The Pure in Heart

Adults with Down Syndrome, Advocate, Community Participation, Down Syndrome, Education, Family Challenges, Inspiration, Parents, People with Disabilities, Special Education, Western Carolina University Add comments

On April 9  Billy, Mary and I spent a delightful afternoon with a group called The Pure in Heart,  at Longs Chapel United Methodist Church in Lake Junaluska N.C. This long standing church/community group is led by Jackie Spencer, a former student and dear friend of mine.

Billy Schulz, Jane Schulz, Fred Spencer, Jackie Spencer reunite for the Pure in Heart

Billy Schulz, Jane Schulz, Fred Spencer, Jackie Spencer reunite for the Pure in Heart

Jackie describes Pure in Heart as  “a group of adults who share Acts 2:42 dinner together, followed by a variety of activities with emphasis on fun, fellowship, and service. We work around and from our challenges, knowing that God’s strength is evident in how He enables us and calls us to help one another.”

What a reception we received from the Pure in Heart! Thank you!

What a reception we received from the Pure in Heart! Thank you!

The Pure in Heart includes persons with disabilities, their parents, teachers, and friends. They welcomed us with open arms (literally), listened to our stories, and shared their concerns and victories. We had revised our presentation to reflect changes in Billy’s life and my awareness of what I have learned from him. We called it Lessons From Billy.

Chris, who spontaneously led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance, is a photography enthusiast.

Chris, who spontaneously led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance, is a photography enthusiast.

A surprise feature was the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Chris, one of the younger members of the group. Following the presentation, we enjoyed delicious refreshments and energetic conversation.

The philosophy of The Pure in Heart was evident:  “Every person on earth has special needs. Some needs are more evident than others. Within our church, we all find love, acceptance, and a little  extra help when needed. Every person also has special gifts and our friends’ gifts are well worth discovering.”

A few days later we returned to North Carolina to speak with students and educators at Western Carolina University. Dr. David Westling has invited us to join his students for several years and we always enjoy being there. This time Dr. Valerie Mazzotti welcomed us into her class (SPED 413) for our presentation. Afterwards we were treated with a lovely meal and a conversation full of ideas for the future of education! It is such a privilege  for Billy and me to return to a place we worked and loved,  to see our old friends and to meet new ones.

WCU's Dr. David Westling, Dr. Valerie Mazzotti, Dr. Lisa Bloom, and Dr. Jane Schulz

WCU's Dr. David Westling, Dr. Valerie Mazzotti, Dr. Lisa Bloom, and Dr. Jane Schulz

Both of these events, with unique audiences, illustrated the positive contributions that many people are making to ensure that persons with disabilities have opportunities to develop into happy and productive adults. Thank you, Jackie and David, for your dedication and passion for what you do and for whom you serve, and for  your gracious hospitality.

3 Responses to “The Pure in Heart”

  1. Pollye Pruitt Says:

    The philosophy of The Pure in Heart was evident: “Every person on earth has special needs. Some needs are more evident than others. Within our church, we all find love, acceptance, and a little extra help when needed. Every person also has special gifts and our friends’ gifts are well worth discovering.”

    AMEN, Pollye

  2. Pollye Pruitt Says:

    Hey, Dr. Jane,
    Blessed are the Pure in Heart for They Shall See God;
    Blessed are Special Educators for in our Students We See God
    is the long version of the title for the book I haven’t gotten around to writing yet.
    Jackie looks quite a bit younger than me so I imagine I graduated a long time before she did!

  3. Jane Schulz Says:

    Pollye, it’s always so good to hear from you. I wish you could have been at this presentation; it reflected your own philosophy as well as Jackie’s and mine.

    Jackie was a student who came back to college later in life than you did. You would like her.

    Start making notes for your book!

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