Teaching Together DC was founded to provide adults with special needs employment in Catholic Schools where their presence is largely absent and their skills are needed.
As undergraduates at the University of Notre Dame, founders Mary Forr and Megan Osterhout felt called to serve teachers in Catholic schools. Both women taught and earned their Masters of Education through Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education. While teaching in under-resourced Catholic schools, Mary at Our Lady of Mercy High School in Atlanta, and Megan at All Saints Catholic School in Fort Worth, they discussed the present and urgent need for Catholic schools to welcome people with special needs into their communities. They concluded that they had the opportunity and resources to address that need.
Mary has an older sister with special needs; consequently, she has spent her whole life working with people with special needs. While teaching at Our Lady of Mercy, Mary invited Lani DeMello to be an aide in her classroom. Lani, who was born with Down Syndrome, performed the administrative and management tasks that Mary assigned to her, developing her own skills while enabling Mary to spend more time on instruction. Mary and Megan saw the potential for the fruits of Lani’s work to be replicated across the country, and began making plans to grow the program.