After two full years of meeting at The Coffee House, envisioning the future, operating our virtual lodge, we became a real one on July 1, 2019. The first Fairweather Lodge in Virginia. Pictured are its first members, their lodge coordinator, at the their new home
This week Director Lisa Thomas gave an excellent presentation on Hope Family Village to Kiwanis Toano.
She described the needs of caregivers and their loved ones who live with serious mental illness.
She covered our innovation. A neighborhood of acceptance. A place where neighbors help neighbors. Hope Family Village is an adaptation of the cohousing approach and design that situates mental health care and support as a top priority.
She credited Sen. Tommy Norment with recognizing the value of our endeavor and being the force behind securing 25 acres for the project at an iconic location, the Eastern State surplus property.
Since 2018, Hope Family Village has been working with James City County, Colonial Behavioral Health, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, the Department of General Services, Division of Real Estate concerning the community’s realization.
Hope Family Village is very proud of its co-founder, director and treasurer Carmen Andreoli.
Directors’ Trench and Thomas joined Carmen at Employee Volunteers Program Awards luncheon in DC in May.
He was one of only 14 employees, companywide, to receive an award and grant of $5,000 for the HFV organization. He was the only awardee from the non-regulated sector and a subsidiary of Constellation Energy. The parent, Exelon Corporation, is a Fortune 100 energy company.
As noted in their presentation, the award help support the opening of Williamsburg Fairweather Lodge, the first such lodge in Virginia, this July.
In his acceptance, Carmen demonstrated HFV’s character as an organization by first acknowledging his fellow volunteers for their community service commitment and then the company for supporting the efforts of its employees.
in his remarks, he spoke how about how Hope Family Village is filling a vacuum by providing support to caregivers (8.4 million) and their loved ones (1 in 25) who live with a serious mental illness.
Six months ago, we held our first strategic planning workshop (coach Susie Hill and W&M Business School’s Kim Mallory prompted us). We got off to a great start. As President, I wish to acknowledge all that Susie and Kim, the W&M Business School (LD Metcalfe, Graham Henshaw and their student teams) have done to support us in our startup stage. Amazing is what can happen in a very short period of time.
- We will open the first Fairweather Lodge in Virginia in July.
- We have met with Virginia’s Dept. of General Services to further discuss and confirm their commitment to lease 25 acres of property for $1 at Eastern State to Hope Family Village (HFV) Corporation. Included in the final budget is an amendment sponsored by Sen. Tommy Norment.
- We have continued to receive generous donations from families who believe in our management team, HFV’s mission and accomplishments, most notably caregivers Lee and Betty Anne Griffin. We are most appreciative and grateful to all.
- The week of our meeting we received word that Exelon Corporation (Chicago) had issued a Employee Volunteer Awards grant to HFV because of the volunteer work of director Carmen Andreoli. Only one awarded from the non-regulated business.
In our meeting April 18th, board members were, again, joined by significant resource people who have been guiding both the lodge and village projects. Retired management consultant, fellow W&M Alum, Van Black (’75), a very early donor to our pursuit (2015), took us through an action-oriented day.
Fairweather lodge is autonomous living for unrelated adults living with a serious mental illness diagnosis. The first group has been working together for almost two years, at The Coffee House on Saturday mornings at 8 AM, preparing for this moment. Each lodge member has a job, a requirement of the model. Three serve as NAMI Connections Group facilitators. As their lodge coordinator, I am very proud of them.
The lodge development process would never have happened without the consistent support of the Coalition for Community Living, the board, and lodge coordinators from around the country, especially Bill McHenry of New Visions, Inc. and John Trepp.
Hope Family Village’s first neighborhood will serve 25 caregiving families and their loved ones who manage a serious mental illness. Within the village, there will be at least one Fairweather Lodge. The village will blend co-housing and Fairweather Lodge principles and practices together to achieve wellness and support. The community’s highest priority is mental health care. As an inclusive community, by design, it will be open to those who embrace our vision. The idea is that neighbors help neighbors.
We thank CDR for loaning us their conference room to continue our work.
Since January, we have been running full out. (I have noticed some grey hair appearing.)
1. In July we will open the first Fairweather Lodge in Virginia. The Williamsburg Fairweather Lodge has been a long time coming. Beginning in 2015, we took part in national lodge events and conferences. In 2017, we started a virtual lodge at The Coffee House. Now, here we are four lodge members moving into a real house. They have been working on their lodge rules and handbook. Much work remains ahead, but everyone is confident and excited. We want this first home to be a success. We want our community to know what is possible when a small group goes to work. They will see that Hope Family Village is much more than talk. We have a great board and supporters. And, we do stuff.
Dave Ress, Daily Press, interviewed founding families at our monthly dinner at Jimmy’s, December 13 – to find out more about Hope Family Village. Our ambitions.
His piece appeared on Christmas Eve. Our families were overjoyed to see the coverage. Neighboring NAMI Affiliates have been contacting us with the same excitement.
Our colleagues at the Coalition for Community Living, where Hope Family Village is a member, really liked the presentation.
We competed our first year of the 501(c)3 Nonprofit Public Charity, Hope Family Village. Our accomplishments have been stunning!
Number 1. Hope Family Village was named in the Governor’s Budget for the development of a community for 25 caregiving families and their loved ones living with a mental illness.
Since June, we have been working with James City County Planning and Social Services, culminating in the submission of a preliminary conceptual design. The project will take an estimated 3 years to develop (2022).
Number 2. We identified the right landlord to help Hope Family Village open the first Fairweather Lodge in Virginia in July of 2019. We have been working toward this moment since March of 2015. Lodge members have been preparing – meeting weekly, obtaining jobs, filing outcome reports (measure 14 fidelity standards), and conducting lodge activities – since June of 2017 at The Coffee House. Our innovation, as a lodge without a house, was honored in Minneapolis at the Fairweather Lodge Conference.
Additionally, Hope Family Village:
• Received startup funding in 2017, which we have grown in 2018
• Held 3 board meetings, one special meeting, and one annual meeting.
We worked with the W&M School on a number of projects; the student joined us for one of the meetings.
• Established Planning and Finance Committees
Within each are subcommittees (e.g., community eligibility criteria)
• Held Strategic Planning Workshop facilitated by Susie Hill.
Here we reviewed our founding vision, history, state of the state, priorities, milestones and responsibilities for 2019
• Received its first grant from the Williamsburg Community Foundation
• Participated in two NAMI VA Events, one a workshop that our board members facilitated
• Were recognized with the NAMI VA Hope Award
• Held monthly dinners expanded (20 – 25 people attending), adding to our list of HFV community prospects
• Participated, as a member agency and board member, in monthly CCL lodge coordinators calls, board member and marketing committee meetings
The coalition has embraced and supported Hope Family Village and our approach to incorporating Fairweather principles into our community’s design.
• Sponsored W&M Center of Entrepreneurship Project (2017 – 2018), a business model evaluation project, that recommended the Fairweather Lodge as a gateway to Hope Family Village, the community
• Delivered presentations to Riverside Health System, the W&M Entrepreneurship Center, Rotary Club, and Crown Colony Club
• Expanded our network. Coordinating with Colonial Behavioral Health, James City County, House of Mercy, NAMI Affiliates, and 3E Restoration
• Toured various property options, including Eastern State
Walked Eastern State State property (plus considered other options (e.g, Riverside Quarterpath, land) and various house rental options). Visited Oxford Houses.
• Participated in intense learning and networking Cohousing Regional Conferences (Boulder, Amherst), where we visited and met with members of co-housing villages.
In 2018, we visited 7 villages in three states (CO, MA, and VA)
In Amherst, we met with, and subsequently engaged co-housing architect Laura Fitch, who developed our first preliminary concept design for 25 families on 10 acre plot.
• Developed an identity, presence on the web (thanks to Phil Trench), and initial marketing materials through the support of W&M’s Kim Mallory
Ted Pino, a longtime advertising agency, has been lending his expertise to help us keep improving our outreach.
2019: Year Ahead will not be quiet, either.
• Follow Strategic Plan Priorities, reviewing our progress throughout the year
• Start a lodge in a real house (Jan – July window)
Move-in the first residents. Make this place a focal point for HFV
• Keep rallying prospective caregiving families to live in the 25 family village
• Develop details of the hypothetical village at Eastern State
• Participate in JCC Comprehensive Planning Process
• Seek VA Budget Amendment that creates specific acreage and financial terms for Eastern State property.
• Identify other land options in JCC, York, and possibly other counties
When others are running from a problem, we are embracing it. Turning difficulty upside down into opportunity. We see what others might not. We take one small thing, a family dinner, demonstrate it, and show how it leads to another small thing. Eventually, you wind up with a neighborhood. A family of acceptance and respect. Unafraid of the future. That’s Hope Family Village. And, why you want to be here more than any place else. The welcome mat is out.
Let us show you something.
Yeah, it’s a preliminary, draft conceptual design for one prospective location at Eastern State.
We shared it with James City County Planning and Social Service last Friday.
The board has engaged award-winning community architect Laura Fitch at the toughest stage. The starting blocks. And, on a very quick turn around, combined with a snow storm.
We know terrain laced with obstacles.
Our Board member, Lisa Thomas, had the great opportunity to attend the Northeast Co-Housing Summit last month in Amherst, MA where she attended workshops about designing and running an intentional housing community. She also met with others living in existing co-housing communities or getting ready to launch their own.
The highlight of her experience was visiting Pioneer Valley Co-Housing, a community that started 25 years ago with a focus on social connections and shared experiences.
This multi-generational community of 32 families living on a six acre footprint includes a Common House, described as the “Living room of the community,” clustered homes, pedestrian walking paths, community gardens and outdoor recreational spaces. Each resident contributes to the well being of the community by volunteering 6-8 hours a month to organize activities, maintain the community, cook occasional shared meals, or other activities designed to bolster a sense of community support and connection.
The community encourages “random connection by design” with a carefully designed footprint that includes, public, semi-private and private spaces for all residents. Every neighbor knows everyone in the community, children play freely outdoors and often visit frequently between the houses, and members support each other through personal challenges, as well as celebrating small successes and major milestones.
The community is so popular, they have a long waiting list of families who want to move there and have opened up associate memberships for others to participate in community life while waiting. Residents own their own homes, but pay monthly fees similar to a Homeowners Association for maintenance and upkeep of the community.
After experiencing a weekend at Pioneer Valley and seeing how well this concept works, Lisa may well be the first to make a down payment on a home in Hope Family Village!