The Respite for All Foundation’s mission is to inspire and facilitate a nationwide expansion of volunteer-based respite communities serving individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia disorders and to mentor directors in the expanding network of communities implementing the RFA model.

The RFA network has grown to 38 locations in 11 states with more in process. Yet it’s not just RFA making this happen. The directors of our local communities are also helping spread the model.

In early 2024, RFA was celebrating a continued expansion that, by May, would see our model replicated in 36 communities and 11 states. We soon got word that three more communities would open by fall, reaching 39 locations in 13 states.

But the true surprise was when we realized that our local directors were starting to replicate on their own. In April, the director of the respite community in Lawrence, KS, opened another location in Topeka, and the director of the Respite Community in Sequim, WA, helped launch another community in her city. The Savannah, GA, director is also helping another church launch a respite community in her community. Plus, directors in Birmingham, AL, have shared inspiration and resources that will lead to a fifth location in that city as of this fall.

The Respite movement began in 2012 when Daphne Johnston launched a volunteer-based Respite Ministry at First United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Pretty soon, she began freely sharing with other churches and organizations the knowledge, principles and insights she had gained through her experience. It is so inspiring to know that other directors are sharing what they’ve gained as well and are helping this movement keep growing.

About the image: Daniel George, center, is the director of the new Friends Place in Sequim, WA. He is joined at the April 17 ribbon cutting by Rhonda Heyn, director of Tim’s Place who helped facilitate the launch, and Jackie Ragghianti, key volunteer for both programs. Special note: Daniel and Rhonda are the only husband-and-wife team to lead two programs!