Holiday Season at The Alyssa House

The Alyssa House welcomed in our first ever holiday season on Sunday, Dec. 3 at our inaugural Holiday Lighting Ceremony. The Alyssa House will shine blue, the favorite color of our namesake, all month long.

Thank you to our family, friends, and community members who joined us for this very special evening. We were even joined by our current Alyssa House family, who came out to join in on Christmas carols and the lighting of house.

We are so grateful for your support. The Alyssa House wouldn’t be possible without you.

Our ‘Alyssa Blue’ lights were donated by volunteer Mary Lynn Haney, and the lights were put up by UVA student volunteers from Alpha Phi Omega at UVA.

Special thanks to our friends at Sojourners United Church of Christ for generously donating their facilities for our gathering.

 

Open House: One Year Anniversary

“I can only TRY to express how thankful we are to the Alyssa House family for allowing us to have stayed here during the most difficult time of our lives.  This house became home to me and my kids for three months.  It was exactly what we needed to help us get through this time.” – Nikki

As we quickly approach the holiday season, the gratitude expressed above by the mother of our second family is identical to how I am feeling about our amazing community of supporters.  It’s hard to believe that today marks one year since our open house to introduce the public to The Alyssa House and begin the final push toward becoming operational.  At the time, it was a small but momentous step as the spark of an idea blossomed into reality.  But that was just a hint at what was to come, with the start of 2017 welcoming our first family!

Since that time, we have had five families call The Alyssa House home, with their stays ranging from two weeks to three months.  Each has been able to use the house in a manner that best suits their family’s needs, but all have been able to relay on clean, free, and safe housing because of you.

Whether assisting with a house reset, helping to beautify the grounds, baking a casserole, washing laundry, supporting ongoing house operations through donated supplies, coordinating an independent fundraising event, attending one of our various fundraising events, or sending your thoughts and prayers to our families, you have stepped up in innumerable ways.

Because of you, we’ve had more than 10 successful community events to raise awareness and funds.

Because of you, we’ve had more than 40 volunteers contribute their time and talents to our efforts.

Because of you, we’ve had more than 50 donors make financial contributions to support our operations.

And most importantly, because of you we’ve ensured that five families have had an oasis during times of acute crisis and despair.  What our families and their children have endured breaks my heart.  But I do find a measure of comfort in knowing that collectively we are honoring Alyssa’s legacy by ensuring that family and love is the root of all we do.  

Our mission is to provide housing and holistic care to families of children in medical crisis while they are away from their local community.  At a deeper level, we strive to surround each family that stays with us in grace, compassion and comfort, allowing them to be together and fully focused on, and present with, one another during even these most traumatic of times.  

While we surely need your continued support through advocacy, prayers, and volunteerism, the stark reality is that we can only continue to do all of this at no cost to our families with your financial support.  I hope that during this holiday season you will consider making a financial contribution, within your means, to help ensure that we enter 2018 well-positioned to continue supporting families.

On behalf of our staff and Board of Directors, I thank each of you for your continued support of The Alyssa House.  May you and yours have a safe and joyous holiday season and please know that all of us are deeply grateful for your compassion and resilience in taking this journey by our side.  

Sincerely,

Ryan Jacoby
Chair of The Alyssa House Board of Directors

 

 

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. For many of the families that stay at The Alyssa House– as well as for the family of our namesake- Childhood Cancer month doesn’t just last the length of September. It’s Every. Single. Day.

Pediatric cancers are grossly underfunded, with less than 4% of the tax-payer funded National Cancer Institute’s budget going towards childhood cancer.

Childhood cancer isn’t as rare as you think. One in 285 kids will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20.

The average age of diagnosis is only 6 years old.

Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for children under the age of 15.

At The Alyssa House, we believe our children are worth more. We need your help to ensure these facts become a thing of the past.

We aim to educate, support families, and fight for a future where no child will ever have to suffer. We hope you’ll join us.img_5425

 

 

*Facts provided by our friends at Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, another organization named after a child taken too soon by cancer.

A Message From Alyssa’s Mommy: Sign-up to Volunteer!

What kind of Fairy are you?

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It takes a lot to make The Alyssa House possible…sometimes it almost seems like magic! At The Alyssa House, our volunteers are like fairies, quietly taking care of what needs to be done as a gift…. a little bit of love and magic. The Alyssa House is a place of respite, recharge and retreat. Thus, our fairies offer behind the scenes support for our fragile families. We are looking for “fairies” for four categories: Laundry, Feeding, House and Events.

 

TAH wants to have a working list of Fairies/Volunteers.  If you are interested, please email thealyssahouse@gmail.com with your willingness and which categories you are interested in. You can be a fairy for them all!

We are aiming for a team of roughly 15 on each team in order to have enough hands on deck when a specific need arises. All of them are very easy on the time commitment piece.

The details of the four categories thus far are:

Laundry Fairies – Come and grab laundry to wash and return when we reset the house for the next family. Thus far, twice in 6 months. Laundry consists of sheets, blankets, towels, etc. that belong to The Alyssa House (about 4 laundry bags). We anticipate needing 3 – 4 fairies for the team approach to a reset with each fairy responsible for one laundry bag. Fairies have flexibility over several days in which to do the laundry – just need to coordinate pick up and drop off.

Feeding Fairies – Help by baking a casserole or stocking our pantry with non-perishables for the families, as requested. Again, our two previous families availed themselves of this option only a handful of times, but a home cooked meal (even frozen in the freezer) is a gift to a tired family. For this, we only need one fairy at a time but we’d like to have a team upon which to call to be sure that someone is available and interested. IF the meal is to be delivered ready (instead of frozen) sometimes this call is more timely. Often fragile families don’t really know their hospital schedule as it can change dramatically. Some real flexibility to whip up something with a day’s notice is helpful. Also a quick trip to the grocery for basic, child-friendly non-perishables can be a Feeding Fairy duty!

House Fairies – Deep clean the house upon reset for a new family – and even some minor weeding or plant watering of the yard. Ideally we would like to have 4 – 8 volunteers for each reset. Again, time commitment is limited – just a few hours on one day – with a few days’ notice. Thus far, this has happened only twice in 6 months as well.

Event Fairies – Help us with awareness and fundraising activities. We are kicking around the idea of doing concessions at John Paul Jones Arena and/or the Sprint Pavilion for sporting events and concerts to help raise funds and awareness. We’ve not done this, yet, but we hear it can be fun for extroverts who enjoy getting to a game or event and socializing with other volunteers. (Know a local fraternity or sorority who wants to adopt a good cause?) We’ve also done events at several local stores, farms, churches, etc. Sometimes we need a team of a few people – up to 4, perhaps, who are willing to take a shift at an event, or work concessions together and share the story of The Alyssa House.

Other fairies – We have fairies who gather gift cards, items to make or give to the family, and those who offer their services – as a photographer or cosmetologist, for example, too. Lexie continues to gather new items: quilts, stuffed animals and other comfort to share with family members. She is well stocked at present.

We would really, really appreciate- to let me know if you are still able and interested – and if so, which “team(s)” suit you. We would also like to know if you are no longer available. We don’t want to pester you with emails if your time, heart and energy are elsewhere.

Thank you so much for supporting The Alyssa House with gifts of time and treasure – and especially of your heart.

With my gratitude,

Lynn, still Alyssa’s Mommy

PS. Isn’t this the cutest picture of Lexie? (shhhh!)

Fundraiser- “Paint for a Cause” at Muse Paint Bar!

Thank you to all our friends, family, and community members who came out to “Paint for a Cause” at Muse Paint Bar.

It warmed our hearts to see so many people from all over the community! We were joined by friendly faces from the dance community, Alyssa’s church, and more.

We had so much fun, we almost forgot it was a fundraiser! Your support helped us raise much needed funds to help us continue our dream of supporting families with children in medical crisis.

We were also touched by those who incorporated our special “Alyssa Blue” into their painting.

Thank you for walking with us on this journey. Your support means everything to us, and will help make a difference to a family in need.

 

 

Spring Event: Alyssa House Planting Day

Thank you to everyone who came out to our Spring Family Planting Day!

Our wonderful volunteers who braved the (unseasonable) hot  April weather to help us beautify The Alyssa House grounds! Their efforts made the Alyssa House more welcoming for future children and families.

Special thanks to Metcalf Tree & Landscape Services, Inc. for sponsoring the event! We couldn’t have done it without you. Thank You to Moose’s by the Creek and Great Harvest Charlottesville for providing delicious food to feed our hard working volunteers!

 

Upcoming Events!- “Choose Your Charity”

Support The Alyssa House at Here WEE Grow Again, Charlottesville’s premier children’here-we-grow-agains consignment shop!

Come out for their “Choose Your Charity” event on Wednesday, March 8th, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Donate only $5 to the charity of your choice, and get early access to wonderful deals you won’t want to miss!

Shop, save, and help The Alyssa House!

Learn more at  http://www.HereWeeGrowAgain.com

Thank you for helping us help families! Hope to see you there!

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Thank You for Your Support!

One of the gifts Alyssa left us was the gift of community. 

img_6015Thank you to all the members of our community who came out to support The Alyssa House at Kendra Scott as part of their Kendra Scott Gives Back event! It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces who have walked with us on this journey, as well as new ones just learning about our mission!

We have been pleased to receive so much enthusiasm and community support as we continue our dream to ease the burden on families of children in medical crisis.

A special ‘Thank You!’ to Kendra Scott to partnering with The Alyssa House!

 

Latest Events- Kendra Scott!

cropped-the-alyssa-house-logo12.jpgThe Alyssa House has been so fortunate to partner with local business and members of the community to help make our dream of providing for families come true!

We are so excited to partner with Kendra Scott for their “Kendra Scott Gives Back” event, benefiting The Alyssa House!

The Alyssa House will be at The Shops at Stonefield this WEDNESDAY, January 25, from 5- 8 p.m., where 20% of all proceeds will go towards supporting The Alyssa House!

There will be sweets and special sips, while you enjoy being the first to shop Kendra Scott’s newest spring line! It’s a party that gives back!