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Porto Charities helps grant employment

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School officials recently gathered at St. Veronica School in Chantilly to receive a check representing a grant that will pay for the part-time employment of an intellectually disabled teacher assistant.

The grant, provided by Porto Charities, based in Arlington, will be used to employ Angela Beltran, who has been volunteering at St. Veronica as an unofficial teacher assistant since last year. She supports several teachers during the school day, including helping with pre-school, resource and library activities. 

Porto Charities President Leo Alonso and board member Mike Eisenberg were on hand to present the symbolic check for $10,000 to St. Veronica Principal Mike Busekrus, Father Dennis Kleinmann, pastor, and Beltran.

“We are thankful for the financial support from Porto Charities that allows us to fulfill the mission of inclusion given to us by Bishop Burbidge,” said Busekrus. “An inclusive environment must also make room for meaningful employment for those with intellectual disabilities. Miss Angela contributes so much to the daily life of the school — we are proud to be able to pay her for her skills.”

One of the teachers Beltran assists is the school’s technology teacher and her mom, Sara.

“I’m grateful to Porto Charities and Bishop Burbidge’s inclusion initiative for making it possible for Angela to get paid for what she’s already been doing here at St. Veronica’s” said Sara.  “The teachers love having her, and she loves being here.”

Porto Charities, in conjunction with Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, the Office of Catholic Schools and the George Mason Learning Into Future Environments (LIFE) program, has put in place a pilot program of Catholic schools employing adults with intellectual disabilities as junior class assistants, lunch and recess monitors, physical education helpers, and receptionists.

The principals at Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Vienna, St. Veronica and St. Joseph School in Herndon have volunteered for this pilot program.

Correction:An earlier version of this story referred to the wrong St. Joseph School. The Herald regrets the error. 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020