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A newly established Arizona Catholic Schools Fund for Disabled Students allows schools to better serve students with a range of learning disabilities, physical or mobility challenges, blindness and low vision or who are hearing impaired.
Behind the scenes, groups like the Exceptional Learners Advisory Board are helping ensure students with one or more learning or physical disabilities can thrive at a Catholic school in the Diocese of Phoenix.
It is right and just to ensure all children receive religious education and access to the sacraments, said a priest who was born deaf and became blind 16 years ago.
Their school uniforms might be the same, but underneath is a person God gifted with a unique set of abilities and challenges to overcome.
The Catholic Community Foundation awarded Annunciation Catholic School a $20,000 grant in its competitive “Youth and Education” category. The grant will partially fund a special needs student program serving students at the Cave Creek school with learning disabilities.
Parents seeking a Catholic education for children with learning disabilities in the Diocese of Phoenix have support from a local grassroots organization. The Arizona Catholic Schools Disabilities Fund, founded two years ago by Lisa Colangelo Fischer, Ph.D., partners with Catholic schools to educate and support parents, teachers and staff by advocating inclusion of special needs students.
Catholic schools are entrusted with the mission of nurturing and developing the faith in students, and that includes those with special needs.
The current number of pledges and total pledge value are in, but the true impact the funds will have on eight key areas including direct parish support, Newman Centers, Catholic education, seminarian support and a Francis Mercy Fund will be harder to quantify.
"The poor are precious in the eyes of God," he said, because they know they are not self-sufficient... like beggars before God."
Catholic Education Arizona welcomed principals back to the new school year with a sweet deal.