Viva Village understands that aging is a team sport. Let’s do it together!
The Meaning of Service
The Viva Village logo includes the tagline Serving Beaverton and Beyond. When this grassroots organization of members and volunteers began operation with 30 members in 2017, “service” meant practical support for older adults who wanted to remain in their homes as they aged. Members had access to trained volunteers for help with home maintenance, transportation, and computer issues, as well as referrals and connections to venders and services in the greater Beaverton area.
The founders of Viva Village followed the example of the Boston neighbors who 15 years earlier designed a way to get such services and established the first Village of the modern Village Movement. Today Viva Village is one of nearly 400 Villages, open or in development, in the U.S. There are eleven Villages in the Portland area.
While that ideal of “service” is still central for Viva Village, the dimensions of “service” have expanded. Like Village volunteers around the country, Viva Villagers discovered that in establishing a service-providing organization, they were also creating community. And that this community was itself a service valued by persons at a time in their lives when they can easily become isolated.
To live our lives more fully, we may need transportation, tech tips, and help around the house and yard. But we also need the affirming, energizing power of community. Many of the increasing number of Viva Village events (often initiated by members and volunteers), provide ways to connect with and enjoy the company of others. Three years ago 5 Village get-togethers were posted in the bi-monthly Viva Village Voice. Today there are 17!
- Women’s Coffee (weekly), Thursday Socials, Volunteer Happy Hour, Men’s Coffee Break,
- Pinochle and Scrabble, Nature Walk, Dine Around, Urban Hikers, Quilters and Knitters, Fun
- for Foodies, Artists interest Group, History Interest Group, Life Stories, Book Club, Gardening Enthusiasts.
Beyond direct services to its members (now 105), and the social benefits of its groups and member events, Viva Village is becoming a resource for older adults in Beaverton and beyond. The “Aging with Grace” series, cosponsored with the Elsie Stuhr Center, deal with the health and well-being of older adults, and are open to the public. The upcoming “Age Cafe” sessions, cosponsored with the Beaverton Library and Washington County Disability, Aging, and Veterans Services (DAVS) will facilitate small group conversations around topics of interest to older adults and will likewise be open to all.