The Russell Home for Atypical Children finished a $2.4 million renovation project, completely funded by private donations. On Mother’s Day, they held an open house to show the 7 ½ bathrooms, a physical-therapy room, a theatre room, and a cafeteria large enough to fit all the residents and staff for Thanksgiving dinner.
Some of the staff caregivers do not have children of their own, “But, oh my goodness, they’re moms here,” said Turner, 55, granddaughter of the late Vantrease “Grandma” Russell, who founded the group home-- Central Florida’s first in 1951. “This is hard work, mother’s work they do.” By that, Turner means they care for and love the child-like clients at the home on Holden Avenue.
A few residents have families who arrange for overnight or weekend visits. “But for the majority, there is no family. We are the family. We are mom,” Turner said. 📸 By Sarah Espedido / @sa_roar 📝By Stephen Hudak