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Understanding and Accepting a Life That Includes Disability

JUNE 2 – SUNDAY – 2:30 to 4:30PM

(Following the 1:30PM Inclusive Family Mass at Saint John Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, Bergenfield)

Registration was handeled through Eventbrite


This event celebrated the 10th Anniversary of And A Child Shall Lead US, a peer support group of mothers helping mothers that has been meeting since 2008 at Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Bergenfield. Mothers and fathers (including single parents) of individuals with disabilities were invited to the gathering. The celebration included refreshments, fellowship, and facilitated conversation about developing resiliency and balance for families led by our two amazing speakers. The afternoon also provided a space to acknowledge the joys, hopes, and struggles of raising individuals with disabilities and launching them into the world.

There was an art program, led by Arts Unbound, for sons and daughters as the parents attended the gathering and engage with parents on a similar journey. Everyone come together at the end for cake, champagne, and sparkling cidar. The event was bilingual (English/Spanish). Traducción Simultánea en Español. 



Karen Jackson
Founder Faith Inclusion Network

Karen Jackson's experience advocating for Samantha, her 21-year old daughter who has autism, led her to found Faith Inclusion Network in Virginia in 2008. She currently serves as the organization’s Executive Director, coordinating all major events including a bi-annual That All May Worship Conference as well as continuing to expand Faith Inclusion Network’s work in the local and national community. Karen Jackson has written on the topic of faith and inclusion with articles published in area newsletters, the Catholic Virginian and on various websites and blogs. She has also contributed to the book, Amazing Gifts: Stories of Faith, Disability and Inclusion by Mark Pinsky and is the author of her own book, Loving Samantha.

Robert Naseef, Ph.D.
Lead Consultant for Arc of Philadelphia and SAP’S “Autism at Work” Program  

Robert Naseef, Ph.D. has a distinct voice as a psychologist and father of an adult son with autism. He has spoken around the country and trained professionals internationally in treating autism and supporting families. Along with Stephen Shore, Ed.D., Dr. Naseef is a lead consultant to the Arc of Philadelphia and SAP’s “Autism at Work” program which involves collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation. On World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, 2017, Dr. Naseef gave a TEDx talk entitled How Autism Teaches US About Being Human. Dr. Naseef was recently appointed to the Panel of Professional Advisors of the Autism Society of America. 


And A Child Shall Lead US is supported by the Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Churchand the Office of Pastoral Ministry with Persons Disabilities for the Archdiocese of Newark. It was designed and created by Cherie Castellano MA, CSW, LPC, AAETS, a psychologist and mother of a child with an autism spectrum disorder and Sr. Rie Crowley, SJ, MA of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. Cherie is the Executive Director for Mom2Mom, a peer support hotline out of Rutgers Behavioral Health, for parents of individuals with disabilities and terminal illnesses. In this video, mothers share their experiences of what the group means to them.

This spring also marks the 9th Anniversary of a group for dads, that has been meeting at Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church since May 2010. Dr. Naseef was the opening speaker for this dad's group.

Made Possible by the Generosity of the State of New Jersey Knights of Columbus and Ridgewood Council No. 1736     

Contact Us

Anne Masters, MA, FAAIDD
Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities
Phone: 973-497-4309

The Archdiocese of Newark
171 Clifton Avenue
P.O. 9500
Newark, NJ  071074

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