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Lasting Legacy Campaign

Michael Hooper Villages President at Ribbon Cutting

The Villages Another 40 Years Ribbon Cutting:
Michael Hooper -- The Villages, Board President 

Thank you for being here:  We are so glad to have you join us in celebrating the renovation of five homes and the 40-year anniversary of the family-style homes here at The Villages.

The first home is the Will Menninger Cottage  which is right over there. It opened its door in 1969 housing the first of many abused, neglected and abandoned children who found refuge here at The Villages.

The genesis of Dr. Karl Menninger’s vision for creating The Villages dates back 45 years ago when he told his colleagues and friends there was a need for a family-style home  not an institution  but an uplifting and healing place where children would prosper and grow. Dr. Karl welcomed even the most difficult and vulnerable youth.  His idea actually started with a call from a local judge concerned about a specific child. 

Dr. Karl, in an old 16mm movie, talked about his dream which subsequently became The Villages:
He had some land and some timber which he would donate. A house parent couple would be recruited along with some kids in need of a home. They could build themselves a log cabin to live in. Once their own home was built, they would build another and another house parent couple would be recruited to live in that home.  Eventually a Village of log cabins would be available for kids.  Once one Village was occupied, another Village would be built in another place.

Well, these are NOT log cabins but what we are celebrating is exactly what Dr. Karl had in mind.  Where you stand today was the Demonstration Village which became the model for family style homes all over the country for hard to place children.  Not only did new Villages spring up in places like Florida and Indiana, but even longstanding institutions  like Boys Town and the Omaha Home for Boys have since become collections of family homes with live-in house parents. 

The homes here have, for many of our children, become a place where they can learn how a family cares for each other and works together to care for and improve their home.  FHLBank employees helped us teach this lesson three years ago by working alongside our youth to build retaining walls and landscape the homes.  We really appreciated their desire to include our kids in the project.   The Community Affairs Committee members also encouraged us to apply for an Affordable Housing Program grant from FHLBank.  With assistance from our sponsor, CoreFirst Bank & Trust (one of their member banks), we were granted a total of $610,000 for renovations to these 5 homes and our two homes in Lawrence.  Since 2003, more than 400 other contributions and hundreds of hours of volunteer assistance have matched their donation, supported on-going programming, or helped build The Villages endowment to guarantee that there will continue be a Village for young people for Another 40 Years and beyond.   

In addition to the CoreFirst / FHLBank support, others who provided pledges, donations or supplied in-kind labor resources each around $500,000 included: JoAnn Klemmer, Tensie Oldfather, the Helen Jones Foundation, Hallmark, the Harold J. Lehane Living Trust and the estates of Jessie V. Stone and Ruth Smythe.   Other Significant Donations have come from: Capitol Federal Foundation; Westar Energy and their Green Team; Patricia M. Brady; the Linquist Family; The Ethyl S. Dyatt Trust; The SBL Charitable Trust; Microsoft and Adobe software donations through Tech Soup; The Cerf Dunbar Fund and William Dann; The Topeka Active 20/30 Club Grant Fund; The Topeka Community Foundation; the Douglas County Community Foundation; The Security Benefit foundation; Joanne Harrison;  Jeff and Mary Ungerer; the Gault Hussey Charitable Trust; The Bank of America Foundation and other funds at Bank of America; and the Blanche Bryden Foundation.

As you tour the homes today you will notice that they really are homes.  They each show the personality of the house parents and kids who live there.  We still have some work to do in most of the homes to complete the floor coverings and interior painting which are part of the current project.  We still want to improve two of the kitchens. 

These homes are located on very special land  more than 350 acres of prime property that includes the Clement Stone Nature Center. We have a tremendous resource here for environmental and nature education; a tall grass prairie, woods and trails along the Kansas River.

As we celebrate the renovation of these homes, please take the time to tour the homes. You will see a list of the work completed in each home.  Also you will find strategically placed before photos to illustrate what has changed for the better.  We hope you will take time to tour all the homes.  The most complete of the homes is the Edwin Linquist cottage, but they all have new insulated siding, new energy efficient doors and windows, new solid core interior doors to improve fire safety, new fire safety and egress alarm equipment, new energy efficient heat pumps, and complete remodels in the youth bathrooms.  (Some of the youth who have been here longest can tell you about living in a home with 9 other teenagers where the bathroom has been gutted down to the studs!!)

We hope you will also take the time to visit our nature center and the ropes course while you are here.  Please sign one of our guest book pages which are available in the tent and in each of the homes.  At the homes you will also find root beer, snow cones or other snacks.









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7240 SW 10th St. | Topeka, KS 66615
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