Weis' daughter to move into Hannah & Friends Farm here in town

When Notre Dame fired Charlie Weis as its football coach in 2009, many wondered if his Hannah & Friends Farm would eventually leave St. Joe County too.

It isn't going anywhere.

Built as a place to assist those with special needs, the teenager who inspired the building of the neighborhood, will becomes its next resident.

That's Charlie's daughter Hannah.

Hannah suffers from Global Developmental Delays. She will turn 18 next year and her parents have decided this is the best place for her.

The Weis family was back in South Bend Saturday for family day at Hannah & Friends. There are currently eight people living in two homes on the property. Hannah and two others will move into a 3rd home next June.

Charlie's wife Maura has stayed in Florida while Hannah has been in school there while Charlie and Charlie Jr have moved to Kansas. The elder Weis is now the head football coach there.

Maura says school is all Hannah has right now. When school is done, mom is left to entertain her and what 17-year-old wants to hang out with mom all night, Maura jokes.

"I think it's going to be easier for Hannah than it's going to be for me and Charlie," Maura says. "It's going to be tough, but this is where Hannah belongs. We thought about building another one in another place but just said no, our heart and soul went into this and this is where she belongs."

Charlie says when they built the place, they weren't sure if Hannah would eventually live there. That wasn't necessarily their intention. It was their inspiration behind the project but it wasn't built just for her. It's turned out to be the perfect fit for her, however.

"We went to a lot of different places in the country but none felt like this place," Charlie explained. "Nothing felt like here. Who wouldn't want their kid to end up in a place like Hannah and Friends neighborhood."

Weis says he and Maura made the decision back in March.

Saturday's family day featured all sorts of activities for those with special needs including games and horse led wagon rides.

Charlie begins his first year as the head coach at Kansas after already serving as the Offensive Coordinator for the Chiefs in the NFL and the Florida Gators since leaving Notre Dame in 2009.

He says the reception was warm when he returned to town.

"People have been nicer to me now than when I was working here," Weis says with a big chuckle. "I don't quite understand that but they give you that little double check like 'what are you doing here?'"

"Once we get passed that, people have been absolutely wonderful. They thank you for the efforts you put in when you worked here and then they thank for our involvement with Hannah & Friends and what more can you ask for."

The Weis family has certainly moved on from their divorce from Notre Dame, but its clear South Bend will remain a special place for them for years to come.

Hannah & Friends holds daily activities for those with special needs. For more information, visit hannahandfriends.org.

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