Spring 09 Newsletter - The Villages, Inc.


Spring 09 Newsletter - The Villages, Inc.

2009 Special Edition





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.



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 (mbradley@thevillagesinc.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

Agricultural Hall.

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.


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

basic need.

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

perennial need.

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

Nature Center.

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

info@thevillagesinc.org or contact Michael Bradley, Communications Director at The Villages

office (785-267-5900 mbradley@thevillagesinc.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!!


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 &

Jodi Bolivar

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 &

Chris Fowler,

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


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

were ready.

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

Nancy Ashton

Melba Banion

Martha B Barr

Matt Benaka

Regine Benalcazar-Schmid

Rick & Julie Bender

Bernardi's Dance Wear

Blanche Bryden Foundation

BNSF Railroad Employees

Patricia M Brady

Brewster Service Fund

Lawrence Brock

Carolyn Brushwood

William & Mary Lou Burke

Robert & June Carson

Donald Caywood

Cerf-Dunbar Fund—Comm.Fdn

for Nat. Capital Region

Marilyn Chamberlin

Gary Smith & Janet Cinelli

Kenneth & Margaret Conrow

Gary Crocker

Marshall & Sandra Crowther

Thomas Cunningham

William A Dann

Debacker's Inc

Catherine Delbiaggio

Lucile Demonchaux

Robert Derstein

Martin & Sallie Dickinson

Douglas County Community


Larry Dixon

Joanne Dow

J.W. Drury

E R & Jo Ann Dulworth

James Eastburn

Michael Eichten

Ethel S Dyatt Trust


First Congregational Church

First Presbyterian Church

Marion Fowler

Gail L Franklin

Guy & Lisa Giroux

Nancy Goodell

Thomas & Susan Gregory

Grissom Family Charitable Trust

Richard Gronewaller

Guy & Ruby Casebourn Murphy

Charitable Trust

Bonnie Hall

Hallmark Corporate Foundation

Marilyn Halsey

Harold J Lehane Liv Trust

Joanne Harrison

Linda & Richard Hayse

Heritage Motors Inc

Highland Park United Methodist


Sandy Hill

Michael Hooper

Jane & Mickey Imber

Diana Joliff

Rebecca Joyce

Kansas Executive Express

K-State Veterinary School

Mary Ann Kelly

Katherine Kent

Lesley T Ketzel

Sheryl Kingman

Brenda Kissam

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

Bruce Krueger

Leslie & Roberta Krull

Charles Lane Jr

Laura Thurston Temple #1094

Betty Leech

Gerald Letourneau

Laura Lewis

Ruth Lichtenstern

Carolyn E Litwin

Daveen H Litwin

Lila Lothson

Linda Lucero

John & Linda Lungstrum

Joanne B Lyon PHD

Kelly Magerkurth & Todd Payne

Ralph & Diana Malott

Nathaniel Marler

Peg McCarthy

Sandra Craig McKenzie

Rosemary J Menninger

Midland Management

Colleen Miser

Eva Mosiman

Jo Ann Myers

Earl Nehring

Douglas & Cappi Nelson

Gene Niehues

Austin & Marianna Nothern

David Ozaki

Kent & Marsha Palmberg

D E Parsons

Gerald Parks

John Parker

Payless ShoeSource Foundation

Carolyn Peck

Mary Powell

Shaun & Melissa Powers

A J & Dixie Pratt

Larry or Susan Raby

Lawrene Rader

Kathryn Rainbow-Earhart

Include: Name, Address, City, State, Zip

Email (for updates—never shared)

Richard Raney

Cathy Reinhardt

Diane Rubenthaler

Ruth Smyth Estate

Marcia C Saville

Janice Scales

Kenneth Schaefer

Ronald and Alison Schneider

Margaret Schwartzburg

Schwerdt Design Group

James & Virginia Seaver

Shawnee County Regional Prevention

and Recovery Services

Linda Siebenthall

Fred & Lilian Six

James W Sloan

Harold Snyder


Joseph & Lucy Stein

Vivian Strahm

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

Bernard Wanner

Wanamaker Elementary School

Auburn-Washburn USD 437

Linda Weir-Enegren

Bertha Wempe

Westar Energy Green Team

Westar Energy

Tiwana Whitten

Donald & Janet Wilson

Edward & Bridget Wood

Lee F. Young


Please Celebrate With Us









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.

Hosted by:



Dr. Karl Menninger

Executive Director:

Sylvia Crawford

Executive Committee:

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

the voice—

newsletter of The Villages, Inc.

Spring 2009—Issue # 25


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