Bracing For and Embracing the New Year

Happy 2024 to all my friends and neighbors. This year looks to be particularly challenging for many people around the world and for us as citizens of the United States. Conflict and political unrest sweep the globe just as the brisk winds of January sweep our beautiful neighborhoods. There will be much to sort through, much to confront and, I pray, much to celebrate throughout the year. I hope all of you are ready to embrace this new year with warmth, purpose, and a sense of community. I have no doubt that East Rock Creek Village will do so, as it has since it opened its doors eight years ago this month.

Looking Back

Looking back at 2023, we have many things to be proud of. Last year volunteers provided over 600 services for our members. This included hundreds of rides and grocery shopping deliveries, as well as lots of visits, calls, small household tasks, and help with technology. Our compassionate and capable case manager, Barbara Scott, helped ERCV members during times of uncertainty, such as before and after hospital stays, applying for inclusion in government programs, and planning for the future.

We have also helped our members stay active, connected, and engaged. In 2023 we hosted over 500 wellness, educational, and social events. Every season had a special highlight: last spring we kicked off our field trip program at the National Aquarium in Baltimore; in summer we hosted our first live jazz concert at the Parks at Walter Reed; in fall we held our community picnic in Rock Creek Park; and just a few weeks ago we hosted a winter holiday party where more than 80 members, volunteers, and friends came together to enjoy each other’s company, honor our volunteer drivers, celebrate our many 90+ year old members, and generally have a  great time.

What’s Next?

During the pandemic ERCV’s online Armchair Travel program allowed us to explore the world when physical travel was restricted. Post-pandemic it is still a great way to enjoy a winter afternoon at home. On January 18th we will virtually travel to Switzerland with Board member Peter Kramer. On January 25th home organizer Judy Tiger will tell us how decluttering and getting organized can “change chaos to calm” in the new year. Plus, I hope you will register to join the ERCV Lunch Bunch at Jinya, the new ramen restaurant at the Parks at Walter Reed, on January 31st.

So, what’s next for ERCV in 2024?  Why don’t you tell us what you’d like? We’ve posted an online survey to help us select good days, times, and places for upcoming Lunch Bunch and Happy Hour gatherings. We’re elated that so many neighbors regularly attend our activities, but we’re always open to suggestions. At the end of the survey there is an opportunity to propose new programs, so if you have any ideas, please share them. All it takes is an idea and the energy of a few volunteers to make things happen!

Inspired by MLK

This month, our country celebrates the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. He famously said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” There is certainly more than enough that needs to be done. Many of us have answered that call in part by serving our neighbors, by supporting and sustaining East Rock Creek Village right here where we live, and, by extension, helping to grow a national Village movement.

As we embark on this new year, let’s ensure that our community thrives. I want to express my sincere thanks to those who have generously contributed year-end donations, and hope all who want to be part of ERCV will decide to join or renew their membership. Together, let us continue to build a caring community that will help us do our part to make 2024, near and far, a year of unexpected blessings.

            –David Mackoff