Merriment for Maya: Community rallies around 10-year-old on her birthday

Maya, seated in the chair, took in her birthday parade Saturday with an expression of glee. Daniel Sheehan photo

With their daughter Maya’s 10th birthday fast approaching, Mark and Barbara DeVico of Dorchester wanted to do something special. Maya, who is autistic and non-verbal, had been struggling to grasp the concept of quarantine, and suffering from the lack of human interaction--an aspect of daily life that she thrives on as a naturally social person, said her parents.

“It’s so hard for these kids to be in quarantine, never mind special needs kids,” said Barbara. “The whole social distancing thing--she doesn’t really get it. When we go out, she just wants to give everybody a hug.”

Ahead of Maya’s birthday last Saturday, the DeVicos scheduled a rolling birthday party event on Facebook, expecting a handful of family and friends to swing by their house on Granville Street. But at noon on Saturday, Maya was surprised with a huge outpouring of support: a mobile, social distanced celebration complete with a bagpiper, two fire trucks with sirens blaring, a police squad car, and dozens of other friends and neighbors in vehicles honking their horns, waving signs, and dropping off gifts through their windows. Maya had a big smile on her face the whole time, pointing as she recognized friends and reacting with glee and excitement to the makeshift parade.

For her parents, the display of community support was “overwhelming.”

“It was a lot of love for a little girl,” said Barbara. “We couldn’t even be more proud of who she has become as a ten-year-old. To see that she has so much love, it makes us feel okay."

Screenshot 2020-05-30 at 2.42.02 PM.pngMark, Barbara, and Maya DeVico outside their home on Granville Street.