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...
Mar 12, 2012

Spring News - The Soul of a Home

Dear friends,

I am attaching our spring newsletter.  We're heading to Armenia in early April!  Read more about that trip and our expectations in the newsletter. 

Here is an excerpt below. 

We are grateful for each of you, and for the way you care for our residents. 

Kindly,

Natalie (for us all)

 

A New Foundation, A New Hope

The Garden House construction is complete and we are ready to welcome Anna and Sassoon home in April.  After an Easter celebration with the residents and an intensive three-day staff training led by Natalie (founder) and Bridget (founding board member), we will drive the winding roads to pick up Sassoon and Anna.  Juliet Setian, a volunteer and donor, will be traveling with us, strengthening and supporting this delicate effort. Together we will do our best to prepare the staff to care for these two residents.  We will prepare our hearts once again to meet the challenges that are an inevitable part of this work.  We will prepare Sassoon and Anna as well.  It is a time of change but this is a change we have long awaited.  The hope is that the Garden House will be a transitional living space for any resident with more intense behavioral needs.  We have well-laid plans to provide the support and care that Anna and Sassoon will need.  These include: a greater staff to resident ratio, positive behavior support plans, visual schedules, and much more.  We have worked hard.  We have tried to learn from our mistakes.  We have built a new foundation. May it be strong and  well-laid.  May it withstand and support the pressures, the weight, and the soul of this new Garden Home.


Attachments:
Feb 2, 2012

In Winter Enjoy ~ Annual Report 2011

Dear friends,

In seedtime learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.  (William Blake)

It is striking to me that the new year, the time to begin again, occurs midwinter when nights are longest and feast days have just passed.  In this season, the daylight hours are a promise of what is to come as they are only beginning to lengthen again toward the balance of equinox.  It is in this quiet space that we consider both the past year and the year to come. 

In seedtime learn

Each year has its seasons of learning, its seedtime.  This year we brought Alya, our Armenian Country Director, to the United States.  We wanted to see the daily routine and management of various group homes in order to strengthen our own ability to manage difficult behaviors and residents with complicated diagnoses.

While I missed going to Armenia this year (we couldn’t manage both) and seeing our dear residents, it seemed fitting to allow her the extraordinary chance to see other group homes.  Because ours was the first - and only - long-term group home in Armenia, she had never had the opportunity to see another.  Our time together here was rich and sparked a renewed commitment to bring Anna and Sassoon home from the clinics in the spring.  (Read more on page 3 of the attached Annual Report.)

While observing different group homes, we felt validated in that the most important components of a loving group home are in place at Warm Hearth.  We were exposed to new ways of caring for individuals with particular behavioral challenges.  We were reminded that the struggles we face are by nature part of this work and are not endured by us alone.

In harvest teach

In 2011, we enjoyed the gifts of each particular season and helped our residents do the same.  As in any endeavor, and in any human life, there were unexpected losses and surprising bounties along the way.   We - resident, staff, donor, volunteer - experienced both, as did each of you, I imagine.

Many of our residents began their third and final year of study at Yerevan State Humanities College.  They have thrived in this setting and we look forward to their graduation day in 2012.  We continue to think of ways in which we can achieve movement toward further integration into the community after graduation - whether in work, service, art or play.  We look forward to how this will enrich and strengthen our residents’ lives. 

In winter enjoy

I spoke with our residents an hour ago. It is the eve of the Armenian New Year and they are staying up late, reveling in the celebration with its tasks and merriments, talking about their gifts, enjoying one another.  It bring me so much joy to hear their voices full of anticipation, full of hope. 

As Blake urges, winter is a time to enjoy the work of the year, the bounty of the harvest.  They are doing just that.  In this spirit, I want this report to do the same.  We have so much to be grateful for, in large part because of each of you.  So in these pages, I want to share with you our seeds, our harvest, and our winter that you might also learn, teach and enjoy.

Blessings to you and yours,

Natalie Bryant-Rizzieri


Attachments:
Dec 12, 2011

Winter Newsletter ~ Breaking New Ground

Dear friends,

I have attached the winter newsletter for your perusal and enjoyment.  In addition, I have included a portion of the text below. 

On behalf of the residents and staff, we would like to wish you all a blessed season.   Our residents look forward to celebrating - and thank you for your part in making that happen. 

Sincerely and with gratitude,
Natalie (for us all)


Ground is Broken

In September, we reported our newly-laid plans to build a garden house.  The garden house will be a small and simple building in our backyard (design pictured here).  In the beginning, it will provide a structure and a safe place to care for our residents with more intense needs.  Anna and Sassoon, two of our residents who have been in clinics, are the inspiration for this garden house.  Though there have been delays, construction is now underway and we hope to be ready to welcome Anna and Sassoon home in March of 2012.  Our vision is that the home be a transitional space for any residents with special needs whether that be Anna and Sassoon in their transition from the clinic, a resident who is looking to increase his or her independent living skills, or a volunteer who would benefit the residents by staying onsite.  We are so grateful for this opportunity and the possibilities it holds for our residents.  In the meantime, we are also finishing our basement and making it a therapeutic and welcoming place where any resident can take some time away from the larger group to rest, relax, or be calmed.  We are hopeful that these changes, along with behavior planning, and a new staffing structure will be the keys to a successful transition home for Anna and Sassoon.


Read the full newsletter by opening the attachment. 


Attachments:

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