Photo: Illustration of people of all ages wearing masks (People are the color of the rainbow)

Reinvent and Reimagine What's Next

Posted on January 20, 2021 by Deborah Gauvreau, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

Recently, a friend bemoaned to me, “COVID changed everything.” Well, it changed a lot. But it gave us a new lens – one that invites us to turn outward to support each other in community.

A small group of us began a journey of exploration to create a Village (not like the master-planned age-restricted community in Sumter County, Florida, called “The Villages”). This community resource creates connective tissue among neighbors of all ages and community organizations. It’s an organization about living, being, and aging together in community.

People nationwide have successfully reduced their isolation, increased their independence, and enhanced their life purpose by creating Villages. A Village is a nonprofit network that helps people access key services — such as transportation, technology assistance, and shopping for groceries — community engagement activities, and other important resources that promote aging in place. Establishing a Village in Sarasota will leverage its rich cultural activities and useful services to help build stronger connections within the community and across generations.

Villages around the nation are grassroots, self-governing nonprofit organizations that promote neighbor-to-neighbor support, are run by paid staff and or by volunteers, support access to service providers, expand intergenerational community connectivity, and enhance interdependence and healthy living.

Over 250 Villages have already been established, and more than 100 are in development in 43 states and in D.C. There are four Villages and two in progress in Florida, all connected to the Village to Village Network (VtVN).

WHY A VILLAGE IN SARASOTA?
Sarasota County is home to one of Florida’s largest proportions of older adults, with more than a third (34%) aged 65 and older. Sarasota is rich in cultural activities and community services for all age groups. A Village can support relationships with Sarasota’s existing assets and strengthen ties within the community and across generations.

COVID-19 has amplified social isolation and highlighted the need to improve knowledge about and access to supportive services and healthcare. In times like these, a Village can facilitate direct neighbor-to-neighbor communication, connect citizens with trusted service providers, enhance links with other complementary organizations, inform volunteers about people and organizations in need, and offer a sense of connectedness and peace of mind.


Questions? Contact Josephine Eisenberg at josephinetpf@gmail.com.


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