Beazley Foundation Grant to Help Replace Nurse Call System

Payten and other children and young adults at St. Mary’s Home will benefit from a new nurse call system made possible with generous support from The Beazley Foundation and other organizations and individuals. (photo by Tony Cece)

NORFOLK, Va. (April 16, 2019)— A $100,000 grant from The Beazley Foundation will help St. Mary’s Home replace its nurse call system, enhancing the care that the nonprofit provides for young people with disabilities. 

Significant improvements in technology have made St. Mary’s current nurse call system obsolete. The upgraded system will provide a quick, reliable method of communication, improving workflow and staff response time. 

Staff will be able to easily receive medical alerts, have two-way communication with team members and route requests as needed to others on the care team. The system also can be linked to medical equipment to provide additional information to caregivers when responding to calls.

“The improved technology of a new nurse call system will enhance our ability to provide superior quality care and real-time support to the individuals we serve, their families and staff,” said Liz McCuean, RN, St. Mary’s director of nursing. 

“Meeting these needs more efficiently means that the children and young adults spend less time focusing on healthcare-related tasks, leaving them more time to learn, laugh, play and enjoy all of good things that a day at St. Mary’s Home brings,” McCuean said. “This call system will aid us in our mission to foster individual growth, health, independence and overall happiness for all of the people we are so lucky to support.”

In addition to the Beazley Foundation in Portsmouth, St. Mary’s also has received funding from the following to support the new call system:

  • Bank of America
  • Southeast Virginia Community Foundation
  • Suffolk Foundation
  • Kiwanis Club of Chesapeake
  • TowneBank
  • Capital Group 
  • Carl M. Albero, honorary member of St. Mary’s Board of Directors 

About St. Marys HomeSt. Mary’s Home in Norfolk provides around-the-clock care for 88 Virginia children and 12 adults with disabilities. For more information, visit

Sonja Barisic, APR    
Director of Marketing Communications
St. Mary’s Home   
(757) 352-2700 | cell (757) 412-7071      




Phones to be Down Temporarily Today

UPDATE: Our phone service has been restored and you can call our regular number, (757) 622-2208, if you need us. Thanks for your patience!

Cox Communications is scheduled to move our phone lines to a new platform today (Jan. 30) from 10 a.m. to noon. During this time, the phones at St. Mary’s Home and The Albero House will not be able to accept incoming calls or make outgoing calls.

If you need to reach St. Mary’s or The Albero House during this period, please call the cell phone that will be at the receptionist’s desk. That number is (757) 390-0779. The receptionist will relay your message.



PRA Group Donates $20,000 for St. Mary’s Fall Celebration

Jackson, left, and Braeden, right, welcomed Chris Lagow, senior vice president, general counsel, PRA Group, during a visit to St. Mary’s Home. PRA Group donated $20,000 to be the lead sponsor of the It’s Fall, Y’all celebration to be held Sept. 22, 2017, on the grounds of the Norfolk nonprofit. Lagow recently joined the St. Mary’s Home Advisory Council.

NORFOLK, Va. (July 11, 2017) — PRA Group, Inc. has donated $20,000 to be the lead sponsor of the second annual It’s Fall, Y’all celebration to support individuals with disabilities who live at St. Mary’s Home. Additionally, Baker’s Crust generously will provide a delicious menu for the event, including pulled pork BBQ, smoke beef brisket, pork belly tacos, oysters on the half shell and vegetarian items.

It’s Fall, Y’all will take place Friday, Sept. 22, from 5-8 p.m. on the grounds of St. Mary’s Home, across from Sentara Leigh Hospital. Guests will enjoy live bluegrass music by More Perfect Jones, craft beer from Tradition Brewing Co., tours of St. Mary’s and family-friendly activities including face painting, cornhole and a visit from the Hampton Roads Superhero Squad.

PRA Group, a longtime supporter of the nonprofit, also was the presenting sponsor of the 2016 It’s Fall, Ya’ll event. Additional sponsors to date this year include Baker’s Crust, Children’s Specialty Group, Coastal Prosthetics and Orthotics, London & Norfolk Ltd., Mermaid Factory, Peter Decker Children’s Charity, Sertoma Club of Norfolk, Strayseed Landscaping, Tradition Brewing Co. and an anonymous donor.

About PRA Group: As a global leader in acquiring and collecting nonperforming loans, PRA Group, Inc. returns capital to banks and other creditors to help expand financial services for consumers in the Americas and Europe. With more than 4,000 employees worldwide, PRA Group companies collaborate with customers to help them resolve their debt and provide a broad range of additional revenue and recovery services to business clients.

About St. Mary’s Home: St. Mary’s Home in Norfolk provides around-the-clock, specialized residential care for 88 children and 12 adults from throughout Virginia who have multiple, severe disabilities. For more information about St. Mary’s Home and It’s Fall, Y’all, visit

Sonja Barisic, APR
Director of Marketing Communications
St. Mary’s Home
(757) 352-2700 | cell (757) 412-7071

Download a PDF of this release.

Meet New Support Coordinator Sarah Lobstein

Sarah LobsteinSarah Lobstein is the new qualified intellectual disabilities professional (QIDP)/support coordinator working with children on Unit 1 at St. Mary’s Home.

Sarah hails from Flagstaff, Ariz. She attended Augusta State University in Augusta, Ga., where she played collegiate volleyball, earned a degree in psychology with a minor in social work and met her husband, Brian.

After college, the newlyweds headed to Europe, since Brian is active-duty Navy. They spent three years in Belgium and got to travel the world. They moved back to the United States and ended up in Hampton Roads. Sarah started working for the City of Virginia Beach as a direct support professional and then a behavior specialist at SkillQuest Services Day program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. After a few years, Sarah moved to the West Neck intermediate care facility, where she continued to work with adults as a QIDP/support coordinator.

Sarah is excited to get to know every one at St. Mary’s Home and to help enrich the lives of the children and young adults. “My goal is to be the best QIDP I can possibly be for all of the children,” she said.


St. Mary’s Home Announces New Committee Members


NORFOLK, Va. (July 28, 2015) — St. Mary’s Home announced new members of the Embrace Cabinet, a volunteer leadership group that guides the nonprofit in fundraising, marketing and other areas of interest.

St. Mary’s Home added seven members to the Embrace Cabinet:

Michele Anderson

Michele Anderson, vice president for major and principle gifts at United Way of South Hampton Roads.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   .

Lily Hsu

Lily Hsu, president-elect of The Junior League of Norfolk-Virginia Beach, Inc., an organization of women promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

Jeff Hubbard, president of Beach Ambassadors, which supports Hampton Roads-based charitable organizations.

Jeff Hubbard, president of Beach Ambassadors, which supports Hampton Roads-based charitable organizations.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          .

Hanan Mitry

Hanan Mitry, president of The Junior League of Norfolk-Virginia Beach, Inc.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            .

John Porter, an entrepreneur and co-owner of Norfolk restaurants Handsome Biscuit, Field Guide and Toast, as well as co-owner of Dear Dandelions, a café now open at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

John Porter, an entrepreneur and co-owner of Norfolk restaurants Handsome Biscuit, Field Guide and Toast, as well as co-owner of Dear Dandelions, a café now open at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

Lindsay Pryor

Lindsay Pryor, an independent sales director with Mary Kay, Inc., and board member at The Miller Oil Foundation, which supports a variety of charitable organizations in Hampton Roads.                                                                 .

Kay Stine

Kay Stine, vice president for development at Hampton Roads Community Foundation, the largest grant and scholarship provider in southeastern Virginia.                                                           .


























Continuing to serve on the Embrace Cabinet are: Janette Crumley of Cordell & Crumley; Richard J. Davison, retired from Norfolk Southern Corp; Michael E. Duffy of Merrill Lynch; Karen L. Hibbard, immediate past president of St. Mary’s Auxiliary Board; Elise Hicks, St. Mary’s Northern Virginia liaison; Mark T. Jones, QED Systems, Inc.; Suzy Kelly of Jo-Kell, Inc.; Richard N. Knapp, St. Mary’s Home Board of Directors and Quick180; Kim Thumel; Dr. Allen “Trey” Hardin White, III, D. D. S., Oceanfront Dentistry; Fred Widman; and Nancy Wilcox, NYR Organic and president of St. Mary’s Home Board of Directors.

About St. Mary’s Home: St. Mary’s Home in Norfolk provides around-the-clock, specialized residential care for about 100 Virginia children and young adults with multiple, severe disabilities. With the opening of The Albero House at St. Mary’s in 2013 to provide care for adults 22 and over, St. Mary’s Home has shortened its name from St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children.

Katie McCarthy                                                    Sonja Barisic
Marketing Communications Intern                         Director of Marketing Communications
St. Mary’s Home                                                  St. Mary’s Home
(757) 622-2208                                                   (757) 352-2700 | cell (757) 412-7071                               



Click here to download news release.


Congratulations to Employees for Dedication to Kids

IMG_7375St. Mary’s relies on the exceptional commitment of our staff members, including many who have devoted their entire careers to helping children and young adults with severe disabilities. Today, 50 employees who this year reached milestones of two, five, 10, 15, 25 or more years at St. Mary’s were recognized during a Length of Service Awards ceremony.

CEO Bill Giermak thanked everyone for their commitment to “a wonderful place with a very important mission.  … Keep up the good work.”

Special congratulations to Mary Byrd (seen here receiving her service pin from the CEO), a direct support professional who has been working at St. Mary’s for an amazing 40 years!

Take a “Journey” With the Children of St. Mary’s

The printed version of the summer issue of our newsletter, Journeys, is hitting mailboxes this week but you can flip through it online now. We’ve given the newsletter a fresh new name and look. Thank you to Portfolio Recovery Associates for generously sponsoring publication of the newsletter throughout 2012.

The newsletter is bursting with photos of and stories about the children and young adults who live at St. Mary’s, as well as the families, staff and friends who support them. We invite you to take a look:

If you are not receiving Journeys but would like to, please contact Sonja Barisic, director of marketing communications, at or (757) 352-2700 for your complimentary subscription. Let us know if you’d prefer to receive a digital version via email or a printed version by mail.



Oh, the Places Laniya Will Go!

Laniya clapping with the crowd.

Family, friends and staff gathered on Tuesday afternoon to two-year-old Laniya’s graduation from the Infant and Toddler program. Laniya proudly sat in her high chair, donning a Dr. Seuss-themed mortar board and holding a diploma that fit perfectly in her tiny hands. Whenever the crowd clapped, she clapped too.

Since her arrival at St. Mary’s Home in August, Laniya has developed in tremendous ways. She has been surpassing goals faster than her mother and Early Intervention Technician Stephanie Bailey could set for her. As a result of much time and a consistent classroom routine, Laniya is now reaching crucial milestones, including walking and imitating others.

St. Mary’s Infant and Toddler Program focuses on children in the Home up to two years of age. The program uses detailed lesson plans to build motor, communication and social skills. The program also emphasizes getting the children out into the community and encourages play dates with other children who do not have disabilities.

The theme of the graduation was Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"

Though Laniya has graduated from the Infant and Toddler Program, she will be continuing her education at St. Mary’s. Laniya will start school in the fall through the Southeastern Cooperative Education Programs. Just like every child and young adult at St. Mary’s, she will receive an Individualized Education Program; hers will focus on improving communication skills.

Laniya, like other students, will enjoy a summer vacation before she hits the books in the fall. Her mother and Bailey hope to line up some fun activities, including going to the beach, the park and the aquarium.

To see photos from the graduation, please visit our FaceBook page.

By: Sydney Palese, Marketing Communications Intern

Officers’ Spouses’ Association Donates to St. Mary’s

The Tidewater Officers’ Spouses’ Association donated $500 to St. Mary’s Home to help replace curtains in our children’s rooms with a design that is more homelike and lively. This group, which has generously helped St. Mary’s in the past, is dedicated to providing morale, friendship and community service opportunities to all officer spouses in the Hampton Roads of Virginia. Please see their website to learn more.