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Date: 9/9/2018
Subject: September Newsletter
From: Newsletter Staff

Picture of a Sunrise

Here Comes the Sun

Northwest Neighbors Network Newsletter
September 2018 Issue

Who has seen the new Mama Mia movie? Mama Mia is a musical, and now two films, consisting entirely of Abba songs.  Maybe it got under our skin.  The articles for this issue of the NNN newsletter kept ending up with Beatles songs for titles.  Thus was born the official title of our newsletter, Here Comes the Sun.  Tom Petty said of this song, written by George Harrison, "No piece of music can make you feel better than this. It's such an optimistic song, with that little bit of ache in it that makes the happiness mean even more." We like the sound of that.  Because guess what?  365 days a year, here comes the sun!

 The Long and Winding Road

Ways to Help

1. Become a Founding Member

2. See below, I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends

long road


In November Northwest Neighbors Network (NNN) will be actively recruiting members and volunteers. And we will also have an expanded social calendar.
In preparation, we are seeking out those of you who have had an interest and followed our process from the beginning (we thank you for your patience), and you who are just hearing about villages for the first time. 

Those of you who are new to the village movement might want to take a look at the FAQs  to find out more about villages.

You'll be hearing from us.

  • Email.  We will be sending out a survey or two.  Please take the time to participate!  It’s important, as we take the steps needed to get our ducks in a row for November.
  • Web. Fundraising will begin in October. 
  • In person.  We host at least one outreach session each month, open to anyone to attend.  Locations and dates are posted on the website and Facebook.

We've teamed up with experts.

Two entities have been instrumental in making all this happen.  One is the national organization Village to Village.  As a member of that group, NNN has received all kinds of assistance in getting set up.  They provide checklists, forums, and mentors, and are a general great source of information. 

The other real boost came from acquiring ClubExpress as our backroom management IT resource.  ClubExpress provides the web hosting, club management functions like service requests, email management, survey capabilities, credit card handling, and document management.  Now it is all in one package, with excellent technical support. A platform such as ClubExpress has been an essential tool in making virtual villages a reality worldwide.

Thank you!

 Many of you have already contributed, whether helping out with the Steering Committee, hostingmeetings in your homes, or making donations.  Thank you!  Recently original Board members Boni Biery and Ulla Rychter have stepped down.  They deserve a double thank you!

So, what has been going on?

There is a lot more to do, but here’s just some of what’s been accomplished by a small group of volunteers.  We:

  • Formed a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation
  • Established three service areas within North King/South Snohomish counties
  • Joined the national organization, Village to Village
  • Made connections with people in the village movement who are excited to share their knowledge and experience with us
  • Received a Village to Village mentor from whom we are recipients of extensive experience and knowledge
  • Identified and started working on processes for accepting members and volunteers
  • Chose a strategy of all-volunteer staffing for now
  • Defined the various classes of memberships NNN will offer
  • Determined the basic set of NNN offerings: services, social activities and member-recommended vendor referrals
  • Created relationships with the Shoreline/LFP Sr Center, SWEL timebank and other villages
  • Conducted outreach with government agencies, local governments and like-minded organizations
  • Formed an extensive mailing list of prospective members, volunteers, vendors and interested parties
  • Purchased a subscription to Club Express, a Customer Relationship Management software provider
  • Created a referral database
  • Created a website and Facebook page
  • Planned a crowdfunding drive for October

The fee structure is set.

Visit our web page to find out how to become a member and information on:
  • Fee structure
  • Reduced fees during the first 18 months
  • Various types of memberships

We respect your privacy.

Northwest Neighbors Network has adopted the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy policy for our village.  ClubExpres, our IT management system, helps make this possible.
When a member logs into NNN for the first time, they will have an opportunity to learn how their data is handled and asked if they are willing to receive communications from NNN, as well as consent to how their data are handled. 

In keeping with that spirit, we are committed to respecting your wishes as we build our contact list.  We hope you will stick with us to see how you can support this effort and how NNN can meet your needs, but if you do not wish to receive further communication from us, please send email to now or any time in the future.

Why a village here and now?

As social services struggle to meet the ever increasing demands of so many populations, we need to do what we can to help ourselves and our neighbors.  The village movement fills an important role in the safety net our communities are attempting to provide for seniors.  Here in the northwest of Seattle we have resources to help.  There are senior centers, ride services, and online resources.  What participating in a village provides is the linkage to those existing resources, as well as volunteer services at no charge; social activities that you can participate in and even help organize; opportunities for you to mentor others and share your expertise; and so much more.

As a member you have:

  • An opportunity to socialize with other members and volunteers. Having someone to go with to events that you might be interested in, but don't want to go alone or need transportation to get there. Finding a club that meets regularly to participate in an activity that you have enjoyed over the years or would like to learn. Engaging with people who like to get together weekly or monthly to chat, eat, drink, and be merry.

  • A chance to share the knowledge and skills you have acquired over the years. Other members and volunteers would enjoy benefitting from your experiences.

  • Access to resources to help with things that are harder to do or you can no longer safely do yourself. A little help with weeding the garden, flipping that mattress, getting into the attic to retrieve a few items.

 As a member's family member or close friend you have:
  • Peace of mind knowing the village member can get access to resources that you otherwise would want to provide, allowing more independence and time for good visits.

  • Understanding that there are others who are coming in contact with the member and may recognize when additional help might be needed.

  • The ability to join your friend or family member in village or community events you might have otherwise missed, not having the knowledge of them or the extra time to provide transportation.

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends
 Time is at a premium for all of us.  Maybe you support the idea of aging-in-place villages (it’s hard for us to think of a reason not to) but being an organizer is more than you want to take on.  There are other ways you can help.  Maybe something on these lists will reach out and grab you.
Do you like making connections or working from home? Here are tasks that need doing.
  • Have a recommendation for a preferred provider?  A businessperson you have a solid relationship with and could imagine us adding to the network?
  • Do you or a family member work for a corporation that offers grants to nonprofits? Volunteers?  Are you willing to refer us?
  • Help us disseminate our flyers!  Know of places within or near our service area where we could leave them?  Would you be willing to drop them off and check on them every so often?
  • Do you know a videographer?  The national organization, Village To Village, has several short videos that we can use as part of our crowdfunding.  Ideally, however, we would love to get some additional footage to make that local connection to the North King/South Snohomish region.
  • Like clerical tasks? We have computer projects you could work on from the comfort of your own home.
  • Do you have experience with fundraising? There is plenty of that to be done.

Are you a social butterfly?  
We don’t have to wait until November to get to know each other.

  • Would you be willing to organize a social gathering?  Possibly including our affiliate organization, the SWEL Timebank?
  • Have a hobby/craft you would be willing to start a group for?
  • Enjoy playing mahjong/checkers/cribbage and like to organize a group that meets regularly?
  • Like to eat out once a week with a small group of folks from the neighborhood? Want to organize that activity?
Have another way you’d like to help?  We’d love to hear from you.

People sitting around a table


  Villages NW Fun Facts

  • Launched its first Village two and one-half years ago with 30 members and now has 470 total (in six Villages)
  • In the first quarter of 2017 performed 350 services; in the first quarter of 2018 they performed 1100 services
  • Four of the Villages rent office space and two have part-time Executive Directors
  • In Lyn’s Village, out of 115, 5 members don’t have e-mail, so it’s not an “all virtual” village yet
  •  Had $20,000 in startup funds to open the first village

Day Tripper: Portland Style

by Selby Coffin


I have been networking with Lyn Trainer, Managing Director of Villages NW in Portland.  And on a recent road trip, I did some networking on steroids!  She and some very industrious organizers from Vancouver, WA met me for lunch as I was on my way through town. 

The mood was festive as the group was looking forward to a fundraiser for Villages Clark County at a local eatery that evening.  Yes, Villages NW actually crosses State lines, serving as the administrative hub for six Villages that are up and running and more that are in development.  Each of the six open villages has its own website linked to the Villages NW site. 

In addition to its governing body, Villages NW has Advisers who all have impressive credentials, ie. AARP Director for the State of Oregon.  From the website: 

We are deeply grateful for the tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience our Advisory Group brings to Villages NW.  With their support and guidance, we are confident we will be able to develop Villages NW into a truly effective vehicle for incubating and sustaining aging-in-place Villages throughout the region.

It was the Beacon Hill Village who convinced Portland to try the Hub and Spoke model.  “Beacon Hill told us that if they had it do over again that’s what they would have done,” Lyn explains.  Villages NW began in October, 2011 as one village; it was soon approached by four other groups already in formation.  They decided to pool resources and applied for their 501(c)(3) non-profit status in 2013.  Eastside Village opened in October, 2015.  From conception to launch took four years.  Three more villages opened in 2016; these had more structure and added onto the knowledge gained from opening the first one.  The two that opened in 2017 were even easier.
Lyn puts about thirty hours per week into the Village movement; like me, she is all about building a strong foundation so that the Villages will still be going strong fifteen years from now.

They get the majority of their funding from memberships and donations. In their experience, it takes a 125-household village to support hiring one part-time employee.  They have a contract accountant who works about 20 hours/month to do the financial reckoning for all the Villages.

What advice does Lyn have for us?  Beware the dreaded “scope creep” – when the member is asking for too much.  Usually all it takes is to sit down and have a talk.  However, it can mean that the person needs more care than a Village can offer.  The Villages NW formula is that two hours equals one service.  Two or three services per week is the high end of what is usually requested.  They put a limit of three rides a week round trip per member. 

Another tip from Villages NW:  each Village needs a policy about what to do if no one is home when the volunteer arrives for an appointment.  When that happened recently to one of their volunteers, they ended up calling the member’s daughter on the East Coast.  It turned out the member was in the hospital.  But it can also mean the member has forgotten the appointment.

To say this group is enthusiastic about Villages would be an understatement.  “This will be bigger than Meals on Wheels!”, gushed Helen Elder from Villages Clark County.  We wish Villages NW all the best as they prepare for launch in Vancouver in early 2019.

Goldie from Laugh-In
ACT NATURALLY Richmond Beach Style
Social and educational activities are an integral component of aging-in-place Villages, right along with services and advocacy.   “Social integration, the opposite of social isolation, has been found to be generally beneficial to health across adulthood into old age” (Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging, Research Review, March 2007).  

Keep in mind that we always include carpooling as part of our activities – if you don’t have your own transportation, let us know!
As our latest social event we attended Wooden O’s production of The Merry Wives of Windsor.  Wooden O performs free Shakespeare in the Park every summer at locations around the region and beyond.  We attended the performance at the Richmond Beach Community Park.  It was a 60’s themed evening, featuring a fun Laugh-In inspired set and madcap antics surrounding the well-known character Falstaff, who also appears in several other Shakespeare plays that are not comedies.  We asked around and got some feedback on the show.

I didn’t totally understand what was going on in the play but I did understand that Falstaff was kindof an idiot.  I did like the ending.  There were fairies.    

Anna, age 13

I thought the men in this production were especially captivating (Falstaff in his plaid suit!)  We always learn something interesting at a Shakespeare play even if we are 87.

Shirley, age 86 (we have it on good authority)

We love Wooden O and plan to make Shakespeare in the Park an annual NNN tradition!
Picture one of three: Wooden O Set
Look closely at the Wooden O set.
Picture two of three: Wooden O Set
Remind you of Anything?
Picture three of three: Wooden O Set
We think it was inspired by Laugh-In.
Picture one Laugh-In
Remember the Laugh-In Joke Wall?
Picture of Laugh-In
The Laugh-In Joke Wall from behind.
Merry Wives photos courtesy of Wooden O
Laugh-In photos courtesy of