Embrace Living: The Green House Homes

Green House Homes Team

The team arriving in Memphis, Tennessee for the Green House Annual Conference.


Recently I was asked to put into words why the teams at St. John’s Penfield Green House Homes are successful. Real home, meaningful life, and empowered staff are the cornerstones of the model. The question always seems to be how to put the rubber to the road.

Vision is so important when we talk about culture change. The goal of culture change is person-directed care. I am grateful for people who can envision how to transform cold sterile buildings with an antiquated system of doing tasks into a warm human habitat where staff, elders, and families thrive, grow, and can just BE. Without this vision we would have no starting point.

What comes next is a lot of honest hard work. Challenging each other, holding each other accountable, and being hyper-vigilant to the always present slide back to that institutional model has helped us continue to grow on our journey. We have five different coordinator roles for each home which are rotating positions that are held by the Shahbazim who cook, clean, do laundry, and help elders with care and daily life.

As a formal leader and Guide for the Green House Homes it is essential that I work hard to gain trust from the team of Shahbaz and nurses. They must know without a shadow of a doubt that I believe in them and believe that they are the best people to be running the household along with the elders. Principle #8 of the Eden Alternative teaches us that decisions should lie in the hands of the elders or the people closest to them. Setting parameters for teams and then sitting back and watching them create solutions along with the people who live in the Penfield Green House Homes is extremely gratifying.

We have laughed and cried, and shared frustrations and triumphs together. I can guarantee if you ask any staff member if they would go anywhere else to work they would say no. We have built something together and that makes it all the more meaningful. We are very proud to be a part of something this big but most days the teams don’t grasp how truly special they are. It’s just another day at home, working away to create opportunities to give and receive care.

Kris Angevine,

Team Development Mentor/Guide
Eden Educator

Recent Posts