Welcome to Merica House

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.

Cathy, Deirdre, Joe, Matt, Maureen, and Sharita

Your Friends at Merica House



Shop Amazon This Season

Are you getting ready to do your holiday shopping on Amazon.com? Did you know Merica House can receive 4% of your Amazon purchase price with no increase in cost to you? Just begin your Amazon shopping here at theapd.org . Click the red text, “Before you shop Amazon, click here.” That takes you directly to the Amazon site for shopping. All of your Amazon purchases will then be tagged for a 4% contribution to Merica House. Thank you for your support. Happy holidays.


Eat for a Cause 2017

This year’s, Eat for a Cause, fund raiser was a success again. For the third time, Pistone’s Restaurant in Falls Church, VA has hosted this delicious fund raiser.  This year, Telly Bonaduce, the owner, donated 20% of the proceeds for the night to the Alliance for the Physically Disabled. Friends and families of the APD and Merica House enjoy a delicious meal and at the same time much needed money is raised for the work of the APD.

Kathy Shields, V.Pres of the Alliance for the Physically Disabled accepts a check from Telly Bonaduce, owner of Pistone’s Restaurant in Falls Church, VA for the successful Eat for a Cause fundraiser on Oct 11, 2017. A total of $400 was raised to benefit Merica House.


Painting Party

Lowe's HeroesMerica 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!

Click on the picture to see the Paint Party album.


Eat for a Cause – A Great Success!

The Alliance for the Physically Disabled is pleased to partner with Pistone’s Restaurant for PisxtonesLogothis enjoyable fundraiser.

On Wednesday, April 13, friends and family of the Alliance for the Physically Disabled enjoyed  eating dinner at Pistone’s Restaurant.

Pistone’s donated 10% of their proceeds that night to the APD. Along with donations from individuals, $470 were raised that night.

A great big, “Thank you!” to Pistone’s for their generosity and making this an evening to remember!


Father Matthew DeForest

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


English Tea Party

Scones and TreatsOn 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.


News from Matt

Matt RenfroSpring 2014

Matt moved into Merica House in 2009. He likes to watch sports and game shows on television. He is a serious sports fan. His favorite sports are tennis, golf, and college basketball.

When asked what he likes best about Merica House, he said he likes being with his friends. He enjoys watching Catch 21 and Family Feud with Dee and Sharita.

Matt’s favorite foods are chicken pot pie, Mexican food, and cake.


News from Cathy

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:


News from Sharita

Sharita Smiling

Spring 2014
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.”

Continue reading News from Sharita