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How Maryland communities are embracing Village Model participation. 

In order to create more age-inclusive communities that allow older residents to age in place, the Village Model offers a revolutionary approach to community living that fosters intergenerational connections and provides comprehensive support for older adults. Its primary goal is to allow residents to remain comfortably in the communities they've often invested in for years, maintaining their independence and dignity, while remaining socially connected. 

At its core, the village model relies on the principle of neighbors helping neighbors, creating a network of mutual support and care. But despite the value that the Village Model brings to Maryland communities, many still need support to organize and function.

“Prince George’s County is home to 147,981 seniors. Yet only five of the 79 villages or villages in formation in the DC Metropolitan area lie in the County,” said Christal Batey, Vice President of The Maryland Umbrella Group.  “This is not because of a lack of need or interest.”

In 2024 The Maryland Umbrella Group (MUG) was awarded funding from the Maryland Department of Aging to provide a vehicle to inspire Prince George’s County residents in underserved communities to form their own villages to serve their neighbors and communities. 

“In its first three months, MUG and the Prince George’s County Village Connection garnered the attention of more than 450 adults ready to learn about how to form villages that meet their local needs,” said Christal.

Villages often look very different from one to the next, as individual needs and community infrastructure can vary significantly across diverse Maryland landscapes. Services typically include transportation, meal delivery, home maintenance, and social activities organized within the community.

“Different people gain different benefits from being a part of a village, and that depends on where they are in their lives,” said Pazit Aviv, Village Coordinator for Aging and Disability Services in Montgomery County. “That’s the beauty of this movement, because it can be so many different things to different people. For some it is that necessary support at home to allow them to age with high quality of life if they can no longer drive. But for others, it's an opportunity for civic engagement once they’ve retired and they’re looking for ways to find purpose and meaning in their new reality.”

Pazit is the founder of Hub and Spokes, a Maryland nonprofit that takes an innovative approach to village model organization. Hub and Spokes strengthens individual villages by consolidating efforts and creating economy of scale in village model operations.

By pooling resources and sharing services, communities can achieve cost efficiencies and better utilize existing infrastructure, ultimately leading to more sustainable and vibrant neighborhoods.

This strengthens all villages that participate and is especially beneficial to those in underserved areas. 

“If you hire one staff member who’s paid well, you can sustain them,” said Pazit. “Then they can serve multiple villages rather than having each village have ten hours of a consultant here, ten hours of a consultant there. So we’re consolidating operations.” The result is empowering villages that are more efficient, with expanded capacities and access to professional staffing who can serve more community members and achieve other important tasks, such as applying for grants. “Small villages felt like they didn’t have the capacity, so they never applied for funding that could really support them,” Pazit explains.

Embracing the Hub and Spokes  model not only enhances the well-being of older adults in the community but also fosters a sense of belonging and solidarity across neighboring communities and underserved villages, laying the foundation for a brighter and more interconnected future.

Pazit is our first Longevity Ready Maryland Epic Innovator. Her Hub and Spokes village model nonprofit recently received funding from the Maryland legislature for a three-year pilot project to help expand the village concept statewide.

Looking ahead…

Next month we will provide some examples of LRM in Action, including how grant funding from MDOA is helping older Baltimore County residents stay connected through Neighborhood Companions.​

​​Hub and Spokes Team

From left to right: Chelsea Wheeler, Manager of Supportive Communities from the Maryland Department of Aging; Pazit Aviv, Village Coordinator, Aging and Disability Services for Montgomery County, and; Mary Jo Deering, President of the Washington Area Villages Exchange (WAVE).​

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