Friends of Warm Hearth, Inc.

Friends of Warm Hearth provides a holistic community-based group home that cares for the bodies, minds and souls of Armenian orphans with disabilities. We Value - Our residents' social, physical, mental, spiritual and vocational development - Community integration that honors culture & tradition - Dignity, respect, choice, fulfillment, privacy and independence - Individualized care that empowers our residents to live as independently and confidently as possible, while consistently contributing to their community Motivation - To prevent orphaned adults with mental illness or disabilities from being forced to spend the remainder of their lives in the psychiatric institutions of Armen...
Jun 11, 2014

Summer News ~ Creating Community


Dear friends and donors - 

It's summertime and we have some news for you!  As always, we are deeply grateful for the ways you give to our residents.  Your gifts make such a difference in our residents' lives and in our home.  Please reach out to us if you have any questions or if you are visiting Armenia.  We would love to welcome you to our home and project for a visit.  

Here are a few updates from the field.  The full-length web version of this newsletter with photos can be found here.   

Creating an Art Community

UNISON, a Yerevan nonprofit serving individuals with disabilities, opened their arts studio to our residents this year.  Two residents visit weekly to paint.  They travel there independently, which speaks to their growth!

This is a truly collaborative effort.  Costs are lovingly covered by SOAR-Colorado, a group dedicated to seeing the arts program at Warm Hearth unfold and expand.  Our residents are blossoming with the arts program as they learn new skills, make new friends, and create beauty.

Hasmik, Armine and Agappy especially love this program and their gifts have been singled out by the instructor who is able to see them with new eyes.  Different people see different gifts in our residents and vice versa.

We are reminded why the world needs our residents and why our residents need the world.  We need others (including you) to call out our residents’ beauty and giftedness.  We want to see them through your eyes.  We want you to be touched by them as well.

To put it simply, we need one another, and are richer for this interdependence.


Resident Profile

Roman recently experienced some serious health problems recently that required surgery.  Now he is home again and thriving.

He has been changed by the way the staff cared for him through the experience.   He knows that he can deeply trust them and he feels safe at our home.  He knows where to turn when he needs help.  His health has improved overall since the surgery.  We are grateful for this.

As always, he still enjoys putting puzzles together and his smile still lights up a room.


Working With Our Hands

As we mentioned in the Annual Report, this year we are working toward creating outlets for our residents in terms of community, art, and vocation.

We are in the throes of considering small business ideas like baking bread that our residents can be intimately involved in and that are feasible in the local market.

This initiative is one that we foresee will enrich the residents’ lives and make our home more sustainable long-term, thus making it possible to reallocate some of our resources to care for more people in need.

We have a few funding possibilities, which is incredible, but what we need before funds is additional support on creating a solid business plan.  It’s hard work!  And, as you know, we subsist with as few hired hands as possible and rely heavily on volunteers.

If you have started a small business and feel your experience could transfer to our home, please reach out.  


“It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey…  The impeded stream is the one that sings.”                          -Wendell Berry


Residents' Handicrafts Now for Sale

The residents have been busy creating beautiful artisan carpets.  Purchase some here to support our residents and our home.  

Thank you for your generousity.  


Natalie Bryant-Rizzieri

We do not serve the weak or broken.  What we serve is the wholeness of each other and the wholeness of life.                                                                                   - Rachel Naomi Remen

Working With Our Hands
Working With Our Hands


Mar 24, 2014

Annual Report for 2013

Dear friends & supporters - 

Springtime is finally here and with it comes the life-giving news of the last year at Warm Hearth.  
I just returned from Armenia, from our home full of the reassuring comforts of daily routines, full of clay and paints, laughter and tears, feasts and carpet looms and stuffed animals, care-taking and cleaning, meals and stacks of dishes, birthday celebrations and trips to the market and museum, comforting and arguing, singing and giving, learning and toasting and reciting poems, falling and dancing, holding and forgiving. 

It was more beauty than a person can almost bear to sit around the feast table and listen to the residents—all of them—sing carol after carol. Most of you know how much we have endured and how long we have persevered to get two of our residents, Anna and Sassoon, home from institutions. And there they were, seated with the others, toasting to the New Year. 

Some of us—residents, staff and visitors alike—were so moved that our faces were streaked with tears. I wondered if for the residents they were tears of joy or if so much goodness brought into starker relief some of the heartaches of the past. I will probably never know. 

For my own part, I was reminded of the simple fact that this is why we do what we do: so that these dear people can gather around a table and break bread daily and have someone to console them when they are in need. Thank you for protecting them, for believing that peace should also be theirs. 


Enjoy more tidbits about our community: residents, volunteers, supporters, professionals and staff.  Our Annual Report is available for download at: 
Also, if you are on facebook, stay updated on our day-to-days and like us at:

Thank you for taking part in our work.  Thank you for believing in our residents. 

Sincerely yours,
Natalie Bryant-Rizzieri
Jan 22, 2014

Gathering Around a Table

Dear friends, 

I have been in Armenia since Monday, and have spent such precious days with our residents.  Today we celebrated Nor Dari (New Year) a little late together.  We had a table full of festive food and the residents sang carol after carol.  I think they literally sang to their heart's content, and to mine.  They recited poems, expressed wishes for the coming year, and we spoke of treasured memories from last year.  It was a sweet time. 

Perhaps the sweetest part was that we were *all* gathered.  Not one of the residents was missing.  Anna and Sassoon have been home for almost two years now and the life has come back to them.  It has filled them up again.  Their eyes dance when they smile.  They smile.  And they have found a way, through practice and careful guidance from our amazing staff, to live peaceably with the other residents.  

As I watched them sing and clap and eat, I was reminded of the simple fact that this is why we do what we do.  So that these dear people can gather around a table and break bread and toast to another year and know a little bit of love in their lives.  

On this trip I have also been able to meet our newest resident, Arsen.  He is a gentle soul, quiet and reserved, for the most part.  Arsen is more recently orphaned, so experienced a lifetime of love from his mother and father.  This is evident when you meet him -- and I see anew the beautiful gift that it is to be loved, and the poverty for our other residents to not have experienced such love as children.  Arsen told me the first day that he is only staying at Warm Hearth temporarily.  I imagine that it is very hard to accept, after a lifetime of familial love, that one has to begin again.  There is love at Warm Hearth, and for him, but I recognize that it isn't the same as the love of a family.  

Even so, we continue to do our best to be a family to our residents.  My sister, who is here with me (as is my father), noticed a family tree in the hallway of our home that has each of our residents' photos along with the year they were born.  What a precious testament to what we are trying to do.  I am grateful for the staff member who has so has internalized the spirit of our work that she thought to do this for our residents.  

Thank you for your part in our efforts.  Thank you for your commitment.  It has made all the difference to these fourteen people who call Warm Hearth home.  

Natalie (for us all)  
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