Janice Benton, SFO
Janice Benton assumed the position of Executive Director of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) in May 2004 after twenty-five years of experience in the field of ministry and advocacy for and with persons with disabilities. Prior to becoming NCPD’s Executive Director, Janice served in several capacities in the organization, including that of its Associate Director. Janice assisted in setting up NCPD in 1982, after serving two years on NCPD’s precursor organization, the U.S. Bishops Advisory Committee on People with Disabilities, and continued on as NCPD staff. Janice brings to the Executive Director’s position a wide range of experiences working in the field of ministry and advocacy for and with persons with disabilities, including that of a nursing home aide, catechist and camp counselor with children and adults with intellectual disability, as well as her personal relationships with friends and family members with assorted disabilities. These first hand experiences raised in her an acute concern for the rights of people with disabilities. After receiving a B.A. in Human Development from Wayne State University in Detroit, she moved to Washington, DC in 1979 to work with the American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities, where she was involved in advocating on key public policy issues including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and P.L. 94-142 (currently known as the IDEA).
Throughout her tenure with NCPD she has guided numerous projects and initiatives. She is a frequent speaker at national and diocesan conferences, as well as a guest on various national Catholic radio programs. As recently as this past February, Janice was the recipient of the 2012 Harry A. Fagan Award from the Roundtable Association of Catholic Diocesan Social Action Directors for exemplary contributions which have led to significant progress towards greater social justice and dignity for all members of society at the national or international level. In October 2012 she will be awarded the Justice, Peace & the Integrity of Creation Award from the National Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order, USA for her efforts to live out par. 15 of the Secular Franciscan Rule which calls Secular Franciscans to “individually and collectively be in the forefront of promoting justice by the testimony of our lives.”
Janice recently celebrated her 30th anniversary as a professed member of the Secular Franciscan Order. She is married to retired attorney (and potter) Martin Benton, and they have two adult children, Sarah and Matthew, and a son-in-law (also Matthew).
Nancy Thompson, OCDS
Director of Programs and Diocesan Relations
Dr. Nancy Thompson joined the staff of NCPD in July 2007 after looking for its support in seeking services for her own son with Opitz G/BBB Syndrome, as a diocesan volunteer in disability ministry, as diocesan director of religious education, as a Board member and Board Chair, finally as a theology teacher in an inclusive Catholic High School. She completed her doctorate in applied ministries in 2000 with an emphasis that included ministry with people having disability.
Manager, Programs and Outreach
Esther, will work to develops and coordinates effective community outreach, and distribution strategies for reaching Catholic (arch)dioceses, parishes, and the disability community, to support meaningful participation of individuals with disabilities in the Catholic Church and society. To enrich a varied audience on catechesis and cultural diversity.
Esther, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Certificate of Bible Studies, Pastoral Formation, Master Catechist and Catechetical Leadership training from the Diocese of Dallas. She has over 27 years of experience as a catechist, community and ecclesial volunteer. She worked as Director of Faith Formation at Sacred Heart Parish in the Catholic Diocese of Dallas and teacher at the Autism Treatment Center of Dallas. She is specialized in leading catechetical programs for children, youth, adults, and families. In addition, she leads programs in special education - autism and others disabilities - and early childhood in multicultural communities. Esther is a member of the Council on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability from 2014, the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership (NCCL), and the Federación para la Catequesis con Hispanos (FCH).
Esther lives in Texas with her husband and their two children. Her love for the persons with disabilities and her desire to serve them arose from having her own child, Eric, with autism.
Bob came on as a Project Manager for NCPD in 2007. He handles items such as the Large Print Liturgical Books, Website development and database management. He has an M.A. in Religious Studies from St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia and studied as an S.T.L. candidate at the John Paul II Institute in Washington DC. Bob has worked with the American Physical Therapy Association and the National Catholic Educational Association and is currently an RCIA coordinator at a parish in downtown Washington DC.
Barbara Dolan is a graduate of Trinity University, Washington, with a degree in Education with a Specialization in Teaching Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. While attending Trinity, Barbara worked for NAMR (now known as NAfIM) and attended a Special Religious Education course at St. Coletta of Wisconsin. She is Development Associate at NCPD and is involved in working on many other NCPD projects.