2009 Summer Edition
The homes were spiffed up inside and out in preparation
for the Open House and Ribbon Cutting on the
Topeka ‘hill’ in June. It was the culmination of six
year’s of work toward preparing the houses for
‘Another 40 years’ of providing young people with a
place to call home. Several hundred guests started at
the reception tent but quickly moved to the homes
for tours, snacks, keg root beer and conversation with
the youth and staff. Previous and current board
members saw the result of their stewardship. Supporters
were able to see the tangible results of their financial
support. Members of the community, including a
contingent of Ambassadors from the Topeka Chamber
of Commerce got to see, most for the first time,
the high quality of The Villages houses. The homes
really were looking like NEW!
The newsletter of The Villages, Inc.
Of Providing Emotionally
Supportive Homes for
Children and Youth in Need
TOPEKA OPEN HOUSE & Ribbon Cutting
The real story and the real surprise for many of the
visitors, however, was the young people. Most of the
visitors were aware that The Villages works with hard
to place, sometimes difficult youth. Time and time
again their comments upon completing their tour was
about the youthful hosts they met in each of the
homes. “The young people really show a pride in their
homes—and it is clear they feel ownership’ was a frequent
comment. Visitors talked about the boy who
proudly showed off his ROTC uniform or the children
who showed their academic awards or neatly arranged
closets of clothes. There were many comments
about the Green Team youth who were sharing some
of the Stone Nature Center’s program animals. In the
end, it came down to the kids. Exactly the way it
should be. “Oh, by the way, the homes look Great!!”
STORY OF THE LAWRENCE HOMES
The Villages Lawrence Kansas homes were opened only
a few years after the homes of the original
‘demonstration’ Village were completed in Topeka.
Supporters from Lawrence and the Kansas City area
helped raise the money and a site for the homes was
originally donated by Petey Cerf. The Cerf land, however,
soon became embroiled in controversy with
neighbors not wanting the ‘problem’ youth living in
their area. It was a case of ’not in my back yard’ to
which Charlie and Tensie Oldfather calmly provided a
solution. In exchange for the Cerf property, they would
trade 80 acres of their personal back yard—on the top
of the hill behind their own home — to become the
site for The Villages Lawrence homes. Soon the homes
were under construction.
Two homes were built on what was dubbed ‘pleasant
ridge’ and a third home—originally only planned as
temporary accommodations while the hilltop homes
were under construction—was established in town.
This home was not built to the specifications of the
other homes. It was actually a remodeled tri-plex. Although
it was only meant to be used for a few months,
it remained as one of The Villages homes for 30 years.
It was finally retired and sold in 2004 in anticipation of
the expense it would take to bring it up to standard to
meet all the sanitation and safety concerns identified by
The Villages staff.
The H. Roe Bartle Cottage and the Raymond Cerf Cottage
remain as co-ed homes. They are surrounded by
80 acres of grassland on the top of a hill south of the
Wakarusa River. Directly North of the homes, Tensie
Oldfather (who at the time of her death in 2007 had
been a Villages board member for 30 years) dedicated
much of her remaining property on the north slope of
the hill as a ’conservation easement’ which will guarantee
The Villages Lawrence homes will continue to be
surrounded by nature in perpetuity.
H. Roe Bartle and Raymond Cerf Cottages get Make Over
The Villages Lawrence homes were a few years
newer but similar in style to the final two homes
built at the original Demonstration Village in
Topeka. The bathrooms and kitchens were seriously
in need of improvement and much additional
work was needed to prepare them for
“Another 40 Years”. Through support from the
FHLBank of Topeka, the Douglas County Community
Foundation, the Topeka Community Foundation,
and Board members of The Villages as well as
hundreds of others, the homes are like new again.
The homes have new insulated siding, new windows,
new interior doors, completely new youth
bathrooms, new floor coverings, much repaired
plasterwork on ceilings and walls, new woodstoves
and a new kitchen at the Cerf Home and a significantly
upgraded kitchen (thanks to volunteers
from the Baldwin United Methodist Church) at the
Bartle Cottage. Please join in the Open House and
Ribbon Cutting at the Lawrence homes on October
16. (See information on page 8.)
The Villages Raymond Cerf cottage (above) was the only
one of the seven homes to be vacant when renovation
work was completed. A change in house parents and
spaces in the other homes for youth from the Cerf cottage
allowed the contractor to complete all the interior
work (the most extensive of any home) in record time.
ACADEMICS—A TOP PRIORITY
When a young person comes t o The Villages a plan is
developed to address the issues which have brought
them here. Additionally, regardless of other needs,
house parents and social workers at The Villages assess
the young persons achievements and struggles in
school. It has been a hallmark of The Villages program
since the very first cottage opened in December 1969
that Villages young people improve their engagement
and achievement at school.
In a letter to supporters in December 1970 Dr. Karl and
Kent Hayes (executive director) reported that, “Now a
year later, the house is full of boys thriving in a warm,
home atmosphere doing their daily chores and succeeding
in public school for the first time in their lives.”
This statement is as true today as it was 39 years ago.
Many youth currently at The Villages do better in
school than they ever have before. Part of this outcome
results from the emphasis on school engagement
proffered by their Villages house parents. This engagement
includes not only providing tutoring and reward-
ing good grades, but also encouragement to participate
in extra curricular activities such as sports, music, ROTC,
etc. The outcome is that most of the young people
who are at The Villages for a reasonable length of time
This year there were three spring graduates: Anna from
the Robert Brock Cottage, Keith from the H. Roe Bartle
Cottage and Jesse from the Edwin Linquist Cottage.
Two more of the current Villages youth are graduating
this month. Chris at the Raymond Cerf Cottage has
passed his GED exam and is working this semester while
investigating opportunities at community colleges in
the area. Heather was close enough to graduate in the
spring that she was allowed to participate in the commencement
ceremony. She will complete her final
elective in the next few weeks and begin beauty college
on October 6. Chris and Heather are exemplary of the
many youth who are assisted by The Villages in
‘recovering’ credits lost by taking advantage of GED
study programs and special credit recovery programs.
Villages Stone Nature Center VISTA Members Provide Experiences for Youth
Reports from the homes:
William Menninger Cottage—Richard & Cynthia
Almost all the boys had summer jobs through the
Heartland Works program: David worked at Highland
Park Central, Brandon at Quinton Heights Administrative
office, Jerry at Big Lots, Joe at Mont Hope Cemetery and
Cody at The Girls and Boys Club. Michael continued his job
at Abouds Catering.
Cody P. and Michael participated in a number of summer
activities such as baking, board games, arts and crafts, creative
writing and the Nature Club outings. Cody C. took part in
interviewing skills training which including going to purchase
a suit at the Thrift store (He looked sharp!). The boys enjoyed
going to the community swimming pools and Lake
Shawnee to swim and fish. Cody P. who just had his 18th
birthday is working on his GED. He spent part of a day out
with his Social Worker getting his certified copy of his birth
certificate and his Kansas ID. Cody C., Jesus, and Austin went
out for Football. Austin has hung in there and hopes to
make varsity as a Freshman. Michael and Jerry both took an
art class at the Mulvane Art Museum over the summer. All
The boys helped give tours of the home during the open
house/ribbon cutting ceremony and enjoyed getting some
keg root beer. Jerry continues on the Nature Center’s Green
Team and Cody P. will be joining the team. The William
Menninger Cottage group went to the drag races at Heartland
Park and the fourth of July fireworks display at Shawnee
Lake. Cody C. and Brandon helped with some community
service work by painting over graffiti along side some
Washburn University Criminal Justice students.
Robert Brock Cottage—Rob and Jodi Bolivar
The Brock Cottage family enjoyed day trips to the
Harley Davidson factory in Kansas City and later in
the summer to the Kansas City Zoo. The kids also
participated in many of the Summer Recreation Programs
including several arts projects and sports related activities.
But the trips to Hy-Vee Cooking Classes and Hazel Hill
Chocolates were probably the favorites. Heartland Works
helped locate jobs for several of the youth in the home.
Latisha and Tiana worked at Gage Park Back to Nature
Camp. Fabiana did a fantastic job at the Boys and Girls
club. Eddie worked downtown and Jemika at Topeka High as
an office assistant. Aneth did a whirlwind tour of day camps
offered through the City of Topeka: Volleyball Skills Camp,
Nature Survival Skills and CSI: Topeka. She enjoyed all the
camps but had to pass on the morgue because it “smelled
funny”. Nate kept up with his job at Jason’s Deli where he has
worked for a year now! Michael completed summer school at
New Directions and did many hours of community service at
First United Methodist Church. The household went on vacation
to Saint Louis in July where they toured the Arch and hit
Six Flags with a vengeance. The kids especially enjoyed Hurricane
Harbor Water Park and they went to Fisher Cave, Union
Station, City Museum, and the Hard Rock Café. Jemika
completed her program and was able to go home. Fabiana
and Eddie also went home to complete school in their home
communities. Michael is set to go home on his 18 th birthday.
Raymond Cerf Cottage, Kelly & Amy Houk
The Raymond Cerf home was empty from the end
of March 2009 until August 2009 for renovations.
The renovation included new flooring
throughout the home, new youth bathrooms and an updated
kitchen. In addition to the remodel, we welcomed Kelly and
Amy Houk as new House Parents for the home. The Houks
were House Parents previously in Arizona, Montana and
Idaho and have worked with over 55 youth. They bring their
three daughters, Burgundy, Ivory and Scarlet with them to the
home. The Houks have been very busy developing the program
for the home and taking in seven youth from various
counties. Cyierria plays the Cello and is in orchestra at the
High School. Marquis is playing football at the High School.
And Chris will be taking his GED test soon and has started
employment at a local restaurant. Also, the entire home
went to Worlds of Fun in early August as a back to school
H. Roe Bartle Cottage—Dale and Chris Fowler
In the spring the Fowlers had six youth join their
home during construction at the Cerf Cottage next
door. This increased their population to twelve
youth. During May, five youth returned to their families and
another five youth returned to their homes during and at the
end of the summer. Keith graduated in May from Lawrence
High School and enrolled at Johnson County Community
College for the fall. Randy was an active member in the Native
American Club that attended Pow Wows in the KCK
area. He worked at Culver’s Restaurant and used his money
to pay off his restitution. Over the summer the Cerf Cottage
girls attended The Dance Gallery to learn Hip Hop steps
and attended exercise classes at Body Boutique. The boys
went to an Archery classes at the Prairie Park Nature Center
and exercise at Holcomb Recreation Center. Other group
activities included model car building, swimming, The Villages
Nature club, fishing, the Stone Nature Center Ropes
course, and a trip to the Kansas City Zoo with a meal afterwards
at Gates BBQ. Three of the youth found jobs through
the Heartland Works program. Tesla at the Lawrence Art
Center, Ryan at The Humane Society and Emily at Kidtopia.
Ryan is active in the Civil Air Patrol and was recently promoted
to Airman 1 st class. Ryan and his Squadron traveled to
Topeka and flew on a Black Hawk Helicopter. He will graduate
this December from Lawrence HS. This fall Seude is on
the LHS‘s Junior Varsity and Varsity football teams. Charles is
working on obtaining his GED.
Edwin Linquist Cottage—Terry & Charity Strong
Terry and Charity took 10 youth to Colorado Springs
for summer vacation where they stayed at the
Woodland Park Lake House cottages and enjoyed a
fun-filled week of going to the top of Pike’s Peak,
touring the Garden of the Gods nature garden, the Royal
Gorge, Cripple Creek for gold mining and the ghost town,
and white water rafting through Brown’s Canyon. Everyone
had a great time. Linquist Cottage senior, Jesse, graduated
from WRHS and began summer classes at Highland Community
College in July where he was a “walk on” for the Highland
football team and made the team. Heather also was
eligible to “walk” with her class and then worked at Freedom
Choice Education Center to finish her high school credits.
Three others, Jessica, Marcus and Tommy also took summer
classes at Freedom Choice over the summer and recovered a
combined 6 credits towards their high school graduation.
Marissa worked on her GED at Freedom Choice and has completed
3 of 5 required sections. A total of 6 youth worked at
summer jobs through the Heartland Works summer employment
program and another youth worked with The Villages
maintenance man, Mike Lane, doing mowing and weed
Helen DeVitt Jones Cottage —Klint & Karis Deere
Klint and Karis took their boys on a short vacation to
the Villisca Ax Murder House and Museum in Villisca,
Iowa. The boys enjoyed the house and the stopover at
a water park in Omaha on the way back. Once back the
youth were hard at work participating in the heartland Works
summer jobs program. Six of the youth gained employment
and all of them successfully completed their jobs. All of the
youth who owed restitution paid it in full (the total amount
was close to $4,000. Four youth successfully completed
their programs at the Deere’s over the summer with three
returning home and one going to an independent living program.
The youth participated in several Villages activity program
outings to the base at Fr. Leavenworth, museums, etc.
Karl Menninger Cottage—Brandon & Amy
Two boys at the Karl Menninger Cottage lettered in
track and one in ROTC. They also received recogni-
tion at The Villages academic awards ceremony. The boys
have been working on the landscaping at home, designing a
landscape, purchasing plants and maintaining the plantings.
The Karl Menninger boys also cared for The Villages office
landscape all summer. At the end of the 2008-2009 school
year, two youth successfully completed The Villages program
and returned home. Two more were able to complete prior
to school in the fall. The household went to Ohio for vacation
where they stayed in a cabin and visited the Pro Football
Hall of Fame, the Classic Car Museum, Cedar Point Amusement
Park and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Three boys
had summer jobs and four attended Jobs for Young Adults.
Three boys are out for football and two are in ROTC.
L-R: Graduates’ dinner, Most cottages have ‘reading time’ at their homes
during the summer, Youth visited Old Prairie Town and the Kansas Museum
of History with the Summer VISTA members who led the activity program. The
group of youth who received academic awards (including $20) at the ceremony
in May. Jesse receiving an academic award. (He’s now in school at Highland
Community College). Activity Program: Linquist Cottage youth
at ‘Old Prairie Town’ and Brock Cottage youth at Kansas City Zoo. 5
PREVIOUS RESIDENTS VISIT
During July, Myron Moore visited at the Karl Menninger
Cottage where he lived when he was 15 years old.
He and his fiancée came to see the home and his old
room again and accepted house parents Amy and Bradon
Robertson’s invitation to stay for dinner and discussion
with some of the current residents of the home.
Myron talked about the horse that was ‘his’ at The Villages
and told stories of life in The Villages of the 70’s.
The Villages alumni affairs committee is planning more
opportunities for previous youth and staff of The Villages
to visit and share their stories and wisdom with the
current Villages Kids. Scheduled for October 16th is the
Lawrence homes open house and Ribbon Cutting and
all previous youth and staff are encouraged to attend.
Also next June 11 and 12 The Villages will host an
alumni reunion. To get on the mail list / email list for
this event and other alumni opportunities send your
contact information—address, email, phone, etc. to:
Michael Bradley, 2219 SW 29th St. - Topeka, KS 66611
— or email: email@example.com
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
firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Michael Bradley, Communications Director at The Villages
office (785-267-5900 email@example.com) or write to The Villages, Inc. 2219 SW 29th St.
Topeka, KS 66611).
OR - become a ’fan’ at The Villages Facebook page - “The Villages Inc. of Kansas”
Calling all Alumni!!
The newly formed Alumni Relations committee will be working to put together reunions and events
specifically for alums and friends of The Villages including a 40 year reunion on June 11 & 12, 2010.
The Villages IS NOW ON FACEBOOK
Visit The Villages fan page on Facebook & sign up to be a
’fan’. Post your memories or RSVP for events.
To find The Villages fan page enter
“Facebook, The Villages Inc. of Kansas” in
your browser search engine
Also stop by the Dr. Karl fan page. Share your
memories of Dr. Karl.
To find the Dr. Karl fan page enter “Facebook, Dr.
Karl Menninger” in the search box on your
web browser. Look for the image below of
the sculpture of Dr. Karl —that’s The Villages
sponsored page for Dr. Karl.
No need to be registered on Facebook to view fan pages
(Coming soon-Stone Nature Center Facebook fan page)
L to R: Alumni Myron Moore talking with staff and youth at the Karl
Menninger cottage and peaking into his old room. Pictures of Dr. Karl
statue, William Menninger Cottage and Girl with snake which serve as
Facebook ‘tags’ for Dr. Karl, The Villages and Stone Nature Center pages.
To a REUNION NEXT SUMMER
How YOU Can Help The Villages Help Youth
Jon Carlson works with adults who . . . “When they
come to me they don’t really have any options.” Jon
has been a corrections officer at the Shawnee County
adult detention center for 11 years but he used to work
with juvenile offenders. “I have seen the stigma young
people in the system experience and I want to give
them the same things kids in traditional family units
get.” Jon first approached The Villages with the idea
that If young people at least have a chance to pursue
something positive, that may make a difference and he
may not see them when they become adults.
Jon is an example of the type of supporter that The Villages
relies upon to help provide the ‘extras’ that make
all the difference. He shares the same philosophy that
led Dr. Karl and his friends to establish The Villages as a
place where, “a new environment, new surroundings,
new models . . . (help youth) develop orientations of
caring, saving, protecting and building instead of the
hating, fighting and destroying with which they have
been surrounded” (Dr. Karl Menninger—1970)
Jon hopes to set up an on-going fund to help youth at
The Villages have a chance for typical teenage experiences
like going to prom or taking music lessons. To
get started, he is helping Villages house parents Terry
and Charity Strong buy a trumpet for one of their
There are many ways you, like Jon, can help The Villages’
young people. Here are just a few:
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, like Jon Carlson, you think youth in custody should have the support and experiences only family style care can
provide, won’t you please help?
To Help: please use the enclosed envelope or send contributions
to: The Villages / 2219 SW 29th / Topeka, KS 66611
Support the ‘activity fund’ at The Villages which
allows the youth to attend a cultural event such
as a museum, a play, a concert, a lecture, or lessons
in pottery, art, horseback riding, etc.
Donate new and slightly used men’s and women’s
jeans, shirts, and shoes and essentials like new
socks, underwear, shampoo, conditioner, and
other hygiene products for both boys and girls.
Recruit your Church, company or group to become
the Birthday Sponsor in one home—buy a cake
and gifts for each young person’s birthday.
If your company needs help, please let us know so
we can send a youth to fill out an application.
Donate and deliver gravel to resurface the roads
leading to the Lawrence and Topeka homes (a
Recruit a volunteer team (some skilled) to paint
walls inside one home. A group of 10 able to
help on one day each year could meet the need.
Include: Name, Address, City, State, Zip
Email (for updates—never shared)
Please Celebrate with us in Lawrence
PERMIT NO. 785
Open House & Ribbon Cutting
at the Newly Renovated Lawrence
Homes of The Villages, Inc.
Snacks, hot cider and FUN!
When: Friday Oct 16th 3-6pm
(Formal Ribbon Cutting at 4:00 pm)
Of Providing Emotionally
Supportive Homes for
Children and Youth in Need
Where: The Villages Lawrence homes
1149 E. 1200 Rd. South of Lawrence—go south out of town
on Iowa (highway 59) just past the Wakarusa River bridge.
Turn right at first road and proceed west about 1 mile to E.
1200 rd. Turn left (south) and proceed about 1/2 mile to 3rd
gravel drive on right that goes up the hill at an angle. Follow
the winding gravel road through the trees to the hilltop homes.
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.
Summer 2009—Issue # 26