The Conejo Valley Village is modeled after the national grassroots Village to Village movement (www.vtvnetwork.org) which is a community-based approach to meeting the needs of older Americans. The village concept arose out of community members’ desire to reside in their own homes while being able to access services that met their changing lifestyle needs as they aged. This “neighbor helping neighbor” movement started in Boston in 2002 and has grown to nearly 400 villages in operation or under development in communities across the U.S.
Within our community, the idea for Conejo Valley Village was born from a feasibility study sponsored by the City of Thousand Oaks’ Council on Aging (COA) to assess whether the village concept (as defined by the Village to Village network) would work in our local community. The study was conducted by COA members Nick Fotheringham and Nancy Healey and Thousand Oaks Senior Adult Master Plan team leader Dinah Frishling from January through August 2015 and included research, several public focus groups in March and April 2015 and a public meeting in June 2015 to inform and collect feedback from local citizens on the concept of a village. There was a very positive response from local community members who saw a need for this type of support. Based on their study, these researchers recommended to the Thousand Oaks COA and City Council that the services a village provides would indeed be feasible and benefit our local senior citizens. Nick, Nancy and Dinah have remained involved in the effort and currently serve as directors and/or officers of Conejo Valley Village. Conejo Valley Village was organized as a nonprofit corporation with a volunteer board in November 2015 with a mission to provide supportive services to help older adult members stay in their homes and enjoy our community.