A Village is a grass-roots, non-profit membership organization that provides meaningful social connections and practical assistance to seniors (60+) who want to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible. Each Village is unique to the needs of its community. A helpful website to learn more is www.vtvnetwork.org or on our About Village Neighbors page here.
The Village movement started in Boston in the year 2002 and has spread to all areas of the United States. It began when a group of neighbors realized that the everyday services they needed to age in place were expensive or sometimes not even available. Like seniors in many areas, they found that local government agencies, churches, neighbors, friends, and family increasingly were not able to provide all the help that was needed. Those neighbors banded together and created their own senior service organization. A Village means neighbors helping neighbors in an organized way.
A Village can be a separate non-profit organization, like a senior center. Here on Chincoteague, the Village will operate as a program of the non-profit Island Community House (ICH). Services and social events are run by volunteers and the ICH Director, with the support of one full or parttime coordinator who manages scheduling, communications, and volunteer/member information.
The intention of a Village is to add to, not compete with or replace, any existing services in the community. Typically, services include: transportation for appointments, grocery shopping and routine errands; light household chores; companionship through home visits; help with technology; enrichment through get-togethers, lectures, walking groups, outings, etc. Note: Villages cannot provide medical or nursing care or replace the need for home healthcare aides.
Village Neighbors serves citizens of Chincoteague Island, Virginia.
Those receiving the services are called Members and are residents of Chincoteague age 60 or better. Volunteers (multi-generational) provide services according to their own skills and availability thus encouraging aging-in-community to flourish. Volunteers - often new retirees themselves - may eventually become Members and receive services as the need arises. All Volunteers are trained, vetted through background checks, and offered ongoing support. We also will work with Chincoteague Combined School to include teen volunteer participation.
First, fill out a Membership Application. Once you have completed the application we will schedule a time for a short home visit so you can tell us more about your needs and we can talk about how Village Neighbors can assist you. You will also be required to sign a Membership Agreement form.
First, fill out a Village Neighbors Volunteer Application. All volunteers agree to a criminal background check that is done by a professional service, which includes a driving record check. Volunteers must be fully COVID-19 vaccinated in accordance with current CDC guidelines. You will also be required to participate in an orientation, attend a few training sessions, and sign a Volunteer Agreement Form.
This is completely up to you. Volunteers choose what services they would like to provide and the hours they are available. We are anticipating a typical commitment being 4 to 8 hours per month, but your schedule may be more or less - whatever works for you.
Yes. Volunteers who are only available part of the year are very welcome.
Most sessions will be approximately one hour. You might take someone who needs a ride to a medical appointment - either go in with them or do an errand of your own - then drive them home. You might take someone grocery shopping or to church. You might arrange for a speaker for an informal talk at the ICH. You might change an air filter, or do a home visit to chat, play a card game, etc.
Absolutely, we need administrative, outreach, and fundraising help, too. Please let us know if you’re interested in these areas when you fill out the Volunteer Application.
Village Neighbors serves seniors of all social-economic backgrounds through membership fees or sponsorships. Membership fees cover administrative costs for a coordinator, background checks, liability insurance, a Village telephone line and office expenses. Very importantly, fees also help support sponsorships for those who cannot afford to pay for a membership. Every village sets its own fee structure. Our projection is to be $20 per month or $240 annually. We feel this is a modest expense. Note: Fees alone will not cover all the expenses of running a Village, so yearly fundraising will always be needed.
Yes. Anyone can sponsor another person for membership. We are all aware that adult children and friends often live far away, or have obligations that make it hard for them to meet the needs of their elderly parents/friends. Village membership can make this situation easier for friends/families of seniors all over the U.S. by providing support.
Per month, a member would receive 10 services which includes 1 home maintenance assistance service (light handy-man task). Services could include: transportation to destinations on Chincoteague*, friendly visits and social interactions, convenience services and errands, computer and technology assistance, social outings, events, and programs.
*Note: Should a member’s medical needs require appointments off of Chincoteague, Village Neighbors will attempt to fill those requests or help find alternative transportation.
Village Neighbors holds the well-being of its members and volunteers as its most important goal. To protect everyone, and to be mindful of a member base that is older and perhaps immune compromised, we pay strict attention to CDC guidelines and recommend that everyone be vaccinated. All Village Neighbors’ volunteers are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 in accordance with current CDC guidelines (www.cdc.gov). For members, we recognize that some people are unable to be vaccinated (for a health reasons) or choose not to be (for personal reasons). We ask that members respect the choices of volunteers to limit what services they are comfortable providing to those members who are not vaccinated. As CDC guidelines evolve, Village Neighbors will issue updates on what services we can provide for those who are vaccinated, as well as services we are able to provide for those that are not vaccinated. For these reasons, we ask all members and volunteers for their vaccination status when they apply for participation in Village Neighbors, and to wear masks if not vaccinated.