Blessed People Bless People at the Notre Dame School

By Virginia Brooks, Founder and Principal

A lot of people in Dallas were blessed last week – and from a most unexpected source.

More than 100 students from Notre Dame School, Dallas’ only independent school specifically designed to meet the needs of students with intellectual disabilities, fanned out across the Metroplex in a day devoted to service to others.  Celebrating their school’s 50th anniversary Golden Jubilee, these boys and girls — sporting tee shirts that proudly proclaim “No limits. Just Possibilities.” — pitched in to pack food boxes for the needy, sort shoes and clothes for ministries to the poor, decorate birthday cards for the elderly, and assemble surgical soap kits and hospital admission packets.  Another 50 students stayed at the school to prepare hygiene packs for the homeless.

They traveled in buses to seven locations, blessing the staffs, volunteers and recipients of the North Dallas Shared Ministries, North Texas Food Bank, American Red Cross, Methodist Hospital, Brady Center, St. Vincent de Paul and CitySquare.   Accompanied by teachers and school staff, they dug in and happily did the work assigned to them.  When the morning was over, they celebrated back at the school with a Jubilee of Service pizza party to recognize the difference they made in their community.

I was privileged to go with one group to the North Dallas Shared Ministries where a dozen eager students pitched in with great gusto to match donated shoes and place them in designated bins, and to sort clothes into seasons and sizes and rearrange them in order on the racks.  In the food pantry they arranged food items into packages that could be easily dropped into the donated boxes of groceries given out to the long line of people waiting to receive the welcomed assistance in feeding their families.

And all the while their teachers jumped in with teachable moments.  Putting pairs of shoes together became a matching game.  Sorting clothes by small, medium and large turned into an alphabet exercise.  And counting out five potatoes from 10-pound bags for each food box started sounding a lot like a math lesson.

It was recently said about the Washington, D.C. shooter that “hurt people hurt people.”  Well, blessed people bless people too.  And last week hundreds of people were blessed because the Notre Dame students, who are themselves very special people and blessed to be part of a remarkable and benevolent school, chose to celebrate that fact by giving back to others.