Report on April 26, 2017 Community Meeting
Northampton Neighbors Community Forum
April 26, 2017
INTRODUCTION BY NORTHAMPTON NEIGHBORS PRESIDENT:
The Northampton Neighbors Community Forum on April 26, 2017, was introduced by NN Board President Leigh Bailey. Leigh explained that the Northampton Senior Center will generously allow NN to operate under its “umbrella” for our first several years until we are ready to launch ourselves. As a result, membership in NN is now FREE! We encourage you to join NOW as members by going to our website, www.northamptonneighbors.org, and following the instructions there. We also encourage you to donate generously to NN when you sign up as members. Your tax-deductible donations will go towards hiring a director, covering our insurance costs, and other expenses.
VIDEO BY ATUL GAWANDE:
The Forum began with a short video by Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal, to spur on our discussions. For those of you who missed it, it can be accessed here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KA32crcXOI0
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Members sitting at tables by wards then addressed the following questions:
Why are you here? Tell us your personal story.
What makes life worth living as we grow older?
How can Northampton Neighbors make life worth living as we “age in place” in each of our neighborhoods/Wards?
REPORT-BACK: After forty-five minutes of discussion, each table reported back to the larger group. These are some of the major points that emerged from the ward discussions:
Avoiding isolation, making connections, feeling of belonging
Staying in touch with people of all ages, including children
Access to activities, services
Help NN identify those who need services and inform people about what NN can provide (walk door-to-door with brochures?)
Establish connections between people who need services and volunteers who want to provide them
Connect with already-existing infrastructures, including listserves and street associations, and share resources across neighborhoods/wards and city-wide (listserve for seniors?)
Connect to existing services for aging, including professionals to educate us about services available to help the elderly and local institutions that provide services (from yoga to health fairs)
Organize social and interest groups both in neighborhoods/wards and on a city-wide basis
A dance party!
WARD MEETINGS: Our next step will be get-togethers in individual wards during the month of May where participants will be able to socialize with fellow ward members and talk about how best to organize Northampton Neighbors in THEIR ward in order to meet the needs of the seniors who live there. You will be receiving an e-mail soon (or may have already received one) that will give you more details and tell you when and where that meeting will take place.
Thanks so much for your enthusiastic support of Northampton Neighbors! Together we are on our way to creating an organization that will help us all to “age in place” in our own homes in Northampton!