About Nashoba Neighbors
We are a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization that provides a safety net of services for members in Berlin, Bolton, and Lancaster, Massachusetts.
Many of us experience social isolation, loss of independence, or changes in our physical abilities as we age. Helpful neighbors and communities become even more important to our ability to continue living at home.
Although our towns already provide a variety of services, there are still unmet needs. Nashoba Neighbors coordinates and trains community volunteers to fill in those gaps and respond to members’ interests and requests for support.
Nashoba Neighbors’ mission is to help members keep dignity, control, and independence as they age at home, while also being part of a vibrant, supportive community. We provide caring, practical services and social opportunities to meet these needs.
Our vision is to create a network of support to help all people in our community age with dignity, purpose and self-determination. Our towns will recognize Nashoba Neighbors as an essential resource because we:
- Help older members of our community feel safe and supported at home
- Engage and train volunteers in our community
- Respond to changing needs and circumstances
- Maintain a well-run non-profit organization that serves the needs of our seniors
Stay Engaged and Thrive with Nashoba Neighbors!
Nashoba Neighbors bases its decisions and interactions with others on a set of values:
- Collaboration: We work with others toward shared goals.
- Compassion: We act with care and generosity.
- Inclusion: We welcome all community residents as members, volunteers and Board members.
- Individuality within Community: We share and celebrate members’ unique perspectives, contributions, and histories.
- Responsibility: We are reliable and uphold ethical and personal commitments.
In 2018, Catherine Pfau was intrigued by an article in The Boston Globe describing a growing movement to provide support for senior citizens aging at home through the development of virtual Villages. Villages are modeled after Boston’s Beacon Hill Village (https://www.beaconhillvillage.org), which started in 2002 and was built on the simple idea of neighbor helping neighbor. A group of residents was looking for a way to age in their homes without being a burden to their loved ones. They wanted to retain their independence, but knew that they needed a little help. Their Village was so successful that many other towns created their own. Today, there are over 250 Villages across the country and many more in development.
Catherine was inspired to think about creating a Village in her own town of Bolton, Massachusetts. She spent a lot of time meeting and talking to local residents and people in agencies that serve seniors about their needs and how a Village may be helpful to them. They all agreed that although the town of Bolton had some useful services available, the town wasn’t able to do it all. In addition, the town budget, like those in other towns, was limited while the population of residents over 60 was swelling - from 10% in 2010 to 22% in 2018 - and it was projected to continue growing.
In 2019, a group of Bolton residents began to meet on a regular basis to explore how a Village could be useful to the community. They decided that Bolton’s population may be too small to support a Village so they invited adjoining towns to become involved. Several residents in Berlin and Lancaster felt their town needs were similar to Bolton’s and decided to jump on board. The group joined the Village to Village Network, a national organization that provides expert guidance, resources, and support to help communities establish and maintain their Villages, and Nashoba Neighbors began to take form.
By 2020, a working group of eight residents from across the three towns was meeting regularly to plan and design how this new Village would work. The group decided Nashoba Neighbors would be an all-volunteer organization and would use an efficient website to create a “virtual office” instead of maintaining and paying for a physical central office. This would keep costs down for members. The group elected a Board of Directors and officers, adopted by-laws, and by early 2021, Nashoba Neighbors was recognized by the IRS as an official 501(c)(3) public charity.
Working committees were formed to advance preparations for launching Nashoba Neighbors. COVID-19 shifted the pace of the work for a while, but the group could see that the need for Nashoba Neighbors was even greater and that their Village would need to be flexible and responsive to changing situations. The Board is now planning for a “soft launch” pilot phase in October 2022 and expects to welcome many more members by January 2023. Nashoba Neighbors is looking forward to growing and evolving as volunteers help older adults stay engaged and thrive!
Our Board of Directors, 2020