While I know the majority of my readers are not special needs parents, I know a devoted segment of you are. And those not raising special needs children themselves probably know Catholic parents who are living with this unique blessing. It’s why now I’m sharing all the details on my upcoming conference in the hopes that y’all will help me get the word out. So this week, here’s (more than) seven reasons you should attend, or help spread the word, about CPSNCC’s ‘Accepting the Gift’ Conference.
I stared an organization (that is not currently a 501c3 because holy paperwork Batman!) called Catholic Parents of Special Needs Children Conference LLC (or CPSNCC for short because holy mouthful Batman!). So while I’m the main man behind the curtain, I hope in time this organization will grow, become a non-profit and ultimately run a large, multi-day event. I started CPSNCC with the goal of organizing a conference because after much searching I learned there was no other national conference for Catholic special needs parents. I found small local events on inclusion in Catholic schools, or events focused on including children with developmental delays in Mass, but no conference designed to support and educate Catholic parents raising physically and/ or mentally disabled children. In general, resources for Catholic parents can be tough to come by and I have met many struggling parents in online groups who are frustrated an in need of help. Early on, these parents encouraged me to move forward with a conference and provided many suggestions that I’ve worked to incorporate into this event.
Catholic parents have unique needs when it come to raising their special needs child; Sacramental prep and religious instruction, family planning, and end of life care are only a few of the areas where a secular or mainstream Christian group cannot help. The Catholic Church is robust enough to strengthen special needs parents, but we need to do better at getting help into the hands of those who need it. That’s where ‘Accepting the Gift’ – A Conference for Catholic Parents of Special Needs Children comes in.
On April 27, 2019 at Mater Ecclesiae Roman Catholic Church, 261 Cross Keys Rd., Berlin NJ from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Catholic parents of special needs children are invited to come and relax, enjoy the company of people who ‘get it’ and learn how to better care for themselves and their children. Mass will be offered at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., with Confession avalible prior. Adoration will be available all day in the chapel. A continental breakfast and lunch are provided. There will be four talks, plus time to socialize.
Parents who cannot attend due to distance or caregiving duties can purchase an online ticket and stream all the talks live on the day of the event. Groups of parents can also gather in remote locations and stream the talks for a discounted online ticket price. And all attendees, whether online or in person, will get access to an online library of talks and additional resources. There are a limited number of tickets for the in person event, but an unlimited number for online viewing.
If you want to attend but aren’t convinced take a look at our speakers page, or shoot me an email with your questions or concerns. Know that in addition to the line up of great talks, there will be tons of other people in attendance you can chat with who will understand your unique struggles and joys. You’ll be able to take home valuable information, and perhaps breath a little easier after some time away. Groupon always has great deals on hotels in Philadelphia, PA and Atlantic City, NJ (both of which are only 30 minutes from the venue). Make it a weekend and enjoy site seeing, or maybe the shore, before and after the conference. Your closest airport would be Philadelphia International, but check to see if you can catch a direct flight to the Atlantic City airport for a good deal. Make it a spiritual pilgrimage of sorts by visiting some of the many Catholic sites in the area while you’re in town. Or enjoy the AC nightlife, because you’re allowed to have fun too!
Not a special needs parent but want to help? Here’s how you can spread the word;
- Share this post, or the conference’s website, on social media.
- Email this post, or the conference’s website, to any friend or family member who you think may need this conference.
- Print out this flyer and post it at your parish and around your diocese. (Here’s a press release too if you need one.)
- Offer to organize a group of parents and host a watching party at your house on the day of the event.
- Offer to help with childcare so someone else can attend the conference either in person or online.
- Volunteer in person at the event (Email me!).
- Buy a ticket for someone who cannot afford one.
- Do you know someone who’s talk should be included in our online library? Send them this form to be included.
- If you are a member of the Knights of Columbus, Knights of Malta, Catholic Daughters of America, Catholic Medical Association or any other group with a mission to help children with special needs and their families please ask your local, state or national organization to consider donating money to help offset costs. (I will be happy to talk to your group in person or via Skype if they are interested in learning more. Just ask! )
- If your business or organization helps Catholic special needs parents, please consider sponsorship, and your literature will given to attendees and your information featured on the conference website.
- Personally donate money. Costs include the speakers, food, website, streaming technologies, promotion, plus the need to build up a fund for future conferences. In order to keep ticket prices affordable for parents already strapped with many out of pocket medical expenses, donations and sponsorship are crucial.
Running a conference is a ton of work (especially when you’re also trying to help your son recuperate from back surgery, move, write a book…all the normal things people do in the span of six months) but I believe ‘Accepting the Gift’ fills a huge void for Catholic special needs parents. Online groups are great, but we need to come together in person as much as possible to connect and support one another in our unique vocation. You can help more families learn about this event. I’m only one blogger with a small following; I can’t do it alone (though I’m trying my hardest!) Please share and spread the word so as many people as possible can benefit from this event. Thank you!
Now write down you own takes and link them up below! Be sure to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Takes. I look forward to reading your posts!