A home filled with love in Bay Village

The residents of Fontbonne Home – clockwise from top left: Joan, Ted, Kelly, Marcia and Pat – have lived together for many years in a supportive environment and are active members of the Bay Village community.

Family is everything. Especially to the residents and staff of Fontbonne Home in Bay Village. Begun in 1982 as a “home away from home” for individuals with developmental disabilities, it is currently home to five residents who have been together as a family for most of those 30-plus years. The residence was founded by Sister Genevieve Lane, CSJ, Ph.D., who is now retired.

The residents work together in perfect harmony, sharing chores, cooking and cleaning duties and – just like all siblings – occasionally quibbling. A result of their combined effort is a prominently displayed sign in the living room that tells their story: “Together we make a family.” 

Their days are full, with jobs and activities for every one of them. Guidance, assistance and transportation are provided for each resident by the caring staff of 15, and they are never without a helping hand to turn to.

Robin Hilsmeier, executive director of Family Haven which operates Fontbonne Home, lights up when she talks about the home and its residents, aged 43 to 73. Her passion for the work and her love of her “family” is evident. 

“They are all always busy. That’s a big part of our mission, to educate, to empower, and to involve them in the community.” 

They play in a golf league, Wednesday is bowling night and they are all active members of St. Raphael Church in Bay Village.

Each year the staff and board of directors holds an annual brunch and fundraiser to help support the many programs and living expenses. In 2012 the fundraiser provided a new vehicle to transport residents to appointments. In 2013 a new generator was purchased, and last year funds raised provided a new furnace for the house. 

Goals for upcoming years include a second vehicle and eventually a ranch-style home where all of the residents can live on one floor, a necessary change with the aging of its current residents. This year’s fundraiser will be held on Sunday, Oct. 25, at Wagner’s of Westlake. Tickets and sponsorships are available by calling 440-250-2773.

Fontbonne Home has been the recipient of a grant from the Bay Village Foundation, which supports many of the non-profit organizations serving the Bay Village community.

Read More on Community Service
Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 9:40 AM, 05.19.2015