Santa Fe Neighbors & the Village Concept: Why a Village?
New Mexico's older population is growing. Acording to U.S census figures, in 2010 there were 21,770 people over the age of 65 in Santa Fe County. By 2015, that number had jumped to 31,075 – an increase of more than 40% – and this segment of the population is growing at nearly twice the rate of the general population.
Our community is blessed with excellent organizations that serve older New Mexicans, but over time they cannot possibly provide everything that everyone needs. By adding a layer of personal support and connection, Santa Fe Neighbors offers members choices and control, while creating a caring community of friendship and empowerment.
Santa Fe Neighbors – Grassroots, Member-Driven and Inclusive
Santa Fe Neighbors launched in February 2017 after more than a year of work by a small group of individuals who were seeking ways to age at home safely, independently and confidently. Our mission is to enable local residents over age 55 from all backgrounds and all walks of life to remain at home and stay connected through a wide range of services provided by volunteers and professional vendors. We are dedicated to the concepts of inclusivity and "Aging in Place".
SFN is a Self-Governing Village
Our volunteer Board of Directors, drawn from the local community, sets policy and is reponsible for the organization's fiscal health. Working with our members and the community, we establish our own governance and define our own documents. Volunteers, and someday a small staff, carry out day-to-day operations.
SFN is a Self-Supporting, Nonprofit Organization
As one of more than 300 Villages currently operating in the Village-to-Village Network in the U.S., Santa Fe Neighbors was incorporated and received 501-(C)3 non-profit status in 2016. Funding to support services and programs comes through membership fees, grants and community support.
Our Village Consolidates Services
A basic operating principle in the village movement is that we use the resources that already exist in the community. To that end, SFN includes a comprehensive and personalized referral system in which members need to make only one phone call to access a world of information and services. Volunteers are vetted and trained, and Recommended Providers are screened.
Caring for the Whole Person
Villages are designed to promote healthy aging across the board – socially, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Research from UC Berkeley and elsewhere has shown that joining a Village has health benefits equal to that of giving up smoking! What's more, joining a VIllage helps older adults stay in their own homes 3 to 5 years longer. Unhindered by restrictions from funders or limited in the types of services we can deliver, SFN is completely consumer-driven and defined. We strive to honor every member request.
Strategic and Community Partners
As Santa Fe Neighbors continues its development, we are forming strategic partnerships with institutions and organizations that can provide substantial backing and services, including churches, synagogues, senior centers, medical groups, libraries, Native communities, LGBT communities, transportation support organizations, etc. These partnerships may be informal, contractual, and constantly evolving.They will always be mutually beneficial.
Santa Fe Neighbors – Driven by Volunteers
All the work of Santa Fe Neighbors/Vecinos de Santa Fe is done by volunteers, many of whom are also members. Volunteers make up our board of directors and serve on committees; volunteers coordinate community outreach programs; and volunteers provide essential member services. Without volunteers, we would cease to be. Volunteers create the connective bonds that join us together and are the key to our success.
Plan for tomorrow. Live for today.
Our Village exists to give its members what they want. Our members define our offerings by serving on the program committee, signing up for events, and by making suggestions and recommendations for services, partners, providers and social activities.