(bottom photo by Weyo)
The hall outside the Occupational Therapy Support Services Department at St. Mary’s Home is decorated like Santa’s Workshop. Inside the department, technician Mamie McCloud is busy as one of Santa’s elves, especially at this time of year. She adapts toys so children with severe disabilities can use them. With an array of tools, she deftly replaces small switches with large buttons that are easier for the children to push to make toys dance or play music.
Mamie is profiled today in a nice feature in The Virginian-Pilot newspaper of Norfolk; you can read the story here.
Be sure to check out the accompanying video, which features Mamie and Suzanne Eason, who supervises OT support services, as well as Ashley and Carrington, two of the children of St. Mary’s Home:
The grounds at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children were already beautiful, with a number of local garden clubs having worked hard to enhance the landscaping in the gardens and courtyards. Over the summer, though, something new blossomed in the butterfly garden: a 500-gallon pond complete with waterfalls. You can learn more about the project in an article that ran in The Virginian-Pilot
on Sunday, Sept. 20. The article also is available here
Ron Herrick, the facility maintenance manager, designed the pond and installed it with help from his crew. Norfolk’s Harborfront Garden Club provided money to build the pond, while the parents of some residents donated koi for the pond. Residents can go outside, of course, to enjoy the serene scene, but they also can see the pond through the window as they pass through a main hallway. And they can listen to the waterfall by pressing a large button beneath the window to play a recording of the rushing water, thanks to the efforts of Mamie McCloud, an occupational therapy technician.
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.
Will Sessoms, who was elected mayor of Virginia Beach last fall, toured St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children today with his wife, Bev. His Honor got a firsthand look at areas including the school classrooms, Early Intervention Program classroom, occupational and physical therapy departments and the children’s rooms. “I love what you all do,” Sessoms said.
In this photo, Mamie McCloud shows the mayor some of the toys that the occupational therapy department adapts with switches to make them user-friendly for children with disabilities.