What Every Child Deserves — A Reflection on 2018


At the very heart of who we are and all we do for children is this essential truth, expressed so fervently by the one who continues to inspire us: Alyssa Grace Divers.

1020121222aFor Alyssa, nothing was more important than family.

That’s why we’re passionately committed to giving immunocompromised children in medical crisis who are far from home what every child deserves – a safe and warm place to stay during their medical treatment with their families at their side. Whatever it takes.


IMG_1684-edit-betterThanks to amazing supporters like you, The Alyssa House is achieving our ambitions. We’re forging key partnerships, making new friends who share our love for these families, and advocating for best place to call home-away-from-home. Together, we are achieving truly remarkable results.

In 2018, we provided over 350 nights of free housing at The Alyssa House for children receiving care at the UVA Children’s Hospital.

IMG_0124Housing that provided a place of refuge for those far from home and peace of mind during true crises. Thanks to people like you, our Alyssa House families are never charged a cent. Every dollar donated to The Alyssa House helps keep our doors open and our services completely free.

Our ‘Alyssa House’ kids  bravely battled cancer, recovered from major organ transplants, fought rare illnesses, and overcame the challenges of genetic disorders. Our guests ranged from newborns less than 72 hours old, all the way up to 18-year-olds, getting ready to take on the adult world..

After staying with The Alyssa House, our guests went on to graduate from high school, return to dance classes, win medals in the Transplant Games of America,… and most importantly, just enjoy being kids again.

IMG_1529_editWe are also very pleased to report that every single child who stayed at The Alyssa House in 2018 was fortunate to return home with a positive medical outcome.

As we enter 2019, we ask for your continued support of our shared cause… Our Alyssa House children and families deserve our very best. 

In true Alyssa fashion, nothing is more important than family.

Thank you,

Holly Duke, Board Chair

On Behalf of The Alyssa House Board of Directors & The Family of Alyssa Grace Divers

 

Holiday Surprise for a Former Alyssa House Family!

IMG_2985 (2)-editChristmas came early, thanks to our incredible friends at Mason’s Toy BoxMason’s Toy Box went above and beyond for this former Alyssa House family, and surprised Elaina on her 4th birthday. Elaina and her family stayed The Alyssa House this summer, while recovering from an emergency dialysis surgery.

Elaina received a new handicap accessible power wheels, which will help her play outside with her sibling and other kids her age! Elaina has caudal regression syndrome and uses a wheelchair.

A huge thank you to Mason’s Toy Box, for all they do for pediatric patients and their families. The Alyssa House is so grateful to be surrounded by such a loving organization and caring community.

 

Helping Families…

IMG_0077.JPG“I just want to thank The Alyssa House for allowing my family to be together for such a scary time in our lives, for loving on us, and making sure all our needs were met. You took a huge weight off our shoulders.

“We came to UVA Children’s Hospital for an emergency dialysis surgery. We came fighting. We couldn’t see the end. Thank you to UVA doctors, nurses, and all staff for caring for my baby girl. You loved on us all and always encouraged us. You got my baby feeling so much better and I will always be grateful for that.

The Alyssa House will always hold a special place in our heart. We have been blessed to be able to stay at The Alyssa House. We got to stay here for free — all because people have given. “

A Message of Gratitude…

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I just want to thank The Alyssa House for allowing us to stay here in this wonderful home.

We started our journey back in 2014. Cody has been in heart failure with severe arthritis and vasculitis since he was 14… His whole teenage life was taken from him. Cody was blessed with another chance in life six days after being put on the heart transplant list.

We had a big set back and Cody was in the hospital longer than we expected. They had to reopen him back up 7 weeks ago.

Our 4 weeks here have been amazing. The healing has begun and he’s been doing great. We call this our home away from home and it’s been a blessing knowing he’s not too far away from the hospital…

We want to thank the Divers family, the church, and of course their sweet girl Lexie for bring Easter Bunnies. My grandbabies loved them

Our journey here is done. Now Cody gets to go home to graduate in June!

May the next family that comes here feel as welcome as we did! Thank you for sharing this home with our family!

 

Sincerely and always,

The Monto Family

A Thank You…

IMG_6620-edit.png“I can’t thank you all enough for what you’ve done for our family. Hearing the news that my daughter Layla would need a second heart transplant was terrifying.

“When we decided to come to the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital, it was very stressful trying to figure out where we would live and how we would get by being so far away from our family in Pennsylvania.

“You took away all that stress and worry by giving us a place to call home for four months. It has truly meant the world to us.

“Thank you for all your generosity and love. We were welcomed with open arms and I think that has made a huge impact on Layla’s recovery.

“Layla was born on March 30, 2007 with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. She had 1381522_543088572440447_413212140_nher first open heart surgery at 3 days old, her second at 6 months old, and then her first heart transplant a month after her 1st birthday.

“She battled countless complications in the years after her transplant. She had feeding issues, rejection, PTLD, absorption problems in her intestines, infections, and tumors. We thought she was finally in the clear in 2016. However, in April of 2017, she went into severe heart failure. The University of Virginia Children’s Hospital was willing to list her for a second risky heart transplant.

“In July, Layla was transferred and on September 21st, she received her second gift of life. She was discharged and we went to live at The Alyssa House.

“We will be forever grateful for the help and care we’ve been given. Thank you to the Divers Family, the volunteers, and the sponsors who have made The Alyssa House possible. You have made a big difference in our lives.”

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Working Together to Help Families in Need

IMG_0198The Alyssa House is proud to have joined several other Charlottesville nonprofits to meet the ever growing demand for lodging for families of patients at the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital.

Learn more about our work in the Housing Collaborative in the local press coverage from The Daily Progress and NBC29.

http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/housing-collaborative-helps-families-at-uva-children-s-hospital/article_3635b59c-35e6-11e8-9e1e-d37bf11aa690.html

http://www.nbc29.com/story/37837003/local-nonprofits-partner-to-house-uva-childrens-hospital-families

 

Fundraiser: Sugar & Salt!

edit-IMG_1143.jpgWe love our community! The wonderful people at the local confectionery Sugar & Salt raised almost $500 for The Alyssa House at their St. Patrick’s Day”Sugar-Pa-Looza” event!

We’re looking forward to another chance to work with this small local business!

Many, many thanks to everyone who came out to support us! You help make The Alyssa House possible.edit-IMG_1179.png

If your business or organization is interested in partnering with The Alyssa House for a fundraiser, please feel free to contact us at TheAlyssaHouse@gmail.com!

 

 

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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Absolutely Speechless!

The family currently staying at The Alyssa House received the surprise of a lifetime on  Tuesday, January 16th.
IMG_5586-editOur Alyssa House family had been struggling with car problems for weeks and weeks. Given the fragile nature of their daughter’s health, reliable transportation was a necessity.

Our family thought they were looking at rental cars…but were instead surprised with a car to keep! The wonderful people at Valley Honda donated a car through Mason’s Toy Box for our little Alyssa House family! Words can hardly express how thankful we are!

This family now has a safe, reliable car to ensure they can get to all their important medical appointments.

This never would have been possible without our incredible friends at Mason’s Toy Box, IMG_5654-editwho worked tirelessly to facilitate this donation and gift it to our Alyssa House family. Thank you! Mason’s Toy Box is another nonprofit named after a child taken too soon by cancer. Mason, the namesake of Mason’s Toy Box, was in treatment at UVA Children’s Hospital at the same time as Alyssa.

We also can’t forget to thank Wes Iseli Magician & Illusionist, who truly made this a surprise by making the car magically appear!

We are so thankful for the wonderful people and Valley HondaMason’s Toy BoxWes Iseli Magician & Illusionist, and everyone else who helped bring this miracle together.

This is truly a wonderful community, and The Alyssa House is so fortunate to have you by our side!

Check out some of the local news coverage from this wonderful day:

Family in Need Gets Surprised with Life Changing Gift (WHSV, Harrisonburg)

Family of Girl Recovering from Heart Transplant Receives New Car (NBC 29, Charlottesville)

 

 

Meet the 2018 Board Chair!

With the new year we welcome a new Board Chair of the Alyssa House, Holly Duke. We express many thanks for the hard work of our 2017 Board Chair, Ryan Jacoby.0233

Message from Holly Duke, the 2018 Board Chair of The Alyssa House:

I was privileged to meet Alyssa Divers and her family through activities at Sojourners United Church of Christ. Those who knew Alyssa will never forget her remarkable spirit. Her fierce intellect and passion radiates through every room in this house.

The Alyssa House has been called a home with “built-in community.” And anyone who has been inside or interacted with our families using the home can clearly see why.  From the cheery porch, to the artwork, to the neatly stacked paper towels – every square inch of this home has been touched by the loving hands of volunteers who carry out the legacy of Alyssa. Through service or financial generosity, our friends and neighbors express their love for the children and families inside this home. Though we don’t see it with our own eyes, we know that behind those doors are moments of laughter, despair, courage, rage and boundless hope.

It is my joy to begin 2018 as the new Board Chair of The Alyssa House.  I come to this role from a background in counseling and program management in higher education and nonprofit settings. My commitment is to boldly set about the work of continuing Alyssa’s legacy through deepening this “built-in community” that makes The Alyssa House more than just a temporary housing solution, but a growing circle of love surrounding families who need it more than we could ever imagine.