Making the Weekend Special

 Theresa Sessions, making weekends happen at Lafayette House

Theresa Sessions, making weekends happen at Lafayette House

When Friday rolls around, Lafayette House goes through a transition. The hustle and bustle of the weekdays, with jobs, day programs, prepared lunches and scheduled rides, dissipates into a  slower pace. And the staff transitions too. Theresa Sessions, is now in charge. Theresa has been with Lafayette House for the last three years as the weekend residential relief manager. 

“Weekends are a bit looser. People don’t have to go out. People like to sleep in. It’s definitely more kickback. I think the weekends we try to make it different from the week, there are less expectations. They are out every day in the week.”

Chilling at Lafayette House on the weekend can mean watching sports (everyone loves the Patriots), time with family members, or going to events in the community. 

Theresa is quite modest about her creativity, but it manifests itself throughout her weekend job.

She is often browsing magazines and online recipe sites for new things to make. During the months that the garden is producing fruits and vegetables she likes to incorporate the bounty into recipes. This past year she had fun with peaches, carrots, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, to name a few. Some of the summer bounty has been creatively extended with pies in the freezer and preserved jams and jellies in the cupboards.

 Preparations for a cozy winter dinner for at least twelve

Preparations for a cozy winter dinner for at least twelve

The residents, ten men and two women, enjoy the food and love to hang around the kitchen while she chops, mixes and cooks. In the winter she says everyone wants hearty meals like Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes, in the summer it’s peach cobbler from the harvested peaches.

 Recipe hunting

Recipe hunting

Theresa also knits and sews. Last winter she knitted hats for the girls. This winter she sewed Patriots infinity scarves for everyone. She also mends clothes and enjoys organizing closets.

Theresa has been involved with Lafayette House for 18 years. She started as an LNA and assisted several residents with showers, laundry and other living skills. She loved her involvement with the House and was thrilled when the weekend job opened up. The families in the house are comforted that on weekends the residents receive as much love and care as they do on weekdays.  

 Go Patriots!! Getting psyched for the game.

Go Patriots!! Getting psyched for the game.

 Nancy modeling her new Patriots scarf right before a big game.

Nancy modeling her new Patriots scarf right before a big game.

Julie and Dennis Barratt: Enhancing the Meaning of Group Home

 Julie and Dennis Barratt

Julie and Dennis Barratt

 

Julie and Dennis Barratt, who run the group home at 413 Lafayette, have brought the words "group" and "home" to a whole new level. Although the house has existed since 1984, Julie and Dennis arrived 17 years ago. Julie began by filling in on weekends for the house manager and stepped into the job, when the third house manager left. The job of house manager is not for everyone and group homes often have a frequent turnover in staff. In addition to the long hours, you need to wear many hats—cook, nurse, therapist, instructor, friend, parent, advocate and personal shopper, to name a few.  Julie and Dennis stepped into all of these roles and have added a few of their own.

 Dennis, Brandon and Joe harvesting potatoes 

Dennis, Brandon and Joe harvesting potatoes 

There is a synergy among the residents that is unusual and rare for a group of 14 people living together. When you walk in, everyone is in the kitchen while Julie assembles quiches or tacos for 16 (they sometimes have visitors). Or in the afternoon you will find people harvesting vegetables in the garden with Dennis. Everyone is eager to incorporate the bounty, which has included potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, squash and peaches into their meals.

What is remarkable is how much the residents enjoy hanging out with each other and with Julie and Dennis. They rarely retreat to their rooms. Everyone congregates in the kitchen, or the yard, or the common room to help with chores, play karaoke or video games, or just chill.

 The Garden

The Garden

Julie and Dennis usually work weekdays and travel to their camp in Jefferson, New Hampshire for the weekends. But they don't entirely leave the house, they often bring a few residents with them. Residents often join them for a weekend of swimming, campfires, hiking and maybe even a trip to Santa's Village.

 Jeb and Kazar, Julie and Dennis's labs are also part of the family

Jeb and Kazar, Julie and Dennis's labs are also part of the family

Julie laughs when asked how do you run a household for 14 people. "It is just the right thing for us. We have worked a lot of years to create a family environment. We have worked on helping everyone to be supportive of their brothers and sisters and after years of promoting that I see the fruition"

 
Dennis Cooking.jpg
Julie and Brandon.jpgJulie and Brandon