Valley Village is a group of individuals working together to create community that fosters interdependence in a multi-generational setting. The Village model connects members living in and around Harrisonburg
in order to provide support for each other, to enable individuals to remain in their homes longer and to create lasting relationships with their neighbors. We invite you to peruse our website and become a member today!
A Dream in Development
“Preparing for the future,” “Having an anxiety attack” or simply “Thinking ahead” are the thoughts that motivated two residents of Harrisonburg to begin conversation in 2007. Keith Gnagey and Paul Yoder soon discovered they were not alone. An AARP survey determined that among those 75 and older, 95% say they want to stay in their homes as long as possible. Keith and Paul met with other interested persons in search of a model that supported persons living in their own homes.
They explored Naturally Occuring Retirement Communities (NORCS), as well as the member-driven Village Model (first developed by Beacon Hill Village in 2001) where services are defined by the membership and a fee structure. It was decided to create a village model in the Park View community which could be expanded to other parts of Harrisonburg, VA.
Exploratory meetings with local groups of mostly seniors during 2008-09 supported their findings and interest grew rapidly. In the fall of 2007, they discovered that about 130 other “Villages” were in operation or development in the U.S. In May 2009, a Steering Committee was formed, and a year later an Advisory Board. The group began operating under the umbrella of Valley Associates for Independent Living (VAIL) in 2009.
In the fall of 2010, membership guidelines were drafted for the 2011 calendar year. Within the first three months of 2011, 30 households joined Park View Village (changed to Valley Village in 2018). In January 2012, an application was submitted to obtain 501(c)3 charitable status. The group is moving ahead, taking steps along the way to get organized. In order to benefit from networking with other Villages across the country, we joined the Village to Village Network, a national coordinating agency that resources villages like ours.
Hopefully neighborhoods in the greater Harrisonburg will promote aging well in the Friendly City and surrounding area.