Paul & Lamar
As a prior foster parent and current shared living caregiver to Lamar and a caregiver to her brother, Paul, Ann is thankful for Catholic Charities Disability Services and their programs that encourage socialization and engagement.
Before the pandemic, Paul and Lamar enjoyed attending Saturday School in the Tremont neighborhood.
The program assists adults with disabilities in their social and educational development through activities such as art, music, reading, and exercise. “My favorite part was doing the arts and crafts and going for a walk,” says Paul. Ann sees how instrumental the program has been in Lamar’s life, too. “Lamar’s favorite part is really the relationships. He gets to see his friends, and that’s the most important thing,” she says.
Although it looks different now, Paul and Lamar are glad they have the opportunity to attend Saturday School virtually. “When COVID hit, everything got really quiet. It was hard to interact with people when you’re at home all the time, so Saturday School decided to go virtual and it ended up being a huge success,” says Ann. “Everyone could see their friends and they got a chance to talk about their weeks - it was wonderful for them,” she added.
One of the most popular activities that went virtual was the monthly dance parties. “You turn on Zoom in your living room and dance the night away,” says Ann. The staff keeps everyone engaged throughout the virtual dance by giving attendees an opportunity to request songs and highlighting people showing off their dance moves. “I like the chicken dance,” says Lamar.
“Having Catholic Charities Saturday School makes a huge difference in our lives, especially during the pandemic,” says Ann. “It’s so nice to have something to put on the calendar to keep your spirits up and be able to see our friends that we haven’t seen in a while,” she adds. Paul and Lamar are grateful, too. “I appreciate all the people who help us, it makes me feel good,” says Paul
About Disability Services
Disability Services & Ministries only see abilities when working with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired, or have mental illness. The social, educational, and spiritual needs of each individual are addressed by their many programs and services.