St. Joseph’s Villa

St. Joseph’s Villa traces its history to 1834, when The Daughters of Charity established an orphanage and school for girls in the downtown area of Richmond. The Daughters of Charity has long been a service mission of women in the Roman Catholic Church. St. Joseph’s was even used as a safe haven for soldiers during the Civil War. From the end of the Civil War until 1931, St. Joseph’s was the recipient of numerous large sums of money following the deaths of many of its supporters. The orphanage was officially named St. Joseph’s Villa in 1931, and its current campus was established. In 1977, the Daughters of Charity withdrew their work at St. Joseph’s Villa. The mission of St. Josephs then began to broaden rapidly. Over the next thirty years a respite care center, child development center, a special housing system for adults with disabilities, summer day camps, housing programs for the homeless, and more schools were all added to St. Joseph’s array of services.

Four boards of directors, two boards of trustees, and a services board currently govern St. Joseph’s Villa. While the Daughters of Charity no longer officially run St. Joseph’s Villa, the influence of its roots in the Catholic faith are evident at St. Josephs. Many of St. Joseph’s largest financial supporters are Catholic families and parishes, including Bon Secours, a hospital in Richmond administered by the Catholic Church, Catholic Women’s Club, Christ Church Parish, and the Catholic Diocese of Richmond. There is also a Catholic priest on the Villa Corporation Board of Directors. Catholic presence is also visible at St. Joseph’s Villa though volunteer work.

The Villa’s campus spans 82 acres spotted with beautiful yellow brick buildings. Buildings on campus include the Respite Care Center, Hollybrook Apartments, Irvin Gammon Craig Health Center, Education Center, Dooly School and Annex, Child and Family Emergency Center, Flagler Home, Gymnasium, a church, and Janet Patton Lewis Child Development Center. St Joseph’s Villa’s Dooley School is a fully accredited private school catering to children with emotional or behavioral difficulties and those facing developmental disabilities. There are six different academies affiliated with the Dooley School in central Virginia. St. Joseph’s residential programs strive to serve homeless mothers and their families, children in need of emergency shelter, and adults living with disabilities. Residential programs have served over one thousand families since the programs start in 1989. While shelter and transitional homes are only offered on campus, off-campus outreach to these groups is offered by St. Joseph’s. The Lewis Child Development Center caters to children six weeks old to fourteen years old. The Center strives to have children discover their own unique talents and skills in a safe environment. For the elder population, in-home services are offered as well as respite services on the campus. Therapeutic day treatment is provided for children as well as the elder community. The Villa also sponsors three different day summer camps. Villa Voyagers is for children ages five to fourteen. Villa Explorers is for children between the ages of six and twelve with Attention Deficit Disorder and/or emotional disturbances. Camp R.A.M.A. is for persons ages five to twenty two who have developmental disabilities including cerebral palsy, autism, and mental retardation. Ultimately, those at the Villa claim to commit themselves to being good stewards of their resources and to meet the ever-changing needs of children and families for future generations.

St. Joseph’s Villa
8000 Brook Road
Richmond, VA 23667
(800) 273- 6553

St. Joseph’s Villa staff member

Profile prepared by Kristen Smith
September, 2007