Give a Gift That Does Good

The children’s book sponsored by St. Mary’s Home — “There Goes a Mermaid! A NorFolktale” — is featured prominently in a “Nonprofit Gift Guide” published this week in Inside Business. The guide lists items that local nonprofits are selling for the holidays.

The printed guide includes a huge photo of the book’s cover. You can check out an online version of the guide, without photos, here.

Please pass along to friends, families and supporters who may be looking for ideas for gifts that do some good.

The book is $10, with author Lisa Suhay donating part of the proceeds to St. Mary’s Home and to The Joy Fund, which helps needy families at the holidays. To order the book, contact Suhay at or 757.575.4424. Thank you.

Celebrating the Mermaid Book and the Year of the Mermaid

Five years ago, Lisa Suhay told the story of Norfolk’s mermaid statues in her children’s book, “There Goes a Mermaid! A NorFolktale.” But the story didn’t end there, as Norfolk’s mermaid population has continued to grow right up until this officially proclaimed “Year of the Mermaid” — which began Sunday with an event at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children.
About 60 residents, family members, staff and friends of the Home gathered in the Atrium to celebrate the release of a special revised edition of Suhay’s book, which includes some of the “new girls in town” and a page all about SMHDC. The special printing honors the fifth anniversary of the original book, the 10th anniversary of the mermaid as Norfolk’s symbol and the upcoming 65th anniversary of St. Mary’s Home.
Suhay read — actually, gave a wonderful performance of — her book and signed copies of it. She is donating part of the book’s proceeds to SMHDC and The Virginian-Pilot’s Joy Fund. “Lisa has been a real friend to St. Mary’s,” CEO William C. Giermak said of Suhay, who also spoke at the Home’s graduation ceremony in May.
Bob Batcher, public relations manager for the City of Norfolk, read a proclamation issued by Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim. The proclamation honors St. Mary’s Home and declares July 2009-2010 to be the “Year of the Mermaid” in Norfolk.
St. Mary’s Home, which cares for children with severe disabilities from Norfolk as well as from throughout Virginia, exemplifies the city’s slogan of “Life. Celebrated Daily,” Batcher said. “Every day there is something here to celebrate,” he said.
Special guest former Miss Norfolk Amanda Batcher, Batcher’s daughter, sang “God Bless America” to open the program and closed out the event with a touching rendition of “Over the Rainbow.”
Also on hand for the event were Debbie Bellucci from The Joy Fund and “Mermaid Mama” Georgia Mason, who has created many of Norfolk’s mermaids and now is working on one for the children of St. Mary’s Home.

Come to the Heart of Ghent Festival

If you’re in Norfolk this weekend, come out to the Heart of Ghent Festival on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. The event features a sidewalk sale by local businesses and local nonprofit agencies providing fun and information.
Staff from St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children will be at Blair Middle School. Kids, stop by our table to make sun catchers.
Making a special appearance will be children’s author Lisa Suhay. She will sign copies of the new, special edition of her book “There Goes a Mermaid! A NorFolktale.” St. Mary’s Home and The Virginian-Pilot’s Joy Fund each will receive $1 per book sold.
Watch this video to learn more about the book project.