2009 Special Edition
A YEAR TO CELEBRATE
Almost every week there is a celebration at The Villages.
Just like any family there are birthdays, holidays
and family dinners to acknowledge an important
milestone. For example (left to right above) Shaun
Powers, The Villages’ Business Manager, celebrates
with a cake which questions the gender of an anticipated
birth; volunteers celebrate a break in work over
lunch with the group home family; T.J. biological son
of house parents Terry and Charity Strong celebrates
his birthday with his 10 big (foster) brothers and sisters.
Kris Chanay and Diana Joliff celebrate the 9th
anniversary of their party for The Villages with Sylvia
Crawford, Villages Executive Director and social workers
Sheila Tinsley and Jill Powell. (The Joliff/Chanay
party yearly collects Christmas presents for Villages
youth from an ever growing number of guests.) Sylvia
Crawford, Michael Hooper (Villages President)
Andy Jetter (FHLBank President), Congresswoman
The newsletter of The Villages, Inc.
Of Providing Emotionally
Supportive Homes for
Children and Youth in Need
Nancy Boyda and William Nichols (Core First Bank
Vice-President) celebrate a grant to The Villages for
renovation of the homes.
THIS YEAR SOME HISTORIC CELEBRATIONS
WILL BE TAKING PLACE!
On June 19th everyone is invited to help celebrate the
progress on the renovation of the Topeka homes.
The homes will be open for tours as will the Stone
Nature Center and the Adventure Challenge Course.
In the fall a 40 year reunion will invite all previous
employees, donors, volunteers, board members,
house parents and children to celebrate 40 years since
Dr. Karl and his friends opened the first Villages home.
Please join us for these celebrations! Sign up with
Michael Bradley (firstname.lastname@example.org 785-
267-5900) to receive more information.
Villages Kids & Stone Nature Center Create Green Team
Villages youth from each Topeka home have partnered
with Stone Nature Center director Dennis Dinwiddie to
form The Villages Green Team. The Green Team is
comprised of ten members, two from each of the five
Topeka homes. They meet weekly to work on projects
involving conservation, wildlife and the environment.
Some of the on-going projects of the Green Team will
be Fishing Line Recovery Tubes and Bluebird Trails.
Fishing Line Recovery Tubes are PVC receptacles that
will be placed at local fishing areas to keep fish, birds
and other wildlife from becoming tangled in discarded
fishing line, and endangering their lives. The team went
out to several area fishing sites in Topeka to put up the
tubes during spring break.
Another project will be building bluebird houses and
installing them in prime bluebird habitat. In the last 25
years bluebird numbers have dwindled due to competition
with other birds that are more aggressive and enjoy
the same size and type of nesting sites. In an attempt
to increase bluebird numbers, The Villages Green Team
will create "Bluebird trails". They will construct blue
bird houses and put them up in habitats that bluebirds
enjoy being in most. The bluebird houses will be placed
about 100 yards apart and cleaned out regularly to encourage
an increase in bluebird numbers in that area.
Other projects the group has planned include a toxic/Ewaste
program and planting a songbird/butterfly garden
on the hilltop. The Green Team also has taken responsibility
for supervising The Villages recycling site.
The recycling program already has reduced trash dumpster
loads from three per week to only one.
Recently the Green Team members hosted a visit to the
nature center by Judge Joe Johnson. Two of the Villages
Green Team members helped educate visitors at
Topeka’s First Annual Green Fair at the Expo Center
Green Team and VISTA Volunteers at Topeka Green Fair
Topeka’s inaugural Green Fair included live animals
and displays from The Villages’ W. Clement Stone
Nature Center. The Villages youth who are members
of the Green Team and VISTA Volunteers Tabor
Porter and Jenny Dejmal brought along three
snakes and two turtles to entertain and educate the
public about the W. Clement Stone Nature Center
and The Villages Green Team.
The Green Team members started the day a little
unsure about what to tell the public about the
various wildlife displays but by the end of the day
were “experts”, teaching young and old alike about
the different displays and animals.
The exhibit included a sample of the Green Team’s
Fishing Line Recovery Tubes, furs, and various
other wildlife artifacts. These tactile displays, along
with a chance to touch a live snake, made the
booth a favorite among children visiting the Green
The Villages’ W. Clement Stone Nature Center is open to
groups at reasonable rates. Nature Education and Adventure
Challenge programs are described on The Villages
web site: www.thevillagesinc.org.
Or information is available by calling Stone Nature Center
Director Dennis Dinwiddie at 785-273-5806.
TEN WAYS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
There are many ways you can help The Villages’ young
people or support the programs for youth at the Stone
Nature Center. Here are just a few:
Providing a gift card for a child on his or her birthday
is a great way to let the youth of The Villages
know you support them.
Supporting the ‘activity fund’ at The Villages allows
the youth to attend a cultural event such as a
museum, a play, a concert, a lecture, or lessons
in pottery, art, archery, horseback riding, etc.
These experiences enrich the lives of the children
living at The Villages and help them become
well-rounded and adults.
Many of the teenagers who come to The Villages
arrive with little other than the clothes on their
backs. New and slightly used men’s and
women’s jeans, shirts, and shoes help fill this
Essentials like new socks, underwear, shampoo,
conditioner, and other hygiene products for
both boys and girls are always needed.
Several youth have been hunting for part-time jobs
with no success. If your company needs help,
please let us know so we can send them in to fill
out an application.
Gravel delivered for the resurfacing of the roads
leading to the Lawrence and Topeka homes is a
A 32” TV in good working order is needed to show
training videos at the main office.
Good condition picnic tables would be used for the
outdoor areas at the Stone Nature Center.
Gift cards to animal supply stores would be a big
help with regularly needed supplies at the Stone
The need to paint walls inside the homes is a constant.
A group of 10-12 willing to come out
one day each year to paint in one home could
keep up with the need in that home. At least
Some of the group would need to be skilled.
The Villages is currently creating a database of all former youth,
house parents, social workers, youth care workers, board members and
others involved in The Villages since its creation forty years ago. If you or anyone
you know might be interested, please forward contact information to
email@example.com or contact Michael Bradley, Communications Director at The Villages
office (785-267-5900 firstname.lastname@example.org—or write to The Villages, Inc. 2219 SW
29th St. Topeka, KS 66611).
OR - become a ’fan’ at The Villages Facebook page - “The Villages of Kansas”
Calling all Alumni!!
To a REUNION THIS FALL
The newly formed Alumni Relations committee will be working to put together reunions and
other events specifically for alums and friends of The Villages.
Reports from the homes:
Robert Brock Cottage—House parents, Rob &
The kids have been working hard on keeping
their grades up. Ana was accepted to KU and is
looking for scholarships. Jessica tore a tendon in her
knee playing basketball on The Villages team. She was
unable to finish the season but is recovering. The house
went to KC as a group to experience, “Dialogue in the
Dark" which had many exhibits in total darkness. The
kids had to figure out what they were and where they
were by touch, hearing, and smell. The kids were awed
by the exhibit. Many of the boys are very active in the
Nature Club at the Stone Nature Center and really look
forward to its weekly activities. Michael was especially
pleased to be able to hold a snake for several minutes.
H. Roe Bartle Cottage House parents, Dale &
The Fowlers had a busy holiday season. They
participated in their annual trip to Topeka to
volunteer at the community Thanksgiving dinner. Over
the Christmas holiday the house attended several KU
basketball games and a hockey game at the Topeka Expocentre.
The Fowlers have two youth working part
time. Randy is working at Culvers and Tesla is employed
at JAMS. Randy also participated in the Native American
Club at LHS. Megan was involved in the KU Rock
Chalk Singers choir which had a concert in December
on the KU campus. Ryan is participating in the Civil Air
Patrol. He was promoted to ‘Airman’ in February.
Raymond Cerf Cottage The kids at the Cerf
Cottage have been focusing on their independent
living skills this semester. With the help of
their house social work intern, Mark, they have
been working on job applications, interview
skills and other social networking skills. Two
of the kids, Chuck and Sarah, are work-
ing on the GED program at LHS and are seeking part
time employment. Michael and Jon were nominated
and selected to attend Uniontown; this is an LHS sponsored
event that explores diversity and acceptance
among students. Keith, an upcoming LHS grad, was recently
accepted to Johnson County Community College
where he hopes to study for two years before transferring
to KU. Michael has completed successful placement
at the Villages and was recently transferred to the
independent living community TRAILS in Topeka. The
Raymond Cerf Cottage is being remodeled and youth
are staying in the Fowler home during the work. When
it reopens there will be a new house parent couple.
Edwin Linquist Cottage-House parents, Terry
& Charity Strong
The entire cottage is very active and spends
time at the local YMCA every week. Several of
the boys participated on The Villages basketball team
and the entire house went several times to watch them
play. The house also attended a Topeka Roadrunners
hockey game. The house regularly does volunteer work
picking up trash with the local parks in Topeka and in
January they attended a youth convention in Kansas
City called “Acquire The Fire”. The youth themselves
raised all the funds to attend the conference. Over
Spring Break the family took a camping trip in the Manhattan
area. Many of the youth attended Prom.
Karl Menninger Cottage-House parents,
Brandon and Amy Robertson
The entire house spent Christmas Eve with
Amy’s parents and extended family in Missouri.
They then traveled home to Topeka for
the remainder of the Christmas holiday. Several of the
kids participated on The Villages basketball team, which
was coached by the house dad Brandon. The whole
house has gone out in support of the team for almost
every game. In the spring semester four boys are going
out for the track team at Washburn Rural and there are
also several boys who have started part time jobs and
are doing very well juggling all their activities. Over
spring break the house took a camping trip to Omaha
where they visited the Henry Doorly Zoo.
Helen Devitt Jones Cottage—House parents
Klint and Karis Deere
The Deere’s home was the last to get their construction
completed—Their new kitchen was
finished just in time for the holidays, thankfully.
The house celebrated Christmas with a traditional
turkey feast. The boys learned to cook the turkey and
helped with the meal preparation. This semester the entire
house attended a performance of the Topeka symphony
and really enjoyed it despite initial objections.
Xavier and Andrew both went out for wrestling and
Xavier placed first at a Junior Varsity meet. Ravon and
Kenny both participated on The Villages basketball
team. In January, the house attended “Dialogue in the
Dark” at Union Station in K.C. All the boys got a lot
out of the experience. In February the house had a Super
Bowl party featuring ‘tailgate’ style foods. The
The Villages Basketball
Team Celebrates Wins
The Villages’ Police Athletic League basketball
team finished their season with the first two wins in
the recent history of The Villages. Coach Rick
Crawford (husband of The Villages Executive Director,
Sylvia Crawford) and Coach Brandon
Robertson (house dad at the Karl Menninger Cottage)
said the players all worked very hard and they
were proud of the accomplishments they made
throughout the season. Although there were
some injuries (see cast in picture) during the sea-
Deere’s household took what has become an annual day
trip to Omaha, Nebraska during spring break to visit the
Henry Doorly Zoo.
William Menninger Cottage— House parents
Cynthia and Richard Pruitt
The boys at the Pruitt house have had a busy
semester. The Pruitt's took the boys to see
“Stomp” over the break which they loved.
They also went to see a hockey game at the Kansas Expocentre.
Steven, Terrance, Tim and Zach all participated
on The Villages Basketball team. Steven and Cody
continue to work at Aboud’s catering service. Chance
moved to an independent living facility and is doing
well. All the boys participate in the youth group at their
church and several of the boys attended the prom in
son, most of the practices and games went off
without a hitch. The Villages’ Prairie Hawks final
record for the Police Athletic League was 2-6.
Overall The Villages Prairie Hawks had a great season
and everyone is waiting for the next league
season to again be able to support the athletes.
L-R: Two Cerf cottage boys gang up on social work intern,
Mark; the Linquist Cottage hosted Judge Johnson for
dinner; youth on the ropes course; Terry and Charity and
the youth from their home dressed for the prom; two Villages
Green Team members work on fishing line recycling
tubes; a Will Menninger cottage youth and his girlfriend
dressed for the prom; Jessica on
crutches; The Villages ‘Prairie
Hawks’ basketball team.
Meet Brandon and Amy Robertson
Brandon and Amy Robertson are the newest
house parents at The Villages. They live with their
daughter, Karsyn in the Karl Menninger Cottage where
they care for 10 boys. Amy started at The Villages as a
relief staff person, first in Lawrence and then in Topeka
while Brandon had been working as an accountant.
Brandon, a Chillicothe, MO., native, had attended
K.U. (“mostly because of the basketball team”)
and had completed a degree in Business Administration
and Accounting. He had worked in his field for ten
years in both big and small firms. Throughout Brandon
said he “Always had the feeling that I had more to offer
than sitting all day in an office behind a computer.”
Amy was born in Chanute but grew up in Burlington.
She had briefly attended college and was working
at Community Living Opportunities in Lawrence
and serving as an aide to an adult with autism when she
applied to become a relief staff person at The Villages.
Her plan was to pursue an Applied Behavioral Sciences
HOUSE PARENTS ALSO RAISE THEIR OWN CHILDREN AT THE VILLAGES
Klint and Karis Deere probably say it the best in
their house rule book. Their own children, Kane 1,
Scout 11 and Gage 19 are the only people living in the
home who really have no say in being there! Because
The Villages house parents have always lived in the
homes, their own biological and/or adopted children
live at The Villages, too.
This carries both plusses and minuses for the
children. Karsyn, daughter of Amy and Brandon Roberts,
was used to having one or the other of her parents
at home and having their full attention. “Having to
share our attention has been challenging.”
Karsyn enjoys her relationships with the boys.
Right now, Rinney is her favorite, “Because he gave me
degree, which prepares people to work in corrections or
with people with autism. Feeling a need for more experience
with juvenile offenders and knowing that The
Villages was a place to get this experience, she applied.
Working with the kids changed her plans. “I thought I
was going to be a speech pathologist working with people
with autism. But being involved in the relationships
with the youth . . . with them I could see the light click
on—it was so rewarding. It was awesome.”
Brandon was infected by Amy’s enthusiasm.
Although he had expected to one day get a teaching
certificate, when the opportunity presented itself to apply
to become house parents both Amy and Brandon
Brandon admits that “given Amy’s experience,
the kids are a lot better than I expected. “I like to think
that a little of that is the result of the environment we
have created and the relationship we have with them
that allows them to be not so confrontational.”
a (stuffed toy) puppy for Valentines,” says Karsyn
“Not to mention that they fight like brother
and sister.” remarks Amy. “And the boys all spoil you
don’t they.” (Karsyn nods and smiles)
Brandon, confesses, “I feel sorry for Karsyn as
she gets older because there won’t be anything she can
get away with . . . Nothing that we haven’t seen before.”
And there are some days when poor Karsyn doesn’t get
much of our time,” concludes Amy.
L to R above: Brandon, Amy and Karsyn Robertson at the
Karl Menninger Cottage. Brandon helps Amy up onto the
‘Burma Bridge” element on the Stone Nature Center Ropes
Course. Kane Deere plays with magnets on the Helen Jones
Cottage refrigerator. Karsyn with her playmates, T.J. and
Truth, children of Terry and Charity Strong, house parents
at the Linquist Cottage.
Cash, In-Kind Donations &
Grants were received from
these groups and individuals
over the past sixteen
months. Thank You!
Curtis R Anderson
David & Janet Arnold
Martha B Barr
Rick & Julie Bender
Bernardi's Dance Wear
Blanche Bryden Foundation
BNSF Railroad Employees
Patricia M Brady
Brewster Service Fund
William & Mary Lou Burke
Robert & June Carson
for Nat. Capital Region
Gary Smith & Janet Cinelli
Kenneth & Margaret Conrow
Marshall & Sandra Crowther
William A Dann
Martin & Sallie Dickinson
Douglas County Community
E R & Jo Ann Dulworth
Ethel S Dyatt Trust
First Congregational Church
First Presbyterian Church
Gail L Franklin
Guy & Lisa Giroux
Thomas & Susan Gregory
Grissom Family Charitable Trust
Guy & Ruby Casebourn Murphy
Hallmark Corporate Foundation
Harold J Lehane Liv Trust
Linda & Richard Hayse
Heritage Motors Inc
Highland Park United Methodist
Jane & Mickey Imber
Kansas Executive Express
K-State Veterinary School
Mary Ann Kelly
Lesley T Ketzel
Southwest Kiwanis Club of Topeka
Joseph & Magdalene Kovach
Contribute to The Villages—support the Lasting Legacy of Dr. Karl Menninger
The Villages is one of very few organizations in Kansas still working with the state’s most challenging youth in a
family setting. The system as a whole is relying more and more on a see-saw between foster homes and
‘institutional’ care for the most troubled and behaviorally disordered youth. Youth who never make connections
and who just ‘move’ when their behavior deteriorates are not learning how to be accountable for their actions nor
what commitment is all about. The Villages remains committed to the modeling of appropriate ‘family’ relationships
and the opportunities a family environment provides for youth to have more ‘typical’ teenage experiences. This work
is NOT easier and it is definitely NOT cheaper.
If you think youth in custody should have the support and experiences only family style care can provide, won’t you
please help? Please also consider hosting a ‘Gathering’ or making an additional gift to the Lasting Legacy campaign
which will increase the endowment and refurbish the homes to ensure another 40 years of exemplary service.
To Help: please use the enclosed envelope or send contributions
to: The Villages / 2219 SW 29th / Topeka, KS 66611
Tad & Margaret Rayburn Kramar
Leslie & Roberta Krull
Charles Lane Jr
Laura Thurston Temple #1094
Carolyn E Litwin
Daveen H Litwin
John & Linda Lungstrum
Joanne B Lyon PHD
Kelly Magerkurth & Todd Payne
Ralph & Diana Malott
Sandra Craig McKenzie
Rosemary J Menninger
Jo Ann Myers
Douglas & Cappi Nelson
Austin & Marianna Nothern
Kent & Marsha Palmberg
D E Parsons
Payless ShoeSource Foundation
Shaun & Melissa Powers
A J & Dixie Pratt
Larry or Susan Raby
Include: Name, Address, City, State, Zip
Email (for updates—never shared)
Ruth Smyth Estate
Marcia C Saville
Ronald and Alison Schneider
Schwerdt Design Group
James & Virginia Seaver
Shawnee County Regional Prevention
and Recovery Services
Fred & Lilian Six
James W Sloan
Joseph & Lucy Stein
Ida Mae Sutton
Southwest Optimist Club
Thomas S Thomas
J W Tiehen in memory of Maxine
Topeka Weed & Seed
Jeff & Mary Ungerer
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
USWA, Local 307
Linda Vande Garde
Jeff & Connie Wallace
Wanamaker Elementary School
Auburn-Washburn USD 437
Westar Energy Green Team
Donald & Janet Wilson
Edward & Bridget Wood
Lee F. Young
Please Celebrate With Us
PERMIT NO. 785
Open House & Ribbon Cutting
at the Newly Renovated Topeka
Homes of The Villages, Inc.
Snacks, keg root beer and FUN!
When: Friday June 19th 3-6pm
(Formal Ribbon Cutting at 4:00 pm)
Of Providing Emotionally
Supportive Homes for
Children and Youth in Need
Where: The Villages homes
10 to 50 Eagle Ridge Lane —West 1.6 miles from 10th and
Wanamaker—Follow signs to the homes, the Stone Nature
Center and the Ropes Course—all of which will be
open. Visitors will be invited to climb the 45’ climbing
tower on the ropes course and pet a snake if they wish.
Dr. Karl Menninger
Judge Terry Bullock
Mr. Robert Derstein—Chair
Ms. Brenda Guilfoyle
Mr. John Guyot
Mr. B.J. Hickert – Treasurer
Mr. Michael Hooper – President
Ms. Patricia Hyland
Mr. Gerald Letourneau
Ms. Diana Mayer – Secretary
Dr. Charles Millhuff
Dr. Michael Murphy
Mr. Doug Nelson
Mr. Irving Sheffel
Mr. Chris Wright
The Villages, Inc
2219 SW 29th St. / Topeka, KS 66611
newsletter of The Villages, Inc.
Spring 2009—Issue # 25