Feb 16, 2017

What Shall We Sing?

Dear friends,

It is always a joy to connect with our supporters and friends.  We had a beautiful year in Armenia--one of the sweetest yet, I think.  It was our ten-year anniversary and thus a celebratory year chock-a-block full of events and visitors and parties.  

It was a year of unfolding for our residents -- unfolding more into the world and their community.  This was aided by a new staffing structure (and a few new staff members) who made a huge and concerted effort to help the residents meet their own goals.  A couple of residents started volunteering at a local orphanage.  There were more trips to the library.  Our residents made art and more art and beautiful rugs.  We welcomed visitors and supporters from all over the world and beckoned them into our home, work and hearts as we beckon each of you.  

I could go on and on but the whole point of sending the 2016 Annual Report is so you can read about all this goodness there, from our staff and people who were at the home in 2016.  (You can view it on our website or via the attachment.) 

To those of you who donated to Warm Hearth in 2016, thank you.  

Blessings to each of you.  We are so grateful for you.  

Lastly, please always feel free to reach out if you have any questions about our work.  We love to hear from you.  

Warmly,
Natalie (for us all) 

Links:


Attachments:
Feb 2, 2017

Changing a Culture One by One

Dear Donors--

We ask the staff to reflect each year on their work, their vocation as caregivers and their relationships in the home. We try to encourage our staff to identify with all of our residents, especially those who at first glance seem to be “other.” The responses this year are particularly poignant in light of our long endeavor that often felt fruitless.  It was not too long ago that Sassoon and Anna were still living in institutions, not considered “fully human” by most people in Armenia—including, at times, our staff. The following staff reflections are a testament to the way that culture can begin to change one person at a time. 

Describe your relationship with each resident: There is no one at Warm Hearth who does not love Sassoon.  He is so kind and transparent.  I am very attentive toward him and love having conversations with him.  He is also attentive toward others.  

Give a specific example from your daily life with the residents about how you are growing in forgiveness and celebration: When a resident has a behavior problem my forgiveness is in that I approach him or her with an attitude of understanding and tolerance.  I try to understand the triggers and reasons behind the negative behaviors.  I try to be empathetic. When I came to Warm Hearth yesterday morning, one resident was very restless; she could not control herself.  I tried talking to her and was empathetic toward her – by resting my hand on her shoulder.  I took her upstairs to her room, all the way showing that I wanted to help her.  She was able to pull herself together and began talking with me. 

Give a specific example from your daily life with the residents about how you are growing in the value of simplicity: This is a very important characteristic in interacting with the residents.  I never isolate myself when I am with them.  I behave as if we are equals.  This way they are able to interact with me and trust me with their problems.   My favorite thing about this work is the joy the residents give me.  It is pleasant when one gives the residents such a small thing – a little bit of knowledge one has acquired through the years – and in return one receives such tremendous love, which can never be replaced.  For me, giving [the residents] joy is a life.

My favorite thing about this work is the joy the residents give me.  It is pleasant when one gives the residents such a small thing – a little bit of knowledge one has acquired through the years – and in return one receives such tremendous love, which can never be replaced.  For me, giving [the residents] joy is a life.

Links:

Nov 3, 2016

Tribute to our Residents

Dear friends,

As you all know, we celebrated our ten-year anniversary in August. What a joy it has been to witness the unfolding of this labor of love, to behold such bravery in our staff and community, to see our residents grow and change and heal and laugh. While I could not be present for the celebration, I sent this tribute to our residents:

I have had the great pleasure and honor of knowing and loving the residents of Warm Hearth for a long time. I think it is safe to say that we have grown up together.

Roman, Gayane, Alina, Susanna, Yulia, Davit, Sassoon, Anna, Hasmik, Anahit, Armine, Agappy, Davo, and Arsen, you’re a part of my heart and my love for you runs so deep. Some of you became family to me over 12 years ago, when I met you in Kapan. Others of you became family to me when you first came to live in your forever home at Jermik Ankyun.

However you became family to me, it is irrevocable. And my life is so much richer and better and full of love because of you.

You show me what it means to live with courage and hope, with strength and vulnerability. I celebrate ten years of Jermik Ankyun being open because of you – because you have a home, and a safe place and love in your life. Today is your celebration. It’s a celebration of your home, the staff, all of the people who believe in you, all the people here today. And I know that each person here today will be blessed by each of you -- by what you have to give the world, by the sweetness and the beauty of your presence.

Thank you to all of you for celebrating with us – for marking these ten amazing years. And these fourteen amazing individuals.

Sincerely Yours,

Natalie Bryant-Rizzieri
Founder & Executive Director

 
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