Monday, September 20, 2010

Field Trip to the Heart

The Franciscan Center's older sister is St. Elizabeth School, an outreach of the Sister's of Saint Francis of Assisi who is turning 50 next year. As our sister and partner in serving the needs of Baltimore I want to take you on a little field trip.

St. Elizabeth School is located over by John Hopkins University in North Baltimore, on Argonne Drive. It began as an orphanage to African-American children, and then began meeting the needs of another forgotten population: disabled children. Today the school along with its long history is teaching children with intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, emotional disturbances, and the entire spectrum of autism disorders.  They welcome students from across the state, and caters to each child's educational needs.

"We are so thankful that our a student at St. E's. Everyone is so loving and caring - and no task seems to be so strange or difficult for you if it meets a student's needs."

The stories are remarkable. And the process of bringing a child through the programs, outstanding. Peeking into an art therapy class I see an array of children with markedly different disability and levels. But I also see an art teacher, a social worker, a speech pathologist, and volunteers.  All utilizing their separate expertise and training toward one goal. To provide a student-centered approach that integrates social and emotional development, academic growth and functional life skills.

"My son has begun to make great progress in reading and math for the first time in his educational history. After years of resistance, he now wants to go to school."

I encourage you to take a moment and check out the school's website. I am both inspired and awed by the amount of love and joy radiating from St. Elizabeth's School. In our own back yard, our neighbors taking care of our community. Helping us, as we help them, to continue building a sustainable city. A city where  entire populations, such as ours; the homeless and financially disenfranchised, and St. Elizabeth's; children with disabilities, can have a voice and can find assistance to provide futures and lives that are balanced, productive and sustainable.

written by Heather Newman
quotes from St. Elizabeth School website.

St. Elizabeth School

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this informative piece. I am glad to read about the facility and its very unique and super personalized set of goals.
    I am very excite to read about the art therapy classes that employs such a very important integrative "student-centered approach" at St. Elizabeth's School. This critical reader is quite impressed.
    My hats are off to all of those involved here from the students and parents, on through the teachers, therapists, and personal student assistants and aids, as well as the entire staff and all supporters of this well needed program. This is a great example of how one person plus another [and so on] actually add up to making a well needed difference in our world as well as the lives of others.