Seniors in the Midlands looking for ways to connect and stay active are encouraged to learn about a new nonprofit that could help them toward that goal.
The FriendShip will celebrate its launch from 10-11:30 a.m. Monday at MLK Park Community Center, 2300 Greene St.
FriendShip board president Jane Blair said the group’s mission is to provide extra support that allows individuals who want to age in their own homes and communities to do so.
The program is meant for those “in the gap,” meaning those who do not have the financial wherewithal to hire full-time house services and those not eligible for support through Medicaid, Blair said.
The FriendShip is a member of the national Village to Village Network, which started with a group of older adults living in a high rise apartment in Boston who did not want to go to a senior residence facility. Those residents recognized there were certain kinds of help they needed to remain in their homes.
This is the first Village in Columbia.
“Personally, I like the fact that we have age diversity and you see little children and teenagers and people throughout the chronological age spectrum, not just elderly people,” Blair said. “If you stay in your community, you can keep (connections).”
The organization offers programs and services, including volunteer-provided transportation, shopping and local business referrals. The FriendShip also can connect members with volunteers to do tasks around the home, such as changing batteries in smoke detectors or having volunteers stay with members who are negotiating home repair prices, Blair said.
Annual fees for members are $600 for one person or $900 for a two-member household. Associate memberships, which include one member-reserved service per year and all programs, are $120 per person or $180 for a two-member household. Once the organization gets off the ground, Blair said it hopes to one day get funding to pay for membership fees for those who cannot afford it.
Blair said people interested in volunteering are also encouraged to come to the event. She said members are also encouraged to volunteer themselves to keep their minds and bodies active.
St. John’s Episcopal Church, 2827 Wheat St., is sponsoring the organization and offering it office space, though Blair said The FriendShip is nondenominational.
Blair said she encourages area seniors to learn more about the organization to stay active and engaged.
“Our goal is to make it a vibrant place to meet like-minded individuals with whom you can learn more about your community and engage and growth enhancing activities,” Blair said.
If you go
The FriendShip is hosting a launch event from 10-11:30 a.m. Monday at MLK Park Community Center, 2300 Greene St.
People interested in joining the organization or volunteering are welcome to come.
The event will feature tai chi, line dancing, stress management techniques and yogurt parfaits.
For more details, visit www.thefriendship.org or call (803) 799-2919.