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...
Apr 29, 2008

Spring Newsletter & Photos

Dear Friends,

I've attached the most recent newsletter for your perusal. Thanks to Jessica & Berj for helping with the mailing. It is always a joy to work with others who care about Warm Hearth.

I also have some recent pictures of our residents. I received these recently from our Program Manager and was struck by how much love is behind the eye of the camera, capturing the spirit of each of the residents. I hope you will see the same as you view them. They are a celebration of the kindness and warmth that has become Warm Hearth. View the photos at

I leave for Armenia in one week & look forward to being with the residents & staff. Thank you all of you who make each part of this endeavor possible.

I hear that the residents saved their money and purchased a video camera for the house, which they had long wanted. So, I'm sure we'll have some laughs with the camera while I'm there.

Keep us close to your hearts as we (Bridget & I) seek, yet again, to find a viable and long-term *good* solution for two residents who are still in the psychiatric clinic.

Blessings to each of you & with gratitude, Natalie

Mar 26, 2008

Small Chances

Warm Hearth Residents
Warm Hearth Residents

The days pass quickly and before too many more pass by, I wanted to share about what has been happening at Warm Hearth. Bridget (our Associate Director) and I will soon return to Armenia for most of May. We are returning to see the residents and staff after missing them so. We also are returning to look hard (yet again) for ways to help the two of our residents who remain in psychiatric clinics…

These two residents, as many of you know, have been in the clinic since last April and despite our efforts, we have yet to find a better alternative for them. We are doing everything we can to make sure that they are not transferred to Vardenis Tun-Internad or the other large institutions.

There is a small chance that we will be able to try to bring one of them home in the next month. That is my hope. This particular resident was able to live in Warm Hearth for ten months in relative peace and safety until one of our staff members (with whom he was very close) left. So, we are doing our best to establish a regime and a “care-plan” that will give him what he needs to stay home and safely. Thank you to those of you who have helped with this. I have received so much support and expertise in regard to this resident. I couldn’t do it alone.

In the meantime, the other six residents have had their own joys and sorrows. They have enjoyed the vocational and life-skills lessons and are showing more and more of an interest in caring for themselves, their friends and their home. Our staff has commented many times recently about the most beautiful changes they see in the lives of the residents. I receive small glimpses of this when I call and hear the strength in their voices, the laughter in the background, the stories of their trips and classes and celebrations.

After a lifetime of neglect combined with their disabilities, many of our residents have struggled, recently, to maintain their physical health. The numerous trips to hospitals this last year has surprised me, but thankfully each of them has been treated and is either cured or continually being treated with the best help we are able to find within Armenia. It is a challenge, but so many people have come around us. And have helped us to give our residents the best that we have. I am grateful for that. As are the residents.

Many of you may have heard about the political unrest in Armenia following the most recent election, which some of the public deemed fraudulent. If you are interested in following this story, there is an online independent journal called, which is both reputable and thorough. Thankfully, at least on the outside, the country seems calmer and our residents are safe and happy in the “third village” which lies at least 20 minutes from the center of the capital. Thank you for your care and concern about them.

We remain blessed beyond measure by the love that each of you shares with us. Mother Teresa once said that “love has no other message but its own” and I sense that in the gifts and thoughts and help that you give to us, each in your own way. I sense that in the way that your gifts come from far and wide, and in so many different forms from so many different kinds of people. I hope that we, at Warm Hearth, will also continue to walk in the way of love, giving no other message than love itself to each of you, to our residents, our staff and the world close around us.

**I've attached a photograph of this past New Year's celebration. These are our residents singing and performing songs and poems for their visitors.

Feb 20, 2008

"I am not afraid..."

I have the honor of being asked, and quite often, “what can I do to help?” I meet people, day in and day out who want to contribute to our home, our residents’ lives, our efforts.

One of my favorite parts of this work is matching what people have to give with our needs. It is a great joy to be able to watch, and closely, how giving and receiving transform all of those involved.

Sometimes what we need is an empathetic ear. Sometimes we need an outside and professional opinion on a care plan for a resident or a reference for a neurologist for one of our residents. Sometimes our staff needs volunteers to visit and give them a reprieve in their day and work. Sometimes we need financial support or simply a few kind words.

Sometimes our residents need someone to pay special attention to their piece of art. Sometimes we need people to just acknowledge that we are tired, and offer to pick up the pieces, even just for a short time.

We need people. We need people who are willing to be present, “to touch those to whom [they] give.” (Mother Teresa) We need people to be gentle and fierce. We need people who will fight hard for the rights of our residents, for the provision of their needs. We need people to carry some of the suffering that our residents have carried for their whole lives.

It is hard to stare suffering in its face. And sometimes I feel compelled to protect our friends and supporters from the suffering that inevitably comes through and in this work. But then we are all more alone. And besides, if the suffering is not known, we will never find ways to overcome it, however slow it may be.

There is a quote by Euripides, the Ancient Greek playwright, which speaks to this willingness to be a part of life. Euripides says:

“You who sit there in utter misery, look up and show your friend your face. There is no darkness bears a cloak so black as could conceal your suffering. Why wave your hand to warn me of the taint of blood? For fear your words pollute me? I am not afraid to share your deep affliction with you…”

May we not be afraid. So much depends on this.

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