The Birth of Cornerstone Community Adult Family Home

The mission of Cornerstone Community Adult Family Home: 

To provide a loving home and gathering place for people with developmental disabilities, and to build a community that values and embraces people with diverse talents and gifts.

The idea for Cornerstone grew out of a conversation between two concerned parents—Terry Anderman and Margaret Marson—in a Costco parking lot in the fall of 2004. Terry and her husband Paul are the proud parents of Daniel Anderman, who was born December 18th, 1985.  Margaret and her husband Ken are the proud parents of Nick Marson, born June 5th, 1980.

Both Daniel and Nick were born and raised in Leavenworth, and both have developmental disabilities.  It is extremely important to both families that these young men are able to stay in Leavenworth, where they have a strong support network and know their way around pretty well.  Yet at that time of the conversation between Terry and Margaret, there were no supported living arrangements in town.

Margaret had done a lot of research on L’Arche communities (family-like homes where people with and without disabilities share their lives together) and wondered about the possibilities of creating such a community in Leavenworth.  Consequently, Terry, Paul, Margaret and Ken organized a public meeting for February 4th, 2005 to find out how much support existed for such a project.  The result was overwhelming: more than 70 people showed up for the meeting, and many more contacted each of the families afterward to express their support.

Subsequently, a group of nine people formed a working committee to investigate the possibilities and the feasibility of the project.  Those committee members included Alicia McRae, Howard Cook, Dorothy Ferguson, Camille Stemm, Gracie Close, Margaret & Ken Marson, and Terry & Paul Anderman.  The committee visited adult family homes and other supported living arrangements across the state in order to find out how they work and what it would take to build one in Leavenworth.

With the guidance and support of local community members, the project began to take shape.  Claudia Johnson, a local home designer, donated her time and expertise to design the Adult Family Home.  Gretchen Rhode, a local design artist, designed the Cornerstone logo.  And the committee, with the help of local facilitator Joan Alway, put together a mission statement.

Margaret Marson, together with local grant writer Michelle Mazzola and the Executive Director for Upper Valley MEND at the time, Marggie Simmons, worked long hours to secure a HUD (Housing and Urban Development) grant to fund the construction of the building.  Other funding was secured through the State Housing Trust Fund, as well as private donations.  The total amount of money received is around $970,000. The project found a home through a piece of land purchased by Marson & Marson Lumber Inc., and in the early part of 2007 it came under the direction of Upper Valley MEND. 

From start to finish, the birth of Cornerstone Community Adult Family Home has truly been a grass roots effort.