Our Story

The Foundation for Inclusive Religious Education (FIRE) was founded in 1996 by a group of parents who shared a common dream; for their children with special needs to attend their parish schools with siblings and friends.  Since that time through the efforts of parents, a dedicated board of directors and community members who embrace inclusive Catholic education, many funds have been raised to further that dream. FIRE offers financial grants for qualifying schools within the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. These grants assist with the cost of Special Education teachers, Para educators, materials and equipment, enabling schools to educate children with special needs alongside their peers. FIRE supports Inclusive Catholic Education as students are taught acceptance, compassion and the value of every child of God.  Children grow up knowing and appreciating each other’s unique gifts.

Those We Serve

FIRE specifically provides financial grants to schools within the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph who are committed to educating children with special needs who would NOT be able to attend without Para educator support.  Schools awarded grants through a formal application process have ownership of their own model of Inclusive Catholic Education.  The foundation raises funds to assist schools with the costs of special education services for children with diagnosed special needs including Down Syndrome, Developmental Delays, Lowe’s Syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Trisomy 9p and others.  Special Education teachers, classroom teachers and para educators work as a team to provide the most effective inclusive education dependent upon the needs of the individual student.

Additionally, students with mild learning disabilities receive services and support from modifications and instruction provided by Special Education teachers and para educators within inclusive classrooms and resource rooms.

The mission of FIRE not only serves those directly benefiting from required educational support but all those classmates, educators and parish community members forever changed by the beauty of inclusive education.

Inclusive Catholic Education

Inclusion is an approach in which all children learn together in the same school with the necessary services and support to ensure their success. For FIRE, this means providing parish schools with necessary funding of professional support to successfully include students with special needs into their educational community. Students with special needs are able to accomplish their own individual academic objectives while learning alongside their peers.

For more information on Inclusive Catholic Education within the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, click here.

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