Fred Drake Friendship Garden

At our Belmont house we have a wonderful garden, named “The Drake Friendship Garden”. At the entrance there is a memorial plaque in honor of Fred Drake, who it was named for. We had a touching unveiling ceremony in June of 2014 at our annual Midsummer Night’s Dream Party. (Click here to see the unveiling video!)

Fred’s wife, Diana, unveiling the plaque.

Fred was a wonderful and committed member of our Board, and instrumental in our fundraising efforts, i.e. grant writing and creating new connections for us in the community. He sadly passed away 4 years ago and has remained since then in our hearts and minds.

Thank you to the Darden Partners Association, Master Gardener Sandy Gallagher and Diana Drake for enriching our Fred Drake Friendship garden with their time and dedication!


Ready to plant!

One of Fred’s passions was gardening, and that inspired us to create the friendship garden. We love to spend time in the garden and it has become a great place for volunteers to come and help keep it looking beautiful.

Helping water the garden!

If you would like to be a part of maintaining and adding to the garden, feel free to email Amber Rexrode for more information at [email protected].

Humor, Hope and Healing


Did you know?

Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.


Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.


Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.


Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

So come laugh with us at our Comedy Night 2016!

Featuring comedians Tony Deyo and Averell Carter

When: Saturday April 9th, 2015

Time: Doors open at 7pm

Where: C’ville Coffee
1301 Harris Street

Charlottesville, VA 22903

$15 cover charge. ($13 will go directly to The BridgeLine to fund our services.)

Limited Seating! Reserve Early.

RSVP with Amber Rexrode at: [email protected]

save the date

Our First Comedy Night!


Check out this great article from our first comedy night in 2011! And don’t forget to RSVP for the one coming up in April!Click here for more information!

Posted: Friday, March 25, 2011 7:00 am

Mary Alice Blackwell

Daily Progress correspondent

Life can change in the blink of an eye.

It could be something as dramatic as a car accident. It could be something as simple as a fall.

According to Dr. Daniela Ghaida, there are 1.4 million new brain injuries each year.

Ghaida is involved with a local organization that assists those in the community who have suffered traumatic brain injury. Building a Bridge Foundation operates four homes in the downtown area where the injured, their caregivers and staff live in a family-type atmosphere. They dine together, learn together and heal together.


On Thursday night — in keeping with its family atmosphere — the 20-year-old organization is holding what could best be called a “friend-raiser.”

AHA! A Night of Humor, Hope and Healing will kick off with a reception at 6:30 p.m. at the Jefferson Theater. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Be prepared to crack a smile or break into a belly laugh.

Two Virginia-raised comedians — Brett Leake and Tony Deyo — will do their best to make sure of that.

Leake has performed at least five times on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” According to his words, he is a comedian who “stands apart — or at least sits apart — from his peers.” Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at a young age, Leake decided to live life and laugh to the fullest.

Ghaida saw him perform in Richmond several years ago.

“He was the motivational speaker for a conference,” she said. “He was delightful and so moving. I thought it would be great to have him as a friend … and he is a role model for a lot of people.”

She knew he would be perfect for the foundation’s evening of friendship and fun.

To steal a quote: He wonders why junk mail is printed on recycled material — it just means the same piece of paper has to get thrown away twice.

Deyo, another Virginian, spent his early career first as a symphonic musician, then as a middle school teacher. Now he calls New York home, where he went to pursue his comedic calling. The self proclaimed “semi-obscure comic” co-wrote “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Jokes” and was part of HBO’s “U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.”

Tony Deyo with Jane Foy and Brett Leake

They promise their jokes will be “aimed between the ears and above the belt.”

Tickets to AHA! cost $20, but football fans may want to check out the $75 package deal. There will be a reception with University of Virginia football coach Mike London and a silent auction before the comedy show begins.

Ghaida will present London with the 2011 Never Quit Award for his commitment to family perseverance, and WINA radio celebrity Jane Foy will serve as the evening’s emcee.

By the way, the silent auction, which includes everything from a Keswick golf getaway to books from local authors, will be under way all week at Siips on the Downtown Mall. If you can’t make it to the comedy show, you still can stop by Siips to bid on an auction item and support the cause.

Click here to see the original article.