Dancing for Joy

Thanks to our friends at Wilson School of Dance for bringing some joy to The Alyssa House. The local dance studio provided a free private dance class for our Alyssa House family!

Medical issues caused Layla to miss months and months of her own dance classes at home. Alyssa’s Mommy (who is also a dance teacher) was delighted to give her a private lesson before she heads home!

Thank you for caring about The Alyssa House.

 

As many know, our namesake Alyssa loved to dance.

 

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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

 

 

The Alyssa House

The Alyssa House, named for ten year old Alyssa Grace Divers, will be a hospitality house providing affordable housing to families of children in medical crises who are not from the local Charlottesville area but who are in active medical treatment.  Plans are to open late spring 2016.2013-09-25-1Alyssa Grace Divers was a fierce firework who radiated love and wit – and her love for dolphins, dance and books – but not in that order. Diagnosed with osteosarcoma just two weeks before her 9th birthday, Alyssa bravely endured surgeries, a leg amputation and 38 hospitalizations trying to outlive the cancer that invaded her body and her life. Tragically, the disease stole Alyssa from her family and this world on New Year’s Eve, 2012.

During Alyssa’s two years of treatment, the Divers’ family (Jeff, Lynn, Alyssa and Lexie) had to seek medical care far away from their home community in an effort to save Alyssa’s life.  In so doing, they realized the importance of generous hospitality by strangers to a family in crises.

Alyssa’s beloved church, Sojourners United Church of Christ, in a gift to Alyssa’s memory offered to work towards creating Alyssa House: Offering Grace to Body and Spirit as a way for Alyssa’s light to shine and make others’ world a little brighter.

Alyssa House seeks to meet the needs of families in crises as generously as possible. In true Alyssa fashion, nothing is more important than family.

We welcome you to join our Alyssa House family.