Auction Nets Nearly $50,000 for St. Mary’s Children

The results are in: The Feb. 20 auction organized by the Auxiliary Board of St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children raised nearly $50,000. Thank you to the many generous supporters who attended the gala and to the amazing women of the Auxiliary, including President Karen Hibbard (shown at left), who spent many hours pulling together this event.   

A portion of the money will provide summer camp scholarships; the Auxiliary will grant other requests in the coming months. As mentioned previously, some money also will enable the children of SMHDC to get a mermaid (sculpture) of their very own. See St. Mary’s website for more information about the mermaid and the auction. 

Mardi Gras Comes to St. Mary’s Home

New Orleans has nothing on St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children. 

In what has become an annual tradition, residents dressed in green and gold and purple paraded through the hallways today to celebrate Mardi Gras. Staff cheered as the children, like Ashley at left, passed by and handed out candy, beads and balloons. The festivities even included a Mardi Gras king and queen. The parade was started a few years ago by a teacher at SMHDC who was from New Orleans and had been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. 

Mermaids and More at the SMHDC Benefit Auction

More than 200 people came out to The Westin Hotel at Town Center in Virginia Beach Friday night and opened their hearts and wallets to support the children and young adults of St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children. The Auxiliary Board of SMHDC presented the 4th annual “There’s No Place Like Home” Gala and Auction. People bid on great trips, jewelry, artwork and many other items. 

The highest bid of the evening — $5,000 — was fetched by something that the winner won’t get to take home: the opportunity to give the children of SMHDC a mermaid of their own. The statue will be displayed at the Home because SMHDC is sponsoring publication of a new, special edition of the children’s book “There Goes a Mermaid” by Norfolk author Lisa Suhay, shown at left with mermaid sculptor Georgia Mason; Mason is holding a painting of her concept for SMHDC’s mermaid. 
The book is coming out in honor of the 10th anniversary of the city of Norfolk’s mermaid symbol — the inspiration for a public art project featuring mermaid statues throughout the city — as well as SMHDC’s 65th anniversary later this year. Learn more about the book here and about St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children here.

A Bit of "Royalty" Comes to SMHDC

Czech Republic army Capt. Magdalena Dvorakova, queen of Norfolk’s 2009 International Azalea Festival, said she hadn’t expected the children to be able to communicate with her when she visited St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children today. 

But communicate they did, through smiles and gestures and eye contact. “I felt like the kids responded to me,” said the queen, pictured at left with 13-year-old Nathaniel. “When you can make that eye contact, you can really tell their personalities.” 

Dvorakova met with some of the children during class and read them “There Goes a Mermaid!” by Norfolk children’s author Lisa Suhay; the Home is sponsoring publication of a new edition of the book, which tells the tale of the mermaid sculptures that cropped up throughout the city as a public art project. 

The queen also met some of the SMHDC staff, including Tara Dean, a nurse who is preparing to deploy later this year with the Virginia National Guard. Dean talked with her about how the children and young adults who live here receive complex, around-the-clock care. Dvorakova  said she found St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children to be “amazing.”

“It doesn’t look like a hospital,” she said. “It feels like home.”

You can read a little more about the queen and her visit to SMHDC here, on the website of The Virginian-Pilot newspaper. 

Queen Azalea to Read to Children at SMHDC

Norfolk’s 56th International Azalea Festival — a salute to NATO — isn’t until April, but the festival’s Queen Azalea happens to be in town this week. And one of her first stops is going to be St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children. 

Magdalena Dvorakova of the Czech Republic will tour St. Mary’s Home at 10 a.m. Thursday and read to some of the children who live here. 
Dvorakova is a captain in the Czech Republic’s army and the Azalea Festival is recognizing her country as “Most Honored Nation.”
Learn more about the festival here, and more about SMHDC here. More details about Queen Azalea’s visit to SMHDC are here.