Last year, we featured the new inclusion program at St. Mary Catholic Central High School of Monroe (SMCC), one of the 25 impact grant recipients from the Catholic Foundation in 2018.

The St. Andre Bessette Open Door Inclusion Program is a new initiative that enables students with moderate to severe learning disabilities to experience the spiritual, communal, and educational benefits of a Catholic secondary education at SMCC. The program provides its students with the personalized, one-on-one teaching they need whilealso being able to learn in some traditional classroom settings. A unique Peer Mentoring program allows other students to serve as mentors in the classroom to inclusion students. SMCC is the first Catholic high school in Michigan to offer a high school experience to students with moderate to severe cognitive and learning challenges.

Recently we received this update from Sean Jorgenson, President of SMCC:

“Thanks to your help, love, support and encouragement over the past year and a half, we are now well into Year 2 of our full inclusion program. We’ve added Marissa as a third student in the program and now have 11 fully trained Peer Mentors. Next week, we will be moving into our redesigned and renovated space for our Academic Support and Inclusion programs.

We are watching the culture among our students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni change, literally before our eyes, each day. We are becoming more Christian, more compassionate, and more aware of the multitude of gifts and talents that each beautiful soul possesses.”

The SMCC Bessette Scholars and their Peer Mentors.

“We can’t thank you enough for starting this program. Jacob is living his best life right now and it’s due to the SMCC community embracing this program with all of their hearts. We are forever grateful and are proud to be involved in getting this program off the ground. We pray that it will positively impact future students for years to come,” share Steve and Aimee Goda, parents to Jacob, a student in the program.

Your support of the Foundation’s Field of Interest Funds make it possible to offer competitive impact grants annually to schools, parishes and ministries with innovative programming making a difference in the community. Help us to give even more in 2020 by supporting our Catholic Education and Formation fund!