Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Do you know anyone who would like to win $5000?

Maybe even you would you like to win $5000?

Hello Friends,

Do you know the winning ticket for the Celebration raffle is $5000? 

Each entry is  $50.  And your odds are very good.
In fact, better than 1 in 1000. 

Even more importantly, every ticket purchased goes toward a cause you care about, The Madonna School and Workshop!

Tickets will be on-sale at the Celebration Event or

Contact the Madonna School  for more information or to purchase tickets.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Let's Get This Party Started!

The excitement builds as the Celebration nears. 

Mary Dobleman has been working for several months on preparing what will surely be another exciting success for the Madonna School program. She, and her husband Tom, have been advocates for the Madonna Programs for several years for many reasons and this year are the chairs of the Celebration event. 

When asked why the Madonna School is important to Mary and to the community, she answered:

Our nephew, Lewis has been a student at Madonna and we also have had other friends with special needs who have had their children at Madonna at different times. Tom and I both work in Healthcare and we have worked closely with special needs children and their families in different capacities providing different levels of care. One overall theme for all of these families was the concern they had for their special needs child as they became young adults and needed more life skills and ways to gain more independence. Every parent wants a child to be able to reach a level of skill where they can live independently. Madonna's mission was consistent with this concern and the dedication of the staff at Madonna was impressive. Tom and I realized this is the one place that is really helping fill the gap for these individuals. The money raised for the school is used wisely and the needs of each student is very basic. We want to help Madonna reach as many special needs children in our community as is possible.” 

Then on the subject of the sunflowers and this year’s Celebration theme:

Follow the Sun is our theme. Sunflowers grow toward the sun, they are bright and cheerful. Our Madonna children bring sunshine into our lives....they follow the sun .....they are bright and cheerful. as the theme song goes... Not knowing what tomorrow will bring, we will follow the sun"

If you’re wondering about what exciting new items and old favorites will be part of the auction this year, stay tuned! The Celebration Blog and Facebook page will begin sharing sneak peaks at some of the great stuff you can bid on while supporting the Madonna School.

Have you bought your tickets for the August 23rd event? You can reply to the school with a check or pay now through Paypal. We look forward to seeing you there!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Did you know that ostriches do not, in fact, bury their heads in sand? The illusion that an ostrich is hiding his head is actually a purposeful misconception intended to protect of his offspring from predators*. 

Parents: Have you ever been accused of denying or avoiding the facts, hiding from the truth, or ignoring the situation when it comes to your children? Was it true? Or perhaps those accusations came from people who did not know all of the facts, didn’t get close enough, or even misunderstood the situation.

Here’s another thing about the ostrich, they are hard to miss. Adult males are eight to nine feet in height and weigh 350-400 pounds*.

Sometimes, as a parent of a child with disability, I feel like a lone ostrich in an aviary full of lightweight, ready for flight, birds. I feel like every decision I make has an audience; I can’t be missed and am thus scrutinized by the onlookers. When I protect, or advocate, I may be mislabeled as mean or aggressive. And when provoked, I fight with the tools I have, which may appear backward, but work for my needs.

Maybe I’m alone on this ostrich analogy.
However, let’s assume for today that I am not.

Let’s assume, for today, that parents of adult children with disabilities have lived in/with this combination of feeling both misunderstood and under the spotlight for most, if not all, of the lives of their children. And that each time a parent appears to have his head hidden, he is actually attempting to divert trouble and keep his child (no matter the age) safe and healthy.

One safe option for adults with disabilities in our community is the Madonna Workshop. Currently, however, the workshop format is under extreme scrutiny and there are changes being legislated. In some states, families of people who choose workshops as an option are being forced to find other arrangements or try out new placements, even if they are happy in their current environment.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bright Beginnings

*We are please to share another family story. Guest blogger Patrick Flanery

Our son, Jack (age 7), has just completed his first year at Madonna School. He went to OPS for kindergarten and was required to switch schools for first grade to attend an ACP classroom at another school. Upon finding an ACP classroom, we learned that particular classroom would be moved to yet another school the following year.

We knew at some point we wanted to send Jack to Madonna and agreed it was probably in his best interest to make the move for first grade in order to eliminate all of the transitions. Not only do we have a more stable situation for Jack, but also a loving and caring environment with Christian values. Jack’s two older sisters have the benefit of receiving Catholic education and now Jack will be able to have the same benefit.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What the Madonna School Means to Our Family

*This week’s Guest blog is by Madonna School Parent Tara Harper

Before the Madonna School

For Years, we dealt with suspensions and weekly calls from the school about our son’s behavior. I felt like my husband and I were always fighting to keep services that were supposed to be provided through the school system, including basics to his education like appropriate tools and resources to increase his language and fine motor skills. It was a battle that I honestly could not fight anymore.
The time came when we had to decide whether to send our child to a huge middle school where he would be segregated in one part of the building all day or look at schools outside our school district.

I was exhausted!

Then we had a respite provider last summer who connected us with another family whose child attended the Madonna School.

A Chance to Fit In

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Gratitude To and From

Blessed with Volunteers

At the Madonna School we are blessed to have many volunteers help in a wide variety of areas. From assisting in the classrooms to the kitchen, from working with the students individually to promoting the mission in the community, the Madonna School and Workshop meets the needs of its students and clients with the help of valuable volunteers.

There are also many special events, like the Golf Classic and the Celebration Event, that require volunteers to spend many hours preparing and promoting in order to raise the funds necessary for the mission: empowering with education the Madonna School students and adults.

“There are two kinds of gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we receive, and the larger kind we feel for what we give.” --Edward Arlington Robinson

Not surprisingly, there is often feedback from our volunteers about how grateful they are to the Madonna staff and students as well.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Living the Good Life

On a recent road-trip to central Nebraska, my son Marcus leaned back and sighed, “This is the good life.” That particular weekend there was much ado about Nebraska’s slogan: “The Good Life.” So I smiled in agreement while my mind wandered over the parallel metaphor to our world.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, it gets old defending the place you call home. Do you get tired of explaining
what exactly is good about “the good life” to those who say they could never…? To those who are filled with ill-conceived notions and stereotypes about our day-to-day? What beauties there are to see and experience?

Like many kids, I knew I’d leave Nebraska when I grew up. But the days went by and, though there were other opportunities along the way, I chose to stay. And sometimes there were circumstances that chose me instead. Which brings me to the parallel metaphor. Life with my son, Marcus.

It’s not a new idea, the metaphor of the physical place we find ourselves and our larger fate. So here we go…

On March 21st we will celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. We celebrate because Down syndrome is part of who Marcus is. Like many families who find themselves in an unexpected place – it is not about making the best of it; it’s about celebrating the best of it.

What I’d like to share this World Down Syndrome Day, with those of you who don’t live in the place we do: It’s not what you think.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Place for Transition, Employment and Life Skills

A daily activity list for Madonna School Transition students includes work tasks, cooking, cleaning, functional academics, and contract work. Each item on this list is then individualized for each student. Pairs of three to four students work together for hour increments and then switch groups. The students complete these activities within the classroom, throughout the campus, and in the community.

In the not too distant past, the home base for all this planning, learning, coming and going was a small, one-room portable that sat near the school’s playground. For five years, multiple teachers, job coaches, and nearly 15 students enlivened the former Transition room with learning and laughter. Not surprisingly, after five years, the program outgrew this small space.

With the help of exceptional grant writing, generous giving, and a large group of helping hands, the Transition program of the Madonna School is now happily located inside a new wing of the building with a six-room facility. This wing operates with much more than simply a classroom. In it, students are able to utilize a full kitchen, practice bedroom, and workroom. The facility is also equipped with two bathrooms, an office, and an additional workstation that can be closed off with sliding walls.

Transition students are thriving in this new environment.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Madonna Shop Educates the Mind, Body, and Spirit

This week we have a guest post from the parents of a Madonna Shop Client.

The Madonna Philosophy

Our son Joe, has worked at Madonna Workshop for 28 years – a long time – here is why:

To start with, for us it was an easy decision choosing the Madonna Workshop as Joe graduated from Madonna School and we wanted the same philosophy to carry over into his work situation.

When you enter Madonna Shop, the tone is immediately one of warmth and respect and a real camaraderie mixed with a serious work ethic.  The caring and encouragement from the staff is apparent while challenging them to be their best and develop a good self-image. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Choosing the Madonna School

Happy New Year Friends,
This Post is taken directly from the website Grown Ups & Downs
It's a shameless plug to share with everyone why we are
gearing up to Celebrate again in 2014!

School Choices Part 2 - Choosing the Madonna School

So we left off last blog at the impasse between the public school system and me when Marcus was not yet 5 years old.  What happened next is someone told me about a local school for special needs students called the Madonna School. “OK. We’ll look into it.”
 In 1995 we toured the school, a small converted church in Benson, desperate for an option…We were greeted by book pages covering the principal’s floor. He apologized for the disarray, explaining he was creating the 40 odd math syllabuses for the nearly 50 students.
“Wait-” I said.  “You don’t force everyone into three peg-hole options?” Marcus was only five years old and I already displayed battle fatigue from our public school experiences.  The idea of school staff being on the same team as Marcus, of our educating and preparing him together to face the world-that concept created hope.
link to the official
Madonna School Website