Village in the Ville is intended to help keep older people in their homes, while also getting them out of the house.

Village in the Ville is intended to help keep older people in their homes, while also getting them out of the house.

A grand-opening party for the program of the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center is scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. June 18 as part of the Third Thursdays monthly food-truck gathering in the parking lot at 3222 N. High St. The summer event features music, local beer, businesses and restaurants in addition to mobile dining options.

On June 18, Village in the Ville Program Director Christine Happel and members of the group will be on hand to talk about the concept and how it can assist older residents of the neighborhood.

Village in the Ville is modeled on a concept launched 16 years ago in a Boston neighborhood; now there are more than 120 similar groups in the United States, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. These "villages" afford people 50 and older a networking system for social outings and use their collective purchasing power to obtain local services.

"It is member-driven, and can evolve in a myriad of ways as we go forward," said Happel, who became program director in April after working first as an intern at CRC and more recently in outreach in senior supportive services. "As someone has a need, it doesn't hurt to reach out. Right now, what we've been doing a lot is helping people with computer and smartphone questions."

The social aspects of Village in the Ville, Happel said, are just as important as arranging snow removal in the winter or helping one another with small household maintenance and repair projects.

"They're still incredibly vital, but they don't have the huge social network that they once did," she said.

Social activities can include events such as wine-tasting excursions or visits to the Columbus Museum of Art, the program director said. One current member is receiving training to become a yoga instructor, and said she will offer free lessons to others in the group, Happel said.

"We hope to see it grow in numbers, and of course the volunteer aspect is important, too," she added.

Happel soon will begin vetting service providers and building relationships with business owners in Clintonville to establish a list Village in the Ville members can turn to, she said.