Recent Newsletters

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★★ May 2024 Newsletter ★★

* The Merry Month of May *

If it is true that April showers bring May flowers, will the end-of-April downpour bring even more flowers in May? This is important because flowers are important on May 1st, May Day. In days gone by, this was the day we would hang Tussie- Mussie bouquets on someone’s front door, ring the bell and run. Did we hide well enough, quickly enough, to observe undetected the smiles we hoped to elicit with the surprise bouquets? It was such a small thing in the big picture. But it brought joy to the deliverer and the recipient, usually an older lady (or couple) on the block.

In our current social environment, May Day and Tussie-Mussies are a thing of the past.

However, a new trend may be developing on the first Saturday of each May—this year May 4th called Join Hands Day. This is an emerging annual event that calls for a day of volunteering to unite older community members with the younger generation. It is hoped to create an opportunity for mutual awareness and benefit.

In your community or in your Village, this is a reminder to offer yourself to the older neighbors whose day will be brightened by kindness, optimism, and service as delivered by someone from a younger generation.

As Villagers, we are already aware of the need to lessen isolation and the potential for depression. A lack of self-care may accompany the feeling that elements of personal daily care no longer matter. Poor personal hygiene, poor nutrition, withdrawal from social activities, lack of follow-through with health care matters like daily medications—these may be indicative of isolation and depression. The inherent potential for spiraling self-neglect is too great to ignore.

So, pick a little bouquet of spring flowers, make a Tussie-Mussie and deliver it with a smile. Offer yourself as a neighbor or friend who can provide little acts of kindness and service, gladdening a heart.

Mark your calendar for Join Hands Day this year and in the future. Think ahead about how you may make an impact as a Village volunteer or just a good neighbor. Seize the opportunity to demonstrate to an older generation that the younger generations are aware, willing, and able to lend a hand in service or in friendship. Springtime is a perfect time to grow new relationships and watch friendships blossom across generations.

~ Nancy Doty

* Developing Villages *

Volunteers are actively working to create new Villages in three communities and are eager to connect with others in their area who are interested in helping out. If you or someone you know lives in any of these areas, please contact the volunteers to learn more.

Sunnyside East Village, (https://sunnysideeastvillage.org/), covering Happy Valley and Clackamas. During the organizational phase, there are opportunities to help with publicity, event planning and outreach. Join Sunnyside East volunteers on May 16 at 9:30 am for Coffee Break at the New Seasons Market café area, 15861 SE Happy Valley Town Center Drive to get acquainted and learn more by email at info@sunnysideeastvillage.org.

UpRiver Village, (http://www.uprivervillage.org/), covering Gresham, Fairview, Troutdale and Wood Village. UpRiver is making presentations at senior centers, neighborhood associations and Lions Clubs among others to get the word out. They are actively recruiting for two key volunteer positions, communications and outreach. Connect with UpRiver volunteers by email at info.upriver@villagesnw.org to learn more.

MAC Village, covering McMinnville. MAC Village is developing a core group of volunteers and building its mailing list. An informational meeting is planned for May. For the date and location or more information, contact MAC Village volunteers by email at MACVillage2024@gmail.com.

* You are invited! *

Come cheer for Villages NW: June 1, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, at Sellwood park!

Toss for a Cause: A community day in the park, presented by Housecall Providers, is an event promoting awareness of the Portland area nonprofits who offer support and services to our community’s elders, adults with disabilities and those facing the prospects of aging at home.

Villages NW is competing in the cornhole tournament and will be present at Nonprofit Row together with more than 25 metro area nonprofits that share a Mission to support our older and vulnerable community members.

Come cheer as we compete for the title of Portland Toss for a Cause Champion 2024.

The day will feature music, entertainment, refreshments from two delicious food carts and a beer/wine garden.

You’ll have the opportunity to explore Nonprofit Row where you can learn about the other organizations competing in the Toss for a Cause and find out about ways to get involved. Whether you’re seeking information, assistance for yourself or a loved one, or planning the steps to age in place, you’ll find answers at Nonprofit Row.

Not only will your attendance boost the visibility of Villages NW and the people we serve, the festival will be a fabulous family day at the park. You won’t want to miss it.

If you have questions or want to find out about ways to help us make a splash, contact Nancy Doty, ndoty@villagesnw.org, 503-577-1015; or Bruce Erickson, berickson@housecallproviders.org, 503-310-1646.

* Garden and Art Tour *

Garden and Art Tour
Oregon City
Saturday, June 29
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Hosted by Village at the Falls

Village at the Falls is holding its 3rd annual Garden and Art Tour! 8 private gardens are featured.

Tickets are now available at villageatthefalls.org. Cost: $12 per person.


* Get to Know Our Villages! *

Anyone who is interested in learning more about our Villages is invited to attend the informational events below.

Join your Eastside Village hosts virtually to discuss EV volunteering and membership on Saturday, May 11 from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. They will outline what they have been up to historically. Registration is recommended.

From North Star Village member Anjala Ehelebe: You’re invited to our Village 101, an introduction to villages in general and North Star Village in particular. I lead a Village 101 on the third Thursday of each month. This month’s 101 will be held on Thursday, May 16 at 3:13 pm. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or member, or have friends who’d be interested, join me for a fast and informative overview of our village. We’ll meet at Good Neighbor Pizzeria, located at 800 NE Dekum St., Portland, 97211. It is fully accessible, with seats available in the well-ventilated interior or at comfortable tables outdoors. Call North Star Village at 503-793-8518 to ask questions and to let us know you’ll be there. See our website for more information: https://northstarvillage.clubexpress.com/.

RiverWest Village invites anyone interested in aging better and learning more about how to become involved either as a member or volunteer to have a one-on-one conversation with a RiverWest volunteer. Call their office and request an Introductory Chat (503-495-4934 to leave a message), or email info@riverwestvillage.org. You will be connected with a volunteer from their Outreach Team. Include your name, phone number, and email address in your message and RWV will be in touch with you soon.

Please join Sunnyside East Village’s monthly Coffee Break event on Thursday, May 16 at 9:30 am in the New Seasons Market café area, which is located at 15861 SE Happy Valley Town Center Drive, Happy Valley, Oregon. Social connections are critical to living a healthy lifestyle and the coffee break offers an opportunity to connect with others who are interested in the Village Movement. You will also get updates on Sunnyside East Village’s progress. Gather for coffee break in the New Seasons Market café area, just inside the store. Mark your calendar for the third Thursday of each month for coffee break.

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★★ April 2024 Newsletter ★★

* World Happiness Day – Every Day *

On March 20th, in honor of World Happiness Day, it was announced that Finland — for the seventh year in a row — embraced more per capita happiness than any other country in the world.

Measured by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Gallup World Poll, and the University of Oxford Wellbeing Centre, Finland came out on top of the heap again. However, what makes the Finnish people so happy?

Happiness and satisfaction with life were measured through many criteria, including healthy longevity, freedom, perceived generosity, social support, GDP per capita, and a lack of national corruption. It is interesting to note that in the US, which fell from the top 20 happy countries, happiness under the age of 30 received a lower score than happiness at age 60 and beyond.

Nevertheless, beyond National Happiness, what makes daily, deeply satisfying personal happiness?

On March 24th, the New York Times article, “Toddlers Teach Happiness”, outlined several things that healthy developing toddlers do to promote their own happiness: positive self-talk, physical activity and constant motion, asking lots of questions (“what’s that?”, “why?”, “how come?”), reliance on comforting routines including sleep habits, and a sense of playfulness or humor.

Another article in the same NYT, “Four-legged Key to a School’s Recovery”, suggested that pets of any description can offer unconditional love, provide distraction from troubles, give a sense of security, and get individuals outside of themselves as they learn to bond and care for pets, all of which supports personal happiness.

In the Journal of Happiness Studies, authors Chowkan, Samavatyan, and Zadeh want us to think of happiness as more than just the avoidance of misery. Their universal goals for happiness rely on a degree of social approval, community status, behavioral conformity, experience based on life conditions, and positive receipt of affection.

So here we have a list of ingredients for a perfect recipe that Villages can look to as a measure of how we contribute to the overall happiness of our members and volunteers. With all this talk of happiness and different perspectives on where happiness originates, we can look to our bridge-building relationships, services, and social activities that contribute to many of the criteria by which happiness is measured.

Whether we use the World Happiness Day criteria or turn to toddlers, whether we have pets or can just avoid abject misery, there are many opportunities for supporting personal happiness and general life satisfaction if we accentuate the positive.

Villages are very good at accentuating the positive! So, select your model or choose varied criteria that you embrace as standards for happiness. Then share with neighbors and other Villagers as you practice positive self-talk, find humor and demonstrate playfulness, give and receive unconditional love, or share experiences. Your power to enhance personal happiness is immense. It is an attribute that can come from within and shine to the outside world. Villages are a perfect place to practice and share the wonderful world of happiness!

~ Nancy Doty

* Get to Know Our Villages! *

Anyone who is interested in learning more about our Villages is invited to attend the informational events below.

Join your Eastside Village hosts virtually to discuss EV volunteering and membership on Saturday, April 13 from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. They will outline what they have been up to historically. Registration is recommended.

An informational session for prospective members, volunteers, or anyone interested in Viva Village. Please join us online on Saturday, April 13 from 10 am – 11:30 am. Register on the website or contact the office for the Zoom link.

From North Star Village member Anjala Ehelebe: You’re invited to our Village 101, an introduction to villages in general and North Star Village in particular. I lead a Village 101 on the third Thursday of each month. This month’s 101 will be held on Thursday, April 18 at 3:13 pm. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or member, or have friends who’d be interested, join me for a fast and informative overview of our village. We’ll meet at Good Neighbor Pizzeria, located at 800 NE Dekum St., 97211. It is fully accessible, with seats available in the well-ventilated interior or at comfortable tables outdoors. Call North Star Village at 503-793-8518 to ask questions and to let us know you’ll be there. See our website for more information: https://northstarvillage.clubexpress.com/.

RiverWest Village invites anyone interested in aging better and learning more about how to become involved either as a member or volunteer to have a one-on-one conversation with a RiverWest volunteer. Call their office (503-495-4934) and request an Introductory Chat, or email info@riverwestvillage.org. You will be connected with a volunteer from their Outreach Team. Include your name, phone number, and email address in your message and RWV will be in touch with you soon!

Please join Sunnyside East Village’s monthly Coffee Break event on Friday, April 19 at 9:30 am in the New Seasons Market cafe area, which is located at 15861 SE Happy Valley Town Center Drive, Happy Valley, Oregon. It’s a chance for SunnySide East Village to tell you about the progress they’ve made in creating a new Village in Happy Valley/Clackamas for people who want to age-in-place. It is a chance for you to tell them what services you’d like to see the Village offer. Rides to doctor appointments? Help stringing the Christmas lights? A friendly visit while you recover from knee surgery? There are dozens of Villages providing services throughout the United States. These aren’t cookie-cutter operations. Each one is established to serve the needs of people who live within its boundaries. Please come to the Coffee Break and help them build Sunnyside East Village.

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★★ March 2024 Newsletter ★★

* The Value of Differences *

It is the Mission of Villages NW “to create dynamic, intentionally inclusive, caring communities that connect, engage, and support older adults as they maintain active and purposeful lives.”

Many of our Villages have similar mission statements that distill their values and guiding principles. There is common understanding of the desire to create communities in which Villagers can thrive with services and activities designed to enhance daily life and allow members to age in the home of their choosing. Words like ‘respect’ and ‘honor’ are often found in Village documents. Commonly recurring themes include connection between members and the community, respect for all people and their identities regardless of race, ethnicity, faith, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status. Multi-generational families, families of choice and families of origin are other elements of our Village communities.

In our neighbors, Villages represent a microcosm of the melting pot that has made America strong.

Our neighbors may not look exactly like us, sound exactly like us, go to the same church, eat the same foods, or sing the same songs. Our neighbors may, in fact, be immigrants whose sense of ‘family’ has been painfully altered, or the disenfranchised who are looking for ‘home’ and an anchor that indicates ‘belonging’. Aspiration and dreams of being included in a caring community depend upon people like Villagers who will open our minds and our hearts to those whose life experiences may be much different from ours.

The NY Times ‘Opinion Today’ article suggests that we often turn to artists to help us understand the plight of exiled, disenfranchised, displaced individuals and what happens when artists can’t go home. There is good evidence that younger immigrant workers bring entrepreneurship, contributions to science, research, innovation, and creativity to music, dance, art, literature, food, and other aspects of culture.

According to an article in the Washington Post, journalist Catherine Rampell reported that, “Immigration is a gift to the economy.”

The Congressional Budget Office predicts that the increased size of the labor force will compensate for the dwindling number of native-born aging and retiring workers.

Jerome Powell, Federal Reserve Chair credits the strength of the US labor market “to immigration returning to levels that were more typical before COVID closed our borders.”

It is estimated that our newly energized labor force will boost the GDP by $7 trillion and improve revenue by $1 trillion in the coming decade, improving both the general economy and tax coffers.

Our Villages use an amazing volunteer base to build their community regardless of the national economy. There is great value, beyond dollars, in cross-cultural, cooperative, and welcoming projects that may deepen the ability of more neighbors to help more neighbors stay neighbors. Input from community members’ experiences, talents, skills, and cultural influences allows them to make meaningful contributions.

In our world-famous melting pot, access to education, jobs, and leadership roles determine the status of Americans. Even those of us who may not be recent immigrants but may be underserved, victims of the wealth gap, and feeling a lack of power in leadership, can find ‘home’ in the Village community and can contribute beyond dollars.

Being true to our mission, thinking creatively, and demonstrating a colorblind respect for our neighbors; Villagers will expand our base for a cohesive, respectful community where everyone wins! The tapestry of the community will be woven with more beautiful colors, art will touch our imaginations, songs will permeate the air, a richer sampling of foods will fill our bellies, and peace will soothe our daily actions. Mutual respect between neighbors will build a solid community base that cannot be easily undone by hateful, divisive rhetoric.

As we assist our aging population make choices about the desire to be ‘home’, let’s not forget our other neighbors as well. With respect and open minds, we will enhance the community that surrounds ‘home’ in any sense of the word. Villages will remain strong and serve as fine examples of ‘community’ when we harvest and celebrate the bounty that comes from our differences, not just our sameness.

~ Nancy Doty

* New member to the Villages NW Board of Directors *
Jenny Sherman

Please help us welcome Jenny Sherman to the Villages NW Board of Directors. For more than a year, Jenny has been volunteering with the Villages NW HR Team and the Employee Support Work Group. In February, she facilitated the Board of Directors’ retreat. Jenny originally got involved with Villages pre-pandemic when a group was exploring the possibility of developing a Village in Tigard, King City, and Tualatin.

Jenny is a retired Human Resources Director having worked in a variety of industries that include early years in banking and insurance and later years in higher education and healthcare. Most recently Jenny worked in long term care and hospice organizations. She has volunteered in many non profit organizations including the Colorectal Cancer Alliance as a founding member of the Portland Walk to End Colon Cancer, Care Partners Hospice Board, Clackamas County Long Term Care Panel, and Bankwork$.

Jenny’s professional experience includes analysis of compensation and benefits, working through complex employee relations situations that include conflict, disability accommodations, leaves of absence, performance improvements and a variety of employee needs. She has done leadership education and facilitated Board retreats. She is a certified professional in HR and in compensation.

In her free time, Jenny enjoys gardening, traveling, spending time with family, and social activities.

We are delighted to have her wealth of experience, talents, and enthusiasm to support our Villages.

* Get to Know Our Villages! *

Anyone who is interested in learning more about our Villages is invited to attend the informational events below.

Join your Eastside Village hosts virtually as we discuss EV volunteering and membership on Saturday, March 9 from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. We will outline what we have been up to historically. Registration is recommended.

An informational session for prospective members, volunteers, or anyone interested in Viva Village. Please join us online on Saturday, March 9 from 10 am – 11:30 am. Register on the website or contact the office for the Zoom link.

From North Star Village member Anjala Ehelebe: You’re invited to our Village 101, an introduction to villages in general and North Star Village in particular. I lead a Village 101 on the third Thursday of each month. This month’s 101 will be held on Thursday, March 14 at 3:13 pm. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or member, or have friends who’d be interested, join me for a fast and informative overview of our village. We’ll meet at Good Neighbor Pizzeria, located at 800 NE Dekum St., 97211. It is fully accessible, with seats available in the well-ventilated interior or at comfortable tables outdoors. Call North Star Village at 503-793-8518 to ask questions and to let us know you’ll be there. See our website for more information: https://northstarvillage.clubexpress.com/.

RiverWest Village invites anyone interested in aging better and learning more about how to become involved either as a member or volunteer to have a one-on-one conversation with a RiverWest volunteer. Call their office (503-495-4934) and request an Introductory Chat, or email info@riverwestvillage.org. You will be connected with a volunteer from their Outreach Team. Include your name, phone number, and email address in your message and RWV will be in touch with you soon!

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★★ February 2024 Newsletter ★★

* February – Heart Month *

February, the month of Valentine’s Day and chocolate—lots of chocolate! There is also Dark Chocolate Day, Chocolate Covered Nut Day, Hot Breakfast Month, Fettuccine Alfredo Day, National Canned Food Month, and American Heart Month.

Whew! All this talk about food…

That brings to mind our community members whose nutritional status may be compromised, despite all the talk about food. And especially for the elderly, food takes on great importance when nutritional status is a complicated facet of daily life.

In reviewing an article, “Malnutrition in the Elderly: A Multifactorial Failure to Thrive”, author Carol Evans, RNP, MS, MA, reports that 16% of community-dwelling Americans take in less than 1000 calories per day. If you’ve ever tracked your caloric intake, you know that 1000 calories per day isn’t much! When hospitalized, anywhere from 12-50% of inpatients are malnourished. Institutionalized elders are shown as 23-60% ‘malnourished’ based on unintentional weight loss and on lab reports. The numbers range greatly depending on the way data is collected and the reason for the admission to hospital or institutional care. Even at the lowest end of the range, the numbers are concerning.

There are, as the study indicates, a plethora of reasons for the malnourishment of our elders. Perhaps there is an underlying disease, depression, the effects of medication, difficulty eating (dental or swallowing problems), or a diminished sense of smell and taste resulting in less enjoyment of food.

Other important factors revolve around living alone, being homebound, isolation, and not having adequate medical care. All these elements are exacerbated by limited income.

Among the general population in Portland proper, DHS reports that around 12% of our citizens live at or below the poverty level (per federal definition of poverty). East Portland reports show that the numbers are even higher, up to 14%. Considered in its entirety, Multnomah County poverty levels rise to 17%. Washington County reports a little over 8% live in poverty.

Clackamas County employs the ALICE method: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed—all of which attempts to measure the number of households that earn above the poverty level but still cannot afford the basic cost of living in their area. By that measure, the range is from 27-36% in recent years.

Our Rainy Day Village serves parts of Clatsop County and neighboring Tillamook County where the poverty levels are 12.9% and 12% respectively, according to 2022 US Census data.

As bleak as these numbers seem, they are even worse in the elderly segment of our population.

All this information indicates that we, as Villagers, might make a big difference to some of our elderly neighbors. Sharing meals, preparing our favorite heritage foods, including neighbors in food-centered celebrations, and helping our neighbors stay connected in the community will all be beneficial in keeping an interest in food and enhancing nutrition.

Food security should be a concern to each of us. If needed, we can help connect our neighbors to Food Stamps/ SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), the Oregon Foodbank Network (over 21 regional foodbanks), Meals on Wheels, and other food resources, we may enhance their ability to remain at home in good health.

Senior Centers and Aging & Disability case managers are an excellent source of further information. Your County Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) will help make the appropriate connections to assist any efforts to keep our elder neighbors as healthy as possible.

Remember that February boasts celebrations for lots of chocolate in heart-shaped boxes, but it is also American Heart Month. Show your big Village-related heart and consider food and nutrition as key components of helping our neighbors remain healthy and thrive in the environment of their choice.

Home is where the heart is! Happy Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month. Eat heartily!

~ Nancy Doty

* What We Will Remember on Oregon Statehood Day *

On February 14, 1859, Oregon became the 33rd state of the United States.

As we Oregonians celebrate this anniversary, we celebrate a rich and complex history. Yet we should not forget the painful history that includes colonization, exclusion, and displacement of Native American tribes who lived in the region even before Statehood. Let us acknowledge and honor these very early inhabitants of the land and their ongoing struggles for justice and recognition.

One way to honor the colonized land of Oregon is to learn about the history and culture of the Native American groups who have lived in the area for thousands of years. According to the Oregon Encyclopedia, there were about 125 Native American groups in the region when the first Europeans arrived.

Some of the leading tribes were the Chinook, the Tillamook, the Calapooya, the Yamel, the Molala, the Clackamas, the Multnomah, the Santiam, the Coos, the Cayuse, the Northern Paiute, the Umatilla, the Nez Percé, the Bannock, the Modoc, and the Klamath. These tribes had diverse and rich traditions, languages, and ways of life that were disrupted by the arrival of settlers, traders, missionaries, and US government soldiers who introduced diseases, wars, treaties, reservations, assimilation policies, and termination acts.

Today, there are nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon, as well as several unrecognized and urban Native American communities. They have faced and overcome the many challenges and injustices imposed by colonization, discrimination, and displacement. Today, they strive to preserve and revitalize their heritage, identity, and rights in their ancestral homelands and beyond.

Very early in the development of our State, Chinese workers came to build railroads and work in mines and as manual laborers. Mostly the men came alone, hoping to find work that would allow them to send money back to their families at home in China. As domestic workers in the growing cities, neighborhood covenants ordered them (and all non-whites) to be gone by sundown. They were badly treated and exploited, and their dreams were often shattered.

Scrolling through history we also learn that Oregon was the only state to enter the Union with a Constitution that banned Black residents from citizenship, voting, owning property, and living in the state. Although these laws were later repealed, they reflected the racist attitudes and practices that pervaded the State’s politics, economy, and society: segregation, lynching, redlining, gentrification, police brutality, and other forms of oppression and marginalization. Still, many Black workers came to Oregon during WWII years to help build ships and other jobs that supported the war effort and helped our economy during the time of world conflict.

It was during the same war years of WWII that our Japanese neighbors were taken from their farms and businesses and relocated to camps away from the Pacific coast. The loss of property and loss of livelihoods caused grievous disruption to the entire Japanese community. Some were never able to recover their losses. Their lives were changed forever.

Now consider a role in creating new ‘history’ in Oregon. Our participation in the nonprofit Villages NW is an opportunity to follow the Mission “to create dynamic, inclusive, and caring communities that connect, engage, and support older adults as they maintain active and purposeful lives.”

Villages NW is part of the nationwide Village Movement, which is a grassroots initiative that empowers older adults to age in place by providing them with services, resources, and social activities in their own neighborhoods. Villages NW has nine local conceptual Villages in the Portland metro area and one along the North Oregon Coast, each with its own programming of activities, membership, and volunteers. By joining or supporting a Village, we can build relationships with neighbors, share stories and wisdom, learn from other cultures and perspectives, and contribute to the well-being, diversity, and resilience of our communities. In this way, we continue to heal the painful history of Oregon as we acknowledge, accept, and honor the early inhabitants of the land and those who helped our cities and farms flourish.

On Statehood Day, February 14, we will remember with respect, gratitude, healing, fairness, and justice as we recognize those who helped build Oregon. By learning about the history of the region, acknowledging the harm and injustice endured by whole groups of people, and by supporting their efforts for recognition and rights, Oregonians can celebrate the State anniversary with a deeper and more nuanced understanding of its past, present, and future.

By its Mission and deeds, Villages NW can help.

By guest contributor, Emily Engdahl

* Introducing a New Village *

Sunnyside East is developing a new Village in the Happy Valley/Clackamas area. Their sixth monthly meeting is scheduled for Friday, February 16th, 9:30 am at New Seasons Market, 15861 SE Happy Valley Town Center Dr, Happy Valley. Participants will be invited to brainstorm about using social media to increase awareness of the Village. SEV reports that they now have a monthly MailChimp newsletter and a Facebook page; they’re starting work on a website.

* Get to Know Our Villages! *

Anyone who is interested in learning more about our Villages is invited to attend the informational events below.

Join your Eastside Village hosts virtually as we discuss EV volunteering and membership on Saturday, February 10 from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. We will outline what we have been up to historically. Registration is recommended.

An informational session for prospective members, volunteers, or anyone interested in Viva Village. Please join us online on Saturday, February 10 from 10 am – 11:30 am. Register on the website or contact the office for the Zoom link.

From North Star Village member Anjala Ehelebe: You’re invited to our Village 101, an introduction to villages in general and North Star Village in particular. I lead a Village 101 on the third Thursday of each month. This month’s 101 will be held on Thursday, February 15 at 3:13 pm. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or member, or have friends who’d be interested, join me for a fast and informative overview of our village. We’ll meet at Good Neighbor Pizzeria, located at 800 NE Dekum St., 97211. It is fully accessible, with seats available in the well-ventilated interior or at comfortable tables outdoors. Call North Star Village at 503-793-8518 to ask questions and to let us know you’ll be there. See our website for more information: https://northstarvillage.clubexpress.com/.

RiverWest Village invites anyone interested in aging better and learning more about how to become involved either as a member or volunteer to have a one-on-one conversation with a RiverWest volunteer. Call their office (503-495-4934) and request an Introductory Chat, or email info@riverwestvillage.org. You will be connected with a volunteer from their Outreach Team. Include your name, phone number, and email address in your message and RWV will be in touch with you soon!

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★★ January 2024 Newsletter ★★

* In 2024, I Resolve To… Volunteer! *

Now that 2023 is in the rear-view mirror, it is time to look ahead to the newly presented year and think about what you will do with it.

Have you thought about your resolution—the one you mean to keep this time? Does the year look like a blank slate that will offer the opportunity to try new things? Is there room to build in the activities that will renew your soul and spirit? Are you good at making room for new things before you surrender to the demands of everyday random demands?

There are so many ways to think about a resolution. It is important for your peace of mind, planning and organization, budget, relationships and health. Find a pathway through the maze of career, finances, relationships, health, home maintenance, and all the other demands you face. Stare them down! And decide on at least one thing you will do for yourself that will give you a healthy dose of self-worth and gratification.

Are you deciding whether this is the year you will schedule all your routine medical screenings in one month, or you will ask for a raise and seek advancement at work? Or maybe you are going to create a real budget and stick with it. Perhaps you will pursue a hobby that has interested you for some time. Maybe you are thinking about going to the health club to work on balance, strength, and flexibility. This may be the time you commit to spending more time with extended family and will even travel to see those who are far away.

All of those are very worthy goals and resolutions.

But the resolution that may bring you pleasure for myriad reasons could be giving yourself the gift of volunteering in a role that brings you pleasure and restores your soul.

We know that volunteering is good for the heart and the mind. It improves self-esteem. It can help build new relationships. Regular, repeated tasks and activities can help keep you organized. Offering yourself to others is a fabulous way to learn more about your community and your neighbors. You can offer your skills to others and learn new skills in the process, strengthen your current job performance or try new things along a different career path.

Like the unfurling of a spring blossom, you may find that volunteering gets more beautiful as you go along.

So now is the time – before your calendar starts to look like a word jumble – to look for ways you can do something for yourself and your community. Volunteer in little bits or big chunks. Meet new people or join others you already know who enjoy their volunteer roles. Get family members to partner with you for a family bonding experience. Look forward to the fulfilling aspects of giving of yourself and you will be healthier and happier for the effort.

And need I say it? Villages are an excellent place to spread your volunteer wings! Check us out at https://villagesnw.org/volunteer-2/ To be part of the Village in your area, follow the prompts and find out how to get started. Quickly, before your calendar fills up, give us a try. Your resolution to volunteer for Villages may be your best resolution ever!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

~ Nancy Doty

* Sunnyside East Village Underway! *

Sunnyside East is a developing Village in the Happy Valley/Clackamas area. For those interested in helping get the Village going, please join the two following planning meetings:

  • Friday, January 12, 9:30 am at Elka Bee’s, 12330 SE Sunnyside Rd, Clackamas. The agenda will include progress to date, volunteer opportunities and getting acquainted.
  • Friday, February 16, 9:30 am, also at Elka Bee’s.

Inquiries can be sent to carol.vandermiller@villagesnw.org. To track progress and stay informed on meeting dates, be sure to join the Sunnyside East Village Meetup group, https://www.meetup.com/village-at-happy-valley/.

* Get to Know Our Villages! *

Anyone who is interested in learning more about our Villages is invited to attend the informational events below.

Join your Eastside Village hosts virtually as we discuss EV volunteering and membership on Saturday, January 13 from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. We will outline what we have been up to historically. Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89541314807 Meeting ID: 895 4131 4807. To call-in, dial 1-971-247-1195

From North Star Village member Anjala Ehelebe: You’re invited to our Village 101, an introduction to villages in general and North Star Village in particular. I lead a Village 101 on the third Thursday of each month. This month’s 101 will be held on Thursday, January 18 at 3:13 pm. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or member, or have friends who’d be interested, join me for a fast and informative overview of our village. We’ll meet at Good Neighbor Pizzeria, located at 800 NE Dekum St., 97211. It is fully accessible, with seats available in the well-ventilated interior or at comfortable tables outdoors. Call North Star Village at 503-793-8518 to ask questions and to let us know you’ll be there. See our website for more information: https://northstarvillage.clubexpress.com/.

RiverWest Village invites anyone interested in aging better and learning more about how to become involved either as a member or volunteer to have a one-on-one conversation with a RiverWest volunteer. Call their office (503-495-4934) and request an Introductory Chat, or email info@riverwestvillage.org. You will be connected with a volunteer from their Outreach Team. Include your name, phone number, and email address in your message and RWV will be in touch with you soon!

Villages Clark County will host a Village 101 on Saturday January 13th from 10:30 am – 11:30 am in the Downtown Library, Skamania Room, 901 C St. Vancouver, WA for those who’d like to learn more about VCC and how you can “Age in Place.” Friends, family, and neighbors welcome!

Viva Village will host an Online Viva Village 101 on Saturday, January 13, from 10:00 am – 11:30 am. This is an informational session for prospective members, volunteers, or anyone interested in Viva Village. Register on the Website or contact the office for the Zoom link – by phone: 503-746-5082 or by email: vivavillageor@gmail.com.

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★★ December 2023 Newsletter ★★

* Hiraeth *

Discovering this word, hiraeth, has brought so much to mind. It is especially meaningful around holiday time when reminiscence plays a large role in our gatherings and celebrations.

“Hiraeth [heer’ eyth] a complex combination of emotions sparked by the bond between our heritage, traditions, land, and community.” This is a Welsh word that captures many nuances of the human soul. More than nostalgia, it is akin to a combination of emotion, reminiscence, daydreaming, and homesickness. It connects us to memories that begin in childhood and carries on through a mature desire to reconnect with our roots. It is a deep, nostalgic longing for a time, place, and persons no longer accessible.

In Wales this word can evoke wistfulness, yearning for connections, daydreaming, and deep longing. It is a recurrent theme in storytelling, folklore, poetry, and music. Perhaps it is an element in our holiday celebrations that is not fully understood yet is probably present more than we acknowledge or that we can articulate.

We all hope that the holidays are a time of good cheer and happiness. The twinkling lights, music, thoughtful gifts, and gatherings that include traditional foods, ceremonies, and celebrations. Think of all the seasonal celebrations that you’ve anticipated and enjoyed over the years. Remember the people that have made the days special. Who has made ‘seasons greetings’ a happy day when that special card, letter, or email comes through? Where does your memory take you when you go back into the years when family was intact or dear friends were close?

This is the time of year when we put our best foot forward, a smile on our face, and a lift in the voice that suggests excitement. For some who are very fortunate, the memory of many happy years of remembrances will be a warm and soothing balm, even when those days are gone forever.

Ask your friends and family to tell you the story of “Once upon a time, many holiday seasons ago…”, and find joy in their joy. Help them find solace in the wistful memories that may reveal more wishes than reality offered up.

Believe in the Welsh ‘hiraeth’, the German ‘Sehnsucht’, the Scottish/Gaelic ‘cinales’ and English ‘yearning’. Make the table more festive. Bring more harmony to the music. Make gifts come from the heart. Make the dark days brighter. Give of yourself and you will become part of the soothing effect of hiraeth, a part of the deep, warm nuances of the soul that connect you with your loved ones, family, or friends, and memories that connect you to the past or help guide the future.

Think about how hiraeth may be incorporated into the values espoused by Villages—the sense of community, connection to our roots, daydreaming, and yearning—all so vitally important as we face older age and have a deep desire to stay ‘home’, connected to what we know and love.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and meaningful holiday season. The smile on your face, light in your eyes, and music in your heart will go a long way toward providing happiness and good memories, and the expanded concept of hiraeth.

~ Nancy Doty

* Get to Know Our Villages! *

Anyone who is interested in learning more about our Villages is invited to attend the informational events below.

Join Eastside Village virtually to discuss EV volunteering and membership on Saturday, December 9 from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. We will outline what we have been up to historically. Registration is recommended.

Viva Village will host an Online Viva Village 101 on Saturday, December 9, from 10:00 am – 11:30 am. This is an informational session for prospective members, volunteers, or anyone interested in Viva Village. Register on the Website or contact the office for the Zoom link – by phone: 503-746-5082 or by email: vivavillageor@gmail.com.

From North Star Village member Anjala Ehelebe: You’re invited to our Village 101, an introduction to villages in general and North Star Village in particular. I lead a Village 101 on the third Thursday of each month. This month’s 101 will be held on Thursday, December 21 at 3:13 pm. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or member, or have friends who’d be interested, join me for a fast and informative overview of our village. We’ll meet at Good Neighbor Pizzeria, located at 800 NE Dekum St., 97211. It is fully accessible, with seats available in the well-ventilated interior or at comfortable tables outdoors. Call North Star Village at 503-793-8518 to ask questions and to let us know you’ll be there. See our website for more information: https://northstarvillage.clubexpress.com/.

RiverWest Village invites anyone interested in aging better and learning more about how to become involved either as a member or volunteer to have a one-on-one conversation with a RiverWest volunteer. Call their office (503-495-4934) and request an Introductory Chat, or email info@riverwestvillage.org. You will be connected with a volunteer from their Outreach Team. Include your name, phone number, and email address in your message and RWV will be in touch with you soon!

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