Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians

by Friends of Warm Hearth, Inc.
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Forever Homes for Abandoned Armenians
Dear friends of Warm Hearth,
After being re-routed through Moscow due to Qatar's diplomatic struggle, we made it to Armenia in one ragged piece. This time I was actually able to come with my entire family -- for the first time in 7 years.   We all went to Warm Hearth together and it is hard to express how full it made my heart to see all the people I love so much holding one another, hugging one another, gifting one another, welcoming one another.  

There is something so pure and piercing in the love of these residents.  How do they know how to love so well and so profoundly?  The language barrier was not inhibitive to their expressions of love on both sides.  So much can be said in a smile, in a gesture, in loving attention.  

And...they are happy.  The residents. Of course, it is not that simple.  They are sad, too, sometimes, but they are also happy.  They have such a lively creativity and so many ways to explore it.  They are loved and they have so much love to give.  They told me of trips to a local orphanage where they lead the children in special activities.  I saw little clay houses that some of them made to illustrate Warm Hearth.  They remind me of fairy or hobbit houses with bright colors and flowers and joy and magic in each brick.  

Within an hour of arriving, they made sure that we were going to have one-on-one meetings together, where they can share their joys and heartaches and struggles and concerns.  We all look forward to those meetings so much and I will cherish the insights into their days -- the shadows and the light.  

We are all leaving for Kapan in a few days.  Kapan, the town where the first group of residents and I met.  Kapan, where many of them were raised.  We will go to celebrate, to remember where we came from, to enjoy being out of the city.  We will go to rest and relax together -- staff and resident, visitors and children.  I look forward to four days of being together without work to do or meetings to be had.  In all the years since Warm Hearth started, we have never had this sort of time together.  
So many of you, who have met the residents, have already been mentioned by name.  How's Sarah?  How's Bridget?  What is Shauna doing?  When will Juliet come again?  The list goes on.  You are here with us in spirit and we will hold you close in the days to come -- as we remember and bless what has come before and what will come to be.  

Thank you for helping us build a home with magic in each brick.  

With gratitude,
Natalie

 

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Dear friends and donors,

The music of Spring is in the air.  The tips of the tree branches in our residents’ garden are swollen and ready to break into blossom.  I think of Mary Oliver’s words:

Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last  

For more than a few moments. It’s one of those
magical places wise people  
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,
is that, once you’ve been there,  you’re there forever.

Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?  

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then — open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song  
may already be drifting away.

The residents are running on their heavy feet today in Mughni, outside of Yerevan (pictured here). The ancient St. Gevorg’s monastery is there, which I visited many years ago just as Spring was having her way.  And it is a joy to imagine the residents there, with new sun on their pale wintered faces, in this season of Lent, which is sacred to many Armenians. I hope they go barefoot today. I hope they hear the solemn and perfect music for a few moments and that they know that they too have another chance, yet again.

They have been home for over a decade now, many of them, but I imagine just as our hearts and souls still need healing and transformation and comforting, so too do theirs. May we at Warm Hearth look at the world differently this Spring and see the opportunities in our group home for beginning again, for deep full-hearted joy. May it be so for our dear residents. And may it be so for you, both in your own private journeys and in your journey of loving our residents and circling around them.

If you would like to read our resident profile and about the Armenia Mindfulness Project, please view our quarterly newsletter (attached).  

Sincerely Yours,

Natalie Bryant-Rizzieri
Founder & Executive Director


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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) 

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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.

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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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Organization Information

Friends of Warm Hearth, Inc.

Location: Flagstaff, AZ - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Warm Hearth Co-Director
Founder/Executive Director
Flagstaff, AZ United States

Funded Project!

Thanks to 432 donors like you, a total of $61,676 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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