Green House Blog

Highlighting THE GREEN HOUSE® Project Team: Emily Duda, Project Associate

Emily is one of 24 grandchildren, yet she has a special bond with her grandparents…especially her grandfather, who at 90 was still downhill skiing. At a young age, Emily’s grandfather demonstrated the potential for growth and meaning in late life. She fondly remembers when she and her cousins were all on the escalator going up a floor and she looked over only to see her grandfather taking the steps!  They quickly reversed course down the escalator, and learned by Grandpa’s example!

Emily believes her positive experience with influential Elders is one of the reasons she pursued her undergraduate degree in Human Development and graduate certificate in Gerontology at Virginia Tech.  Although the aging studies track wasn’t too popular among her peers, Emily felt she “discovered the most rewarding path” when she began working with Elders at the university’s unique, on-campus Adult Day Services program.

Supportive leaders and encouraging mentors played another critical role in supporting her exploration of gerontology.  Dr. Shannon Jarrott was one mentor who provided Emily with opportunities to develop her innate passion for older adults and to identify ways in which we improve the way we approach aging services. With Dr. Jarrott’s leadership, Emily studied abroad in Sweden in 2008, focusing on the role of elders and seeing firsthand the cultural, political, and economic impact on aging services. Emily also supported meaningful engagement between older adults and children with the Neighbors Growing Together Community Building Project. Over a three year period, she helped to develop an intergenerational observation scale for program evaluation and co-facilitated workshops on person-centered programming.

In addition to sharpened skills in program development and evaluation, Emily also developed strong relationships with Elders and a more holistic perspective of eldercare. These experiences ultimately brought her to explore person-centered care, and more specifically THE GREEN HOUSE® model.  As a Project Associate, Emily works with the Project Management team to teach and assist adopters in the development of their Green House homes.

  • 6 years in aging services
  • B.S. Human Development, Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, Virginia Tech
  • Research Assistant, Virginia Tech Adult Day Services/Human Development Department
  • Trained Eden Associate
  • National Honor Society for Human Services-Member

Emily thoroughly enjoys spending time with family, friends, and Chase, her Australian Shepherd.  Part of that time is spent running, cooking or crafting—although over the past two years a significant amount of that time has been spent with 12 weddings!!   Emily was the president and a member of Sensations, an all-female a cappella group at Virginia Tech.  She comes from a strong musical family and enjoys when she, her siblings and parents gather it’s often time to enjoy concerts or make music of their own!

One thought on “Highlighting THE GREEN HOUSE® Project Team: Emily Duda, Project Associate

  1. Hi Emily. I worked for the Cooperative Extension Service in the Roanoke area of Virginia from 1973-86 in Community Resource Development. In that work we partnered primarily with the Colleges of Education and Architecture at Virginia Tech.

    One project was carried out by Sharon Booker, a graduate student in the College of Architecture, and resulted in a booklet “Choices – Alternatives for housing in old northwest Roanoke.”. Sharon deals with “infill housing” and she includes one house design for seniors.

    I am interested in The Green House Project and hope to visit the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community and visit their project which is scheduled to open early next year. As an 83 year old who visited 10-12 Continuing Care Communities from Delaware to North Carolina before moving to a single family house near Staunton VA last year, I hope by the time we need and want to live in a place that can give us the support we need, a Green House facility might be available in Staunton. We love this little city.

    Liking music you would love Staunton. Among the many venues for music the International Heifetz Foundation moved to Staunton this summer. It brought 60-70 young artists from around the country and from a dozen countries to Staunton for six weeks. It was outstanding.

    I would be interested in your thoughts about the potential for your project in our community.


    Ted Ashby

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