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The Village Finds New Ways to Serve Members

Bill Franz  | Published on 5/12/2020
Article published in The Daily News on 4/23/2020: Bill Franz writes how the Greater Newburyport Village is serving its members and volunteers during the time of the COVID-19 crisis.

When the Coronavirus pandemic struck and physical distancing became vital, the Greater Newburyport Village had to  rethink how it could continue to serve the needs of its members. 
 

“Much of what we do,” says Paul Harrington, President of the Greater Newburyport Village, “involves face-to-face encounters with people over 55. We give people rides, take them to the doctor, help with chores and minor household repairs, offer lectures and group dinners, go to museums and movies together – all things that fight isolation and help people on a daily basis. Sadly these things are now dangerous for our members, and for our volunteers who are our vital helpers.” 
 

According to Harrington, the Village has provided over 1200 unique service calls to its members in the four years the Village has been in operation.  “Suddenly, everything dried up. No one wanted people in their homes and of course,  we had to cancel all social activities. We needed to figure out how to stay connected. So Village volunteers called each member to ask how they were and what they needed. Some members were lonely and anxious and wanted daily or weekly check-in calls so they could be in touch with other people. “So that is ongoing,“ says Harrington, “members and neighbors who maybe did not know each other before are now calling one another and forming new friendships.”  
 

Another idea was to go online. “Most of our members are in their 70s and 80s. There is no reason why they can’t use video conferencing,” says Harrington. “If our members cannot go the events, we will bring events to them.”  The Village is now providing online meditation and chair Yoga classes; having online discussion groups; Professor Lois Ascher, a Village Board Member, will be providing a three-part lecture series entitled “Public Space, Common Ground”; and member Paula Wright, a Road Scholar ambassador and world traveler, is planning a slide show of her Antarctica and Arctic Circle trips. “The video conferencing is going great,” says Harrington. “We have lots of ideas and are just getting started. We’ll continue to provide services such as running errands and doing food shopping as best we can while following CDC guidelines and practicing physical distancing, but for now we are not going into members’ homes. We are a community and will get through this together.”  


The Greater Newburyport Village is a local, non-profit, membership organization open to people over 55 promoting living well and independently through community engagement and neighborly support. You can learn more about the Village by going to their website 
www.greaternewburyportvillage.org.



Greater Newburyport Village finds new ways to serve
members
When the Coronavirus pandemic struck and physical
distancing became vital, the Greater Newburyport Village
had to
rethink how it could continue to serve the needs of
its members.
“Much of what we do,” says Paul Harrington, President of
the Greater Newburyport Village, “involves face-to-face
encounters with people over 55. We give people rides,
take them to the doctor, help with chores and minor
household repairs, offer lectures and group dinners, go to
museums and movies together – all things that fight
isolation and help people on a daily basis.
Sadly these
things are now dangerous for our members, and for our
volunteers who are our vital helpers.”
According to Harrington, the Village has provided over
1200 unique service calls to its members in the four years
the Village has been in operation.
“Suddenly, everything
dried up. No one wanted people in their homes and of
course,
we had to cancel all social activities. We needed
to figure out how to stay connected. So Village volunteers
called each member to ask how they were and what they
needed. Some members were lonely and anxious and
wanted daily or weekly check-in calls so they could be in
touch with other people. “So that is ongoing,“ says
Harrington, “members and neighbors who maybe did not
know each other before are now calling one another and
forming new friendships.”
Another idea was to go online.
“Most of our members are
in their 70s and 80s. There is no reason why they can’t
use video conferencing,” says Harrington.
“If our members
cannot go the events, we will bring events to them.”
The
Village is now providing online meditation and chair Yoga
classes;
having online discussion groups; Professor Lois
Ascher, a Village Board Member, will be providing a three-
part lecture series entitled “Public Space, Common
Ground”; and member Paula Wright, a Road Scholar
ambassador and world traveler, is planning a slide show of
her Antarctica and Arctic Circle trips.
“The video
conferencing is going great,” says Harrington.
“We have
lots of ideas and are just getting started. We’ll continue to
provide services such as running errands and doing food
shopping as best we can while following CDC guidelines
and practicing physical distancing, but for now we are not
going into members’ homes. We are a community and will
get through this together.”
The Greater Newburyport Village is a local, non-profit,
membership organization open to people over 55
promoting living well and independently
through
community engagement and neighborly support.
You can learn more about the Village by going to their
website
www.greaternewburyportvillage.org
.


Greater Newburyport Village finds new ways to serve
members
When the Coronavirus pandemic struck and physical
distancing became vital, the Greater Newburyport Village
had to
rethink how it could continue to serve the needs of
its members.
“Much of what we do,” says Paul Harrington, President of
the Greater Newburyport Village, “involves face-to-face
encounters with people over 55. We give people rides,
take them to the doctor, help with chores and minor
household repairs, offer lectures and group dinners, go to
museums and movies together – all things that fight
isolation and help people on a daily basis.
Sadly these
things are now dangerous for our members, and for our
volunteers who are our vital helpers.”
According to Harrington, the Village has provided over
1200 unique service calls to its members in the four years
the Village has been in operation.
“Suddenly, everything
dried up. No one wanted people in their homes and of
course,
we had to cancel all social activities. We needed
to figure out how to stay connected. So Village volunteers
called each member to ask how they were and what they
needed. Some members were lonely and anxious and
wanted daily or weekly check-in calls so they could be in
touch with other people. “So that is ongoing,“ says
Harrington, “members and neighbors who maybe did not
know each other before are now calling one another and
forming new friendships.”
Another idea was to go online.
“Most of our members are
in their 70s and 80s. There is no reason why they can’t
use video conferencing,” says Harrington.
“If our members
cannot go the events, we will bring events to them.”
The
Village is now providing online meditation and chair Yoga
classes;
having online discussion groups; Professor Lois
Ascher, a Village Board Member, will be providing a three-
part lecture series entitled “Public Space, Common
Ground”; and member Paula Wright, a Road Scholar
ambassador and world traveler, is planning a slide show of
her Antarctica and Arctic Circle trips.
“The video
conferencing is going great,” says Harrington.
“We have
lots of ideas and are just getting started. We’ll continue to
provide services such as running errands and doing food
shopping as best we can while following CDC guidelines
and practicing physical distancing, but for now we are not
going into members’ homes. We are a community and will
get through this together.”
The Greater Newburyport Village is a local, non-profit,
membership organization open to people over 55
promoting living well and independently
through
community engagement and neighborly support.
You can learn more about the Village by going to their
website
www.greaternewburyportvillage.org
.


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similar villages in 200+ communities across the country.