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Dr. Thomas Hoeksema Sr. Receives Henri J. Nouwen Award

Dr. Thomas Hoeksema Sr, a founding member and outgoing Board member of All Belong (also known as the Christian Learning Center), is the 2017 recipient of the Henri J. Nouwen Leadership Award from the Religion and Spirituality Division of the AAIDD. Dr. Hoeksema was nominated by the All Belong Board of Directors to honor the rich legacy he has built as a pioneer of inclusion, a teacher of theology, and a minister to students of all levels of ability. Learn more about Tom below. 

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All Belong founding member and outgoing Board member, Dr. Thomas Hoeksema Sr., is the 2017 recipient of the Henri J. Nouwen Award.

The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) Religion and Spirituality Division recently announced the recipient of the Henri J. Nouwen Award: Dr. Thomas Hoeksema Sr. Dr. Hoeksema has dedicated his entire career of over 40 years to learning from, advocating for, and working alongside people with disabilities and their families.

Grounded in a strong belief in mutuality and interdependence between persons of all abilities, Tom's personal and professional contributions and pioneering efforts have made a lasting difference within the faith community.

Tom helped pioneer the special education program at Calvin College in 1978. He served as a professor and coordinator of the program until 2011, as well as an advisor to students. He created the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities and worked with Calvin College to create a barrier-free campus for students with limited mobility. His passion for students led him to also serve as the Director of Calvin College's Institute on Inclusive Schooling from 1997-2001.

Beyond Calvin College, Tom used his expertise and ability to lead, teach, and gently guide other organizations.

As a member of the founding group of the Christian Learning Center (DBA All Belong), he has been integral in establishing and maintaining CLC's theological basis for and practical application of the education and inclusion of people with disabilities in schools and churches.

He served within his denomination as a member of the Christian Reformed Church's Committee on Disability Concerns including six years as chair. Tom has traveled and spoken at numerous events about inclusion and disability. He served on the Board of Directors for Friendship Ministries, All Belong, and sat on the Editorial Advisory Board for both the International Journal of Whole Schooling (2004-2009), and the Journal of Religion, Disability and Health, (1994-present).

His published works include over 30 articles for academic and theological journals, such as The Banner, Christian Home and School, Occasional Journal of Religion and Developmental Disabilities, Networks, The Journal of the Christian Council on Persons with Disabilities, Screening Disability: Essays on Cinema and Disability, Christian Educators Journal, and Journal of Religion, Disability and Health.

The Division of Religion and Spirituality, in the spirit of Henri Nouwen, honors Tom Hoeksema and the legacy he has built as a pioneer of inclusion, a teacher of theology, and a minister to students of all levels of ability.

The prestigious Henri J.M. Nouwen Award is bestowed upon an individual who is nominated by his/her peers. Nominees are people who reflect the compassion, commitment, ministry, and servanthood that values and esteems people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Dr. Hoeksema will receive the award on Thursday, June 29 at 9:00 AM at the annual Religion and Spirituality Forum in Hartford, Connecticut.

Katie Barkley 01
Katie Barkley

Katie Barkley was the marketing and communications manager at All Belong.