I love Adirondak chairs!

 I was reading an article in the AARP mag (yes, AARP, no cracks, pls.) about an idea called Village To Village Network – VtV.  Its about bringing back the neighborly support that used to exist when our commutes weren’t 90 minutes long and we didn’t drop onto the couch wearily and immediately turn on the TV when we got home from work.  We sat on front porches and waved at our neighbors…and actually spoke to them sometimes, imagine that.

VtV takes the concept  past the borrowing-a-cup-of-sugar-from-your-neighbor concept.  They recruit volunteers within a specific geographical area to support elderly folk by driving them to the store, providing help with their computers, shoveling snow from the sidewalk or even simply changing a lightbulb in a ceiling fixture.  All those things that Seniors find more and more difficult to do as their (our) bodies age, sometimes these chores are the difference between an Elder being able to stay in his or her own home or having to move to a place for Seniors.

And VtV takes it a step further with the idea that we can all benefit from being a part of a village.  You can fix a dryer and I can help someone go grocery shopping.  One person can teach cooking and someone else can fix a porch railing.  You volunteer to help someone and further down the line, someone will help you with something you need.  And you don’t necessarily have to be over 60 to benefit.  There are younger people involved in these villages, too.

Though, its not about bartering your services (1 points for changing a lightbulb vs 5 points for fixing a lawnmower), its more about becoming involved with a community of people in your area – there are events bringing members together, from birdwatching tours to potlucks – with the ‘village’ network also providing lists of vetted service providers and discounts for local businesses.

http://www.vtvnetwork.org  has info about the village concept and if you click on ‘village maps’ you can see if there’s one in your area.  There are many more than I thought there’d be, some are still in the development phase.

Hope she's not going to paint a sad-eyed clown...

Its a great idea.  The Beacon Hill Village, http://wwwbeaconhillvillage.org has written a book about starting a village, called ” The Village Concept:  A Founders’ Manual” with tips and a how-to guide.

If you have a parent who could benefit from being a part of a village, look and see if there’s one nearby.  It has resources to help keep Seniors living as independently as possible.  I wouldn’t want to move to a nursing home merely because I couldn’t change that lightbulb!

Of course, we don’t have to officially join a village in order to be in one.  Look around you, you have a village right now.  Maybe its your church family, your circle of friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, or a blending of all those.  We can help each other in small ways or in big ones and helping others – giving back, if you will –  makes us feel good, too 😉

You'll need a ladder when this light burns out.