TASH Annual Conference Wednesday Workshop Preview: Faith and Inclusion

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Season 1, Episode 15 — 26 November 2016

About this episode

Mona Fuerstenau of Bethesda Lutheran Communities and Anthony Armitage of One-Classroom discuss a breadth of ways for faith communities to become agents for greater inclusion for people with disabilities, including advocating for inclusion in parochial schools, how faith communities can be networks of natural supports, and how places of worship can leverage their networks to help people with disabilities in areas such as employment.

This is a preview of the “Faith and Inclusion: Embracing Inclusion for People with Disabilities in School and Community” Wednesday Workshop at the 2016 TASH Annual Conference.

About the presenters

A color portrait of Fuerstenau, a woman with brown hair with some grey on the sides, falling to her shoulders. She is wearing a brown shirt against a brown background. She has low-profile rectangular glasses and is smiling more to one side than the other.Mona Fuerstenau worked as Speech Language Pathologist for 13 years in multiple settings; early intervention, schools and with veterans. Her passion as a disability advocate stems from the inequities witnessed in all of these arenas. She is passionate about communities of belonging and is working primarily in faith communities at this point. Her current role with Bethesda Lutheran Communities is Director of Ministry Partnerships. She is a parent of two young adults who are very diverse learners. A fan of Asset Based Community Development, she regularly encourages thinking “outside the DD bubble”. Her vision includes communities who become places of sanctuary, belonging, meaningful participation and mutual support with families experiencing disability.

A color portrait in quarter-profile of Anthony Armitage, a man with mostly silver hair and a thin face. His hands are folded in front of him. He is wearing a blue shirt and a dark, striped tie. The background has something blue in it but is faded into a brightly exposed white light.Anthony Armitage and his wife LeeAnn Armitage are the founders of One Classroom, parents of two children and members of Mary Queen of Peace Parish in Webster Groves, Missouri. Their youngest child Christopher was born with Down Syndrome. After extensive research to determine the optimal educational pathway for their son LeeAnn and Anthony were inspired by inclusive education and the many Catholic schools around the country implementing inclusive programs. The opportunity of inclusive education, a strong belief in Catholic education, and the desire to educate their children together in one school created a passion to help all families of children with special needs and to serve Christ’s church by helping the St. Louis archdiocese schools offer a new option for educating children with special needs. One Classroom is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating inclusive educational opportunities for children with special needs. We believe every child deserves a Catholic education in their local parish school in full community with their peers. One Classroom creates awareness, promotes and supports inclusive education by providing funding, training, expert resources, sharing of best practices and connecting parents.

A portrait of Donald Taylor, a man with a medium smile and a mob of curly dark hair in a black collared shirt against a pattern of a blue pained wrought-iron gateDonald Taylor is the Membership Manager at TASH and the producer of Amplified.


Complete transcript forthcoming

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We’ll hear from another outstanding advocate again in two weeks.

Musical coda

This interview was originally recorded on 21 October 2016.

The audio of this interview and the transcript have been lightly edited for clarity.

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