Asking for Help: How Membership Creates Community - San Francisco Village

It can be easy to isolate ourselves in this chapter of our lives. But San Francisco Village empowers members to overcome isolation by creating a localized, engaging community that can help us overcome the barriers of making new friends and asking for help. Here are a few ways how:

Neighborhood Circles

Member Joanne Low says that our neighborhood circles are a key part of creating a community. Neighborhood circles connect members with each other based on geographic location so that meeting up with friends is as easy as a walk or a short drive away.

“The circles are like an extended family. They look in on each other,” Low said.

“Neighborhood circles help us to watch over other members — including myself — who might have a tendency to be alone, or who might not feel comfortable reaching out to others,” said member and board member Bill Haskell.

Asking for Help

“People like independence and like to feel in charge of their lives. There’s a sense of pride there,” Haskell said. “That mindset is common.”

But when the unexpected occurs, Haskell said neighborhood circles can be key sources of help when fellow members are in need. In his circle, a member suffered a fall in her home. Fellow members were quick to jump in and help with care and recovery, as her children lived far away.

“We rallied around her. Her family didn’t feel nervous about her being alone because of our circle,” he said. “These circles are gathering in living rooms all across the city. There’s always someone five minutes away to help.”

Create Your Own Activities

In addition to the village-wide activities, members also have ownership over the activities they participate in, creating their own activities and even leading workshops with other members.

“There’s this grassroots movement — the type of activities are not set in stone,” Low said. “If your circle wants to do a park clean up, they can go do that. You have some say. That’s unusual compared to other organizations.”

Activities not only provide an opportunity for continued learning, but member Olive Shaughnessy said they also help members get to know each other and feel a sense of community.

“Being in the workshops, people reveal a lot of their personal lives and culture — that’s what builds community for me,” she said.

Share the gift of community this holiday season! You or someone you know could benefit from aging better together. Inquire about San Francisco Village membership today by filling out an application here. And, share this blog with others.