Our Residents

Our Residents

Cathy Parr

Cathy Parr

My name is Cathy Parr. I was born in Memphis. TN and I’m 39 years old.  I have had spastic cerebral palsy since birth. I moved with my family to Fairfax County, VA when I was 6 years old. My parents live in the area, as well as my brother, his wife and their 8 month old twins. When I graduated from Falls Church High School in 1990, I moved to a group home in Prophetstown, IL, since there was no appropriate living arrangement to be found in the area. There I worked on skills I would need to cope with my severe disability in a community living environment.

I also received an Associate Degree in Word Processing from Sauk County Community College. I use one finger of one hand to access my computer and am quite good at getting around on the Internet. Currently I participate in a social/service club two days a week and volunteer one day a week at a local rehab equipment company. I would love to have a job, but have not yet found the right match for my skills.

I enjoy ceramics, poetry (reading and writing), dancing (I have my own style!), and music. I am very interested in fashion design and would like to do it on the computer.

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Deirdre Shields

Deirdre 2015I am Deirdre Shields and have lived at MH since 2001. I am 36 years old  years old and a graduate of Perkins School for the Blind in Waterstown, Mass. It was there where I learned the skills of independent living and it is here that I use them in my daily life.

I have been diagnosed with an unknown probable white matter disease of the brain. I had what seemed to be normal infant skills up to about 7 months of age and then neurological symptoms developed and over the past years it has left me blind and a quadriplegic.

I moved to Williamsburg, VA three years ago with my parents and one sister and it was there that I met Millie Becker, one of the founders of Merica House. Through her encouragement and help, I applied for residence and have since enjoyed living with the other clients and maintaining my independence.

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Maureen Shields

Maureen 2015

I am Maureen Shields and I moved into Merica House on March 6, 2007, after living at home for over 27 yrs. I am 32 yrs old and have 2 sisters and one brother.

I have a progressive undiagnosed neurological disease of the white matter of the brain that has left me blind and quadriplegic. Unlike my sister I did not loose my sight until I was 20 yrs of age.

My sister, Deirdre also lives at Merica House and I thought this would be a good place for me to “spread my wings” and live on my own.  I attend a respite program two times a week, called SPARC, located in Reston, VA.

I also attend church on a regular basis and I am a member of their choir.

For over 20 years my sister and I have attended the Easter Seals Camp in Hebron, CT and we have met and developed many wonderful friendships there. It is always the highlight of our summer.

I enjoy reading books on tape, going out to eat and shopping.

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Matt Renfro

Matt RenfroMy name is Matt Renfro. My family lives in Gainesville, VA., about 30 miles west of Washington, DC.

I was born 9 weeks premature, weighing 2 lbs. 12 oz. and spent the first 11 weeks of my life in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I have Cerebral Palsy (CP).

I attended public school from pre-school through high school, taking regular education classes. I graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School in Manassas, VA. in 2004. I enrolled at Strayer University right out of high school, so I don’t have any work experience yet. I am working on a BS degree in Computer Information Systems (CIS). I’m a big sports fan especially tennis, golf and college basketball. Also, I enjoy reading a good mystery novel.

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