President’s Corner

BoD - Marilyn Witbeck bA message from KVVP President, Marilyn Witbeck.  Stay tuned for future columns!

May, 2015


A year in review begins with last summer and a trip to the Berkshires for 10 members, with reports that it was lots of fun and culturally stimulating. A picnic at Little Creek Park last summer was one of our program-free events arranged by Hazel and John Palmer.

In October, our Resource Referral service went live. Three volunteers, Kathryn Stone, Genie Thoenen and Joan Wysong, agreed to handle all calls asking for recommendations for service providers in the many categories – this is an on-going service for members. Also in October, members enjoyed the “Reading of the Mystery of the Lost Memory,” a Palmer organized effort, with lots of interesting chapters written by our own talented members, with every member of the KVVP included in the plot! October ended with the Board of Directors attending a Saturday an all-day retreat where we looked at the year ahead and discussed a business plan.

November found Barbara Frierson and me representing the KVVP at the Village to Village Network (VtVN) annual conference in Washington, DC. We met representatives of Senators Capito and Manchin and shared information about the KVVP. At this conference, we heard about the World Health Organization’s Age Friendly Cities, with the Mayor of the District of Columbia describing what it takes to become an ‘age friendly city.’ The 2015 conference will be in Seattle. December treated our members to ‘Dr. Hale’ enactor Bob Weiford who talked about ‘his’ life and years in the Hale House of Malden, now our headquarters.

The new year began in January, when we held the Book Lovers Trade event, organized by our great event planners, Hazel and John Palmer. February brought a Valentine’s serenade by the Kordsmen and program with members Ray Haning and Hedda Haning who told us about a longitudinal research project on sex. March was Clean Jokes And Cocktails, again thought up by the Palmers. At least 20 of us got up to the mike and told jokes. Hazel’s rum punch was a big hit and probably did add to the laughter. Our Membership Committee finalized our new Member Handbooks and they were made available to members for the first time at the March meeting.

A major task for our organization this year was to participate in the National Evaluation of Villages Feasibility Study created by University of California at Berkley. On April 21, a group of members met at the South Charleston public library and filled out their surveys which volunteers then uploaded into the online survey system; these same volunteers also called lists of our members to conduct the survey via telephone before adding those results to the system as well. Kudos to our volunteers!

We have had speakers at events this past year including the Social Workers Conference, the Partnership for Elder Living Conference, and a Shepherd Center luncheon.  Since our last Annual Meeting we’ve had two opportunities to collect input from members and here are some of the statistics. From our 2015 Membership Form with a total 58 Members recording their responses, including 9 New Members, we gathered information on identified needs. A quick summation showed that there were 19 people who said they wanted Computer & Technology support, 6 errands, 21 Home Maintenance, 27 Social events, and 11 Transportation. We have identified a weekly workshop at the East End Resource Center for Computer & Technology support. Some of the listed needs may be met through the Kanawha Valley TimeBank. This is a newly formed group that grew out of the KVVP. You don’t have to be a KVVP member to be in the TimeBank and we have several folks who are not KVVP members. I think their recent report showed over 100 exchanges since they began. They have some neat software to keep track of hours in and out and members of the TimeBank get a weekly report of who needs what and who is offering what. We signed up to participate in the National Evaluation of Villages Feasibility Study, and most of our members have now taken the survey, along with our new members. Because of your responses to the survey, we now have a lot of information about what people need, and want as well as how we are doing. I hope all of you who participated feel good about taking the time to complete the survey. There will be another one in 18 months. Has the Village made a difference in your lives? 24 other villages are participating, but a report shows us just our Villages responses. I also hope you felt anonymous.

As part of the National Study, we were asked as a Village: will we still be in operation 10 years from now? The overwhelming response was YES!

~ Marilyn Witbeck, KVVP President

To read the latest happenings at KVVP, check out ‘What’s New?’ here.