Thank you for your loyal support of our residents. We have an autumn newsletter with news of our summer, the story of our new resident, and invitations to a few events. Please find the newsletter attached and enjoy an excerpt here:
In July of 2013, Arsen was welcomed into our home after the death of both parents.
A Place to Heal, Live, Love
Arsen is our most recent resident; his story is different than most of our residents. After hearing about him and spending time with him, we quickly realized that he belongs with Warm Hearth. Arsen is in his 30s and lived with his parents most of his life. He was well-cared for. When they died, he lived alone for a time. There was no one who could care for him. He was not able to thrive on his own due to a pervasive developmental disability.
Arsen’s cousin from Moscow found Warm Hearth and approached us about providing a home for him. He has been living with us since July and while we have a lot to offer him, it is still not the same as a parent’s love. We hope to give him a safe place to heal and a lifetime home.
Our desire is that he soon find companionship with our residents and staff and grow in new ways through our life skills and vocational programs, therapy sessions and gentle way of life. At the same time, we look forward to what he has to teach us and give us, knowing he will become a part of us, changing us as well.
Natalie (for us all)
A woman, Heather, who has known some of our residents for over ten years (before there even was a Warm Hearth), visited again this summer.
Here are her thoughts on our home:
I’ve been back to visit Armenia twice since I lived there from 2001-2003, when I fell in love with the country and the people. On those return visits, it’s been so good to reconnect, to savor the fresh, flavorful food, and to soak up the natural beauty of the country. At the same time, it’s disheartening to see that poverty persists, that roads remain potholed, and that many people remain desperate to leave and find a better life.
My visits to Warm Hearth have been bright spots in the midst of those harsh realities. The staff and the residents face real challenges, to be sure: neighbors remain largely unreceptive, space and funds are limited, a resident wonders why her mother and her sister no longer come to visit. But despite those challenges, they shine.
When I visited this summer, I was struck again by Alya’s firm commitment to the difficult work that’s done at Warm Hearth and the hope she has for growing acceptance of people with disabilities in Armenia. Davit and Gayane proudly displayed their work on the loom, Roman smiled broadly as he showed off the puzzle he was putting together, and Suzanna lit up when I admired the careful stitches she’d done on a tablecloth. The residents proudly gave my cousin and me a tour of the house and the well-tended plants in the yard, and they cheered each other on in a rousing back-porch bowling game with plastic pins and balls.
Armenia is a beautiful place. It’s far from perfect, and many Armenians would gladly leave if they could. At the same time, however, many of the nation’s generous, hospitable people face their challenges with beauty, grace, and strength – just as the staff and the residents of Warm Hearth continue to do.
Dear friends and donors,
Brick by Brick
Excellent local leadership is perhaps the single most important piece in establishing a thriving and sustainable home. Our Armenian Director, Alya Kirakosyan, has shown a new level of initiative in reaching out on behalf of our residents in the local community, building a network that serves to make our residents’ lives richer.
She recently attended a conference in Georgia on Human Resources Management. At the conference, she was not only exposed to helpful information, but she also made some connections with other organizations in Armenia that want to support our residents.
Additionally, she has taken steps to have our home and needs listed on international websites that direct interested donors to various projects.
Even more importantly, Alya takes true joy in her work and in seeing the residents grow in joy and live in peace. She is fiercely protective of their well-being and, along with you, is always conscious of securing a future for them. We are grateful for the ways that Alya is building on our foundation, brick by brick.
The work of mending in this world never ends. Paradise lies scattered, this I know, it is our earthly task to recognize its flowers that are strewn in the humble grass. -Yves Bonnefoy
Our work of mending carries on, and carries us, maybe especially in the midst of struggle. We have found paradise scattered in and throughout our daily lives, in ordinary and humble moments of weaving carpets, making meals, writing “thank you’s,” updating files, tending to the house, bathing bodies, planting seeds.
We have also recognized flowers of paradise in extraordinary moments. Many of our residents graduated from a three-year university program in June. In April, a group of five travelled to Armenia to support the staff in the homecoming of Anna and Sassoon.
Our staff in Armenia guide our residents with love, and ever-deeper understanding. They also have made tremendous strides this year in garnering support from local individuals and organizations. Their reaching out on behalf of our residents is a testament of their love and commitment to our residents and home.
It has been a year of rejoicing. So much that we have long strived for has come to fruition. Our home life has a rhythm. Our residents are all all safe. Our staff are well-trained, wise and committed. And you, our supporters, are loyal, passionate and enjoy tending to this garden of a home we all share in Armenia. My heart is full. And grateful.
Sincerely Yours, Natalie Bryant-Rizzieri
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