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What is Parkland Village?

Parkland Village, of course, isn’t a real village, but a virtual one, a community in which people know one another, depend on one another, and help one another. This is the meaning of “the village concept”. The purpose of Parkland Village, in a nutshell, is to help our older neighbors age in place, to build community, and to pay it forward.

What does “age in place” mean?

Studies have shown that people overwhelmingly prefer to stay in their homes as they age. This phrase refers to enabling older people and people with disabilities to stay in their own homes as long as possible, as opposed to moving into a care facility somewhere else. Older people, for example, may have increased difficulty driving themselves, have problems undertaking routine home maintenance activities, or be socially isolated as spouses and friends pass away. Helping to address these problems may extend the time a neighbor can stay in the home and engage with the community.


What about “paying it forward”?

Paying it forward means doing for our older neighbors now what we trust yet other neighbors will do for us in the future as we age further. It’s an act of faith born of confidence in the immutable goodness of human nature.

What will the Village do?

Parkland Village will establish, maintain, and organize a network of neighborhood volunteers it can dispatch to members as needed and desired.

As arranged with Parkland Village, volunteers will drive members to and from essential destinations such as medical appointments, religious services, shopping, senior center activities, the airport, and even possibly entertainment. It will supplement with greater convenience and less advance notice existing City services such as the Sun Van.

Volunteers will provide non-expert help in the home for light landscaping care, easy in-home maintenance, or assistance with electronics or computer issues. A classic example would include having a volunteer, rather than the resident member, climb that ladder to change a light bulb.

Volunteers will visit members who find themselves in an isolated situation, checking to make sure they’re okay, chatting or exchanging news, playing a board game, or just being friendly and caring, either on an occasional or a regular basis.

The Village will also act as an organizer of neighborhood activities, including potlucks, picnics, music, and fundraising, with regular events scheduled to bring neighbors together and increasingly build a sense of community.


Can Parkland Village do all of that now?

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of these planned services are on hold while we continue to organize so that we can provide these services when the pandemic is over.  However, we are providing limited services that do not require in-person contact and remote (online) events that help build a sense of community.


How did Parkland Village get started?

In very early 2017, Mara Hoffman, who had learned about the village movement a number of years earlier, attended a talk on the village movement at her church.  She felt inspired to subscribe to the Village to Village Network as an opportunity member.  Soon after that, she convened a “town hall” meeting at her home with a number of residents of Parkland Hills.  In April of that year, Mara gave a presentation on the village concept at the semi-annual meeting of the Parkland Hills Neighborhood Association.  Rich Weiner, who like Mara, had earlier explored cohousing but wanted to remain in the neighborhood, embraced the village idea enthusiastically.  In the summer of 2017, Rich, Mara, and several others met to discuss the kind of village they would want for Parkland Hills.  That fall, they contacted friends and neighbors, including people who had attended the town hall meeting, and quickly formed a steering committee to move the project forward.  We called the planned “village” Parkland Hills Village.  During the following year, the steering committee further refined what we wanted to be as a village and how we wanted to govern ourselves.  Among other things, we conducted an online survey and drafted a set of bylaws.  At the beginning of 2019, we formed a New Mexico nonprofit corporation and obtained 501(c)(3) status from the IRS.   The old steering committee became the new Board of Directors.


How did Parkland Hills Village become Parkland Village?

After incorporation, the Board decided for a number of reasons that the area covered by the organization did not have a sufficient population from which to draw both people needing services and volunteers to provide those services. It made a great deal of sense to expand to include the entire census tract, which runs roughly from San Mateo to Carlisle and from Zuni to Gibson. However, half of this expanded area was not in the Parkland Hills neighborhood, but rather in a part of the Southeast Heights neighborhood (and historically also referred to as Parkland Hills). Parkland (by itself) was chosen as a simpler representation of both neighborhoods, particularly with Parkland Circle as the core unifying street in the western part of the expanded area.  More recently, we have decided to expand the service area to include all of the Southeast Heights neighborhood (except for the part that appears to overlap with Nob Hill), and we have retained the area north of Gibson that includes base housing (it used to be part of Southeast Heights but no longer is) and have included the residential area between Gibson and the Puerto del Sol Golf Course.  Check here for a map and description of the service area.


How does one get to be a member?

Membership in Parkland Village will require the payment of annual dues. We will have a sliding scale for people who cannot afford the regular dues.  People desiring services must be members; volunteers providing services are encouraged but not required to be members.


Who are the volunteers?

Any adult may volunteer to provide services through Parkland Village. Teenagers over 14 can assist supervising parents or guardians in the provision of those services. Before becoming active, however, prospective volunteers, whether members or not, must be vetted through a formal process to ensure to the extent possible that they are trustworthy.  Those volunteers will also attend an orientation session.


Who receives services?

All older members or members with disabilities would qualify for services if they need them.


How much are the membership dues?

When we are ready to begin providing the full array of services, possibly as early as June 2022, membership dues will be $150 per year for an individual or $200 per year for a household.  People who cannot afford the regular dues can contact us to inquire about discounted dues that they can afford.  No one in the service area will be turned away for lack of funds.


What will my dues pay for?

Significant expenses are involved with organizations having missions similar to that of Parkland Village. These include the annual costs of liability insurance, the vetting of volunteers, membership in the Village to Village Network, the creation and maintenance of a website, outreach materials such as business cards and refrigerator magnets, software for volunteer organizing and dispatching, and so forth. In combination with donations, dues can help to cover many of these expenses.  Your dues will not only be used to provide services to older members and members with disabilities but also to help create a vibrant sense of community in the neighborhoods we serve.