Beginning in early 2013, residents of German Village, Schumacher Place, Merion Village, the Brewery District and downtown Columbus will have an opportunity to take part in what has come to be called the "Village Movement."
The Village Movement began in the Boston area in the late 1990s in response to an identified need for support for older citizens who wanted to remain active members of their vibrant urban communities but had some difficulties that might otherwise have driven them to consider moving away from the homes they loved.
Since that time, "villages" have been developed in communities across the country.
As the Baby Boom generation ages, good reasons for the Village Movement to grow abound. Each community that develops a village is unique, as is, to some extent, each village.
Our village, Village Connections, has grown from a seed planted a couple of years ago in the Long Range Planning Committee of the German Village Society.
In the early days, local residents were consulted in focus groups to help determine our unique community needs.
The momentum towards Village Connections continued as German Village's contiguous communities of Merion Village, Schumacher Place, the Brewery District and downtown Columbus showed interest in joining the effort to support older community members towards aging in place.
What will Village Connections offer?
Village Connections will be a non-profit subscription-based organization. It will have its own tax-exempt status and will be independent from its mentor, the German Village Society.
The volunteer board of directors and committees have been working since last spring to set up the structure of the Village and the services that will be offered.
Members of Village Connections will be able to use the telephone or the internet to avail themselves of an array of services.
Assistance with transportation and minor home related needs will be provided by volunteers who will be vetted and lined up by Village Connections.
A tutorial on the use of the internet to access services is planned.
Village Connections is developing a database of service providers who are being vetted for quality and reliability, some of whom may offer discounts to Village Connections' members.
These include contractors (e.g. plumbers, yard services, and cleaning companies), pet care providers, health care providers, and more.
Village Connections will follow up with members after they have utilized these services to further refine the offerings provided to members.
Village Connections will connect members to opportunities for social, cultural, and wellness-oriented activities. Some of these activities will be created for Village Connections' members, others are community events that will be highlighted when they seem desirable to members.
Village Connections will serve as a virtual town square where members and non-members can discover ways to use their energy and talents as volunteers in areas where members could use some support.
How to get involved?
As the board and committee members prepare for the 2013 launch of Village Connections, there is need for community support.
Villages throughout the country have discovered that members' subscription fees do not cover the expenses for the services offered by the village for the first several years of operation.
Thus, one way to become involved in this innovative community is as a donor.
While services will not begin to be offered until early next year, Village Connections' website, is up and running at: www.villageconnectionscolumbus.org.
The website offers information for those who would like to become members or volunteers as well as general information about Village Connections.
There is a link on the website where you can indicate your interest in joining the Village Connections mailing list.
You can also telephone Village Connections to receive further information about donor, member, or volunteer opportunities at (614)226-6567.
Christy Carlson, a Village Connections board member, submitted the Village notebook column to the ThisWeek German Village Gazette.