Biennial Report, Summer Newsletter Online

(Photo by Wéyo.)

St. Mary’s 2007-2008 Biennial Report and the summer 2009 issue of our newsletter, The Guardian, should be reaching mailboxes soon. But you can read them online now at our website to learn about some of the moments that have mattered at St. Mary’s Home.

In the photo above, on the cover of the biennial report, Jahmari enjoys a swim in St. Mary’s therapy pool with a little help from Kathryn Simmons, recreational therapy support specialist.

Making Mermaid Magic

Jahmari and Amelia took a field trip today to help make a mermaid. With paintbrushes and rollers — and a little help from Amelia’s mother and staff from St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children — they dabbed blue paint on the tail of one of Norfolk’s newest mermaid statues, which is going to be displayed at the Home.
“The kids are going to put their magic into it,” said artist Georgia Mason, who is creating the mermaid. She invited St. Mary’s children to come out to her home studio so they could see the mermaid in progress and lend a hand.
What does a mermaid have to do with St. Mary’s Home?
Norfolk is dotted with mermaid statues shaped like the city’s mermaid symbol, which is 10 years old. The city is now celebrating the Year of the Mermaid, which kicked off with a party at St. Mary’s earlier this month, including the reading of a mayoral proclamation honoring the Home. The event also celebrated the release of a new, special anniversary edition of Lisa Suhay‘s children’s book about Norfolk’s mermaids, “There Goes a Mermaid!” Suhay is donating part of the proceeds to the Home and to The Virginian-Pilot’s Joy Fund.

But the children of St. Mary’s didn’t have a mermaid to call their own. Carl Albero, a member of St. Mary’s Board, bid $5,000 at a fundraiser auction earlier this year to get them a mermaid, and one of his granddaughters also helped paint the mermaid today. Mason is using just part of the mermaid money to pay for materials; the rest will go to support the nonprofit Home because Mason is donating her time and talent to the project.

Stay tuned for updates on the mermaid.
WAVY-TV 10 ran a story about the mermaid field trip on its 5:30 p.m. newscast today. If you didn’t happen to catch it, below you can watch our own video of Amelia, Jahmari and helpers working on the mermaid:

Lemonade, Popcorn and Hula Hoops

There are few lazy days of summer at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children. Residents stay busy going to summer school and camp and taking part in a variety of other activities in the evenings and on weekends. This afternoon, though, residents and staff dropped by the Atrium for a little snack-and-music break.
Crystal Anderson, who runs St. Mary’s kitchen, mixed up some lemonade. Mamie McCloud, an occupational therapy technician, built a lemonade stand, recycling some old boxes. The mother of one of St. Mary’s residents donated popcorn, and staff tried out their Hula Hoop skills and dance moves as music blared from a portable stereo.
In the photo, that’s Crystal standing next to Wayne, who’s got a Hula Hoop, and Mamie leaning over Jahmari.

A Smile and a Handshake

U.S. Rep. Glenn Nye dropped by St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children for a tour this week. One of his stops included the classroom of the Early Intervention Program for the Home’s youngest residents. He shook hands with 3-year-old Jahmari, who was being held by recreational therapy assistant Shaun Stauffer.
St. Mary’s Home is located within Nye’s district, the 2nd District of Virginia, which stretches along the eastern side of the state.

Open Up and Say "Ahhhhhhhh"

“Do you want watermelon?” Jennie Jones asked Jahmari as Amber Nester gently stroked his hand. Jones then used a tiny brush to paint a watermelon-flavored flouride varnish on Jahmari’s teeth. 

Nester and Jones, pictured at left giving Jahmari’s teeth a good brushing during his check-up, were among 37 senior dental hygiene students from Old Dominion University who spent today at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children providing clinical services to children and young adults who live here. 
While St. Mary’s residents are regularly seen by a dentist who comes to the Home, the annual ODU clinic is a way for students in Carleen Lynch’s community oral health class to get practical experience. “This provides them the opportunity to have contact with a population they normally don’t often see in private practice,” said Lynch, an assistant professor at ODU’s School of Dental Hygiene.    
Dr. Cordell Johns, a dentist and ODU faculty member who accompanied the students to the Home, said he hopes the field trip also inspires students to come back as volunteers. 
“The staff here are absolutely fabulous,” Johns added. “They have a lot of love” for the children.