The GIFT (Grow In Faith Together) Program provides religious education to mentally and physically challenged individuals. The program currently has four groups of students, ranging in age from 15 to adult.
The program’s teaching is Catholic-based, reaching out to individuals from St. Hubert Parish and others from surrounding churches. This ministry serves a part of our community that might otherwise be overlooked.
The GIFT year begins on a Sunday in September at 12:15 p.m. Mass where all members of the program sit together. The priest acknowledges the group’s presence to the larger community, asking for prayers and support. A “welcome back” party with food and games follows.
The classes begin in October and end in April. They are held in the school library on either a Monday or a Wednesday evening from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Each group meets every other week during the year. The year concludes in early May with a Saturday 4:30 p.m. Mass followed by a pizza party.
This past year four students received a sacrament for the first time. Two students celebrated First Eucharist at the year-end 4:30 p.m. Mass. Another student received the sacrament of Confirmation in May, along with 111 other students from the Youth Ministry at St. Hubert. The fourth student received the sacrament of Confirmation at his home parish.
Can I Help?
The GIFT Program would like to get the word out about the program to prospective students. Area group home facilities (i.e., Clearbrook, Little City, etc.) are aware of the program since many of the current students live in these facilities. The program does need help, however, in spreading the word about GIFT to other special needs students, particularly those who do not live in group home facilities. We welcome participants from our parish, as well as those from other churches in our community.
Training to be a teacher or helper for the GIFT Program is “on the job” in an individual class. This volunteer effort requires a patient person who has a willingness to serve individuals with special needs. GIFT is currently blessed with several dedicated teachers and support staff, making the time spent working in this program a real joy.
There are presently four class groups, each having a low teacher-to-student ratio. Some groups have the students’ staff stay in the classroom, while others have parents who stay.
For more information, contact Mike Keenan 847-885-7703.