Star Search

The stars descended upon St. Mary’s Home today, as SECEP’s Spirit Week continued with Hollywood Day. Throughout the building, people dressed up like their favorite celebrity or movie. A sampling:

Britney Spears (teacher Kelly Messina) and J.Lo (teaching assistant Denise Boone)

 Gloria Estefan (teaching assistant Jillian Hernandez), India.Arie (teaching assistant Nichold Price) and Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials (teaching assistant Adriana Gibbs)

 Hannah Montana (teacher Melissa Knightes), with Greg

Marty, the zebra from the “Madagascar” movies (teacher Melinda Gilkey)

Maria from “The Sound of Music” (teaching assistant Donna Spence), Pippi Longstocking (teacher Katie Kaltenbach) and Mary J. Blige (teaching assistant Jean Walker)

The Cat’s Pajamas

SECEP’s Spirit Week at St. Mary’s Home continues. Today, people got a chance to be really comfortable. It’s Pajama Day, as demonstrated above by teaching assistant Carmen Perry, teacher sub Adriana Gibbs and teaching assistant Kimberly Ferebee.

Even principal Terry Lyle showed off her robe and slippers:

Click here to see some of the getups for Crazy Hat Day yesterday. And congratulations to Denise Boone, teaching assistant, who won movie tickets for her fabulous crazy hat.

Mad Hatters

It’s Spirit Week at St. Mary’s Home, courtesy of the folks who run the school here, Southeastern Cooperation Educational Programs. As you can tell from the picture above of teaching assistant Denise Boone and Shanyla, the theme for today is crazy hats.

A lot of people are getting in on the act:

Debbie Rhoads, occupational therapy technician
Vicki and Dr. Larry White, neurologist at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters

 Karen Whitfield, certified nursing assistant
Shirley Justice, active treatment coordinator

St. Mary’s Home Chosen as Charity for 2010 Fall Homearama

TBA President Bill Halprin and Fall Homearama Charity House builder Scott Crumley at the
65th anniversary dinner for St. Mary’s Home.
About 300 people who gathered Wednesday evening to celebrate St. Mary’s 65 years of comfort and caring were the first to hear the news. Bill Halprin, president of Tidewaters Builders Association, officially announced that St. Mary’s Home will benefit from proceeds from the 2010 Fall Homearama Charity House in Norfolk’s East Beach Community.

“We are proud that our Fall Homearama Charity House will help some of our most vulnerable children by giving them a place to call home, where their families can feel secure in knowing their medical and emotional needs will be addressed,” Halprin said.

Also on hand for the announcement was Scott Crumley, president of The Crumley Group, Inc., who has volunteered to build the Charity House. The company will need contributions of materials and services to the home.

Click here to read a news release about the announcement.

Celebrating 65 Years of Caring for Children in Need

 St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children has been caring for Virginia children in need for 65 years. In recognition of this history, we will present an anniversary dinner on Wednesday, March 24, at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott, with a reception at 5:30 p.m. and dinner starting at 6:30 p.m.

More than 260 friends, supporters, trustees, current and former staff and current and former families, as well as people who were adopted from the old St. Mary’s Infant Home, are expected to attend. Keynote speaker Fern Kupfer (that’s her in the photo) will talk about raising a child with disabilities, as captured in her poignant memoir, Before and After Zachariah (book signing to follow). There also will be a special announcement.

If you’d like to join us, contact Mary Helen Hilton, or check our website for more details. We’d love to see you there.

Words Matter: Take the Pledge

Lauryn Harris and Nichole Hayes know how painful it is to hear people toss around derogatory slang terms like “retarded” and “retard.” Their little brother lived at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children, which cares for children and young adults with severe physical and intellectual disabilities.

So they took the pledge. Have you? 

Today is End the R-Word Day, part of Spread the Word to End the Word, an ongoing campaign by Special Olympics and Best Buddies International to raise awareness about the hurtful effects of the “r-word” and encourage people to pledge to stop using it.

To call attention to the cause, Lauryn and Nichole proudly wore their “Spread the Word to End the Word” T-shirts to work today. They, and their mother, Mary Harris, all work at t. Mary’s Home as teaching assistants, through Southeastern Cooperative Educational Programs (SECEP).

That’s Lauryn at left in the photo and Nichole at right, with their mom in the middle.(Mom’s T-shirt was on back order, but she made sure to wear her “I Pledged” sticker.)

For more information, and to take the pledge, click here.

"Everybody Likes to Give"

Many generous people across the nation have donated money to help Haiti recover from the earthquake in January. At St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children in Norfolk, employees recently took up a collection and raised $1,705 to send to the Daughters of Wisdom to use for their Haiti relief efforts.

St. Mary’s Home has had a special connection to the religious order for most of its 65-year-history. Nuns from the Daughters of Wisdom arrived at the Home in 1946 to take charge. Today, the sole nun still on the staff, Sister Mary June Morin, is starting her 51st year of working at St. Mary’s.

So, when news came that six Daughters had been killed in the earthquake, St. Mary’s staff was especially moved to help. The money raised by employees includes $450 from a Valentine’s goodie sale/baked goods raffle organized by the Nurses Environmental Committee, which focuses on building camaraderie among the staff. The photo shows committee members Janie Mines, left, and Susan Kok, right, among the carnations and boxes full of Hershey’s Kisses that were for sale. The committee also raffled off (mostly) homemade baked goods.

You can read more about the committee’s work here, in a column about charitable giving by Mike Gruss of The Virginian-Pilot. Susan Kok told Gruss that she never worried the chocolates, carnations and cakes wouldn’t sell: “Everybody likes to give. Everybody likes to get something.”

St. Mary’s 5K Promo Wins Gold ADDY Award

Many congratulations to the talented, creative and generous team of Regent University students who put together a video promo for St. Mary’s 5K fundraiser last fall. On Saturday, the group received a student gold ADDY award in the television category from the Hampton Roads chapter of the American Advertising Federation.  Kudos to April Campion, the writer-producer-director, and the rest of her team, including Jeffrey A. Dear, the director of photography, and editor Tony Cece.

Watch the award-winning video: