Like so many things at Wintergreen, HSW was created around a table of friends enjoying lunch (and wine) and discussing a good book they had all read, "Being Mortal" by Atul Gawande, subtitled "Medicine and What Happens at the End" addressed directly an ongoing conversation of how to continue to live here, in the place we loved, with our friends, as long as possible.
This discussion continued for several months informally, but always circled back to how can we do this? A few more people joined the original six, ideas grew, research and reading were shared, and eventually it was decided to give it a try.
The focus from the beginning was to have neighbor helping neighbor with the understanding that all can help in some way if asked. It was also understood that our location meant that we were going to have to use paid help as well as volunteers for some things. We also needed to learn what was already available.
The village to village movement that began in Boston in 2002 has now spread to 43 states in all kinds of locations...big cities, small towns, retirement communities, and places just like ours. This organization offered a plan to follow, guidance as we proceeded, and a model to follow. You can check it out at vtvnetwork.org.
You probably remember our first, and last, big meeting in November of 2019. Based on the positive input from that and from the focus groups that followed, we began the work of making this a safe organization that would meet our unique needs in the most efficient and economical way possible. And then COVID-19 hit. With the aid of Zoom and email and all the other electronic aids available, we have continued to lay the groundwork and are now ready to begin operations...first with a Pilot Program to work out the kinks, then the soliciting and training of volunteers, and at last taking in members. This has been exciting work taking us into fields we never even knew existed. Soon we will be helping link neighbor with neighbor for a ride or a porch visit, provide information on topics of interest to us all either safely in person or virtually, and have referrals available for help provided by community agencies or paid providers.
We look forward to having each of you join us in staying in a place we love as long as we safely can.