A Thank You Tour


The mission of Hope Grows was created from a nationwide Family Caregiver Self-Awareness and Empowerment Project. The study indicated caregivers not only needed, but wanted someone to talk and share their experiences, gain support, and have a place to go for a change of environment and fresh perspectives, among other things. The Iris Respite House and Healing & Restorative Gardens is THAT place for the caregivers to go for a change of environment and fresh perspectives.

As you enter the doors of the Iris Respite House, not only can you feel a change in energy, but caregivers have shared, there is a sense of peace. As one caregiver put it so eloquently, “when I walked through that door the very first time, it was like these huge arms just wrapped around me and brought me in.”

There are so many stories that we hear from caregivers that support this overnight model, from the ones that are experiencing burn out and apathy, to the one’s that say, “I’m ready to jump the bridge.” “I don’t care if I wake up tomorrow,” “My life isn’t worth living,” or the ones that say, “I am so tired that I don’t even care if I bathe.” The caregivers that really tug at our heartstrings here at Hope Grows are the ones that have lost their identity, searching for meaning and purpose, and wondering how they got to this point.

Before COVID-19 happened, the renovation for the check-in area was underway and a caregiver arriving for a support group at the facility, leaned on the counter and said with a sigh and all seriousness, “when can I check in?”

Thank Yous

The Iris Respite House is a place to relax, to heal, and to grow…a place for both current and past caregivers to engage in an overnight break. On July 15, 2020, Hope Grows and the National Aging in Place Council of Pittsburgh, PA hosted a virtual event to showcase the beautiful house and gardens in Moon Township, PA, for caregivers to take a break away overnight.

Watch The Iris Respite House Renovation Showcase Event

While the event was a kickoff to the work that is needed to get the doors open, we wouldn’t be here today without the support of many individuals. As everyone knows, a mission doesn’t unfold on its own, nor does an event happen without support, so taking an opportunity to thank those that believe in the mission and vision is of the utmost importance.


Event Participants

Board of Directors

Hope Grows Staff

The many volunteers throughout this and every year

Those professionals that jumped on board to help our caregivers with virtual programs during the start of the COVID outbreak

Renovation Showcase Host, Speakers & Committee

Spending many hours and with many changes to the event due to the COVID-19 virus, thank you to the Renovation Showcase Committee.

Our Host, the National Aging in Place Council, who stood by our side through all of the changes and jumped on board to be one of the first donors on the healing tree donor wall.

The Guests’ Speakers for the event and the ongoing Guest Speakers for the Speaker Series running through November.

The Architects

The architects that provided many philanthropic hours for the architectural renderings for the renovations.

Architectural Innovations, LLC

(Jan Brimmeier, Donna Merritt, and Renee DeMichiei Farrow and Team)

Iris Respite House Virtual Tour

Contracting and Design Work

For the new renovations of the check-in area, new bee keeping garden, and new doors to the sunroom.

CSTS Contracting – Charles Story, Jr & Todd Shackle

Cost estimation for the renovations from the architectural drawings

Paul Ransom, Contractor and Artist

The in-kind donation of the 100-year-old hotel wooden structure that the new check in counter is resting on, along with the interior design support.

Artist, Michele Story-Moehring

Michele is also the artist of the Blue-Bearded Iris graphic that is a part of the Iris Movement.

The Healing Tree Artists

The Healing Tree Donor Wall – designed and sculpted for all to see as you enter into the house.

Artists, Paul and Linda Ransom

Paul and Linda are past caregivers, who understood the need for this type of support and provided countless hours of their donated time to design and sculpt the piece of art. The Elm tree was chosen as the design due to the shade that it provides; a very hardy and tolerant tree that can live for 300 years or more. In keeping with one of the Hope Grows core values, connecting to nature and the natural world as being therapeutic, the elm tree symbolizes healing and it represents the pillars of the Iris Respite House, a place to relax, to heal, and to grow. Each branch represents the Hope Grows programming that intertwines healing support with 350 leaves for donors to get involved.

The Healing Tree Donor Leaves

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