I'm asked the question all the time: What is Village Connections?

I'm asked the question all the time: What is Village Connections?

Developed by a small group of committed German Village residents, Village Connections is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving older adults in German Village, Merion Village, Schumacher Place, the Brewery District and parts of downtown Columbus. It was created in an effort to support our friends and neighbors to live independently and remain in charge of their lives as they age.

Village Connections isn't a place, but rather a community full of vibrant older adults, volunteers of all ages and supporters.

Our membership is very diverse -- our youngest member is 50 years old (the minimum age requirement) and our oldest member just celebrated her 90th birthday. We have social members who joined Village Connections to get to know their neighbors better, others became members after discovering they could use a little extra help after an illness or surgery, and some individuals view their membership as a way of investing in themselves and strengthening their neighborhood.

Volunteers and services

Many Village Connections members also serve as volunteers, but membership is absolutely not a requirement. Most of our volunteers live in the neighborhoods we serve, and many are retired. Other volunteers include college students, young professionals and families. Village Connections is so lucky to have a core group of volunteers who have remained actively involved with our organization.

Our volunteers provide a wide variety of services to our members, including transportation to and from appointments, grocery shopping, light housework and gardening, just to name a few. We provide technology assistance, coordinate social events and offer additional help when unexpected needs arise.

Other things to know

We're part of something called the Village Movement -- a grassroots concept that provides the necessary resources for older adults to live independently as long as possible and remain active in their community.

After our launch in 2014, Village Connections quickly grew to over 40 members and now that number has grown to 50. In our first year, we provided 291 volunteer services ranging from transportation and shopping to light housework and assistance with gardening. To date, our volunteers have provided over 1,200 services for our members.

Transportation is our top request, which is typical in Villages across the country. Friends and family can be a resource, but often they are only available for necessary appointments, such as a trip to the doctor. Village Connections provides transportation anywhere, including beauty salons, social outings and other events that can improve an older adult's quality of life.

We are always looking for more volunteer drivers. Are you willing to take one of your neighbors to church once a week? The gym? Grocery shopping? If the answer is yes, you're just what we need!

Join us by becoming a member or a volunteer. Learn more by visiting our website, villageconnectionscolumbus.org, or call our office at 614-226-6567.

Village Connections Executive Director Kristen Schweitzer submitted the Village Notebook column.