Marilyn Voigt first heard of Fellowship Square through her church, Good Shepard Lutheran Church in 2002. At the time, her church supported Lake Anne Fellowship House in a variety of ways; among other things, they created Thanksgiving boxes, gave residents Christmas gifts, supported fundraising efforts, and provided transportation. Marilyn volunteered for a variety of different events at Lake Anne. Within her church, she tried to encourage monetary support for Lake Anne, and for many years she oversaw the Angel Tree during Christmas time where she collected gifts for the residents. Marilyn was inspired to get involved because of her deeply held belief that housing is a basic need, and that everyone should have a place to call their own. In addition to her contributions to Lake Anne, Marilyn provided English tutoring for the residents of Hunters Woods Fellowship House.
When her church moved to Herndon, Marilyn did not scale back her involvement; instead, she became a board member for Lake Anne, a position which she held for several years. During her time as a board member, Marilyn continued to volunteer and provide support. For example, when residents visited The Mall to show their support for housing legislation in Congress, Marilyn went with them. As part of her role as a board member, Marilyn also witnessed the development of the new Lake Anne House. When reflecting on the new building, Marilyn noted that she was particularly happy with how the residents were always included in the process. While she is no longer on the board, Marilyn remains deeply engaged with the Fellowship Square community.
Marilyn has always firmly believed that accessible housing is critically important. When she was a child, Marilyn saw her father refuse to sell their family farm, which taught her the value of having a place to call home. This idea was reinforced during her long career as a special education teacher, where she learned that, while sharing is important, there is a lot of value in giving children things of their own. As a result of these experiences, Marilyn strongly connects with Fellowship Square’s mission. Marilyn’s commitment to helping people obtain access to housing is also reflected in her history of service to others. In addition to her work with Fellowship Square, Marilyn volunteered with both Loudoun County and Habitat for Humanity. Her experiences with Habitat for Humanity taught her that having a home is one of the most basic and essential needs.
Marilyn believes that more people should engage in service work, and she encourages everyone to find an area of need and volunteer. She believes that housing insecurity is one of the biggest challenges facing seniors today, which is why she supports Fellowship Square’s mission of providing affordable housing to older adults. Marilyn emphasizes the importance of caring for others: “caring for people is straightforward – you can tell if you’re doing it right by looking at them.” We are grateful for Marilyn Voigt’s continued support of Fellowship Square and our community!
Robert “Bob” Thompson
Robert “Bob” Thompson is not your typical board member. Growing up as the youngest of three, Mr. Thompson always held great respect and admiration for seniors, mostly due to values instilled in him from his family – especially his grandparents. Later in life, as his mother grew older, she wanted to be around other seniors and decided to leave the family home to live at the Lake Anne Fellowship House in Reston, VA.
Mr. Thompson got to know many of the Lake Anne residents while his mother lived there and characterizes his relationship with them as being “close to family.” This made for a natural transition into his position as a board member. Bob enjoyed having residents call out to him by name when they saw him around the property. He often chatted by phone with many of them, and sometimes would buy them their favorite foods. In fact, over the years, residents may have seen him serving hamburgers during various house events!
Over time, food security for residents became and continues to be a top priority for Mr. Thompson. Because of his close relationships, the residents were quick to let him know about food shortage issues, and any other concerns regarding life at the Fellowship House. As a board member, he was in a position to help advocate for them.
There have been several bad winters during which many of Fellowship Square’s services were shut down, one being transportation services to the grocery store. To mitigate this, Mr. Thompson began taking residents to the grocery store in his car. He noted that they were either going to “all get stuck together” or they were “going to get to the grocery store.”
When asked about the pandemic, Mr. Thompson described it as a major challenge for our residents. The pandemic has hit residents especially hard since many are more vulnerable to the resulting illness. Fellowship Square took action in introducing safety measures to ensure the health and safety of our residents, and Mr. Thompson sympathized with those who had to endure social isolation during this time.
As the Fellowship Square community begins to open back up with the aid of the COVID vaccine, Mr. Thompson plans to take on a larger role within the community … only now, as the Lake Anne Fellowship House transitions to a new management structure in partnership with Enterprise Community Development at their new building set to open later this year, Bob is transitioning to becoming a Board Member of the Hunters Woods Fellowship House.
Bob misses interacting with Lake Anne residents and other board members – he prefers in-person rather than virtual meetings. He fondly recalls the vibrant sense of community that he experienced at the Lake Anne Fellowship House but knows that will endure when residents move into their new building. More recently, after assisting Hunters Woods with a barbecue at that House, Mr. Thompson is looking forward to increasing his support for the Hunters Woods Fellowship House residents as a new board member.
During his extensive time with Fellowship Square, Mr. Thompson is proud to have witnessed the increased role management has been playing in building relationships between residents and staff. He has seen great development and positive change within the organization, especially during the past few years. Although his mother is no longer a resident at Lake Anne Fellowship House, Mr. Thompson’s dedication to the organization persists and he is pleased to continue his service as a board member for the Hunters Woods Fellowship House. We welcome Mr. Thompson to his new role!
At 85 years of age, Judy Koucky has plenty to be thankful for. That includes her good health, stable housing, and access to necessary services. Yet, Judy finds herself most thankful for the ability to continuously “provide care to those in need.” Her history of service is no more apparent than in her time with Fellowship Square, where she has been involved with the organization for over 36 years.
Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, Judy moved to the Washington DC area in 1974, and worked as an archivist with the National Archives and Records Administration. She was first exposed to Fellowship Square by a fellow corporate member and has been active in supporting their mission to provide affordable housing for seniors ever since. Judy has served the organization in multiple roles, as a corporate member, volunteer, and secretary of the Board of Directors.
A lasting impression of her time on the board is the relationship she developed with Dr. John Scherzer (1901-1994), the founder, and first President of Fellowship Square. Judy alludes to the charitable spirit she observed in Dr. Scherzer, as he “would always focus upon the specific needs of the community he lived in.” She remembers Dr. Scherzer as a man with a knack for community engagement, who always employed the help of others in solving societal issues.
And while Dr. Scherzer is no longer with us today, Judy Koucky has witnessed his legacy blossom within Fellowship Square. When asked about the changes she has observed over her years with the organization, Judy speaks to the community-centric innovations that would make Dr. Scherzer proud. This includes reaching out to new community partners, hosting more social gatherings, and implementing a Resident Life Director who designs resident programming and ensures that a consistent model of service is offered throughout each Fellowship Square property. Judy has also come to appreciate the rise of online fundraising. She recognizes that people can be both generous and spontaneous in their giving and has found that online donations offer a great source of funding apart from the traditional year-end fundraiser.
Judy’s work alongside Fellowship Square’s founder speaks to her enduring commitment of service. Yet, she also offers advice to the next generation of those looking to become involved with the organization. She wants younger folks to first develop their own understanding of Fellowship Square and the issues it solves, because the “initiative to help has to come from someone engaged.” She encourages those interested to seek volunteer opportunities for both long- and short-term projects, to become further acquainted with the organization’s work. Finally, Judy encourages board membership for the most committed supporters, as financial support is expected from those serving in such roles. There is no single, best avenue for involvement with Fellowship Square, but Judy observed that the strongest relationships were developed through mutual trust between the individual and organization.
Fellowship Square is grateful to keep Judy Koucky as a trusted advocate and is more than thankful for her countless years of service. With the help of supporters like Judy, Fellowship Square is able to develop communities with safe, affordable, and quality housing and a continuum of services for older adults.