The Village Movement
By Julie Dalton, Executive Director Gramatan Village, Bronxville, NY
The Village Movement is a nationwide trend of grassroots organizations that develop creative strategies to address local needs. The Village Movement started with Beacon Hill Village in Boston in 2002, and today there are 200 villages operating in 45 states and the District of Columbia serving 40,000 individuals and their families. Currently, another 150 villages are in the development phase. The village model arose out of community members‚Äô desire to reside in their own homes while being able to access services that address their changing lifestyles.¬†
The village model is based on giving back, healthy lifestyles and staying connected to the community.
Villages are self-governing, self-supporting, grassroots membership-based organizations that provide options and choices. They are a single point of contact for access to referrals and volunteers.
Villages run on social capital and foster ‚Äúneighbor helping neighbor‚Äù. Many programs employ a ‚Äúvolunteer first‚Äù model relying on the generosity of community volunteers to provide services such as transportation, running errands, and assistance with minor household chores.
Villages promote intergenerational connections bringing community members of all ages together. Community volunteers, many of whom are village members themselves
Rather than moving to an institutional setting, the preferred choice of older Americans is to live at home with support and affordable services. Villages consolidate and coordinate and create innovative strategic partnerships that leverage existing community resources.
Many villages refer to their preferred provider network when professional expertise is required to meet a member‚Äôs needs.
Villages recognize the importance of engaging members and provide a variety of social, educational and volunteer opportunities. Members choose which services and activities they desire.
Finding one‚Äôs purpose becomes even more important at later stages of life. Villages enable individuals to live a healthy and meaningful life.
The National Village Network was established in 2010 to support communities in establishing villages. This peer to peer network provides invaluable resources that enable villages to thrive.
The session at NJFA‚Äôs 20th Annual Conference will address the various village movement program models, highlight the key steps to establishing a village and will present the lessons learned from nearly 10 years of village operation.