Georgetown Village Celebrates Expansive New Digs
By April 3, 2023 3 856•
“This is not only a stunningly beautiful expansive new headquarters for the Georgetown Village, but this is a game changer for our entire organization,” Georgetown Village founding Director Lynn Golub-Rofrano told The Georgetowner on March 29 as more than 100 community seniors couldn’t stop smiling and gasping in amazement as they got to tour their new digs in the former Fillmore School at 1801 35th St. NW
Founded in May 2011 to help Georgetowners 55 years and older “to stay engaged with the community, their homes and to thrive,” Georgetown Village is now one of 17 neighborhood villages in Washington, D.C., each with their own services, programs and styles as part of a growing national “aging in place” movement. “The services are intended to help you stay in your home for as long as you wish to remain there, according to Golub-Rofrano.
Especially during the past two years of pandemic restrictions, personal transportation and on-line health care information, grocery and drug store pickups and help at home from raking leaves to changing hard-to-reach light bulbs became essential services. So did help for those who were too ill to walk, feed pets, pick up mail, even to call for plumbers and the like. “One hundred percent of our members got their Covid vaccinations, some certainly due to Georgetown Village help,” Golub-Rofrano said during the ten year anniversary party of the Village last May. “Perhaps the biggest growing sector of services Georgetown Village offers is electronics support. Two years ago, many of us had never heard of Zoom. Today, it’s an essential part of our new normal.”
But all that is evolving as Covid disappears and everyone is yearning for more personal contacts and relationships – especially seniors who’ve been often limited for almost three years because of pandemic restrictions. Last year when the owner of the Penzance building told Golub-Rofrano that they could no longer offer the Village staff (the Director and Volunteer and Activities Coordinators) office space in their Book Hill office, everyone started reaching out looking for space that could also possibly offer a place for members to gather and socialize. Suddenly, Dr. Sachiko Kuno (the biochemist, philanthropist and co-owner of Evermay and Halcyon House estates in Georgetown) offered the entire ground floor of the former school.
“Since January, our volunteers have been scouring, painting, decorating and placing furniture, books and accessories from full coffee services, televisions, phonograph players and an upright popcorn maker in the basement room lined with half windows,” Golub-Rofrano said with a touch of awe in her voice. Community organizations and individuals have contributed everything from coffee makers and book cases, records, books (including Prince Harry’s “Spare”), a full snack bar and comfortable chairs, tables, sofas and lamps to several cozy reading and conversation and relaxing areas. All the décor was done under the expertise of designer and Board member Michele Seiver who coordinated everything (even the pencils and notebooks) in Georgetown Village colors orange and lime green.
Although fronting on 35th Street, the entrance off of 34th Street offers a large private gated parking lot that fronts the double glass door entrance salon of the village headquarters – perfect for the reception desk and for large events like exhibits, classes and elegant parties such as the headquarters launch with champagne, sushi rolls and cookies. A spacious hallway leads to two large spaces – one decorated and now fully equipped as offices for the staff directors and volunteers and next to it the attractive Village Square. A very large storage closet contains dozens of walkers, canes, wheel chairs and other health aide devices that are loanable to members and the public for as long as they might need them.
Now multiple in-house activities are being planned with the focus on relationship building and social engagement to combat a growing pandemic of loneliness, that Surgeon General Vivek Murphy calls the biggest health crisis, affecting all ages, in America today. Already a basic exercise and balance-building class is scheduled in the Village Square on most Monday mornings. The former interactive coffee klatch meetings and talks will most likely become hybrid events – in-person and on Zoom; on March 16, Dr. Carol Weisbrod conducted one on “the Psychology of Parenting Adult Children.” Health talks and private Q&As will continue to be held as well as classes and events that members want – such as TV documentary nights or maybe gatherings to share TedTalks. “We’re seeking all ideas now.”
Like all the villages, Georgetown Village is a private membership organization with monthly or yearly dues. There are various levels of membership, however, and stipends for those who need them.
3 comments on “Georgetown Village Celebrates Expansive New Digs”
A very nice offering
It may not be easy to reach the place from my house on 29th Street to the facility .
Thank you for the great article! Georgetown Village always welcomes our community neighbors to get involved as members, volunteers, or donors. Contact our office for more information.