You Can Help the Charity House Help the Children of St. Mary’s Home

A letter from our CEO … 

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you today on behalf of some of Virginia’s most medically fragile children. You can help improve the lives of the nearly 90 children and young adults who live, go to school and receive around-the-clock care at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children in Norfolk.

This summer, Scott Crumley of Crumley Group, Inc., is building the Tidewater Builders Association’s  Charity House for the 2010 Fall Homearama in Norfolk’s East Beach community. All proceeds from the sale of the house will go to St. Mary’s Home, a nonprofit organization that has been caring for children for 65 years.

Your donation of services, material, furnishings or equipment will help offset the cost of building the Charity House. That means more money from the sale of the beautiful Charity House will go to the children, to make their home at St. Mary’s more beautiful, more inviting and more personal.

For Greg, at left, we’ll redecorate his bedroom to reflect his love of cars and also get him involved in car club activities in the community.

For Brandon, right, who tries so hard to communicate but can’t verbalize, we’ll provide advanced technology devices he can use to express his likes and dislikes so we can honor his wishes.

Every child at St. Mary’s has a unique wish that your donation can help fulfill.

St. Mary’s is honored to have been chosen for the first time to benefit from the Homearama Charity House. We are grateful to St. Mary’s Trustee Vince Napolitano for nominating us, to Tidewater Builders Association for selecting us and to the Crumley family for supporting us with their hard work and generosity.

Your support of the Fall Homearama Charity House will build a strong foundation for children with severe disabilities to have happy lives and achieve their fullest potential. To help, contact Jill Woolard of Crumley Group at 428-5252. Thank you.

Sincerely,

 

William C. Giermak
CEO

Graduation Day

From left, Kim Kelly, her son, Greg, and WTKR anchor Barbara Ciara. Greg presented the bouquet of flowers to his mother during today’s graduation ceremony. He also used his computerized communication device to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in a surprise for his mother and the staff, family and friends gathered in St. Mary’ s Atrium. 

Seven years ago, Kim Kelly was scared when she brought her son to live at St. Mary’s Home — scared that no one could care for Greg as well as she and her mother did. 
“When I was able to see all they did for him — the care he received, the love that he received — it was more than I could give him on my own. … St. Mary’s was the best decision for him,” Kelly recalled today as Greg and five other young adults graduated from the Home.
Kelly said it was hard to “put seven years of wonderful” into just a few minutes as she spoke during the ceremony. She thanked the staff for loving her child and all of the children, and for making St. Mary’s a place where Greg could be happy and safe. 
“Angels really do exist,” she said. “They exist right here.”
The young people who graduated today are 21, the age young adults leave the Home, or will turn 21 in the next year, and graduation signals the end of their formal education.The graduates will be missed as they move on to other places, such as adult intermediate care facilities or group homes.
The caregivers and teachers who knew the graduates the best shared a bit about them during the ceremony and talked about how much they had learned from Demetrias, Devonta, Greg, Justin, Katheryne and Steven. They reminisced about planning birthday parties, decorating beds, sneaking special treats and watching the children grow into young adults. “You don’t see them as your students — you look at them as your children,” said teacher Gay James Parson. 

WTKR NewsChannel 3 anchor Barbara Ciara, the keynote speaker, said it was obvious from hearing the  stories that “you guys — you’re not staff, you’re family.”

“My grandmother used to say that ‘Children are like lumps of clay,’ ” Ciara said. “What she meant by that is each person who touches a child leaves an impression. And what I’ve found here today is there are a lot of good impressions on the children who are growing and living here at St. Mary’s. You walk in here and you’re just enveloped by the love and the caring, and it’s just a good place to be.”

WTKR aired a story about graduation during its 4 p.m. newscast, but Ciara also promised to come back to share more about St. Mary’s Home, which has been caring for Virginia children for 65 years.

Flowers, Dancing and a King and Queen for the Day

 
2010 Prom King and Queen: Greg and Amanda    

Some, like Victoria, had attended before and couldn’t wait to go again. Others, like Colton, got to participate for the first time in a tradition of American youth — prom.

“We never thought we’d see him in a tuxedo,” said Colton’s mother, Roxane Ward, who got a little teary-eyed watching her son and 20 other formally attired young adults at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children dancing in the Atrium on Sunday.   

Cool Colton waits to make his entrance. 

Students from Norfolk Academy turned the Atrium into a disco for the afternoon, using decorations from their own recent prom. They also served as dates for the young adults from the Home.

“We have so much fun at our prom, we thought they should have that fun, too,” said Carter McCabe, co-president of Norfolk Academy’s St. Mary’s Club.

Devonta gets ready for the prom, with a little encouragement from Wayne Smith, a certified nursing assistant.

This was St. Mary’s fifth annual prom, an event organized by the recreational therapy services department. Special thanks go to St. Mary’s Auxiliary Board for paying for tuxedo rentals, the DJ and flowers.

 Victoria has attended all five proms at St. Mary’s Home.  

Congratulations to Greg and Amanda, who were voted Prom King and Queen.

Look for a story about St. Mary’s prom on WTKR NewsChannel 3 tonight.