ANV's mission to provide the services and support older adults need to age safely at home is filling a need in our community that will only increase as the senior population in Arlington continues to grow.
ANV's work has proven essential during the pandemic as older adults sheltered in place and needed extra support for access to food and medicine. ANV's volunteers run errands, deliver food from Arlington's Food Assistance Center (AFAC) to seniors, and take seniors to medical appointments and to get their vaccine shots. ANV also lessens the impact of prolonged isolation; provides reliable information about pandemic effects and vaccine access; and addresses unequal access to online technology.
In mid-March 2020, ANV waived its membership fee in order to serve more at-risk and in-need seniors. 73 seniors were referred-the vast majority of these new members are very low-income and isolated. ANV volunteers are delivering the food, medicine, and supplies they need, and the human connection. ANV volunteers are showing them that they are not forgotten-that someone cares.
ANV's main objectives are to increase the number (and socioeconomic diversity) of seniors we help to age in place, improve access to technology to reduce social isolation, and strengthen the social safety net for seniors in Arlington.
As a result, ANV expects the following outcomes:
ANV began in 2013 with conversations between neighbors about how to remain in the community they loved as they aged-to be safe at home while remaining active, connected, and contributing to the community. Experience with their own families showed that aging in place requires extra support, so the founders designed ANV using the village movement as a model. The village concept is a volunteer network of neighbors helping neighbors-peer-to-peer support to live independently at home, remain active, improve well-being, and reduce social isolation.
After six years of providing services, ANV is a thriving volunteer-based organization that supports a community of over 300 seniors so they can connect with and care for each other as they age in place. ANV's 300 volunteers deliver direct (non-medical) services (e.g., rides to the doctor, errands, check-in calls, and help around the house) and social programs (e.g., weekly speaker series, falls prevention classes) to village members. ANV's office is a single point of contact for information on independent living-helping members access county and other resources.
Volunteers, members, and ANV's 13-member Board of Directors collaborate on nine committees that develop programs, manage events, and perform administrative functions. Two part-time staff support membership services and volunteers, and ANV's part-time Executive Director drives strategy and ensures impact.
ANV serves all of Arlington, VA with members ranging in age from 58 to 98. Village members represent a diverse range of interests and needs, cultural and racial backgrounds, and economic circumstances, but they all share one goal: to age safely and independently in their own homes, supported by the community they love.
"I am sitting here eating the first fresh vegetables in three months. Mr. S. just brought a bag of groceries from AFAC. Truly, you had no idea how low I was running. What a miracle.
My support network vanished in March - some left for family elsewhere, others overloaded with family. My former students were out in the community or on Zoom meetings helping others. Though feelings don't usually count when we're talking services and supplies, I became tearful, anxious through this time. What little I had left of a normal life was now abruptly interrupted with negative news and a darkening future in my thoughts. A sense of abandonment hovered closely. I called ANV for help.
Later, ANV answered my email asking for assistance with my stimulus check and I was linked with a volunteer. What a smart cookie! She explained about banks being closed, and how I could deal with the check. She went to the bank for me, and took care of my business. More than that, though, she taught me several tricks about banking online. I'd never done that before, but now I do. She left me feeling more empowered in my solitude.
From an ANV Coffee and Conversation, I learned through Zoom about online exercise classes. This morning, I stood beside my chair and marched along with the instructor, followed her moves while I played classical music. I'll be watching and exercising every morning now.
The most difficult part of being old and disabled is the despondence of feeling so alone. Hard, sharp feelings of being ignored, forgotten and written-off as irrelevant is more difficult to bear than the aches and pains.
I'm still indoors, still masked at the mailbox, and still here. Though ANV is an organization, a group of people with a mission statement, it is the unspoken surety that they offer - a voice, an email, a call, a smiling volunteer; little things. Hope glistens in small acts-glistens in the presence of another human willing to help in small ways that keep me still here.
My thanks to all at ANV."
-V, a new member ANV is helping through the pandemic
"ANV is a saving grace! Because of multiple health issues, I'm unable to grocery shop for myself. Being on a fixed income, I can't afford grocery delivery. Arlington Neighborhood Village has a system in place for those receiving services as well as those giving them. All I need to do is contact the ANV office with the information they need, and they do the rest of the work. That makes coordinating with the volunteers effortless. ANV gives me a sense of peace during a troublesome time in my life. I can't thank them enough!"
"At the beginning of the pandemic, we had no safe and convenient place to turn for our grocery shopping. At that time ANV volunteers were a vital lifeline. We gave them incredibly detailed and complicated shopping lists and they were able to acquire almost everything we needed, delivered to our front step. I cannot emphasize enough that at that time, we two octogenarians were completely dependent on the ANV volunteers, and their willingness to go do what we were afraid to do. As time has gone on, and things have become better organized in the marketplace, we have become able to get our shopping done without prevailing on ANV's brave, helpful, and thoughtful volunteers."
"Arlington Neighborhood Village brings the ideal of true community to fruition. ANV is a saving grace! Because of multiple health issues, I'm unable to grocery shop for myself. Being on a fixed income, I can't afford grocery delivery. Arlington Neighborhood Village has a system in place for those receiving services as well as those giving them. All I need to do is contact the ANV office with the information they need, and they do the rest of the work. That makes coordinating with the volunteers effortless. ANV gives me a sense of peace during a troublesome time in my life. I can't thank them enough!"
"I am so grateful to have found Arlington Neighborhood Villages. I am a 60 year old single mom with a teen who has a serious medical condition. We are both high risk when it comes to getting Covid-19. So we really have to isolate and not go into the stores. I looked to my counties social services for help picking up groceries and needed medications, but they had nothing to offer. Arlington Neighborhood's Village's volunteers have been nothing short of awesome! They are quick to respond, and are so helpful! Also, I can't say enough good things about Wendy at the ANV office who walked me through their process and had made everything so easy for me. I am impressed by the range of services they offer from helping people get to medical appointments, grocery shopping, computer assistance and more. I also like how they have vetted their volunteers which gives me a piece of mind. I highly recommend this group!"
"The prompt arrival of the volunteer to pick her up, to helping fill out forms at the doctor's office, to getting her home safely - and through your all-around kind and caring manner - you did an outstanding job for her and she is exceedingly pleased and grateful."
-L, ANV partner
"She is so very thankful for your help with packing and getting ready for the move, and for the help of another ANV volunteer who helped on the Culpepper Garden end. You made an important difference in her life, making the move much more manageable for her and setting her up for a more positive adjustment to Culpepper Garden."
- volunteer who helped a member move to Culpepper Garden
"Attached the registration for my mother's vaccine, tomorrow at 10:15 (!). Hopefully someone will be able to take her. Sorry it's so last minute, but that was their only opening. (or "we'll call you back sometime next week")
Same day response from ANV: "Thanks Pierre. Please let your mother know that I will provide the transportation. Since her appointment is at 10:15 a.m., I will pick her up at 9:30 a.m."
And from the son: "Thank you so much David, and for your reassuring words! I just called my mother to tell her, she was delighted. It is truly reassuring to know she is in such good and caring hands."
-from a son in Philadelphia who was coordinating his 99 year old mom's COVID shot
A village is a network of neighbors helping neighbors- we are a local community-based nonprofit that helps older adults age-in-place by providing support services, resources, and social and educational programs - all through a robust volunteer network.
At Arlington Neighborhood Village (ANV), our mission is to provide the help that seniors need to continue living in their own homes - safely, independently, and with an enhanced quality of life.