Life and work in 2019

By Mary Ellen Mitchell, Lydia’s House co-director December 2019 Dear Friends, As I reflect on the last year, first I’m grateful for the opportunity to be in leadership here at Lydia’s House and to have my work and family so integrated in this experiment in shared life and community. Our children are better for it; our days are more meaningful. As such, perhaps the piece of life that stood out most boldly for the Mitchell-Eilerman contingent of this operation was this operation, with Lydia’s House taking a new role in our family as the employer of both me and Ben

Back to School Blessing

This past week, we celebrated our annual Back to School party! It was a community-wide bash like never before. We broke our record for attendees and even unveiled some big new ideas for our community! The yard was full of cheerful kids screaming and running, sticky faces from snow cones, bouncy house jumpers, and taco eaters galore. Our beloved volunteer, Anne, even made homemade ice cream that some literally dreamed about that night. The backyard also featured generous donations of backpacks, clothes, and school supplies from many kind volunteers! The kids loved the new backpacks. Our staff member, Meridith, led

A Meditation on Mopping Stairs

Laura Menze, Lydia’s House Occupational Therapist On the afternoon of the opening of the Virginia Coffey Place, I walked through the units and turned on lights before making the final descent with the mop bucket, kicking off my boots wary of getting them wet. Mopping those steep stairs for all the attendees was a christening of that space, but not in the champagne over the bow of a ship or the baptism sort of christening, both unique and singular events, rather it was a christening of a life lived in that space, a life that will include sweeping and mopping

Winter Wellness BINGO Concludes

As the Lydia’s House community rejoices in springtime weather with walks to Ameristop for ice cream and plans for a backyard grill out, we also have celebrated the conclusion of Winter Wellness BINGO. Winter Wellness BINGO was created as winter grey days and holidays, often a trigger for painful memories, loomed ahead. Each guest and staff member was given a BINGO card with various activities to complete over the winter months. This activity gave a language and a framework for having regular conversations about practicing coping skills, building positive relationships, and engaging in healthy leisure activities. Staff of Lydia’s House

Virginia Coffey Place Opens

Our community of supporters gathered at Vineyard Central Church for an afternoon of moving speakers, songs from Muse choir, prayers of thanksgiving, and oohs, ahhs and applause after all the hard work of renovation was completed on the new affordable housing building. Lydia’s House gathered together former guests, elected officials, clergy, donors, volunteers and neighbors and proudly unveiled the new Virginia Coffey Place, named for activist and educator Virginia Coffey. Supporters toured apartment units fully furnished and brightly decorated and saw “before” pictures of the dilapidated decayed interiors that a dedicated crew and volunteers have skillfully transformed into welcoming homes