Nativity of Mary Catholic Church
Dear Principals and Friends of FIRE Liaisons,
Merry Christmas to all! I want to thank each one of you for all the incredible energy, out-of-the-box creativity and endless energy that was invested in FIRE Week efforts at schools. I know it’s been well over a month ago, but our wrap up of this phenomenal FUNdraising effort is not complete until we thank YOU. Raffle sales broke records and netted over $25K. The dollars you raised during FIRE Ball were unprecedented, too. From skits and bake sales to coffee carts, pep assemblies to crazy socks days, your efforts raised awareness, fostered acceptance, created understanding and raised lots of money to support inclusive Catholic education throughout our Diocese. We know you worked hard and we are so very grateful for your efforts. Many of you helped acquire awesome auction offerings too! You all are an unstoppable force. All told, FIRE Ball raised nearly $335K that will come back to your schools to ensure kiddos have the resources they need to succeed – regardless of their abilities.
Please convey our gratitude to members of your school and parish communities.
I want to share a touching letter penned by the Nativity of Mary Student Senate President that we received last week. Her words make it clear that inclusion is making a lasting impact on kids’ lives – today and in the future. As teachers, principals and parents, you make amazing things happen in kids’ lives everyday. Thank you for shaping their hearts (and their minds!) in such a special way! And thank you again for supporting FIRE with such loyalty and enthusiasm!
Dear FIRE Foundation,
FIRE means a lot to Nativity of Mary Parish School. Not only does it help kids of all kinds with special needs, but it teaches us to have respect toward everyone we meet. I think this program sets us apart from other schools because inclusion is important. We learn how to help each other. Most schools don't understand how to teach everyone because we all learn differently. We are thankful to have resources and paraprofessionals to educate anyone who wants to learn. It gives kids opportunities they wouldn't normal have. Everyone in our classrooms can work at their own pace and receive help when needed. We can work alongside each other while being social and developing friendships. The paras help typical kids and kids with special needs. It has given me insight about all special needs, emotional and educational, small and large. This year, we worked hard to raise money during FIRE Week. We had challenges for students every day to include everyone in different ways. At the end of the week, we raised over $600 for this cause. Everyone benefits from FIRE and we appreciate everything it does for Nativity students and families. Thank you.
Nativity of Mary School is proud to partner with the FIRE Foundation to ensure that children have the opportunity for inclusive Catholic education.
From the FIRE Foundation website:
"Through fundraising and advocacy, FIRE lights the way for children with special needs to share in the opportunities that Catholic schools provide. Without funding from FIRE, most students with special learning needs would not be able to attend Catholic schools. By fostering a culture of acceptance and compassion, ALL students benefits from inclusion as they grow together in faith, knowledge and friendship. FIRE’s model of funding and advocacy has become a national model for inclusive Catholic education."
FIRE was founded in 1996 by a group of parents who shared a common dream; for their children with special needs to attend their parish schools with siblings and friends. Since that time, through the efforts of parents, a dedicated board of directors, many talented volunteers and community members who embrace inclusive Catholic education, $2.4 million has been granted to partner schools in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph (MO) to support inclusive Catholic education.
The FIRE Foundation, an independent 501(c)3 organization, makes it possible for partner Catholic schools to hire special educators and paraprofessionals and to acquire learning materials and technology that create successful learning experiences for all children. Without grants from FIRE, most schools would not be able to welcome students with Down syndrome, significant learning disabilities, many who are on the Autism spectrum and students who face other special learning challenges. Children grow up knowing and appreciating each other’s unique gifts.
Who FIRE Serves
FIRE specifically provides financial grants to schools within the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph who are committed to educating children with special needs who would NOT be able to attend without para-professional support. Partner schools are awarded grants through a formal application process and implement inclusive Catholic education in a way that meets the needs of their unique learning community.
The foundation raises funds to assist schools with the costs of special education services for children with diagnosed special needs including Down syndrome, developmental delays, Lowe’s Syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Trisomy 9p and other conditions. Special education teachers, classroom teachers and para-professionals work as a team to provide the most effective learning opportunities in an inclusive (the same classroom as typical peers) environment.
Additionally, students with mild learning disabilities receive services and support from modifications and instruction provided by special education teachers and para-professionals within inclusive classrooms and resource rooms.
The mission of FIRE doesn’t only benefit students who receive special education services. The spirit of inclusion touches the hearts and lives of all students as well as their families, their educators and the entire faith community."
UPCOMING FIRE FOUNDATION EVENTS
Nov 5 - FIRE Ball Auction
Friday, Sept. 16th, 5-7 p.m. Kendara Scott Gives Back
4750 Broadway on the Plaza
Sweets, sips & shopping. FIRE will receive 20% of all sales
Oct 3-31 - FIRE Raffle Tickets & Competition
Nov 5 - FIRE Ball Gala - Midland Theatre 6-11 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 2 - National Day of Prayer for Inclusion
Feb 22-24 - FIRE National Education Conference "Inclusion in Catholic and Private Schools: Welcoming and Supporting Students with Special Needs" - Westin Crown Center
FIRE Golf Tournament -
Purses with Purpose - June date and location TBD
2016-2017 FOF (Friends of FIRE) Meetings:
Sept. 7, Oct. 5, Jan. 4, March 1, April 5
7-8:30 p.m. St Peterslegacy Center (lower level)