Merica House is home to four women and three men with a variety of severe physical disabilities. The Alliance for the Physically Disabled has helped to make possible the dream of Harry Merica for a home that would allow independent living for severely physically disabled adults. Too often the only option is living out life in a nursing home or other institution. By living together these adults can share the cost of rent, aides, and staff. Many people volunteer time, skills, and resources to truly make Merica House home for these seven.
Thank you for taking some time to learn more about this way to make life better and more cost effective for the severely physically disabled.
Merica House got a face-lift when the Lowe’s Heroes spent a day painting. Jeremy Beasley offered to organize Lowe’s employees to refresh Merica House on April 20th. Cathy Parr and Kathy Shields chose the paint colors and in one day these special friends painted all but three rooms (they had recently been redone).
Lowe’s Heroes began this volunteer program more than 10 years ago. Employees team together, adopt a volunteer project with a local nonprofit organization, and make a difference.
Jeremy and his Lowe’s Heroes made a beautiful difference to Merica House for its residents!
In the years since his ordination, Father Matthew DeForest has developed into an engaging and dynamic priest with a gift for delivering inspirational homilies. DeForest’s words vary from week to week, but the essence of his message remains consistent. “People of hope,” he tells the congregation, “must live differently.”
One way in which Father Matthew lives differently is in the work he undertakes to nurture his own unique “pots of gold.” In the fall of 2011, DeForest took interest in a gentleman named Sean Wawrzaszek, a 45-year-old resident in a private condominium known as Merica House. As with other residents of Merica House, Wawrzaszek was afflicted with cerebral palsy. Wawrzaszek’s disability prevented him from manipulating his fingers or articulating words; he depended on a touch-sensitive computer linked to a speech synthesizer to convey his thoughts. With Wawrzaszek’s lack of manual dexterity, forming sentences on the computer was a formidable task. Wawrzaszek had to repeatedly cursor through characters and words projected on his monitor to transform his thoughts into meaningful expressions. The process did not lend itself to quick conversations. A routine exchange could take several minutes. Continue reading Father Matthew DeForest→
On May 10, 2014, Jeanie Hume and Debbie Pena, long time volunteers at Merica House, took to their culinary skills and hosted an English Tea Party for our residents and their family and friends.
Jeanie, who has lived in England for several years, and Debbie wore white laced aprons and fabulous hats. They served chicken salad tea sandwiches, cucumber cream cheese sandwiches, scones, quiches and fabulous desserts. The tea was brewed from tea leaves and served in the finest china.
We laughed and enjoyed each other’s company in a most fashionable way while feasting on a wonderful array of trays of delicious treats.
We thank them for hosting a beautiful afternoon for our residents and their friends.
Spring 2014 Cathy was one of the first residents of Merica House. This has been her home for a long time.
Cathy’s favorite thing to do is help people do online research and Facebook.
Her favorite food is fettuccine alfredo. Her favorite type of music is soft rock. Her favorite movie is “Fame” and her favorite TV show is Dukes of Hazard. Cathy is looking forward to Sharita’s confirmation at church. Cathy and Dee will be her sponsors.
Fall 2011 Three weeks ago, Mom and Michelle came over with the twins, Declean and Hope, now seven months old. It was a nice visit. I am so proud to be Tia Cathy! It’s neat to have two little ones in the family!
My friend, Sharita who is like a sister to me, pointed out to them that we gave them Build-A-Bears, we named Izzy and Dex. I can’t wait for them to grow up so that I can have more fun with them!
Here’s my picture as I got ready to go to Morna’s wedding:
Sharita began going to Mass at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church after Sean’s memorial service. She’s receiving instruction from a member of the church. His name is Tony. Every other week he comes to Merica House to discuss the Catholic faith with Sharita. Sharita’s sponsors at the church are Dee Shields and Cathy Parr. Her confirmation will be in June. Everyone is invited to the church for her confirmation in June.
Cerebral Palsy & Me:
The ability for people with CP to communicate is often impaired. My speech is impaired, but that doesn’t inhibit me from talking. I am determined to express myself so I help people to understand me by repeating myself multiple times, if necessary.
Symptoms of cerebral palsy can be very different between people. My symptoms are very severe, involving both sides of my body and affecting both of my arms and legs. I have some of the most common symptoms, including muscles and joints that are tight and don’t stretch or open up. They have tightened up more over time as I’ve aged. I have always used a wheelchair. I have abnormal movements of my hands, feet, arms, and legs while I’m awake. One of my friends calls my arms “chicken wings.”
Spring 2014 Maureen moved to Merica House on March 6, 2007. As to what she likes best about Merica House, she says “It’s like a family.” She likes being with Dee, her sister.
Maureen’s favorite activities are going out to eat, shopping, reading books on tape, and “hanging out” with Dee and the other residents. She also participates in church choir. She likes to go to church and she goes to SPARC twice a week.
Maureen’s favorite foods are pizza, chicken patties, rice, and chocolate cake. Her favorite shows are Gilligan’s Island, I Love Lucy, King of Queens, Golden Girls, and The Brady Bunch.
Spring 2014 Dee likes going to SPARC and the National’s baseball games. When she’s at home at Merica House, she enjoys sitting with Matt, Sharita, Cathy, and Roxane in the family room, watching tennis and game shows like The Price is Right. She also likes listening to music on 91.9 WGTS.
Dee’s favorite foods are pizza, spaghetti, and cake. Her favorite teams are all the Washington sports teams.
Dee had a birthday party at Merica on March 15. She enjoyed her party, especially opening gifts and having friends and family with her. When asked what she likes best about living at Merica House, Dee said she likes living here….”it feels like home with all my friends.”
Fall 2011 On Sunday, Sept 11, 2011, Maureen and I, our brother, Andrew, and his girlfriend Astrid went to a major league baseball game to see the Nationals play the Astros. Before the game, Maureen and I met the broadcasters who announce the games on MASN (TV station). Their names were Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo. We had a great time at the game, except we forgot to get a picture with the broadcasters, so we’re going to do that next year. Good news, the Nationals WON!