that art, music, dance, and socialization have the power to inspire, uplift, support and transform everyone, especially those with unique abilities. Our team is dedicated to creating a supportive and inclusive environment where participants can socialize, explore their creativity, build confidence, and develop lifelong skills.
Tyler, Maureen, and Kathy, Co-Founders of the So Much to Give Inclusive Cafe and the So Much to Give Inspiration Studio are often called the "Dream Team" by those in the community who have observed their passionate efforts to serve the needs of those with disabilities. The Dream Team invites you to dine at the Cafe and tour the Studio! Call 484-854-3379 for more information or email InspirationStudioSMTG@gmail.com
To learn more about all the sessions offered at the Studio for ages 4 through adulthood CLICK HERE
We are looking forward to chatting with you about the sessions being offered and how we can best accommodate our participants at the So Much to Give Inspiration Studio!
Photo on right: Maureen Stanko (l), Tyler Kammerle (c) and Kathy Opperman (r), Co-Founders of the SO MUCH TO GIVE INCLUSIVE CAFE & INSPIRATION STUDIO, within PILLARS OF LIGHT & LOVE, a 501c3 non-profit charity.
3401 W Skippack Pike, Building G, Cedars PA 19423
Sign up to hear from us about upcoming workshops and special events.