For Immediate Release:

Holy Family Healthcare is excited to announce a new outreach ministry:

La Escuela Familiar

Located at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Paw Paw, La Escuela Familiar is a Saturday school starting in the fall of 2018. Focused on maintaining Spanish from a young age and building from basic interpersonal communication skills to cognitive academic language proficiency (Baker, 2006), all classes and conversation at La Escuela Familiar will be in Spanish. Through the development of the family’s primary language, we can support Spanish–speaking students in becoming fully bilingual and biliterate. Research studies have shown that along with helping students become more creative and better able to overcome challenges, bilingual children who are literate in both languages perform better on achievement tests.

When will this happen?

La Escuela Familiar will open its doors on September 22, 2018 at 10:15 am at St. Mary’s Catholic School, 500 E. Paw Paw Street, Paw Paw, Michigan. 

Who can attend?

Children between 5 and 10 years old, who speak primarily Spanish at home are welcome to attend. La Escuela Familiar is available to 50 students and their families.

How can students register?

Registration is available online at

How can I help?

How did La Escuela Familiar get started?

In 2016, Holy Family Healthcare reached out to a family, who even though they desired a Catholic education for their children, was unable to afford it. Dr. Don Bouchard, President and Chief Medical Officer, assisted the family in finding funding. From this beginning, Holy Family Healthcare now implements St. Benedict’s Bridge which helps families navigate the educational system and gain access to the educational placement of their choice.

While helping families navigate these new educational opportunities, trends were noted that children from homes where Spanish is the primary language, sometimes began to fall behind in first and second grade. Research has shown that finding a way to support families in their primary language, student achievement would improve in English, the second language. Our journey to open La Escuela Familiar had begun.

La Escuela Familiar is grateful to...

Each of us stands on the shoulders of those who come before us. We at La Escuela Familiar stand on the shoulders of giants.

La escuela familiar openly and gratefully acknowledges indebtedness to Teresa Satterfield, Ph.D. and Jose R. Benki, Ph.D. of En Nuestra Lengua in Ann Arbor Michigan. They have been doing this work since 2010 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. En Nuestra Lengua is a beacon of hope for what can be for the Latino families of West Michigan.


Likewise, we are grateful to the Latino Enrollment Institute at Notre Dame University for sharing their mission and passion for making our Catholic schools places where all students can be accepted, safe and grow in faith and knowledge.

Finally, to Dr. Don and Theresa Bouchard who have given all they have to build, not just a medical practice but a place where we can join together to serve others in mind, body, and soul.

For more information or with any questions, please contact Sheryl O’Connor at or 616.291.7443.

The mission of Holy Family Healthcare is to joyfully provide excellent primary health care through attention to mind, body, and spirit. We are committed to honoring the dignity of every individual person as we would Christ.