Ebenezer outreach

One area that has been very unsatisfying in working on this project is our abject failure to find any people of color interested in working with us. On one level it’s completely understandable. But we would like to be an inclusive Village open to everyone in town.

On Sunday 17 July, we visited Ebenezer Baptist Church to speak with the congregation there about our Village. We were kindly allocated 3 minutes at the end of the regular Sunday service by Pastor Lehman Bates. Having just 3 minutes to speak is an interesting challenge when there’s so much one COULD say about the Village idea and progress so far.

Anyway, we did our thing, and then briefly stood outside with our biggest smiles on as people were leaving to hand out brochures. About a half-dozen people took one and a few made positive comments about our presentation and thanked us.

Who knows if this effort will bear fruit? We shall follow up with Pastor B in a couple of weeks to see if he received any comments or questions. It’s a start.

We wish we’d written this

Perfectly expresses this editor’s beliefs about politics and what that means.

from 7/10/22 The Marginalian newsletter [brainpickings.org]

True politics are not ideologies to discuss, but an attitude to your relationship with the world which is enacted in your daily life. Your politics are not what you tell yourself you believe. They are not the set of ideas that you identify with, or look to for personal validation of your goodness as a human being. Your politics are expressed in the choices that you make, the way you treat other people, and the actions you perform. It is here that hypocrisy and vanity fall away, as the reality of your politics is revealed in the countless decisions that you make every day. Who you work for, whether you volunteer for charity work, if you become a landlord, whether you eat meat, the extent to which you pursue money and consumer goods — these are the types of decisions in which our true politics are expressed…

John Higgs, William Blake versus The World

July 2022 update

Well, folks, lots of changes lately.

We learned in May that both MK and Helen, stalwarts who had been on this project since earliest times AND board members, were leaving to pursue other avenues for community involvement. That gave me a sinking pit-of-stomach feeling and I was spurred to contemplate my own participation. I contacted the others who had been actively working on this project before covid hit and we are left with 2 people besides me plus one who can’t come to meetings but graciously agreed to manage the email list and put out emails.

So many times I’ve heard: this is such a good idea, Cville really needs this; call me when you get it going.

Not: how can I help you get it going?

Not: I can make a donation to help you get going!

If it’s such a good idea, why aren’t others stepping up to help? They’re busy? we’re ALL busy! They aren’t well? there are jobs that can be done from one’s recliner!

OK, enough feeling sorry. Let’s move on.

I called a meeting of the two available people, we had a couple others attend (but not stick), and the 3 of us are now the Board of Directors: me, Jodie Stevens, and Laura Wallace. (Bless you both.) We’ve officially transferred the archives, the bank account, and the 501c3 management to this new board.

We are attempting some outreach to Cville’s African American community and will be making a brief presentation about the Village idea to the congregants of the Ebenezer Baptist Church on Sunday, July 17. Many thanks to Pastor Lehman Bates for facilitating this.

Based on the feedback from the church event, we then plan to choose a neighborhood for a pilot and see how that goes.

We’re also meeting with folks from the Center for Nonprofit Excellence and JABA next week to explore areas for cooperation.

Stay tuned.

January 2022 update

Here we are again.

Helen P and I had some hope last summer (2021) that by now we could be starting up a transportation service as a beginning step to a full-on, full service Village. Then came Delta, and we were barely through Delta when Omicron hit.

I guess I could say I’m regretfully coming around to the stance that covid is going to be with us forever and if we keep putting this Village off, it’ll never happen. So we will just have to set things up with covid in mind and go from there.

So stay tuned and look for some news after the weather warms up and the days get longer again! Stay safe and keep warm!

Plus ça change…

It’s a French saying: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Or, in English: same stuff, different day. Helen and I, the chief movers of this initiative (if we can be said to be moving it) were on the verge of meeting to revive our Village development efforts when August happened and we got the Delta surge.

It’s heartening to see that vaccination numbers are ticking up and cases now ticking down; nationwide cases were below 75K yesterday. That’s down from close to 200K per day in September which is a definite improvement, but still…75K PER DAY! And in Cville/Albe, we are still getting cases every day, 26 of them on Friday, October 22 after peaking at 123 on September 2.

I hope the handful of readers of this blog have taken the opportunity to get all doses of covid vaccine for which they are eligible. My own prediction is that eventually we will settle into an endemic situation in which, like with influenza, we’ll all need a covid vaccine booster every year or two.

If no further variants cause big surges and our local case numbers continue dropping we will indeed go back to our planning activities. If you want to help us out, we welcome your participation. Meanwhile, please stay safe!

Loneliness

We all know you can be alone without being lonely. They’re two different things. Likewise, you can be lonely while surrounded by people. Either way, loneliness is a health hazard, and this article is a fine summary of why and the many actions we can take to mitigate it. Providing companionship is a core service of a Village, and at the top of our list of services we want to provide when Cville Village launches.

https://www.deseret.com/2021/6/24/22545473/why-loneliness-should-be-treated-as-a-public-health-crisis-covid-19-pandemic

More thoughts on the need for a Village

Vikki said,

“During the pandemic, isolation was one of the biggest risk factors, both emotionally and in terms of getting basic needs met. Our synagogue had volunteers calling everyone to make sure they were all right and to offer any needed assistance. 
“In a Village, there would be a network of people who could check on each other. We now appreciate more than ever how important that is.”

Getting basic needs met – physical and emotional – is more or less the foundation of why Villages exist. Even those of us who live with partners or have family close by can’t assume those people are always available to see to our needs.

How did your pandemic go? What helped you cope?

On the need for a Village

It’s June, 2021. Two years ago this time, we were hoping we would have a functioning Village by now! We had no idea what would descend upon us in early March of 2020. For readers who lost a loved one to covid or anything else in the past 15 months, our most sincere condolences.

No doubt we have all learned something from this pandemic experience about ourselves and about living in this world.

We Zoomed, had driveway parties, adopted pets, read, baked, binge-watched, walked, talked on the phone. We coped however we could.

Over those long months, nearly every day I heard or read something that shouted to me, “Cville NEEDS a Village!” A plea to check on neighbors. Food delivery. Help with technology so families could stay in touch.

Laura said, “…all this quarantine and isolation has carried a strong message about building and supporting community for people in our area who are facing the crisis of aging alone.” She’s right. Community, companionship, are critical for humans and especially for those who are on their own. A Village can make them happen.

News from JABA

This very long link will take you to a message from Marta Keane, JABA Executive Director. In it, she describes some of the JABA activities going on in these Covid-19 days.

http://portal.criticalimpact.com/vm2/6f983d7ab2257309/24854/d541deea2ab3bbf33947229f28c3afba

Stay home, but walk outside when you can. Wear a mask to protect others in case you’re pre-symptomatic. Stay connected. Stay safe!

What we’re doing

I’ve heard from a few of the steering committee in the past couple of weeks. It’s been difficult but necessary to put our organizing efforts on hold for a bit while we all focus on keeping ourselves and others we love safe. But here’s a little update from a few of us.

Laura is enjoying the relative peace and being grateful for friendly faces (from 6 feet away) and friendly voices.

Carla is getting ready to plant her garden.

Vikki is enjoying the blossoming of spring, watching Netflix (she recommends “Kim’s Convenience”), supporting local restaurants by ordering takeaway on Friday nights. She was part of a Zoom seder this week!

Helen is working hard from home to prepare her workplace for her imminent retirement. In her spare time she’s been producing masks, and there’s a new puppy at her house, so undoubtedly she is busy.

Yours truly has also been making masks, as well as finishing two baby quilts (one is for my grandson due in early May!), working on a gift quilt, reading from the stash I got from the library before it closed, and continuing involvement with other aspects of my volunteer life. I tweet something to the @cvillevillage feed almost every day, try to maintain a bit of strength via training with elastic bands, and walk at least a couple of miles every day if it’s not pouring. Oh, and bake.

Now would be a good time to make sure your voter registration is up to date. Stay safe, help each other, we’ll get through this.