Deciding on Our Village’s Mission and Values

One of the tasks the Eastside Village’s planning group recently took on was to develop mission and values statements for our Village.  These tasks can be painful and exhausting, if group members insist on going round and round endlessly wordsmithing each line, or if there is a great difference of opinion in your planning group over what your purpose and values should be.

We were fortunate not to have those problems.  A small subcommittee took on the task of collecting mission and values statements from other Villages and used them to draft proposed statements for our Village.  This was accomplished by an initial face-to-face meeting followed by discussion and  revision via email.  When the subcommittee had a “first draft” they were satisfied with, it was sent out to the entire planning group–along with the mission and values statements from other Villages—so they could study the examples and draft before our next  planning group meeting.

At the planning group meeting, we discussed what worked for us in the draft and what changes and additions we thought needed to be made.  The subcommittee took the group’s input and used it to make additions and modifications.  The revised mission and values statements were then emailed out to the entire group for feedback. And after one or two final tweaks, we were done.

We were greatly assisted in this process by the group’s willingness to see these as “working” documents, which we might decide to amend or improve down the road.  Our goal was to come up with the best version we could “for now” but to remain open to the possibility that we might see things differently as we continue through the Village development process and that, if that happened, we could always revisit and change them.   This reminds me of the saying “Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good” and don’t operate as if every decision is set in stone.  It’s okay to grow and change and refine as you move forward and learn more.

So, what did we come up with as Eastside Village, PDX’s working mission and vision statements?   Here they are:

Our Mission and Values

The mission of Eastside Village, PDX is to build a strong, lasting, intergenerational community and to engage and coordinate a network of trained volunteers and high quality service providers to ensure that our members are able to age at home and in community safely, affordably, happily and healthily for as long as they choose.

Values

Eastside Village, PDX is guided by the following values:

Enabling people to age in community and do “as much for as little cost for as long as possible.” To that end, we are a “volunteer first” village that develops smart, practical cost-effective ways to address our members’ needs.

Recognizing and celebrating our mutual interdependence and our lasting commitment to each other over time.

Fostering community and building strong, caring relationships.

Appreciating the richness and diversity of our EastsideVillage, PDX neighborhoods.

Being inclusive of and welcoming to people of all ages, races, faiths, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations and gender identities, and socio-economic levels.

Treasuring the willingness of the members of our Village and the wider community to volunteer their time and expertise in support of our mission, and striving to ensure that volunteers’ work with EastsideVillage, PDX is always meaningful and appreciated.

Valuing inter-generational connections as an integral part of village life.

Honoring the privacy, dignity, and independence of our members and volunteers.

Protecting the security of our members and volunteers in dealing with vendors and service providers.

Valuing the advice and opinions of our members and regularly soliciting their feedback on village programming and volunteer & vendor services.

Fostering a climate of growth, exploration and lifelong learning in our community.

Valuing and actively seeking opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships and collaboration.

Creating a village that is owned by its members and stewarded by community-elected servant leaders.

Being transparent in our decision making and honest in all our dealings.

Being innovative and agile with our programs and services; staying abreast of new approaches and technologies; responding gracefully to changing times and evolving member needs.

Being committed to enduring and sustainable growth and the wise and prudent use of all EastsideVillage, PDX resources.

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Eastside Village, PDX: It’s not a PLACE. It’s a PLAN for aging-in-place.

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 Modeled after Beacon Hill Village in Boston, Eastside Village, PDX is not a building or a real estate development or a retirement community. Rather, it is a group of like-minded people who live within the same geographic area who have come together to develop the resources they will need to age comfortably in their own homes.  There are currently over 90 of these Villages in existence—including Villages in Bend, Ashland and Seattle—with over 100 more in development across the country.

The primary purpose of Eastside Village, PDX will be to assist older adults and people with disabilities to live at home safely, affordably, happily and healthily for as long as they choose by creating a coordinated network of volunteer and reduced cost services that supports village members to “do as much for as little cost for as long as possible.”  Village membership will be open to anyone age 18 or older so that people with disabilities who aren’t yet seniors may benefit from its services and support.

The EastsideVillage, PDX service delivery area will include all or part of 13 Portland neighborhoods, and its working boundaries will be:

  • Powell Blvd on the south;
  • the WillametteRiver on the west;
  • I-84/Banfield or Halsey (east of I-205) on the north;
  • 122nd on the east (except between Stark and Division where the boundary extends out to 130th to include all of the MillPark neighborhood).

The EastsideVillage planning group hopes to file for 501c3 status by Fall 2013 and launch the Village by the Fall of 2014. Their fiscal sponsor for this project is a local nonprofit organization Health Advocacy Solutions, who will be assisting them with grant applications and processing their tax-deductible donations until they get their own 501c3.

The Eastside Village, PDX project is also enthusiastically supported by the leadership of AARP Oregon, who understand that, “The development of a supportive, interdependent community in which older adults are able to live at home safely, affordably, happily and healthily for as long as they choose  is essential for Portland’s aging population and AARP is proud to be a supporter of the village development efforts in Portland neighborhoods.”

One of the key steps to Village formation is to survey potential members and volunteers living throughout the Village’s service area in order to learn (1) what aging-in-place programs & services they would want from the Village; (2) what programs & services they are currently receiving; (3) what they are paying for the services they are currently receiving: (4) what they would be willing to volunteer their help with.

The Eastside Village programs & services committee is currently designing a comprehensive needs assessment survey (both print and online forms) to collect this information and plans to devote the month of May 2013 to surveying (launching on 5/1).

In addition to checking out the Eastside Village website (www.eastsidevillage.org), one of the best ways to learn about the Village and get involved is to attend a “Village 101” informational presentation.   Upcoming presentations are planned for:

Thursday, January 17 at 7pm: Southeast Uplift Fireside Room, 3534 SE Main Street

Wednesday, Wednesday, January 30 at 7pm: Southeast Uplift Fireside Room, 3534 SE Main Street

Sunday, February 3 at 2pm: Belmont Library Community Room, 1038 S.E. César E. Chávez

Wednesday, February 13 at 7pm: Southeast Uplift Fireside Room, 3534 SE Main Street

Sunday, February 24 at 2pm: Belmont Library Community Room, 1038 S.E. César E. Chávez

Monday, March 11 at 7pm: Southeast Uplift Fireside Room, 3534 SE Main Street

Space is limited, so please RSVP to info@eastsidevillage.org or call 503-489-8496 to reserve your place.

The EastsideVillage planning group meets approximately every 3-4 weeks and is open to anyone who wants to help build Eastside Village, PDX.  To get involved, please email Chana Andler, Coordinating Team Chair, at info@eastsidevillage.org