The group known as the Kanawha Valley Village People is an organization of seniors supporting its members as they continue to live independently in their own homes.
Prior to the formation of the group, several meetings were held throughout the year to discuss how participants, as they age, would be able to remain in their homes and communities by providing a local service network of providers who could aid members in such tasks as transportation, home repair, in-home care, etc. The first meeting of interested parties was held July 21, 2012, where it was decided that the ‘village concept’ might be one that would fit our diverse community. A second meeting was held on October 7, 2012, where the village model as practiced in Athens, Ohio, and in Alexandria, Virginia, was explored in-depth plus the review of a draft needs assessment.
A third meeting was held on December 15, 2012, where the village concept was discussed in a meeting chaired by James Thibeault. A needs assessment survey was presented by Kassandra Kass. A grant proposal was put forth by Hazel Palmer. The National Gathering of the Village to Village Network which was held in Atlanta, October 15-17, 2012, was attended by Barbara Frierson and James Thibeault. Such topics as: Steps to Starting a Group, Funding and Membership dues, Member Services, Volunteers, etc. were explained to the group by Barbara while James reported back concerning the success and challenges of establishing communities plus how to grow a community and retain members.
A mission statement was proposed and sent for consideration to the Steering Committee: “A sustainable senior community that supports members who wish to live independently in their own homes by providing or helping arrange a wide variety of services to meet their needs.”
Also at the December meeting, two great ideas were put forth by members of the group – Crisis Casseroles and a Telephone Tree. Crisis Casseroles proposed by Hazel Palmer is a concept to provide food door-to-door when a member suffers a family or personal crisis like an operation or a debilitating illness. Members would provide simple meals thereby alleviating one worry for anyone suffering such a crisis. Likewise, a Telephone Tree, as envisioned by Melora Cann and Karen Glazier, was established where regularly scheduled calls would be placed to members alerting them to upcoming events and filling them in on ‘what’s going on’ plus just making sure that they were ‘OK’. In this way, an opportunity for building a relationship through conversation, thus enlarging the personal socialization aspect, could be created and nourished.