Village news

Volunteers are Central to the Spirit of the Village

April 30, 2022 | April is National Volunteer Month, and before it ends, the Village Chicago would like to thank the dozens of volunteers who contribute everyday to its purpose and goals.

“As a network of members, we’re driven by four guiding principles, all of which point to the centrality of volunteerism to our mission,” says Darcy Evon, CEO of the Village. The four principles are:
  1. Recognize and engage each person based on their unique strengths.
  2. Build a collaborative community where all can share their life experience.
  3. Never forget that everyone has something to teach and something to learn.
  4. Provide a sense of belonging through community.
“Most of our volunteers are members helping members, but we also engage members in serving those in the broader community,” says Darcy. “Furthermore, the Village engages many non-members who want to participate in the Village community.” Aditi Rangarajan is a young adult living in Lincoln Park who has volunteered with The Village Chicago for two and a half years. Before moving to the neighborhood, she was a volunteer for the Chicago Hyde Park Village. “I help with any and all tech devices,” says Aditi. “I coach members who need support in using basic functions of their TVs, phones, computers, and cameras. I also help them with more complex functions that will make their lives easier, such as the use of online grocery and ride services. I recently taught someone how to use the CTA app so she could time her rides, and didn’t need to stand out in the cold waiting for a bus to arrive!” Sometimes the task of helping with tech turns to long, friendly conversations. She recently spent five hours visiting with a Village member who lives alone. “I love spending time with the members and learning from them,” says Aditi, who is a data analyst at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. “I’ve grown up with tech and am able to use it with ease, but for some people it’s difficult because it’s new or constantly changing. I would hope someone would do something like that for me if I needed help,” she says. Dick Sullivan, a retiree and Village member, volunteers with the Village in several ways: as the treasurer of the board, as a member of the Fund Development Committee, as a co-founder and member of the Racism Action Initiative, as a member of the Men’s Group, and as a driver offering rides to other members. Through the Racism Action Initiative and Men’s Group, Dick has led efforts to engage members in volunteering in projects like delivering holiday presents and volunteering in local food pantries. He was introduced to the Village in 2015 by Rick Stuckey, his partner at Accenture, where he worked for many years as a management consultant. Dick was attracted to the idea of the Village as a network of “seniors helping seniors. It’s the people that keep me in and the camaraderie that keeps me going,” he says. Referring to his efforts to engage members as volunteers in the broader community, he says, “I especially enjoy working with others to achieve value for people we’ve never known. I like doing stuff rather than just talking about it or writing a check. It’s good to move the ball forward.” Bob and Dorothy Hernquist have been Village members and volunteers since The Village Chicago was founded in 2009. They are both retired. Bob has given innumerable rides to other members, often with the help of Dorothy who will walk the member to her doctor’s office, for example, once Bob drops her off. “We’ll take people wherever they need to go. About 80 percent of the trips are medically related,” says Bob. “The other 20 percent are usually shopping trips. Occasionally I’ll help a member with something that needs to be done around the house such as changing a light bulb.” “Our major motivation for joining and volunteering for the Village is to meet other people in the community,” he continues. “Generally, people meet others through work, but when you’re retired, it helps to join organizations. What we do as volunteers is no great sacrifice—we get a lot out of meeting new people in the process.” Last year, volunteers filled 689 out of 1,551 member service requests of the Village. A little over 200 of the requests were for rides, which were given by 10 volunteers. If you would like to learn more about a variety of volunteer opportunities at the Village, Darcy recommends that you visit the Village website or contact Niki Fox, Director of Health, Wellness & Member Services. “We are profoundly grateful to the many volunteers who fuel our mission,” says Niki. “They’re essential to the kind of community we’re building through The Village Chicago.”

Ready to Watch: Our Thought Leader Event–Ageist, Racist? Who, Me?

March 15, 2022 | The Village Chicago is pleased to share a video of our recent Thought Leader event in which we explored identity, privilege, and the role of anti-racism in our efforts to dismantle ageism.

Titled “Ageist, Racist, Who, Me?” the video features Ashton Applewhite, an award-winning activist, author, and recipient of the Village’s Trailblazer Award in 2021. Her groundbreaking book, This Chair Rocks – A Manifesto Against Ageism, has helped catalyze a global movement to recognize and eliminate age discrimination. She was joined by Village Board Member Molly Matthias of Facing History and Ourselves, Chicago – an educational organization that uses lessons of history to challenge teachers and their students to stand up to bigotry and hate.

Please check the Village calendar for more Thought Leader events and other opportunities to explore ageism and racism today.

Join Us for a Community Conversation: Ageist? Racist? Who, Me?

February 23, 2022 | Village members and the general public are invited to join us for a free online event on Wednesday, March 2, at 5 PM (CT). Two thought leaders – activist and author Ashton Applewhite and Village board member Molly Mathias — will lead a candid exploration of identity, privilege, and the role of anti-racism in dismantling ageism. All audience members are encouraged to participate in this important conversation.

Ashton ApplewhiteAshton Applewhite is an award-winning activist, author, and recipient of the Village’s Trailblazer Award in 2021. Her groundbreaking book, This Chair Rocks – A Manifesto Against Ageism has helped catalyze a global movement to recognize and eliminate age discrimination. She co-founded Old School, a clearinghouse for anti-ageism resources, and her TED Talk, “Let’s End Ageism” appears on journalism site Stacker’s list of 50 essential civil rights speeches.

Molly Matthias is on the Village Chicago Board of Directors. She works for Facing History and Ourselves, Chicago – an educational organization that uses lessons of history to challenge teachers and their students to stand up to bigotry and hate. Prior to that she was Manager of Mentoring and Inclusion Programs at Chicago Innovation.

Please register for this free one-hour event by clicking here.      

Sponsor Home Instead Honors The Village Chicago

Home InsteadFebruary 22, 2022 | The Village Chicago is pleased to announce the receipt of a special grant from Home Instead as the Skokie franchise celebrates its twentieth anniversary of providing home care for older adults. The grant, designated for the Village’s unique Brain Health and Memory Loss program, was one of twenty awards that Home Instead distributed to organizations serving older adults as part of its celebratory “Twenty-for-Twenty” program.

“We are grateful for the recognition of our Brain Health and Memory Loss program,” said Darcy Evon, Chief Executive Officer of The Village Chicago. “It will support our person-centered, strengths-based approach to helping our members and their families.” “We are big fans of the Village, and appreciate its mission of enhancing the quality of life, and the value placed on the social engagement and well-being of the community,” said Michael Melinger, co-owner of Home Instead.

A Special, Intergenerational Valentine

February 14, 2022 | This past Valentine’s day, Illinois State Representative Margaret Croke asked The Village Chicago to share 100 gift bags made by children at the Play2Day childcare center in Lincoln Park. Each adorably decorated bag was unique, and contained candy and educational flyers from Rep. Croke’s office as well as KN95 masks contributed by the Village. Shown here is a resident of Chicago Methodist Senior Services Chicago, a partner of The Village Chicago, receiving his Valentine.

‘Musical Pen Pals’ Plays the Right Note

January 4, 2022 | From the Chicago Tribune: “From February through May, the Music Institute of Chicago paired 25 music students, age 6 to 18, with adults age 65 and over. Every other week, the pairs met to share music and conversation. Victor Ribadeneyra, director of community engagement for the Music Institute, credits the school’s President and CEO Mark George with coming up with the concept for this program. “We have an initiative at Music Institute of Chicago called Music as Service,” Ribadeneyra explained. “The goal is to serve anyone who doesn’t have access to music.” He said that means playing music for seniors who are isolated, at soup kitchens and at homeless shelters, among other locations. “The older adults were selected through a group called Senior Connections, which is part of Chicago Methodist Senior Services. Then we got a grant from the RRF Foundation for Aging that allowed us to expand the program.” That grant made it possible for the music institute to partner with five social service agencies to locate seniors for the program: Highland Park Senior Center, North Shore Senior Center in Northfield, Senior Connections in Evanston, The Village Chicago in Lincoln Park and Westminster Place in Evanston.” Click here to read more.

Where Is the Affordable Housing for Older Adults? A Thought Leaders Panel

December 8, 2021 | Last week, The Village Chicago hosted a Thought Leaders Panel on the topic of affordable housing. The housing crisis impacts individuals and families across the income spectrum. A panel of experts discussed strategies that can remove the barriers to finding a home in a livable, engaged community and how we can all help.

Panelists included: Earl L. Chase, Executive Director and VP of Heartland Housing; Gail Schechter, Executive Director of H.O.M.E.; Britta Larson, Senior Services Director at the Center on Halsted; and Donald Bell, Housing Justice Field Organizer at Jane Addams Senior Caucus. The discussion is moderated by Callie Alton, Director of Membership & Engagement for The Village Chicago. Click below to view the recording of this live event, OR copy and paste this link to share with friends, families, and colleagues who wish to learn more about this important topic:

To learn more about the panelists and resources on affordable housing, click here to view a supplementary guide.

The Village Chicago Has Support for Family Caregivers

October 20, 2021 | November is National Family Caregivers Month and National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. While supporting caregivers and individuals with memory care and brain health needs are part of the Village Chicago’s mission year-round, throughout November The Village Chicago will present a series of free events via Zoom featuring leading experts with new insights and information on family care-giving.
Village CEO Darcy Evon says, “The role of the family caregiver has never been more essential or more in demand. In addition to spouses and siblings, a new “sandwich generation” of Millennials and Gen X need all the help they can get managing children, work, and aging parents. The Village Chicago stands ready to help with events such as these and our ever-expanding support services for family caregivers.” CLICK HERE to read the full press release.

Tom Kuczmarski, Town Hall Apartments and Ashton Applewhite Selected as The Village Chicago’s 2021 Trailblazer Award Recipients

August 2, 2021 | The Village Chicago is excited to announce the recipients of the 2021 Trailblazer Awards, which recognize outstanding achievement and extraordinary leadership in changing the narrative on aging. The awards will be presented September 21 at our annual benefit: “It’s the New Roaring ’20s!”

Trailblazers are individuals, organizations and authors who shatter stereotypes about aging and show that the decades of life after 50 are vital, engaging, productive and fulfilling.

Board President Karen Terry noted, “We are living in a time when working together toward common goals has taken on existential importance. What’s at stake now is our city, our country, our planet. Through their work, these Trailblazers have demonstrated the immense benefits of a fully age-integrated, inclusive society where everyone’s strengths are appreciated, respected, and utilized.” CLICK HERE to learn more about our Trailblazer Award recipients!

From left: A portrait of Tom Kuczmarski, an image of Town Hall Apartments from the street, a portrait of Ashton Applewhite From left: Tom Kuczmarski, Town Hall Apartments and Ashton Applewhite (image of Ashton Applewhite courtesy of Adrian Buckmaster)

Chicagoland Villages Collaborative Launch Aging Brain & Body Series

April 22, 2021 | Chicagoland Villages are working together to provide quarterly seminars that educate, bring awareness, and highlight the exceptional work at the leading dementia research centers being done related to brain and body health. The purpose of this series is to provide our community with information, interventions, techniques and tools that support us all at various levels of mental and physical health and wellness. Participating Villages include Chicago Hyde Park Village, South Loop Village, Skyline Village Chicago, and The Village Chicago.

The first event launched the series on April 15, 2021 with Connecting Through Communication for Families and Friends of Persons with Dementia, featuring Dr. Angela Roberts. In this talk, Dr.  Roberts covers how cognitive changes affect conversation and social communication; the importance of communication as a form of connecting with persons who have cognitive impairment/dementia; and strategies for creating and maintaining connections through engaging activities and effective/meaningful conversations with persons who have dementia.

See below to view the recording OR copy and paste this link to share with friends, families, and colleagues who wish to learn more about this important topic:

Future of Work Hosts Dr. Rao Kotamarthi on Mitigating Climate Change

March 17, 2021 | Whether you missed the live event on March 10, or want to share it with others, please enjoy this recording of Mitigating Climate Change and Its Impact on the Future of Work, featuring guest speaker Dr. Rao Kotamarthi! Dr. Kotamarthi – Chief Scientist & Department Head for Argonne National Laboratory’s Atmospheric Science and Climate Research Group – has nearly 30 years of experience in climate research. He is Principal Investigator for projects ranging from climate modeling to wind energy for the Department of Energy’s Environmental Research Office. He led teams of climate scientists who analyzed the climate change impacts on Department of Defense installations and assessed the climate change vulnerabilities of lifeline infrastructure systems — transportation, power, water/wastewater, and telecommunications. He authored the soon to be published book, Downscaling Techniques for High Resolution Climate Projections – From Global Change to Local Impacts, published by Cambridge University Press, UK. In his presentation recorded below, Dr. Rao Kotamarthi discusses how innovations and President Biden’s plan should mitigate climate change and impact the future of work. He also shares what jobs these initiatives might create and/or eliminate, how future jobs may change and what we as individuals can do to help. Click the image below to view the recording OR copy and paste the link to share with friends, families, and colleagues who wish to learn more about this important topic:   Mitigating Climate Change and Its Impact on the Future of Work Featuring Dr. Rao Kotamarthi from The Village Chicago on Vimeo.

Our 2020 Annual Report is Here!

March 8, 2021 | The Village Chicago 2020 Annual Report (click here to view the PDF) features our successes and underscores our comprehensive response to the pandemic. Some of the highlights include our new brain health and memory loss program, expanded opportunities for social connection to reduce isolation and loneliness, and increasing diversity, inclusion and equity in our community. We also recognize our broad community of donors, partners, collaborators, members, family and friends who helped the Village have a remarkable year. Please enjoy the report, and if you would like to help older adults and join our efforts, you can donate here.

The 2020 Village Annual Report
Designed by friend of the Village, Kathy Krick (2021)

Welcome Our Newest Ageless Innovators!

February 24, 2021 | Congrats to Village members David Baker, Michele Baldwin, and David Hiller for being part of the newest cohort of Ageless Innovators, Chicago’s first multigenerational co-mentoring program established in partnership with Chicago Innovation. Thanks to the generous support of the RRF Foundation for Aging, we are able to offer the newest cohort of co-mentors a Village membership. Please join us in welcoming this amazing group of Ageless Innovators to our community (see below for the full list). (more…)

Rick Stevens on Artificial Intelligence

December 9, 2020 | Whether you missed the live event on November 9, or want to share it with others, please enjoy this recording of our Future of Work event featuring Rick Stevens. Rick Stevens is the Associate Laboratory Director of the Computing, Environment and Life Sciences Directorate at Argonne National Laboratory and a professor at the University of Chicago. His research spans high-performance computing, to the building of innovative tools and techniques for biological science and infectious disease research, to advances in deep learning to accelerate cancer and COVID-19 research. At Argonne, he leads the AI for Science initiative to launch Argonne’s first Exascale computer, Aurora 21, which will pursue some of the farthest-reaching science and engineering breakthroughs ever achieved with supercomputing. Click the embedded video OR copy and paste the link below to share with friends, families, and colleagues who wish to learn more about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it is impacting the world:   Future of Work Presents AI with Rick Stevens, Co-hosted by Ageless Innovators from The Village Chicago on Vimeo.

The Village Chicago Announces 2020 Trailblazer Awards

September 9, 2020 | The Village Chicago will recognize outstanding contributions and extraordinary leadership in changing the narrative on aging with its annual Trailblazer Awards, to be presented Sept. 22 at The Village Chicago’s virtual 2020 benefit: ​Zooming Ahead—No Stopping Us Now! The awards celebrate the work of individuals and organizations that are reframing how we think and talk about the decades of life after age 50—a period that can be vital, engaged, productive and healthy, in contrast to the stereotype of aging. With more than 11,000 Americans turning 50 each day, it is vital to understand and leverage the potential of a fully age-integrated, inclusive society where everyone’s strengths are appreciated, respected, and utilized. The 2020 Village Chicago Trailblazer Award winners are physician and author Louise Aronson​,​ ​community leader ​Ruth Ann​ ​Watkins​, and ​Next Avenue​, public media’s national journalism service focused on older adults. Click here to read the full press release.

Back to the top