No Disabled Souls gives those with a disability a place to create art

EVERETT — Carlene Nelson can tell you something about everyone in her ministry.

She knows as much about 52-year-old Jeffery Hoerr as he knows about classic rock and John Cena. And he knows a lot.

Since she and other volunteers at Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Perpetual Help started a ministry and art class for people with disabilities in 2003, Nelson has formed close relationships with those who attend.

“My refrigerator has a lot of stuff on it,” she said.

No Disabled Souls Ministry gives people with disabilities a place to draw, paint and make crafts — like rosaries, terrariums and turkey placemats for Thanksgiving — and friends.

“Our main objective is to create friendships and, with art, they have something they can show off and be proud of,” Nelson said.

Hoerr, the ministry’s first member, was born with Williams syndrome, a condition that affects development.

When he’s not making crafts, Hoerr uses class time to talk to others about subjects he likes: music from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, wrestling and animals.

The class has always been open to anyone, but when Hoerr started attending in 2003, he said he wanted to join the church.

Hoerr was apprehensive at first. He said he’d been asked to leave other churches in the past. Sometimes he would get frustrated or rock back and forth.

“Everyone embraced him kindly at first, but they didn’t really know how to act around him. They shouldn’t have to act anyway,” Nelson said.

That has since changed.

“He really broke down barriers at our church,” Nelson said.

Hoerr is now an usher at the church, where he is known for his knowledge of music.

“Jeffery knows all the words to all the songs,” said Alexandra Nyfors, who has bipolar disorder, which led her to No Disabled Souls. She eventually became a mentor for others with disabilities.

“That’s the idea here, to get everybody to feel like part of the community and get to know each other,” Nyfors said.

About 20 people come to the bimonthly art class, but the ministry is more than that.

“These people are living 365 days a year,” Nelson said. “I truly feel responsible for them.”

Nelson, art teacher Fede Chavez and other volunteers drive a group of about 50 people with disabilities to church, the grocery store, doctor appointments and anything else that comes up, even the fair.

“These people are awesome human beings who, a lot of times, get lost in the shuffle,” Nelson said.

“Our goal is for every single person to know how valuable they are and that they’re all equal in the eyes of God.”

No Disabled Souls art class meets on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 2619 Cedar St., Everett.

Donations of art supplies can be dropped off.

Ashley Stewart: 425-339-3037; astewart@heraldnet.com.

Learn more

For more information, call Carlene Nelson at 425-355-3138 or the parish office at 425-349-7014.

More in Local News

Mayor tries new tactic to curb fire department overtime

Stephanson says an engine won’t go into service when the only available staff would be on overtime.

Jamie Copeland is a senior at Cedar Park Christian Schools’ Mountlake Terrace campus. She is a basketball player, ASB president, cheerleader and, of course, a Lion. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Cedar Park Christian senior stepping up to new challenges

Jamie Copeland’s academics include STEM studies, leadership, ASB activities, honor society.

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Paine Field fire chief will be allowed to retire

In his letter, the airport director noted Jeff Bohnet was leaving while under investigation.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

County plans to sue to recoup costs from ballot drop-box law

A quarter-million dollars could be spent adding 19 ballot boxes in rural areas.

Woman, 47, found dead in Marysville jail cell

She’d been in custody about four days after being arrested on warrants, police said.

Lynnwood man allegedly cuts Marysville’s 911 dispatch wires

The man reportedly told police he intended to trade the wires for drugs.

Ian Terry / The Herald Westbound cars merge from Highway 204 and 20th Street Southeast onto the trestle during the morning commute on Thursday, March 30 in Lake Stevens. Photo taken on 03302017
Pay a toll on US 2 trestle? 10,000 say no on social media

A GOP lawmaker’s chart shows theoretical toll rates of up to $6.30 to cross the trestle one way.

Most Read