No doubt you have heard the phrase, “it takes a village to raise a child.” While use of the phrase gained popularity in 1996 here in the United States, it is actually a very old African proverb. Regardless of its origin it’s a saying that is never too far away from my thoughts as I walk through the hallways of our school and visit our residences. When I think of the full range of services that Mary Cariola Children's Center offers it is clear that it does in fact take a village.
Holiday songs fill the airwaves, lights frame houses in holiday cheer and shoppers intensify their search for that perfect gift. People exchange gifts to celebrate Chanukah, Christmas and Kwanza. It seems to me the perfect gift is one that comes from the heart and is given with pure intentions.
November is National Adoption Awareness Month. Adoption is wonderful and rewarding, and when it happens to be a child who has disabilities, the experience can be incredibly fulfilling for both parent and child.
If you happen to be an observer of societal changes in history or a child of the late 40’s and 50’s you can easily look back and see that Mary Cariola was ahead of her time. Back then medical professionals and educators who worked with children with disabilities urged families to place their children in institutions. At the time it was thought that an institution was the best place for kids to be cared for and protected. Then along came Mary with an innovative approach to education, care and dedication to find the potential within each child and a belief and passion for supporting families who were determined not to institutionalize their children.