How Many Mermaids Can You Count in This Photo?

The answer is 14. 

Embrace, St. Mary’s mermaid statue, is surrounded by 13 members of the Ocean View Women’s Golf Association, who call themselves the “Ocean View Mermaids.” Also in the photo is Mary Helen Hilton, St. Mary’s director of annual giving (seventh person from the left, standing).

For three years in a row, the Ocean View Women’s Golf Association has supported the nonprofit St. Mary’s Home with a golf tournament. Members visited the Home today to donate $2,500 from the proceeds of this year’s tournament. 

“We know that a lot of work goes into the tournament,” Hilton said as she and Martha Price Stewart, St. Mary’s director of development, greeted the group. “It just means a lot to the care care of our children. It really touches the heart. Thank you.”

Martha Price Stewart, St. Mary’s director of development, (left) and Mary Helen Hilton, director of annual giving, (center), stand in front of the donor tree in St. Mary’s lobby as they accept a donation to the Home presented by Sally Corliss, chair of the Ocean View Women’s Golf Association’s tournament. “It’s because of donations like this that we can go the extra mile” for the children, Stewart told the group. 

Children from St. Mary’s, and Other Kids, Have Fun at Homearama

Carrington, who lives at St. Mary’s Home, works on a craft project with help from Angelica Yankauskas, a member of St. Mary’s recreational therapy staff, during Kids-a-Rama at Homearama on Sunday. (photo by Nicole Hoskins Jones)

There’s something for everyone at Homearama, even the kids.

On Sunday, staff from St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children held the first of two Kids-a-Ramas – with games, arts and crafts, book readings and more – during the Tidewater Builders Association’s Fall 2010 Homearama in Norfolk’s East Beach community.

They also will hold a fall-themed Kids-a-Rama on Sunday, Oct. 31, from 1-4 p.m. St. Mary’s is the recipient of proceeds from the sale of the Charity House at the Homearama showcase of homes.

About 70 children, including five from St. Mary’s Home, participated in the first Kids-a-Rama. They transformed coffee filters into flowers and butterflies, turned tissue paper into stained “glass,” decorated mermaid coloring-book pages, built houses out of craft sticks, created bookmarks, plucked toy ducks out of a pool to win prizes and played ring toss and cornhole.

Ron Herrick, manager of St. Mary’s environmental services department, and his wife, Melanie, stopped by Kids-a-Rama to work on some arts and crafts. (photo by Nicole Hoskins Jones)
Broderick, who lives at St. Mary’s Home, tries to fish a toy duck out of the pool, with assistance from Stephanie Bailey,  a recreational therapy assistant at St. Mary’s (in yellow), and Target team member Betty Hollowell (in red). (photo by Nicole Hoskins Jones)

“The children who live at St. Mary’s do many of these same activities, with some modifications to make them therapy-based,” said Nicole Hoskins Jones, St. Mary’s director of recreational therapy services, who organized Kids-a-Rama.

Target team members are helping with Kids-a-Rama. (photo by Nicole Hoskins Jones)

Local Target stores donated supplies for Kids-a-Rama and Target team members are volunteering to help with the programs.

Also among those helping with the effort is Jenna Crumley, the 9-year-old daughter of the Charity House builder, Scott Crumley. Jenna and her friends have started a “Kid2Kid” program to reach out to children of St. Mary’s Home. They have donated party materials to the children, and sold lemonade to raise funds for the children.

The first Kids-a-Rama also included story time, with local author Lisa Suhay reading her children’s book, “There Goes a Mermaid! A NorFolktale.” To celebrate St. Mary’s 65th anniversary, the Home sponsored the publication of a special updated edition of the book, which was inspired by the statues around Norfolk that are shaped like the city’s mermaid symbol.

Honoring the Woman Behind the Scenes

Barbara Perry and CEO William C. Giermak

When we give tours at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children, we spend a lot of time talking about the direct care of the children and young adults. But we also never fail to mention the people who keep the Home running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year — people like Barbara Perry, who is retiring from the laundry department after working at St. Mary’s Home for 39 years.

“You’ve toiled behind the scenes,” CEO William C. Giermak told Perry during a party Friday in her honor. “We very much appreciate all you do, especially the love and caring you show for the children. We’re going to miss you a lot.”

Celebrating St. Mary’s Girl Scouts

A Girl Scout crossing a bridge during an investiture, rededication and bridging ceremony at St. Mary’s Home. (photo by Lidia Gonzales) 

By Norma Loomis, evening program support technician 

Family, friends and staff recently gathered to celebrate with several new, current and former members of Girl Scout Troop #5067, the troop at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children.

Amelia, Alexandria and Jennifer became Girl Scouts during an investiture ceremony on Tuesday in St. Mary’s Atrium. In addition, four girls who already belong to the troop – Alysha, Ashley, Koko and Lauren – rededicated themselves to Girl Scouts, while two former residents of St. Mary’s Home – Victoria and Michelle  –  took part in a “bridging” to mark their growth and their transition to the next level as Scouts. Environmental services staff at St Mary’s Home built the wonderful bridge for the “bridging” ceremony.

The entire ceremony was a great way for parents, friends and staff to come together and support these girls and young women. During the ceremony, we learned that the Girl Scout mission is to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. It was so exciting to see the members of Girl Scout Troop #5067 proudly wearing their sashes as a symbol of their accomplishment throughout the years as part of the troop. This is something that the new members look forward to.

Girl Scouts build meaningful relationships between the troop and people around them as well as creating memories for these young girls.