Recently Virginia and I were given the wonderful opportunity of a personal tour through the beautiful and special residential community of Innisfree Village by Nancy Chappell, Associate Director and Community Coordinator. Nancy Chappell has worn many hats in her time with Innisfree since 1992, including Volunteer Coordinator and Medical Coordinator, and now also concentrating on recruiting efforts. Nancy’s enthusiasm regarding their unique Volunteer Program along with her experiences with Innisfree made her the perfect person to be our guide!
Innisfree Village is nestled in the rolling foothills below the eastern ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains near the Shenandoah National Park. This private pastoral farm community near Crozet, VA is the life-sharing residential home for adults with intellectual disabilities. Volunteer caregivers and co-workers live on premises with the residents, developing deep-rooted relationships. There are 15 houses, several of which are in Charlottesville, VA. While most resident co-workers live here for life, the volunteer caregivers come from all over the world and commit to at least a one year. This interesting arrangement gives everyone an international experience as well as forming international bonding relationships. Like Nancy Chappell, some of the permanent staff members live on the property while others live nearby.
Innisfree Village was first established in 1971 by a group of Maryland and Virginia parents seeking an alternative home to institutional care for their teenage children who had intellectual disabilities. The ultimate goal of these parents was to find a stimulating and satisfactory environment for these special growing children, where living and working together with caregivers would create a family oriented atmosphere. The search ended with the purchase of the original 50-acre farm, which has now grown to 550 acres! There are sheep, cows, and chickens plus vegetable and herb gardens in this bucolic setting along with a walking trail that loops part of the property. This community is truly in one of the most gorgeous areas in Albemarle County!
The residents of Innisfree Village have a daily life that includes Community Workstations along with town and local area visits. The workstations focus on the arts (weaving, woodworking, sculpting, etc.), culinary skills, gardening, a free school (free-style art, music, and nature), and a Community House. These workstations are assigned according to ability to participate. Innisfree Village is locally renowned for their Weaving, Wood and Bakery products which they sell to local craft, natural-foods and gourmet shops.
HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE DEC. 2 – 10AM – 5PM
Innisfree Village hosts several fund raising events where the public is invited to attend and participate. During the Holidays, there is an Open House Day, the first Saturday in December, where tours are given and crafts are sold to the public. The Innisfree Music Fest 2017 was held at Innisfree Village in June where local bands played and refreshments were provided by local businesses. Don’t forget that they also sell their wares all over the Charlottesville area.
On the way to Innisfree Village, you will see the beautiful surrounding area and realize the good fortune of the location of this special community. While visiting there, you can see and feel the unique and peaceful working atmosphere that this community has to offer. Upon leaving, you may be a bit sad to drive away. On the other hand, you will be most happily encouraged by the positive experience you just had!
To find out more about Innisfree Village, please click here: Innisfree Village