Schools are reopening and Labor Day is approaching. Temperatures are slowly beginning to cool. Before we know it, autumn will be here. September is a time of transitions and an opportunity for fresh starts and exciting adventures.
What kinds of adventures, you may ask? How about a field trip to see the wonders of the Glenstone museum? Our Village will have a group going there on September 7th. If you are interested, please register for it today, so our volunteers will know how many complimentary tickets and rides to arrange.
Last month’s online Open House offered a treat when ERCV member Rima Shaffer shared her beautiful photographs of her summer garden. You can see a few of her “Amaryllis Series” photos on our website here. Who knows what we will see, hear, and learn at this month’s gathering on Thursday, Sept 14th? I hope you’ll be there. Also in August, we had a sizeable turnout for our happy hour at Olive Lounge, and we’ll be meeting there again this month. Come have a refreshing drink and perhaps an early dinner with your fellow Villagers on Thursday, September 21st.
Don’t forget that our October 1st community picnic in Rock Creek Park is just around the corner. Now is the time to register to join us. We will supply all the food and drink, but we would appreciate the help of a few more volunteers to assist with planning, setup, and cleanup.
Remember, every day is a chance for a fresh start, and the crisp autumn weather to come can give us renewed energy. I encourage everyone to seek and embrace new opportunities, nurture friendships, and cultivate healthy habits. Being an active member of East Rock Creek Village is an excellent way to get a jumpstart on the season. I hope that we will all enjoy my favorite month of the year!
I want to wish the most important man in my life, my father Benjamin, a very happy 90thbirthday. May he celebrate many more! And finally, to all who celebrate the Jewish High Holidays, I wish a sweet new year and a meaningful time of reflection. L’chaim! To life!
Here are some of the beautiful photographs taken this summer by ERCV member Rima Shaffer.of the amaryllis flowering in her front yard garden She shared them at our August Open House. Do you have art that you want to share either online or in person? We want to celebrate ERCV Creatives all year long.
DC is hot, hot, hot! Perhaps our sidewalks are not as scorching as those in Phoenix nor our waters as scalding as those off Miami Beach, but it’s still steamy in this city built atop a swamp. Our area is heating up in other ways as well: positively, with new businesses opening in The Parks at Walter Reed and new neighbors moving into our community, and negatively, with an upsurge in violent crime that has directly harmed so many and diminishes the well-being of us all.
In such times, it is important that we are here for each other, celebrating and supporting one another in both good and challenging times. The strength of East Rock Creek Village lies in our being a caring community. Together we can beat whatever heat comes our way.
One new way ERCV and the other DC Villages are supporting our communities is through the creation, as I mentioned in my last column, of the DC Villages Collaborative (DCVC). I am pleased to be representing ERCV on the supervisory Collaboration Council which plans to hire a director as soon as possible. Once up and running, the DCVC will focus its attention on some things the individual Villages have been doing informally for years, namely working together and sharing resources for Villages’ mutual benefit. Its other mission, over time, will be to help establish new Villages in unserved areas of the city. I hope that in the coming years we will connect more people with Villages and enhance the support and services available to older adults throughout the city.
This month, please take some time to rest and relax. Pour an ice-cold drink and join our “Staying Cool” online Open House on August 10th. If you’re inclined to brave the heat, come improve your strength and balance by participating in our in-person Otago fall prevention exercise classes. Or join us as we visit the MLK Library on August 14th to see a rare exhibit of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and explore the many other excellent exhibits on display. For the MLK Library trip sign up here to register, and do let us know what other field trips you would like to see us offer in the future. And, as always, be sure to let us know if you need a ride to the doctor or help with your groceries.
There are so many ways that ERCV can be here for you. Consider becoming a neighbor-helping ERCV volunteer and help us prepare for the cooler days ahead. Meanwhile, I want to express my gratitude to all of you for making East Rock Creek Village a welcoming, thriving community. Stay cool!
Check out ERCV’s Mid-Month Calendar Update
Taking Summer Stock
Summer’s here. It’s a good time to look at some of the things East Rock Creek Village has done during the first half of the year and start to make plans for the second.
In the first six months of 2023, ERCV provided hundreds of services for our members, including over a hundred roundtrip rides, scores of grocery shopping excursions and deliveries, and many friendly calls and visits to our members. Nine neighbors joined ERCV, and four new volunteers have been vetted and trained. We’ve hosted over 200 individual wellness, educational, and social events. We launched a series of post-pandemic field trips, star
ting with our trip to the National Aquarium in March, and held our first outdoor, open-to-the-public jazz concert at The Parks at Walter Reed in June.
In addition, we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to improve our profile by upgrading our website – which I hope you’ll visit by clicking here – and to strengthen the Village movement in our city. I’m pleased to announce that at the end of June, after over a year of discussion and debate, all thirteen DC Villages voted to create and join what we are calling the DC Village Collaborative (DCVC), which will assist existing Villages in their mission and help establish new Villages throughout the city. We’re excited about these new developments. Our twin goals at ERCV are to help more people realize the benefits of being part of a Village and to make ours the best it can be.
ERCV will offer a new, in-person Otago fall prevention series and an online StrongerMemory support group in July. If you prefer to stay out of the heat this month, come join our online Open House on July 6th or play our Flags & Fireworks Bingo game online on July 13th. If, however, you feel like getting out and about, I hope you’ll join our July 10th field trip to the National Portrait Gallery and come to our Lunch Bunch at All Set restaurant in Silver Spring on July 20th. We always have a lot to talk about and celebrate together.
We’ve had a great first half of the year, and I look forward to everything that comes next. We are planning a member picnic at Carter Barron in Rock Creek Park in October and will be launching at least one new service in the fall. If you want to find out more or help in any way, please call our office (202-656-7322) or send us an email ([email protected]).
Stay cool, stay active, and stay in touch with ERCV!
To read the full July 2023 Village Voice newsletter, click HERE
Thank you Washington Jazz Arts Institute for a fantastic performance at ERCV’s All that Jazz event on Sunday, June 4. Our members & friends were happy to help celebrate WJAI’s 25th anniversay and gave a standing ovation and lots of cheers to the talented young musicians trained by WJAI’s founders Davey Yarborough and Esther Williams. Special thanks go to the staff of The Parks at Walter Reed for allowing us to hold our gathering on the Arts Plaza. And as always, ERCV is grateful to ALL the volunteers who made this gathering possible, especially Roger Glass, Skip McKoy & Susan Davis,
With the longer days and warmer weather of June, our neighborhoods become centers of activity. Now is a great time to get out, have some fun, and connect with friends. Besides being enjoyable in its own right, interacting with others is good for your health and the health of our shared community. As US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said last month, “Social connection is as fundamental to our mental and physical health as food, water, and sleep.” (Watch his short video or read the full report on loneliness and isolation, which highlights the various health risks that can come from a loss of social connection.) This is one more reason Villages are of value and one more reason to become an active part of ERCV.
East Rock Creek Village is kicking off the summer season with a live jazz program on Sunday, June 4th. From 4 to 6pm, the Arts Plaza at The Parks at Walter Reed will come alive with the timeless sounds of Duke Ellington, Thelonius Monk, Wayne Shorter, and others, performed by a new generation of talented musicians from the Washington Jazz Arts Institute. Come join the fun by registering online or calling the office at 202-656-7322; and ERCV members, please let us know if you need a ride to the event. I hope to see you there.
On the following Sunday, June 11th, we are inviting our dedicated volunteers to a special Volunteer Appreciation from 3 to 5pm at the home of Margie Odle and Carl Bergman. As you know, ERCV is a volunteer-led organization. It’s our volunteers’ commitment and concern for others that enable us to create the kind of community we all want to be a part of: where neighbors help neighbors live at home with dignity among proven friends.
On Monday, June 12th, ERCV members and friends will take the metro down to the National Gallery of Art to join the 11:00am tour. This is the first of what I hope will be a series of field trips to area museums. My thanks to new volunteer leader Cathy Mascelli for helping make this happen. Please check the newsletter for more details.
ERCV will also be hosting an online Open House on Thursday, June 15th. On the following Thursday, June 22nd, our Lunch Bunch will meet at the Olive Lounge in Takoma Park. I certainly hope you can join us.
As always, ERCV’s mission is to help our members live healthy, happy, fulfilling lives. We want to help keep you healthy in every way. Even though the public health emergency has ended, we are still getting reports of COVID-19 and other infections circulating in our community. Please read our COVID update to find out how to get a COVID-19 booster at home or at neighborhood pharmacies if you are over age 65 or immunocompromised, and what other precautions you can take to help stay well.
Together, we will continue to build a community where our friendships flourish and no one feels isolated or alone. I wish everyone a safe and happy Pride Month and Juneteenth holiday, and of course a happy Father’s Day to all who celebrate, including my beloved father Benjamin. Let’s all have a wonderful summer!
We always have a great time together!
It’s said that “March winds and April showers bring May flowers.” While I delight in the beauty of neighborhood trees and flowers in full bloom, I am personally aware that the pollen count in our city has been especially high. My sympathies to those of us coping with allergies in a longer, more intense season than usual.
This month marks 60 years since the US government began designating May as Older Americans Month. It’s a good time to recognize and celebrate how for the most part seniors’ lives have improved over the decades in both longevity and quality. This month is a good time to make sure that outdated notions of what an older person’s life looks like do not limit what we do with ours. To that end, here are some suggestions:
- Stay curious; don’t stop learning. As we age, we gain knowledge, awareness, and insight, allowing us to understand and experience the world more deeply. Continue to grow your knowledge through reading, listening, attending classes, and conversation with others.
- Try new things. Invite creativity and purpose into your life. Discover new passions, go on adventures, participate in new activities in your community.
- Spend time with people. Deepen your connections with family, friends, and community members.
- Stay or become active in your community. Volunteer, help, teach, or mentor others. Participate.
East Rock Creek Village has a role to play in all this, providing opportunities for members and friends – for you – to learn, grow, form and deepen relationships, and become involved in the welfare of your community. Our virtual Open House on May 11th will be an opportunity to discuss what aging well means to you, and it’s a good time hear about ERCV offerings. Please join us!
You may remember that during the pandemic ERCV hosted online Armchair Travel jazz programs in cooperation with the Washington Jazz Arts Institute (WJAI). These programs which can be found on ERCV’s YouTube channel were extremely popular, and many of you hoped ERCV could arrange a live performance when it was safe to gather in person again. We aim to please. From 3 to 6pm on Sunday, June 4th, ERCV will bring you “All That Jazz,” a live performance featuring students from WJAI. The event will be held at The Parks at Walter Reed’s “Arts Plaza” near the Aspen Street entrance. Register today and be on the lookout for more details. I hope to see you there.
Getting back to May and its flowers, I want to wish all who celebrate, including my own mom, a very happy Mother’s Day!
– David Mackoff
Village volunteers know they make a difference in the lives of our older neighbors. When we help someone get to a doctor’s appointment, or change a lightbulb or spend time chatting, it may seem like a small thing for one person to do, but on a collective level the impact across the District is amazing.
The recently released FY2022 impact report for the DC Villages, the collective identity for 13 Villages across the District, found that last year 618 volunteers spent more than 27,500 hours helping older adults in the District and building stronger Villages. That time has a value of $1.59 million, but it means even more to the Village members and other older adults who were helped.
In total, Village volunteers provided 5,354 one-way rides to medical appointments, events, and other locations and made 2,434 deliveries or ran errands for members. DC Villages also organized nearly 4,000 events, which were attended by more than 26,500 people, including many community members who are not yet Village members or volunteers.
Most importantly, Village volunteers had more than 12,000 friendly visits with older adults. These can be simple telephone check-ins or longer in-person interactions and are a critical part of combating the social isolation that people may experience as they age. In fact, more than 55% of all Village activities are focused on combating social isolation. Social isolation and loneliness are directly implicated in poorer health and decreased satisfaction with aging, so these friendly visits — and all the other interactions Village volunteers have with members — are among the most valuable services Villages provide.
To learn more about the work DC Villages volunteers are doing to support older adults across the District of Columbia, view our FY2022 Impact Report here.