Montini Catholic's Lasallian Youth Moderator, Mr. Denis Block, and 14 students traveled to Midlothian, Illinois on Friday, May 4th to help the organizers of the Developmental Learning Program (DLP) at their annual Fun Fair event.
The DLP provides a complete educational program for students with multiple disabilities in a regular education setting. Mr. Block and his Lasallian Youth Group students got involved with the program through Montini Catholic alumni, Katie (Laurinaitis) Modglin '04, who is a special education teacher for Eisenhower Cooperative in Crestwood, Illinois. Described by Mrs. Modglin as "the final public school option for students with severe special needs before private placement becomes a necessity," the cooperative services 170 students with mental and cognitive disabilities, behavior disabilities, as well as students who are deaf and/or hard of hearing.
"The Fun Fair is a great opportunity for these young students to enjoy an evening of carnival games, food and fun," explained Mr. Block. "We were happy to be told that our help was vital to the success of the night - and we were honored to be a part of it all." Many of the DLP students had no problem playing the games, however, some of them are wheelchair bound, have cerebral palsy, or severe autism and were unable to participate without the assistance of their parents and Montini Catholic students.
A total of fourteen carnival games were set-up for the excited carnival goers. "Our Broncos were in charge of running 10 of them, including Giant Kerplunk, Plinko, Mini-Golf, Football Toss, Ring Toss, Giant Tic-Tac-Toe, and Skeeball," said Block. Montini volunteers also had fun handing out popcorn to families sitting down to eat and take a break from all the festivities.
Over the past three years, with Mr. Block at the helm, Montini's Lasallian Youth have been volunteering on a regular basis at Developmental Learning Program events.
"The evening was a great opportunity to help our community's most vulnerable," said Block. "Many of these students belong to the same families we support each year with our Golden Gobbler Thanksgiving Food Drive, Christmas Adopt-a-Family Program and our Easter Basket project. As important as it is to provide food and gifts during the holidays, it's a rewarding experience for us to actually spend time with those in need and help them in person." Block and his Lasallian Youth Group have participated in the Fun Fair for the past two years. They also lend their time to the DLP's annual Science Fair.
Montini Catholic students volunteering at the Fun Fair were: freshmen, Camille Jefferson, Emma MacBeth, and Glory Ugorji; sophomores, Kylie Boyer, Maggie Crotty, Megan Laughlin, Julia Marciniak, Enya O'Flaherty (pictured above), Abby Petersen; and juniors, Joslyn Boyer, Bella Florio, Sophie Gallagher, Mia Gramann, and Kelan Scott.
Lasallian Youth Club is dedicated to the three pillars of Faith, Service, and Community. The group participates in various service projects throughout the year such as Feed My Starving Children, Ronald McDonald House, Easter Seals, and PADs. They also take part in the Midwest Gathering of Lasallian Schools every summer for a week of prayer and fellowship.