Tuesday marks a new chapter for a well-known Rochester area organization dedicated to serving children. It was created in 1942 by the Sisters of St Joseph to give children a community that believes in them until they can believe in themselves. The organization has a new name but the mission remains the same.
With a balloon launch, St Joseph's Villa became Villa of Hope. A name and logo change is meant to show the evolution of this 70-year-old organization.
While no longer affiliated with the Catholic church, its mission continues to be helping children and families return to a place before chemical addiction, mental illness, neglect or abuse, and poor choices interfered.
"Our kids, from the time they came here as orphans, to today when they come to us and have really lost hope in terms of their future, to be able to work them through a trauma informed practice and then to be able to help them to see that there is hope and a different path that they can take in life," said Christina Gullo, Villa of Hope president.
Villa of Hope offers short term residential services, and helps with chemical dependency and mental health issues. Mostly these days, it sends social workers out into the community; homes and schools, to work with families where ever they are.
Two-thousand children and families are served each year, and Gullo says in every single case, step one is to build a relationship .
"Once we develop that relationship, we see a trust there and kids begin to open up and trust and feel safe so they can do the work necessary to address the issues they come here with."
Youth and family then leave Villa of Hope equipped with new tools to deal with those issues.