Residents, their families, friends, volunteers, community partners and others hold many memories about Reston’s founding vision, the development of Lake Anne Fellowship House (LAFH), the impact offered by diverse housing options like LAFH, and perhaps most endearing, the stories of personal connections to LAFH. We asked; you responded. Here is what you shared:
“With the new Lake Anne House nearing completion, the time is right for us to honor the old Lake Anne Fellowship House which has served as home to more than 1,300 Restonians over the past five decades. While the new Lake Anne House will also be adjacent to the cultural and historical center of our Reston community and will have much-needed upgrades – and I know it’s residents are really looking forward to that – it will be bittersweet to lose this longtime feature of our Reston landscape.” ~ Walter Alcorn, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Hunter Mill District
“For over 50 years the Lake Anne Fellowship House has honored our founder’s vision of inclusivity and the ability to remain a resident of Reston during one’s later years. The fellowship house has been a vital part of our community, and we at Reston Association are excited about the upcoming opening of the new building. We are especially pleased that no current residents were displaced while the new building was being constructed, so the vision of Reston founder Robert E. Simon Jr. could continue without interruption. Congratulations and thank you, Lake Anne Fellowship House.” ~ Caren Anton, President
“Fellowship Square through Lake Anne Fellowship House lived up to their commitment to me when hired in April 2002 by providing me with topnotch training, resources and tools that enabled me to refine the skills necessary to make decisions and deal with challenges that I encounter in my field of work.
Lake Anne is my home. It’s the place where I worked after getting married back in 2002 and it’s the place where I had my first child and lived on site for 2 years before moving back to Maryland. I remember coming home from the hospital with Aaliyah and the residents waiting to see us bring her home in the car seat. It’s the place where I had my second child and the residents cooked food for me as I had terrible morning sickness. During both of my pregnancies, the residents were just as nice as they could be. For 9 months and a little after, no one uttered any complaints or raised any concerns.
I am surrounded by teachers and I have learned a lot from our residents. I have learned to be flexible. Instead of taking everything seriously, I learned to laugh a little more. I have learned to enjoy life and I have learned to accept the challenges that life has to offer. I have learned to accept age and the aging process and the decline (highs and lows) that comes with health and health challenges. Even though we are a diverse community we understand love, respect and gestures of kindness. Our residents are so kind and they are so supportive. They really like to affirm you and let you know how much you are appreciated and they also like to let you know when you are wrong or when there is another way to solve the problem. They stretch you. They push you to grow and think outside of the box. They keep you on your toes. All of the tough experiences and challenges has helped me to grow and develop as a leader. At the time, I did not think so, but in retrospect I am thankful for every experience I had.
There were lots of challenges with Lake Anne. It had many ups and there were many downs. We did not have much, but we were contented with what we had and made sure that we took care of the place. We and the residents have pride.
We know how to party. We know how to celebrate. We love to eat. I will miss the many dances and dancing we had in the Social Hall. And the annual family day cookout.
I developed friendships with those who I have worked with. We stay in touch up to this day. It’s good to be around like minded people.
Before I worked at Lake Anne, folks would talk about the building as it had so many problems. No one wanted to work there. There were changes in Managers very often before I came. No one would stay because of the financial and cash flow issues and the resident concerns. Folks would stay about a month or two and then move on. But when I came, I felt so comfortable. Some of the residents welcomed me. I felt that I belonged here and I found my niche. I will miss Lake Anne. I will miss this place. There are so many memories there of residents I have met over the years. I will carry them in my heart. (Some of the residents who have since gone on I still remember them: our interactions, faces, names and the units where they lived.)” ~ Louneta Beckles, Community Manager at the Lake Anne Fellowship House
“You asked for a good memory. When I look back on “Lake Anne Fellowship House” after 25 years, I remember many different memories. One of the most interesting is the “Fellowship Trips.” I remember Louneta and Jenny managed the trips and took care of us very well. We visited many places and the most interesting of them was a “cruise” travel with a ship on the sea. I have also enjoyed a lot of the game “Bingo.” Every time I think about “Fellowship House” my heart fills with joy and love.” ~ Vajehe R, Lake Anne Fellowship House Resident
“I am pretty much a lifelong Restonian, my family moved here in the 1970s. Both of the Fellowship Houses have been a backdrop in my life. However, when I stumbled into the profession of senior living as the founder of Positive Aging Sourcebook it brought them to the forefront. My early days of publishing, I literally drove to nearly every community in the DMV to deliver copies. So I was at LAFH at least twice a year until I could afford to pay for UPS! One of my fondest memories from Lake Anne Fellowship House was volunteering to serve Thanksgiving Dinner to the residents in 2011. Knowing there is a wonderful home for all incomes in our community is very important. It will be nice to have a modern building, but I will never forget the first one!” ~ Steven Gurney, Volunteer
“It is a sunny afternoon in the middle of January 2022 and I just came inside to my apartment in Lake Anne Fellowship House. I am sitting here thinking how great it is going to be when we get to move into our new apartments at Lake Anne House. I was taking some pictures of the construction workers in front of the project and spoke to one of the foremen as he was directing the men. He said that everything was going very well. I told him how excited we are and that they were all doing such a great job.
It will be truly fantastic to be able to live in such a wonderful new home in our beautiful neighborhood here in Reston. I was also taking some photos today of the new walkway that has been constructed in recent days, that will allow our residents to safely walk across the street to the Lake Newport park. To have two lakes to enjoy and the beauty of Mother nature so close to us contributes so much to our lives at Lake Anne.
We are so extremely fortunate and blessed to be living here today at LAFH, and soon in our wonderful new home at Lake Anne House. Thanks so very much to all the hard-working people today, and all through the years, that have made this possible.” ~ Steve McAvoy, Resident
“For me what it meant to be a staff member is as long as a book but it doesn’t fit here so I’ll make it short. First of all because I have many days of happiness and many days of sadnesses. I’ve worked (here) since April 7 of 1993. It’s the only job I’ve ever known. I’ve worked here all my life and I’ve watched it change over the years and I’ve felt happy to have had worked for Lake Anne Fellowship House. The day the building on 11450 North Shore Drive disappears for me it will be a huge loss because I have been around the residents for a very long time and they have made me a better person and I have been doing what I like with happiness and so I hope to keeping doing that today tomorrow and always. 🥺❤️” ~ Cristian Mata, Long-time staff member at Lake Anne Fellowship House
“I have fond memories of working at the Fellowship House when I was in high school from September 1980 to November 1981. There was a cafeteria on the main floor and I helped prepare dinner for the residents, bused tables, washed dishes, etc. My supervisors were Bob Moreno and Gaye Sutphin who managed the kitchen and food prep. I made good friends there with the residents and later in life, I had a few elderly friends that lived there.” ~ Michelle Miller, former employee
“My career with Lake Anne started 20 years ago at this building. It holds so many memories for me with our residents, my coworkers, visitors, and even my family. I have seen this building go through so many changes through the years and it will always hold a special place in my life as a place of good friendships and growth.” ~ Jenny Wang, Long-time LAFH Assistant Community Manager
“Sitting in my comfortable apartment on the Friday after Thanksgiving 2021, already listening to Christmas music. The wind is blowing the trees around up high where I am. It is morning, but I’m already thinking about a slice of the amazing pumpkin pie that we had brought to our doors by our staff a few days ago. Last week was called “residents appreciation week”, and we were surprised with a bag of gifts after answering the knock on our door. We are treated so well here, even as our building demands so much attention to keep it operating.
Everything about our home here is appreciated very, very much. We take it for granted too often. You don’t have to spend much time with the news today to cause you to stop and think how fortunate we are to be where we are … right here, right now.
There is so much work that goes on keeping our buildings going and the organization operating. We get to sit here on a cold, windy morning with our cup of coffee in our warm apartment. So much to be grateful for … Thanks Everyone, For Every day.” ~ Steve McAvoy, Resident
Residents’ tell us what they are most excited about in the new building.
“The thought of having a newly built apartment just for you is very special. I was told that the people that are building our apartment want them to be a safe and special place for the elderly.” ~ Fay “Gabby” Bowden
“Everything is going to be new, the kitchen especially, the new dishwasher.” ~ Ms. Elaheh Karbassi
“The carpet in the hallway is going to be clean, new bathroom, kitchen, and dishwasher. No more dishes by hand.” ~ Ms. Eun Lee
“Indoor parking, also new dishwasher, a new kitchen, new carpet in the hallways.” ~ Ms. Connie Mai
“It looks so beautiful. Everything is new. No more leaking during the nights.” ~ Ms. Dora Parada
“New apartment, new appliances, a new bathroom, and a new kitchen. I like to cook a lot.” ~ Ms. Mary Przewlocki
“I have lived here for 25 years already and do not need to be worrying about leaking or other things. Everything is new especially the bathroom.” ~ Ms. Vajiheh Rohani