RHODE ISLAND — As schools across the country recognize the value and contributions of religious education during this year’s Catholic Schools Week, the Tom and Terri Murphy Foundation calls on leaders of faith and education to recognize the need for more inclusive Catholic classrooms in our communities, opening the gates of faith-filled learning to all students of varying abilities and backgrounds.
Encouraged by the great success of the VUnited Scholars program — a first-of-its-kind academic, residential, and life skills certificate program at Villanova University for students with mild to moderate intellectual differences — the Foundation seeks additional partners in second and post-secondary academic institutions equally dedicated to the mission of inclusive Catholic education for students of all learning levels.
“The word Catholic means ‘universal’ and we as members of the Church must open our hearts to ensure all who desire it receive equal access to quality, faith-filled education,” said National Director Martha Murray, “It is our duty as members of the faithful to follow Jesus’ example of acceptance and advocacy. I am so proud that our Foundation is answering the call to give voice to those seeking greater representation in our Church and the halls of academia.”
Villanova’s VUnited curriculum has harnessed this spirit of inclusion to the benefit of the students in the program and across campus alike, introducing new perspectives and abilities to the prestigious university. More than 40 applicants have so far applied to join next year’s incoming VUnited class, a testament to its success and the need for more academic institutions to open their doors.
It was for her work with Villanova that Murray was nominated for the Best Buddies of Philadelphia Champion of the Year award this fall, a recognition of her contributions to a future with more inclusive Catholic education.
“Martha’s work in helping to create this unique and successful program is only the beginning of our Foundation’s push for greater acceptance in education,” Tom Murphy, Chair and benefactor, said, “We have more work to do as an organization, as a Church, and as a country to foster and develop the many gifts and talents of those who learn differently in elementary school, high school and beyond. During this Catholic School Week, we call on other academic institutions of faith to consider welcoming these populations into student bodies across the nation. The Foundation is ready and eager to partner with you in this great mission.”
The Foundation remains steadfastly commitment to funding and supporting the development of inclusive Catholic education programs across the country.
The Tom and Terri Murphy Foundation, a federally-recognized 501(c)(3) charitable organization, facilities and supports the establishment of inclusive programs in Catholic high schools and colleges for motivated young adults with mild to moderate intellectual differences, allowing them to fully explore and realize both their intellectual and personal potentials.