Our Mission and Vision

Our mission is to provide children with special needs the opportunity for an inclusive education in Catholic schools within the Diocese of Gary. We envision our Catholic schools to be a place where every student is valued as a unique child made in the image and likeness of God.

What We Do

The FIRE Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) organization, makes it possible for partner Catholic schools in the Diocese of Gary to hire special educators, paraprofessionals and to acquire learning materials and technology that create successful learning experiences for all children. With grants from FIRE, schools are able to welcome students with Down syndrome, significant learning disabilities, Autism spectrum disorder, and students who face other special learning challenges. In inclusive learning environments, children grow up knowing and appreciating each other’s unique gifts.

Your Support Changes Children’s Lives

Although willing, not all Catholic schools have the resources needed to welcome students with special needs. We are working to grow throughout the Diocese of Gary and your support will help us spread FIRE’s flame so that more children can learn and thrive in a Catholic academic community and thus enriching all students with the blessings of inclusive learning.  When you support the FIRE Foundation of Northwest Indiana, you embrace love and acceptance.

Our History

The initial spark for our founder, Tracy Ruiz, came in early 2017 when she saw the National Catholic Board on Full Inclusion was hosting a Summit on the first evening of the National Catholic Educators Association Annual conference. It was being held in St. Louis, so only a 5 hour drive away. That evening the Holy Spirit placed the determination needed to know that it was possible, so Tracy started the conversation with her home parish for her son with Down Syndrome to attend the same Catholic school as his older siblings in the upcoming school year. Tracy knew that this was not just about her son, but all God’s Children, so becoming a Fire Foundation affiliate was the next logical step in that mission. Fire Foundation of Northwest Indiana was established in the Fall of 2019.

Contact Us

For more information on Inclusive Catholic Education within the Diocese of Gary, call 219-405-2417 or email info@firefoundationnorthwestindiana.org.

There is a very important spiritual dimension to what we are doing. Jesus did not discriminate. And that is our teaching, the message of the gospel: that everyone made in His image and likeness should be treated
fairly, given the same opportunities and become one in the family of God.

– Bishop Emeritus Raymond Boland