TUESDAY :: PART 2 :: While Sherye was at the board meeting, Sonya spent time with “Drew’s Kids” while waiting for some guests from Memphis to arrive.
[Back story: Anyone who knows Deacon Drew Woodruff from West Tennessee Haiti Partnership knows his heart for the most vulnerable children at St. Vincent’s. These are the youngest kids, the ones with some of the most severe disabilities, that will never live independently. They are the ones who live upstairs, on the 2nd story of the dorm, where they are safest from the outside world. Whenever Drew comes to visit, you can find him upstairs playing ball, singing, feeding or simply rocking a child for hours on end in the sweltering heat. It is his happy space and the children have aptly been dubbed “Drew’s Kids.”]
Like Drew, you can often find Sonya upstairs, chatting with Yolene, a nearly 30 year old orphan with Cerebral Palsy and a plethora of other disabilities. While she can barely move her frail body, her eyes are vivid and playful. She loves purple, toys that make noise, painted nails and all things girly!
While chatting with Yolene, Sonya stands in front of Auguste, a teenage boy who is wheelchair bound, born with no eyes and extra digits on his hands. She speaks his name and he reaches his hands to touch her face. As he does this, he scootches his body to the edge of his wheelchair. Then, in one sudden move, he grasps around her neck and pulls himself up into a one-legged stand! They stand together, like a dance frozen in time, until he tires and sits back down.
Midmorning, 2 ladies from St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis arrived. Sonya had the honor of showing them around while both clinic and school were in full swing. Dr. Carrie Steakley, Head of Upper School, and Allison Parker, Upper School Guidance Counselor walked throughout the property so they could see the dormitories, classrooms, clinic, kitchen and even the laundry area! Try as we might not to disturb the hum of St. Vincent’s activities, children and teachers greeted us from their classrooms. One of the deaf classes even took time to show us some of the projects they had been working on! Truly an amazing morning!