Perhaps you’ve heard about the growing phenomenon of “senior villages.” Do you know a village is coming to Silver Spring?
Across the U.S., in the D.C. Metro area, and right here in close-in Silver Spring, the village movement is powered by the popular wish to "age in place."
A village is a grassroots organization created for the purpose of helping people remain independent in their own homes when ordinary home maintenance and management tasks become too difficult or unsafe. Villages come in many sizes and shapes. Most rely very heavily on volunteers from within the same community. Some are intergenerational and some for seniors only. Most villages charge an annual membership fee to help cover the costs of operation, programs, insurance, etc.
In 2010, a small group of Silver Spring residents started announcing their plan to establish the a village in downtown Silver Spring. As currently envisioned, this village will consist of an organized network of volunteers, public and commercial resources, and professionals, plus systems for matching services and referrals to the “villagers” who need them. One of the key services will be help with transportation, provided either by volunteer drivers or through a partnership with an existing community resource. We also expect to sponsor different types of social and recreational activities to help keep people engaged and active. Other services will probably include help with grocery shopping, a “check-in” service, minor home repairs, help with computers and home electronics, and possibly more.
Planners are currently working with representatives of other villages and relevant community organizations to develop plans, build interest, and identify local resources. The results of a community needs survey will be used to help determine the particular types of services that members will receive. Like most other villages in Maryland and elsewhere, Silver Spring Village will be a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization and, as such, eligible to receive tax-exempt donations and grants.
Membership will be open to seniors living in or near the 20910 zip code. Annual dues will be as low as possible, to help ensure that village membership reflects the demographic and economic diversity of close-in Silver Spring, and to make membership benefits widely available.
In addition to potential members, we are interested in identifying potential volunteers. Ideally, this will include a lively mix of young and not-so-young individuals, who have a little (or a lot) of time to share helping their neighbors. In addition, planners hope to secure services, financial support, and in-kind contributions from local businesses and organizations.
We hope to open our Village in late 2013. If you are interested in helping with the remaining planning and organizational work, there is plenty of opportunity for fun and rewarding involvement. No particular expertise is required (but we are seeking volunteers with experience in fundraising and/or management of nonprofit organizations).
Progress reports will be posted periodically on this website (see “Updates”) and other venues, including neighborhood listserves and/or newsletters.
If you have questions or are interested in getting involved in some way, please email us at: