To the editor:
As an update to the Feb. 23 letter by Ellen Paulsen, I would like to share more details about the Eastside Village Lawrence concept. The vision for this “first” village model encompasses both East Lawrence and North Lawrence. The Village to Village concept is a national program, begun in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston in 2001. The village model is a grass-roots movement that incorporates everyone throughout the aging process in a community that supports individuals to live in their own homes, for as long as possible, with the help of their neighbors. There are currently 93 villages with 125 in development.
A “village” is member-driven, self-governed and self-supported that offers personal, social and recreational support. Volunteers and vetted providers are made available to residents. Seventy-nine percent of the villages have at least one paid staff member with an average of 42 volunteers.
Studies show that most people want to stay in their own homes as they age. The “Village” concept represents neighborhood and community as its finest! In this setting, there is less incidence of isolation and depression. There is an increase in business for service providers, and money flows downtown and to surrounding businesses. Intergenerational opportunities and a bolstering of community spirit are direct rewards of this program.
Funding comes from community participants and supporters. Grant funding and fundraising activities are necessary to supplement the membership fees. Established village neighborhoods may be funded by planned giving and “family trust” awards. More information on Village to Village is available at www.vtvnetwork.org .