It is deep in the heart of winter at Warm Hearth. Our residents gather close to the hearth. It is a time to stay close to home in much of the world; it is a time to reach inward and to tend to the work that is always waiting there below our surfaces.
At Warm Hearth, that work means reflecting on our year—the rising and falling, the shining and the muddy. It means looking hard at the faces of our residents to see if the smile lines are deepening and recognizing where there is room to grow.
As I think back to the year, to the ways our grassroots efforts continue to reach for more water and expand, I am in awe of the ways that so many of you have made Warm Hearth yours. You are the ones tending the fire. You are the ones gathering the fruit and holding open hands out to the residents.
A few times this year, as inevitably happens, we have stumbled. We saw a resident lost and then, gratefully, found within 48 hours without harm. We have seen another resident spin out of control and despair and we have not been able to contain her pain within the walls of our home.
At every rising and falling, we try to bless and to hope. We try to remember that this work has a long arc, a trajectory that will extend beyond any of us. And we remember that what may seem final in the moment (for good or ill) is probably not final after all.
It is just one small part of a larger story, and in the meantime our work is to be faithful to today—to the art-making and the fundraising, the filing and the thanking, the loving and the dressing, the laughing and the teaching.
We are engaged in home-making for fourteen beautiful souls, who would otherwise be without. In a world that changes so fast and is fraught with uncertainty, what we want to offer our residents is a forever home.
Thank you for believing in this simple vision. Thank you for tending to their hearth. May we find a way, together, to make more homes in Armenia. And may you feel the warmth of your own hearth with those you love gathered close by.
Natalie Bryant-Rizzieri (Founder)PS. To read our entire annual report for 2014, please see the attachment.
Dear friends -
Armenians celebrate Christmas and New Year (Nor Dari) with abandon. Their homes are full of family, friends and neighbors for the twelve days of Christmas (between Christmas and Epiphany). And our home is no different.
Christmas and New Year are a time of celebration at Warm Hearth. We decorate a beautiful tree and overwhelm it with tinsel, decorations and lights. We participate in the feasts, songs and fullness of the season. Our staff labors with the residents to make platters and tables of food. With your support, our staff picks out meaningful and lovely gifts for each resident.
Last year, Santa Claus even made an appearance at the home and handed out the gifts. Our residents were brimming over with excitement and happiness.
It is a joy to create a life-giving Christmas for our dear residents who too often were forgotten and alone at this time of year in the past. Thank you for joining with us to make a space for joy and peace both in this season and through the year.
May you experience joy and peace in your own homes and hearts, too. If you would like to read our full newsletter, please see the attachment. Sincerely,Natalie
We are so grateful for the GlobalGiving platform and for the ways that you have found us and made our work your work. It has been wonderful to see Armenians and non-Armenians alike come together to sustain and support our home. We have loved hearing from some of you this year about why our work is important to you. And even if we have not heard from you, we can tell that our work is important to you through your gifts. You, in turn, are important to us -- and make it possible to create a home and lasting change for our residents. As winter settles hard over Armenia, we are busy preparing for the holiday season. One of our residents favorite parts of the year is the Christmas/New Year (Nor Dari) time. The house is decked with trees and ornaments and our staff make special holiday food. This year our residents are also busy preparing their own handicrafts to sell at exhibitions and Christmas bazaars in Armenia (see attached photos). They are learning to work hard toward the sustainability of their own home and we are proud of them. Join them in helping to raise life-giving funds for our home. Between December 1st and December 31st, if we are able to raise at least $3,000 from at least 30 unique donors, then we will qualify for one of nine bonus awards. This means that your gifts and the gifts of others will go even further in supporting our work. There are a few ways to participate. And we would be honored if you would consider these unique avenues:
Use this fundraising tool to engage your friends and family in supporting our work. With this tool you can share easily about why Warm Hearth is important to you and what its needs are.
Another option is to use these tribute cards to give gifts to your loved ones in honor of Friends of Warm Hearth. These can make lovely and meaningful gifts. Thank you for your care and attention to our home and our residents. We would like to offer a tribute to you -- as one of Warm Hearth's supporters -- for making a difference in the lives of our residents. We raise our glass to you. Blessings, this holiday season,
Natalie (for us all)
Each year our staff members and caregivers write and reflect about their work and their relationships with our residents and directors. As we read their reflections this year, we were struck by the deep tenderness and love they have for our residents. This tenderness is what makes Warm Hearth unique. Here are some of their thoughts and reflections. When Roman was in a complicated [medical] situation, I was with him from the time he went into the hospital until the day he got out. And I cared for him just like my own child. Sassoon is so good and transparent. There are no words to describe. When I come to work in the morning, he is the first person I say hello to. Every morning, seeing his smile, I also smile. When the residents receive something they like, right away they show me because they know that I rejoice with them. And when they have not felt good, they tell me because they know I care for them. My relationship with Gayane is as an equal. I listen to her opinion and give her my opinion regarding something or someone. Because our leaders and directors deeply care for the needs of the residents, we (as staff) do not have any concerns.
To read the full newsletter, download the attachment below. And thank you for your support and care. We are so appreciative of each of you.
Dear donors -
Life at Warm Hearth has been full this summer. Alina, one of our residents, recently wrote the following paragraph and wanted to share it with our supporters, you. "I have lived at Warm Hearth for eight years and it is my own home. I feel happy here. I have behaved myself more this past year. I haven’t been angry with anyone. I would like to live separately (on my own) and visit Warm Hearth once in awhile. I am closest to Gayane, Armine and Hasmik (other residents) and of the staff, I am closes to Karine, Rita and Jhanna.
I would like to make my bedroom more beautiful. I still love to draw and of the chores that I do, I enjoy most cleaning the bathroom. I would like to start baking all together and then I would like to be able to do it on my own. I would like to go on more walks. I want my sister to visit me."Thank you for listening, for caring about our residents, for making their lives more beautiful.
Sincerely, Natalie Bryant-Rizzieri
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