St. Lawrence O’Toole Embraces Inclusion Awareness

kevin ryan reads to students
Kevin Ryan reads to students at St. Lawrence O’Toole on Inclusion Awareness Day. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Matteson, IL–(ENEWSPF)– October 10th was Inclusion Awareness Day. The schools and parishes within the Archdiocese of Chicago were asked to celebrate the inclusion of people of all abilities in fellowship, education, and ministry not just on this day but every day of the year. St. Lawrence O’Toole School has always welcomed children and adults of all abilities. For example, Kevin Ryan, who is 51 years of age, and previously volunteered at a Flossmoor based agency, Good Shepherd Center, as a teacher’s aide. The facility provided a day program for developmentally disabled 3 & 4 year old children. Kevin volunteered at Good Shepherd for 23 years before lack of state funding ended the program.

As a result, O’Toole has been blessed to have Kevin Ryan as a preschool room helper. Kevin comes in weekly and helps to open milk and lunches, visits with students and recently read a book to the preschoolers. Kevin has volunteered in the parish for many years serving as an usher at masses. It is wonderful that now his service can extend to our school St. Lawrence O’Toole has steadily worked toward inclusion awareness by designating parking, putting in ramps and special seating.

Recently, O’Toole received a $1,000 Open Hearts Award Grant from Pathways Foundation to erect railings in the church which will assist in getting individuals onto the altar. The school and parish will continue to make efforts to offer recognition and not rejection to all people, of all abilities.