Community Resource Services

According to US Census data, nearly 20% of Americans have some type of disability. For these 1 in 5 Americans, their disability may be physical, intellectual, or developmental. The disability may manifest itself in a way that is apparent, or it may not. It may be severe and complex, or mild. Whatever the specifics, living with a disability has a profound impact on the individual and her/his family.

Often, people with disabilities feel, and are made to feel, unwelcome in places and activities that are routine parts of everyday life for their “typical” neighbors. People living with disabilities are faced with physical and attitudinal barriers that make it difficult or impossible for them to participate fully in all aspects of community life.

Once identified, these barriers can usually be dismantled or overcome. We have seen this done successfully in a number of parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Washington. This template is offered to parishes that wish to include persons with disabilities and their families fully into the lives of their communities and to provide programs that will promote that goal by offering new opportunities for people with and without disabilities to come together to worship, learn, and enjoy themselves.

Our five current replication models of our Community Resource Partners reflect the approach taken by a small group of families at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Potomac, Maryland, who joined together in 1994 to explore how their parish could do more to include and serve the needs of persons with developmental differences. That conversation resulted in the creation of Potomac Community Resources, Inc., a nonprofit organization that today provides 35 therapeutic recreational, social and respite care programs and serves some 400 members who have developmental disabilities. The replication process has been a team effort between the Department of Special Needs Ministry, “Parish Partners” or Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington and Potomac Community Resources.

We hope you enjoy exploring our Community Resource Partners. If you are interested in how your parish might become a host site, please contact the Department of Special Needs Ministries.

Archdiocese of Washington Community Resource Partners


This video produced by America Magazine highlights our Community Resource Programs: