I am a Hudson Valley parent: Helene Sola

Nurse. Author. Animal lover. Superwoman.

Helene Sola, a neonatal nurse and children's book author, snuggles with her dogs, Yogi and Jake. "I don't have much free time, but it's worth it."

Every once in a while, you come across that mystical, magical creature: the impeccably groomed, stylish woman juggling two jobs, a hobby, charitable work, a happy relationship and two smart children. Oh, and she’s buff, too.

Of course we all want to hate her, but she’s so genuine and kind that we can’t.

So who is this super woman? Her name is Helene Sola, and if you haven’t heard of her, chances are you will soon. This registered nurse and author is taking the Hudson Valley by storm on a one-woman mission to get children reading and exploring the world around them — while saving some needy animals in the process.

“I don’t view the writing, or anything involving the book as work,” Sola says. “I have always worked with children as a neonatalogist nurse. Encouraging children to put down their videogames and engaging their creativity and imaginations has brought what I’ve always done to a whole new level.”

Sola’s weapons of choice in her outreach mission throughout Hudson Valley schools include her engaging picture book, Loo Loo and the Fabulous Marvelous RexxaRoo, and her “Sew-Your-Own RexxaRoo” sock cat and felt cat kits.

Sola’s book is written in rhyme and is meant to be read aloud. Inspired loosely by Sola’s daughter, Lauren, and her cat RexxaRoo, it tells the tale of a pet cat that helps a little girl overcome her shyness.

When Sola isn’t tending to newborns in the NICU at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, or spending time with her husband Dr. Adolfo Grieg (a neonatologist at Vassar), her 24-year-old daughter, her 19-year-old son Kevin, or their three rescue shelter cats and two rescue shelter dogs, she has been living and breathing RexxaRoo since she published it in December 2012.

At the book launch party, held at the Mid-Hudson Animal Aid Shelter in Beacon, Sola donated 20 percent of her proceeds that night to the shelter.

“Donations also poured in from restaurants in Cold Spring, Poughkeepsie, Beacon and Fishkill,” Sola said. “Huge gift baskets and generous gift certificates were donated for a raffle that benefited the shelter.”

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Sola says she always sends checks to the shelter after attending art expos and craft fairs where she sells the book and crafts. She also shares proceeds with the PTAs at the Hudson Valley schools that host her author appearances.

“I don’t have much free time,” she admitted. “But it’s worth it. I think RexxaRoo helps kids get outside of themselves, and tap into their creativity, which is so important. When I go to a school and really connect with kids and see how excited they are to read and explore and use their imaginations, it’s 100% worth it.”

Sola just printed the second edition of RexxaRoo, and the proceeds that aren’t being donated to shelters are going toward her next two books.

“They already exist in my head,” she said, laughing.

We can’t wait to see them in print!

To buy copies of Sola’s book and crafts, visit www.rexxaroo.com.

Do you know a Hudson Valley parent who inspires you? We want to profile local parents who are impacting their community through business, politics, volunteer work, grassroots advocacy, you name it. Submit your “I am a Hudson Valley Parent” nomination here.

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