This article was published in the Catholic Standard, June 10, 2011, by Mark Zimmermann, Editor
For Mary Frances LaHood, one of her favorite times is when her worlds collide. Rather than a planetary collision, that involves her friends from the Academy of the Holy Cross hanging out at her house.
The LaHoods' family home is like no other in their neighborhood, because Mary Frances' parents, Dan and Cubby LaHood have raised three children in a home they call St. Joseph's House, where they care for children and young adults with disabilities.
"They make me so happy. They're my friends," said Mary Frances of the youth with multiple disabilities who are cared for at their home. "It's the way it's always been," she said of her home life, and she wouldn't have it any other way.
Mary Frances LaHood, a graduating senior from the Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington, has completed more than 500 hours of community service, including at her own home and at several nursing homes. She started a local branch of the non-profit group New Global Citizens, which encourages youth to reach out to those in need around the world....To read more, please go to the link above.
This article was published in the National Review, January 19, 2015, by Kathryn Lopez
Dan LaHood and his wife, Cubby, founded Isaiah’s Promise, which provides support for families who choose life after being given a severe or fatal diagnosis and the 32-year-old Saint Joseph’s House, their home, a home for children and young adults with disabilities in Silver Spring, Maryland.
To read more, please go to the link above.
This article was published in the NC Register, November 2, 2014, by Carloee McGrath
Reva Norken still gets emotional when talking about her son, Seth, who would have turned 30 this year.
Back in 1984, Reva and her husband were excited as they counted down to their first baby’s due date.
But after a traumatic delivery, Seth suffered brain damage and developed cerebral palsy.
“By the time they did the C-section, my son was not breathing,” Norken said.
Reva and her husband were in shock. Suddenly, they were dealing not only with a new baby, but a little boy who needed special care.
To complicate matters, Reva had to go back to work after Seth was born because she carried the family’s health insurance. For the first year of Seth's life, she relied on help from her family.
“As he got older, his needs increased,” Norken explained. “I think if I never found Cubby, it would have been a nightmare.”
Cubby — or Annalise LaHood — and her husband, Dan, run St. Joseph’s House (SaintJosephsHouse.net) in Silver Spring, Md. They have been providing before- and after-school care for children with multiple and severe disabilities in their home since 1983.
Norken brought Seth to St. Joseph’s House when he was 15 months old.
“If we hadn’t found her and this larger community, it would have been very isolating. She was like my Godsend,” recalled Norken of Annalise....To read more, please go to the link above.
This article was published in Patheos, October 3, 2013, by Tony Rossi
When Dan LaHood was in second grade at St. John Baptist De La Salle grammar school in Chillum, Maryland, God was already planting seeds for his future.
Dan’s teacher chose him to be the companion of a student named Danny Alexander, who had muscular dystrophy.
Though Dan was supposed to be Danny’s helper, the opposite happened.
During a recent interview on “Christopher Closeup,” Dan recalled, “This kid was so independent, so tough, so resilient, so fast on his crutches. He wanted nothing to do with me in terms of needing me to help him. It was the other way around. He showed me so much about what it means to take what life gives you and make it something more.”
The friendship blossomed, so Dan looked forward to seeing Danny when everyone returned for third grade. That’s when his teacher informed him that Danny had died over the summer. Dan said, “I was heartbroken. And I think that my heart being broken in that circumstance led me always to have a heart for the disabled.” ...To read more, please go to a link above.
This article was published in the Catholic Standard, May 02, 2017, by Kelly Seegers
On the third Sunday of every month, the multi-purpose room of St. Andrew the Apostle in Silver Spring is transformed into a coffee shop, where cheerful workers in red aprons and baseball caps greet the long line of customers purchasing their morning coffee and pastries.
The coffee shop is called “Café St. Joe,” and is staffed by the youth from St. Joseph’s House, a Silver Spring-based non-profit that cares for youth and teens with developmental, intellectual and physical disabilities.
Cubby and Dan LaHood founded St. Joseph’s House in 1983, and it is now run by their daughter-in-law Natalie LaHood, who is the executive director, and their son, Joe LaHood. It had been a long-time dream of Cubby, who died in September 2015, to have a coffee house in the community that could provide meaningful employment to members of St. Joseph’s House. So when Father Dan Leary, the pastor of St. Andrew’s, asked how the parish could be more involved in the work of St. Joseph’s House, it was the perfect opportunity to give the café a shot.
With the help of a grant from Catholic Charities, the LaHoods purchased the supplies that they would need to start Café St. Joe, and kicked it off in October 2016.
The youth from St. Joseph’s House sell a variety of pastries, including gluten free treats, coffee, espresso drinks, and hot chocolate. They also sell bags of their own custom-made coffee from Furnace Hills Coffee, which is a fair and direct-trade coffee roaster based in Westminster, Maryland that employs adults with disabilities...
“We hope that by providing these young people an opportunity to serve in the life of the parish, they will recognize themselves - and be recognized - as integral to the fabric of the community,” Natalie LaHood told the Catholic Standard in an e-mail. “It's hard to come to Cafe St. Joe and leave without a smile on your face. The love and joy that our youth share are real forms of evangelization; they constantly remind us that true happiness comes from this unconditional love, and not from perfection.”...To read more, please go to the link above.
St. Joseph's House
This article was published in Humanum, 2014, Third Quarter, by Daniel LaHood
....At the beginning of our ministry we had no idea where any of this would lead. It was and is chaotic, joyful, inspirational, wearying, sad, edifying, instructive. It is a life we could not have imagined but one we now cannot imagine having not lived. Mother Teresa was reported to have described a child with a disability the “treasure of mankind.” That may be apocryphal, but we have found it to be absolutely true. Many of the kids who came to our home over the years have died, but every year at Christmas their parents return. And they tell us how they miss their son, their daughter. They tell us, not in so many words, that the love they had for their child was the life they could not have imagined before their child arrived; but one they could not have imagined not living once the child was here. This is true for the Isaiah's Promise parents as well as the Saint Joseph's House parents. Not one carries any regret, whether their child lived for minutes or decades, that that person was part of their lives. Their life to them was a Gift, a Pearl of Great Price, if you will...To read more, please go to the link above.
This article was published in Our Parish Times March 2017, by Colleen Zarzecki
....The past year has seen many positive changes for St. Joseph’s House: Five new children were welcomed to the programs and Café St. Joe continued going strong. The Café’s coveted St. Joseph’s House blend is provided by Furnace Hills Coffee, a nonprofit which employs people with developmental disabilities to roast coffee. A bittersweet development at SJH was the creation of a playground in honor of Jack Campbell. Jack passed away in 2017 at the age of 19 after having come to SJH for over ten years. A donation helped SJH create a playground for other children to enjoy in his honor. Finally, an exciting development for St. Joseph’s House was the purchase of a new van with funds raised at the 2017 gala. All the wonderful activities and experiences the new van made possible for the SJH kids were highlighted in a video at this year’s gala....To read more, please go to the link above and scroll down to page 21.
This article was published in Our Parish Times March 2017, by Colleen Zarzecki
....[St. Joseph's House's] mission is not only to care for the children they serve, but also to support and strengthen their families. Their entire ethos is rooted in their experience of loving the children under their care and is supported by their belief in the dignity of every human being, regardless of their age, condition, or “usefulness.” St. Joseph’s House helps families find the joy that is theirs as children of God and serves the entire family unit so they can stay intact as they face the future....To read more, please go to the link above.
This article was published in Montgomery Magazine December 2018/January 2019
Photographs of smiling faces of past and present St. Joseph's House participants line the walls of the LaHood family home in Silver Spring. This place has opened its doors--literally--to become a second home for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
"We want it to be a space that's comfortable. It really is a family space and that feels like home so kids don't feel like they're going to another school or another kind of institution," says Natalie LaHood, executive director of St. Joseph's House...To read more, please go to the link above.
This article was published in American Catholic, November 19, 2010, by Nancy Frazier O'Brien
It started out as just a job.
But in the 27 years since Dan and Cubby LaHood started St. Joseph's House to provide day care and respite care for children with disabilities, it has become their life's work, a ministry that pays tribute to their son Francis, who was born with multiple birth defects and lived only a few minutes.
Back in 1983, Cubby LaHood, a special education teacher, was looking for a job she could do at home when she was pregnant with her first child. A friend with a disabled child called to ask if she could look after her son for a weekend.
Before she knew it, Cubby was taking care of seven babies with severe disabilities, in addition to her own son Joe.
"When somebody heard there was someone out there willing to care for disabled children in a respite setting, the phone rang and it rang and rang and rang and rang," said Dan LaHood. "And the more we got to know the people, the more we saw the need." ...To read more, please go to the link above.
This article was published in the Catholic Standard,October 26, 2015, by Mark Zimmermann
...At the wake service for Cubby LaHood, one of the speakers was Cecelia Cooley, whose daughter Caitlin was cared for at St. Joseph’s House until her death in 2001.
“When I met Cubby, I was young, just 30, afraid, isolated, angry at God, and in deep denial,” she said. “St. Joseph’s House was the lifeboat, the community that gave us hope, taught us that each life is indeed a gift and that we could weather any storm.”
Summarizing the work of St. Joseph’s House, Cooley said, “50 weeks a year, Cubby and Dan opened their hearts and home to the many St. Joseph’s families seeking comfort, help and respite. School days, snow days, sick days, holidays, birthdays and weekends. Wheelchairs, walkers, feeding tubes, seizures, medications, tantrums. Parties, outings, bowling, swimming, crafts, movies, musicals and fundraisers. Trips to the doctor’s office and hospitals to visit the sick. This was all in a day’s work.”
Cubby LaHood, she said, “helped turn my tragedy into a celebration of life.”...To read more, please go to the link above.