Catholic Coalition for Special Education
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” (Matthew 18:5)


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April 21, 2007
Contact: David Kane
(301) 933-8844


Spring Benefit Renews Commitment to Children with Disabilities

Kensington, MD — Advocates of providing children with disabilities outstanding educational opportunities gathered at the historic Potomac home of Anne and David Kane on April 21, 2007, to celebrate the past year’s success of the Catholic Coalition for Special Education, Inc. (CCSE), the two-year old organization that is blazing trails for children with disabilities and their families. “We are thrilled to have provided two schools — Mount St. Joseph High School in Baltimore and Holy Cross School in Kensington — with grants to establish and maintain their special programs for students with disabilities,” said Francesca Pellegrino, Founder and President of CCSE, “and we anticipate adding more schools this year thanks to the generosity of all those here today.”

Dr. Timothy Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics, and his wife, Linda Potter, are honorary chairs of the Spring Benefit for CCSE. Guests included members from Catholic parishes throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C., as well as many other supporters of children with disabilities. CCSE’s first Spring Benefit, held last year, raised over $53,000 and it is expected that this year’s event will top that figure.

“I applaud CCSE’s hard work and dedication to helping Catholic schools provide quality educational programs for our students with disabilities,” said Dr. Shriver. “These students deserve to reach their full potential and participation in a good school with high standards and support is the first step to allowing them to reach their goals.”

Last year, CCSE awarded a total of nearly $65,000 to The Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington and Mount Saint Joseph High School in Baltimore. The grants provided assistance to support existing services to students with developmental disabilities. Cardinal William H. Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore, said “the mission of CCSE to raise funds to support the implementation of special education instruction and programs in Catholic schools is an admirable one.” Pellegrino noted that this year’s fundraising will allow grants to target additional Catholic schools seeking to include students with disabilities in their educational programs.

This year’s Spring Benefit was held at the Kane’s home in Potomac, an Italianate-style house built in 1925, which stood through the mid-20th century as a Convent for the Sisters of Mercy and then as a Monastery for the Franciscan monks. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and bell tower was built on the premises by the Franciscans, and continues to be used today as a place for children to play and, occasionally, for the celebration of Mass.

Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore: “It is indeed a blessing for these students when they are welcomed to the family of Mount Saint Joseph and begin to feel they are part of the community.”

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