No one’s ever too old to live on the campus of Winchester’s Henry and William Evans Home for Children, thanks to The Lloyd House.
The red brick house, named in honor of former Evans Home Executive Director Kirby Lloyd, was dedicated Wednesday.
Lloyd, who ran the Evans Home at 330 E. Leicester St. from 1977 to 1999, dedicated the new, adjacent house to the hopes and dreams of children who previously didn’t have any place to go and the adults who will live there.
As the plaque next to its front door states, The Lloyd House is “a present for the future from the past.”
“We love these children,” said current Evans Home Executive Director Marc Jaccard before a crowd that included Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine; state Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr., R-Winchester; and former U.S. Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr.
The Evans Home is an accredited, licensed, nonprofit facility that houses abused, neglected, or homeless children ages 5 to 18.
Too often, when these children start living as adults, they feel they have to pass “some test they’re not prepared for,” Jaccard said. To navigate the world at large, they need to have stability. “They need to know they still have a home,” Jaccard said.
Lori Mansfield, 19, lived at the Evans Home for three years before becoming the first resident of The Lloyd House in March. A rising sophomore at Shenandoah University, Mansfield shares her room with her two chinchillas. "It kind of feels somewhat like a dorm room,” Mansfield said. She shares a bathroom with Arin Lewis, a recent Handley High School graduate. The two girls’ rooms are across the hall from two boys’ rooms, which are laid out in a similar suite setup. An older adult also has a room and watches over the house like an apartment manager/head resident/house mother.
The Lloyd House, which cost $360,000 to build, also features a dining and living area, as well as a laundry facility.
The 18-year-old Lewis, who received her key to The Lloyd House from Jaccard during the dedication ceremony, overflowed with enthusiasm about moving in. “I’ve lived in the Evans Home for seven years,” Lewis said. “No other place is home to me. The Evans Home is the best place ever.” Michael Hawkins agreed. “It’s good to be home,” Hawkins said as he stood in his room at The Lloyd House and looked at a picture of himself after his high school graduation two years ago. Hawkins, 20, said he arrived at the Evans Home on July 5, 2000, and left on Dec. 12, 2002. His time at The Lloyd House has been limited, and he expects it to stay that way. After living there for a few days around Memorial Day, he returned this week. But Hawkins will leave again on Wednesday, when he returns to the 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment of the Army National Guard. The unit is expected to ship out to Afghanistan soon after.
Hawkins said he has found his place in the military, and he doubts he will need his room at The Lloyd House when the regiment returns from overseas. He already has signed up to join the Army and will receive training to be a medical specialist.
Even so, he appreciates what The Lloyd House will mean to everyone who will live there. “I’m so grateful for it,” he said. “It’s independent living, but it’s safe and secure.” Hawkins said the Evans Home will always be special to him.
“Even when I left, I was always here. ... This is my family,” Hawkins said.