Sr. Mary Charles Szczecinski of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order founded Koinonia and served as the first director. Under her guidance, Sr. Mary Charles opened Leans home in Garfield Heights, which was donated through the generosity of Sally Schmidt. Sr. Mary Charles battled Garfield Heights officials and neighbors opposing the home for almost a year before the first residents were able to move in. That year, The Cleveland Press published an article on Sr. Mary Charles and the home titled “Everyone loves me, say residents of Leans.”

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