by Joe Bollig
TOPEKA — The iCare chapter here isn’t even a year old, but it has made such an impact that it earned recognition from a 60-year-old organization that serves persons with disabilities.
On March 12, iCare of Topeka was given the “Volunteer Group of the Year” award by TARC, Inc., during a ceremony at the Big Gage Shelter House in Gage Park.
The award was accepted by Father Greg Hammes, pastor of Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish, and several iCare volunteers.
This was the 64th year TARC has held an awards recognition event. By contrast, iCare will have its first anniversary in April.
Although the iCare Mass and social is held at 6 p.m. on the second Saturday each month at Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish in Topeka, iCare is regional in scope and attracts participants from several parishes in and near Topeka.
Its name stands for “inclusive Catholic activities and religious experiences.”
“We offer an adapted liturgy for persons with disabilities to enable them to have full participation and thus the full benefit of attending Mass,” said Jim Johnson, iCare of Topeka coordinator and planning team member.
The iCare organizers and volunteers are “very humbled and very honored” to receive the award, and it’s an affirmation of the program, said Johnson.
According to the award citation, iCare was so honored “for creating a welcoming environment for individuals with disabilities and their entire families, and for helping family members feel comfortable,” according to Johnson.
The monthly iCare Mass and social draws between 150 and 200 participants, said Johnson. For more information about iCare of Topeka, call (785) 271-5379 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.