Staying up to date with JPII
Virtual Gala Week Celebration Starts June 15
Keeping the health and safety of our students, adults, staff, and event guests at the forefront, John Paul II Center has made the difficult decision to cancel our “physical” Legacy Gala on August 22. The continued uncertainty around the COVID 19 pandemic coupled with our commitment to keep everyone safe have led us to move to an online event. It was a difficult decision, but one we believe is in the best interest of those who planned on joining us that evening. 

On March 16, we successfully transitioned our classrooms to distance learning. At first this seemed like a monumental task, but our staff’s dedication has turned this challenge into an opportunity. We hope the same will occur by moving the fundraising for our Legacy Gala entirely online.

We will kick off our Gala celebration on Monday, June 15. Throughout the week you will receive emails that include all the things that make this event so special. You will be introduced to Charity, one of our 2020 graduates, and learn more about our Halo Award and Peggy’s Legacy of Faith honorees. Believing in the importance of gratitude, we will share our sponsors and donors with you so you can join us in thanking them for their support. And finally, on Friday, June 19, we will invite you to view our Gala video to provide a glimpse into how we’ve successfully transitioned from in-person to distance learning and why your support is more important than ever. In addition, throughout the summer we will continue our online auction that is filled with all the fun, unique and handmade items we would have shared with you at Gala. We will also continue selling raffle tickets for an amazing St. Thomas trip. Once we sell our 200 th ticket we will hold the drawing for this once-in-a-lifetime escape.

What we’ve seen during this unprecedented time is that the specialized programs that we provide are needed now more than ever. Our teachers, therapists and direct care workers continue to provide the highest level of education to our students and adults while retaining the connection to the routines provided at JPII.

Change can be scary, but it can also be amazing. We’ve seen students so excited for online learning that they dress in their school uniforms before class begins. We’ve also seen students who miss us so much that they continue to get ready for school and wait for their bus to arrive, even though it won’t.

Our adults are transitioning as well, with some overcoming their fear of technology to join Zoom sessions where they can socialize with their friends. Others are spending their time honing the skills they’ve learned at JPII by cooking, gardening and even making masks for family and friends.

All these successes are possible because of the funds we raise during our Legacy Gala. As you can see, it is more important today than ever before for our center to open once Governor Wolf allows us to return. 
Celebrating The End of This Year And Looking Forward To A New Year and New Opportunities

School Age Program Update

The school year is down to the final week! This last trimester looked very different from the previous two, consisting almost entirely of distance learning. We are so proud of our staff for continuing the education process without missing a beat and of our students who were willing to try a new way of learning. 

Our graduates received a surprise from their teachers and me. We delivered yard signs, gifts, and their caps and gowns. They were thrilled with the gifts! There will be a graduation ceremony when we are permitted to gather again.

In addition to graduation, the end of the school year includes other annual events. A huge shout out to our friends at Berks Catholic for creating a video for our students since we couldn’t come together for Fun & Field Day. Berks Catholic seniors shared how much they missed spending this special day with our students. They challenged our students to do a dance and be active just as they would have been during the event. Their mascot even made an appearance! Thanks for sharing the love!

Our staff decided that our yearly pizza party had to go on, even if we couldn’t gather together in one location. As you will see later in this eNewsletter, it was a team effort to put together pizza kits for each one of our students and adults. There was no way that we were letting this tasty tradition go unnoticed!

We will be offering an Extended School Year (ESY) program this summer. It will begin in July and we hope to be able to provide it at the center. As we close out the year our minds begin to look toward the new school year.

It’s a little difficult to know where the world will be at that point, but we will be prepared. We will be ready for a few different scenarios. Whether it be virtual, in person or a combination of the two, we will provide it. We learned a lot during this closure, and we are much stronger because of it.
Adult Program Update

Our Adult Program remains closed until we move into the green phase. Staff are staying connected to the families through phone calls and Zoom meetings. The meetings consist of craft activities, music therapy, reading or just hanging out to talk about their day.

Plans are underway to provide programming in the community and in the home once we move into the yellow phase on June 5. We anticipate continuing to provide community only services for our adults who would thrive in this environment.

The closure helped us to look at the possibility of adding new services to enhance the lives of our adults. The hope is to open the adult program by mid-summer. It will look very different, too, as we transition back into the center, but the safety of our adults and staff will remain paramount as we do so.
Celebrating Our 2020 Graduates
While traditional graduations have changed, we made a new one to honor our graduates by making home visits complete with balloons, signs and their cap and gowns for socially distant graduation celebrations. Enjoy the video below as we look back and rejoice with our graduates Charity, Cruz, Jennifer and Yanessa! Congratulations to all 2020 Graduates!
2020 Graduate, Charity.
2020 Graduate, Cruz.
2020 Graduate, Jennifer.
2020 Graduate, Yanessa.
Pizza Party Goes Virtual!

The end of the school year has been challenging, but the staff, students and adults JPII successfully transitioned to distance learning and found new ways to celebrate annual traditions in a virtual format. One of those traditions is the annual end of year pizza party, which many thought wouldn’t happen this year. The JPII staff, however, started thinking outside the (pizza) box and has found a way to continue this tradition and bring the entire center together to enjoy homemade pizza. Teachers and staff assembled kits for students and adults to assemble at home and on Wednesday, June 3 at 5pm we'll tune into Zoom and celebrate the end of the year with our Virtual Pizza Party!
Staying Social
Make sure you like our Facebook and LinkedIn pages to stay connected with us, our students and adults and our programming. Don't miss out on the positive and uplifting content we share daily!
Donation Options
Participate in our online weekly auctions. We have an ever-changing variety of items for anyone in your family.

Enter for your chance to win a trip for two to Saint Thomas! What's included?

  • Round-trip airfare for two
  • Seven nights at The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club
  • Three bedroom, three-and-a-half bath condo
  • Sunset sail for two on the Lady Lynsey Catamaran
  • BVI motorboat trip for two to Soggy Dollar Bar
  • Expiration extended through 2021/2022

Winner will be drawn as soon as 200 tickets are sold! Purchase yours today!

Treat your child to a good book! Once books are ordered, Mrs. Berkhammer will be notified and can arrange for delivery. If you have questions, please  contact her here.
Class Activation Code ( HG6HC).

Orders are due by June 26!
John Paul II Center for Special Learning | 1092 Welsh Road, Shillington, PA 19607  | 610-777-0605