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Foggy Bottom West End Village

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Meet four Village volunteers working to make aging easier for their neighbors

Published on 12/24/2013
Being a Village volunteer can mean driving neighbors to medical appointments, or something as simple as picking up a prescription or groceries. Here are a few Village volunteers and their experiences.

Kathy Schenck, a librarian who’s worked in public schools and libraries, came to the West End in 1998. She began working on the Village volunteer committee last winter, helping to put together the volunteer handbook, create the training program and establish standards and policies.

With the FBWE Village launch, this work paid off as more than 50 trained volunteers started helping their neighbors age in place. Kathy has been driving members to medical appointments.

“What I have liked most is meeting the people I have been driving,” she said. “It’s an unexpected benefit.”

Her only complaint: we need more requests for services to keep the volunteers busy.

Wendy Pallett moved the Washington in 1977 to join the World Bank. With her husband, she retired to Naples, Fla., but she missed DC and came back to Foggy Bottom.

Wendy’s experience illustrates the fact that you don’t need a car to be a volunteer: her volunteer efforts so far involve picking up medicines for members at CVS.

“I like the concept of volunteering and helping my neighbors to age in place. There’s a lot of ways help others that aren’t strenuous.”

She also recruited a 96-year-old neighbor to join the Village so he has someone to accompany him when he goes to his medical appointments.

Megan Conover moved to the West End, a place she’s long wanted to live, last February. She learned about FBWE Village at a presentation at St. Stephens Catholic Church.

“I knew about the Village concept from Ohio,” she said. She thought about her own aging parents living in California and how important volunteer services can be to independent living.

Besides working on the volunteer committee and helping with fundraising mailings, as a volunteer, she’s driven Village members to medical appointments.

“What has surprised me the most is meeting so many who have lived in this neighborhood for 30 or 40 years,” she said. “It’s been pleasant and fun.”

Vivien Kilner, who’s lived in Foggy Bottom since 1998, retired in 2005 and now works on contract with the State Department giving career counseling to early retirees.

As a volunteer, her assignments have included getting groceries for a neighbor.

“I walk to Trader Joes with my little wheelie thing,” she said, “get her groceries, drop them off, then go back and get mine.”

It’s good exercise and fills a personal need. “I’m a helper, not a helpee,” she said.

If you’d like to join these folks as a Village volunteer, training sessions will be held early in 2014. For details, please contact us.

:: Foggy Bottom West End Village: 
2430 K Street, NW : Washington, DC 20037 : 202-333-1327 ::