Mermaids on the Map
We are happy to announce that our gift bags recipient for July 2023 is
The Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Bronx, NY!
Leave a Flower, Sing a SongPeace and Love to All of our Mermaid Friends! The restrictions of the pandemic have not allowed Girl from The Grotto to deliver gift bags to hospitals, and this has been very sad for us. We know that especially at this time, there are children who would benefit from our creative bags with l...ots of fun things to do on these very long days. We have not stopped shopping, however, with hope that by Spring and Summer we will be able to resume our work and have some new items to share! Jill Walker, Founder and President has also used this time to pursue her songwriting. On December 7, 2020 Jill and co-writer Merritt David Janes, who also served as vocalist, released their single, Peace and Love Will Never Die, A song for John and Yoko. Pictured above at Strawberry Fields, NYC, Merritt was in the original cast of “School of Rock” on Broadway and starred as Dewey in the 1st National Tour. Jill, being a “forever fan” of John Lennon and a former Board member of Theatre Within, the non-profit behind The John Lennon Tribute in NYC, was thrilled that Merritt had time to collaborate and create a meaningful song for a new generation. A portion of the proceeds from iTunes, Amazon, Apple Music and Spotify will go to Girl from the Grotto and other arts related organizations Jill supports whose mission is to promote the message of Peace and Love. The Girl from the Grotto gift bag always includes items that speak to “Peace” and “Love” including t-shirts, journals, art projects, painted rocks and jewelry. Finding peace in the presence of illness is difficult but we know from working in the medical community that music and art have a positive impact. Jill aligns with John Lennon’s philosophy to Think Peace, Act Peace and Spread Peace and to witness the change it can bring to oneself and those around us. A future project will be “Mermaids in Manhattan,” an art installation that Jill has imagined for NYC. And who knows, we may bring it to your city next! Stay well, be safe and may peace and love be yours, to have and to grow forever. Xo JillRead Full Story
“Dive Right In” and “A Drop of Sunshine” Awards - You Make A DifferenceGirl from the Grotto Inc. (girlfromthegrotto.org) is a non-profit organization that brings beach themed gift bags and sea inspired special events to medically ill children. The mission is to bring smiles to children in hospitals who might not otherwise get to experience the fun of summer...because of hospitalization, treatment or long-term rehabilitation. Each year, the organization hosts an awards ceremony recognizing two people who make a contribution to medicine for the care, research and overall benefit of medically ill children and their families. The awards are given to people who we consider to go “above and beyond.” This year’s recipients were Dr. Bernie Siegel and Carolyn McGaha. The awards ceremony was held at the JCC in Woodbridge, CT on July 12, 2021. The awards were presented by Jill Walker (Founder and President), Chloe Walker (Vice-President) and Debra Kopczynski (Treasurer/Secretary) along with Board Members Michael Banten, Marguerite Mains and Eileen Riccardi. Board Members unable to be present include Dawn Stegelmann and Kathleen Featherston. The award/trophy is a teardrop design symbolizing that “Every Drop in the Ocean Matters.” Mother Theresa said, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” The trophies were designed by Mark Rosenbaum, owner and founder of the award-winning Rosetree Blown Glass Studio and Gallery in New Orleans, LA.Read Full Story
The first award was presented to Dr. Bernie Siegel for his tireless and on-going contributions to individuals impacted by cancer. “Bernie,” as he likes to be called, is an American writer and retired surgeon who writes on the relationship between the patient and the healing process. He is known for his best-selling book Love, Medicine and Miracles. The award was given for Bernie’s “enthusiasm” for life and for his on-going work in the cancer community. Upon giving the award, Treasurer Debra Kopczynski noted, “Enthusiasm is an infectious disease that won’t kill us and we should spread it”. The second award was presented to Carolyn McGaha, mother of Jason McGaha who until his death at the age of 22 was the longest survivor of Pyruvate Carboxylase Deficiency. Carolyn and her family allowed Yale New Haven Hospital to have Jason’s body for a month to advance the research on this rare, genetic metabolic disorder. Girl from the Grotto honored Carolyn for thinking about children and their future and giving hope to other parents. Carolyn’s son Jason called himself “the miracle problem” because he said, “Mommy was always trying to figure me out,” like a math problem! As an infant and in the years that followed, Carolyn’s motivation, determination and drive to help her son did not go unnoticed. Carolyn shared video of her and her son Jason and the cherished moments of sharing love and laughter together. Carolyn also expressed the important role Child Life Specialists have in the lives of medically ill children. The trophy was custom-created in “yellow,” Jason’s favorite color. For more information, see NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders) or Survivor of Pyruvate Carboxylase Deficiency Support Group/Facebook.