It’s busy season here at Friends Life Community. Our classes and explorations have been in high gear embracing the sunshine as winter turned to spring, and quite a few faces have changed in our community. Here’s what we’ve been up to as winter thawed and spring bloomed.

Learning and Fun in the Sun

Our Creative Writing Class soaked up the sunshine as we continued honing our writing skills. Recently, we’ve been working hard on a poetry unit.


Alfred and Bradley

We started by learning the different parts of speech through games and mad libs. This helps our Friends increase their understanding of different words needed to make up lines in a poem. Our Friends have already written their own Cinquain and Autobiographical poems! We’re excited to begin our summer agenda: narrative and free verse poetry.

We’ve been out and about in the community volunteering, learning, and staying healthy. We visited Gum Tree Farm in Hermitage, Tenn., where we got to explore the farm and visit with their horse, Big Boy. We continued our volunteering efforts in The Nashville Food Project (TNFP) gardens and exceeded a major milestone: our Friends have now logged more than 500 volunteer hours at TNFP!

In addition to all of that hard work, we enjoyed a visit to the Asian Market as part of our China studies in Cultures Class; we hosted a community art gathering in Centennial Park, sharing our printmaking skills with Nashville; and our music teacher, Hanna, and some of our Friends performed music at Hillsboro Presbyterian Church for a 50-person crowd!

Matthew meeting Big Boy

Somewhere in there we went swimming at our local YMCA, participated in Special Olympics, completed the scavenger hunt at Bellevue Library, visited Hendersonville Fire Department, hiked at Bells Bend Park, cooked yummy finger foods for our May Community Open House, and so much more.

Hello and Good-bye

Change can be scary—and saddening—but often it can lead to exciting adventures, new challenges, and a whole lot of laughter and joy. Recently, we said good-bye to a few long-time staff members, and welcomed some new ones into our Friends Life Community family as well.

Kim Harrell, who served for two years as our interim Executive Director, transitioned out of her position in April. Program Staff Jen Rosenberg, who taught creative writing and served as our Communications Coordinator, transitioned out in April as well. And Jeannie Crofts, who invested more than five years with us first as a volunteer, then as a program staff member, and finally as our Office Manager, transitioned out of her position in May.

In January, we welcomed Marci Patricelli as our new Program Manager of Operations. In February Heather Barrie and Libby Barnes hopped on board as Program Staff for Visual Arts and Service Learning, respectively. Anna Masi joined us in March as our very first Marketing and Development Director. Jim Victor rejoined the FLC staff just last month as our Program Specialist for Wellness. And Vicki Allen stepped into the role of Office Manager in mid-May.

Finally, we had the privilege of announcing that Waverly Harris-Christopher, who has been on Friends Life Community staff for five years, is our new Executive Director.

Waverly joined Friends Life Community in 2011 as our first Program Director in order to develop and grow the day program. Waverly has a B.A. in Sociology, additional graduate work in Conflict Management and Applied Behavior Analysis, and diverse nonprofit experience, both nationally and internationally. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience with nonprofit management in human services. Waverly transitioned into the role of Executive Director on May 1, and we cannot think of a better person to lead Friends Life Community as we grow and develop.



We count it a true privilege to have her take us forward into our exciting future.


Friends Life Community is a nonprofit located in Nashville, Tenn. Our mission is to create opportunities for teenagers and adults with disabilities to develop socially, grow personally, and enjoy community as we share life together.