Friendship Home was founded in 1999 by Wilma Goodhue and Joan Mullare, two mothers of adult children with developmental disabilities, who dreamed of opening a Home with a Heart that would support individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Their first priority was to provide overnight respite care, which they realized families desperately needed in the South Shore and beyond. Wilma and Joan knew firsthand about the challenges that families face, with many of them feeling overwhelmed and isolated by the demands of caring for their loved ones.
To fulfill their dream, Wilma and Joan recruited respected business people in the community to form a Board of Directors and began to raise money to build Friendship Home. The co-founders, along with staff and volunteers, formed a social club called Friendship Club, which offered individuals with developmental disabilities a chance to gather and have fun with one another on a biweekly basis. Friendship Club meetings were held in churches and public buildings in Quincy, Braintree, Holbrook, Duxbury and Norwell and membership was close to 200 participants. Friendship Club continues to meet in Friendship Home as well as in additional space in Quincy.
In 2004, Wilma and Joan moved closer to their dream when the United Church of Christ in Norwell unanimously voted to donate the land on which Friendship Home is located today. A few years later, philanthropist Doris Buffett offered a challenge grant for the Home’s construction if the community could raise enough money to match this challenge grant. Our Circle of Friends consisting of families, supporters and the entire community responded by attending our first Circle of Friends Gala at Indian Pond Country Club in Kingston and meeting this goal. Construction began in 2009 on Friendship Home, and our first Executive Director was hired. In July of 2010, the first floor of Friendship Home opened for Friendship Club meetings, the newly formed Bridges to Work (BTW) vocational program and office space for employees.
In 2012, construction was completed on the Home Away from Home overnight respite center on the top floor, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the dedication of Friendship Home. Wilma and Joan, along with their families, Board and staff commemorated the milestone by celebrating with our members, families, our Circle of Friends and the entire community who helped make their dream a reality. Since that time, Friendship Home continues to thrive and bustles with excitement on a daily basis. Its welcoming red doors greet our members and their families each day as they enter our Home with a Heart and feel empowered by staff and volunteers dedicated to our mission.