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The history of Palisades Village

Palisades Village was founded as a non-profit organization in 2007, under the direction of a group of caring local residents. Our community is modeled after the Beacon Hill Village, a pioneering organization in Boston that helps senior members live active lives while remaining at home.

A group of neighbors who thought that maybe we should create a similar village in our community held a meeting around a picnic table near the old trolley tracks on Sherier Place.

By the end of a two-and-a-half hour meeting at the Palisades Library in April 2007, Palisades Village had become a genuine entity. The machinery for a tax-exempt nonprofit NGO was put into motion, bylaws were approved, officers elected, and a board designated. The organization would embrace Palisades and Foxhall, later clarified to include Berkley and Kent, with an option to expand to neighboring communities later.

The first half of 2008 was marked by a groundswell of activity around Village planning. Working committees were created, and Andy Mollison, a retired newspaperman, was elected president to succeed Mary Baluss, who had held the organization together despite her heavy schedule as executive director of a nonprofit initiative. An office became a reality with rent-free space at Sibley Hospital in a building scheduled for demolition. In addition to grassroots donations of more than $10,000 already collected, the Village received a $25,000 grant from the city facilitated by Council member Mary Cheh, a $5,000 grant from the Palisades Community Fund of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, and $4,000 from the Coalition for Planned Environmental Development.

In January 2009, more than 150 members and well-wishers gathered on a Sunday afternoon in the Eccles Library, on the Mount Vernon Campus of The George Washington University to meet our newly hired Executive Director, Sonia Crow, and celebrate the inauguration of activities and services for 31 members.  On January 24, 2010, we celebrated again, and conducted the world premiere of a video that AARP-TV made about Palisades Village. We announced that membership had doubled in our first year of activities, and we had more than 50 volunteers whose primary assistance to older residents included rides, usually to medical appointments; household chores; visits and get-togethers, and concierge help in finding responsible professionals for assistance too complex to be provided by volunteers.

In 2011, we expanded to include a fifth neighborhood — Wesley Heights — to join Berkley, Foxhall, Kent, and the Palisades as areas served by our wonderful volunteers.  And in 2012, after our contingent won prizes in the annual MacArthur Boulevard Fourth of July parade for the third year in a row, we managed a major transition:  Sonia Crow, our founding Executive Director, left after four very productive years of guiding the growth of Palisades Village, and was succeeded in October by Peggy Newman.  We have since expanded to Spring Valley.  Peggy retired in 2015, and was succeeded by Andrea Saccoccoia.

In the years since starting up, our community has grown to over 90 full members, ranging in age from 50 to 100, who have benefited greatly from the many local opportunities provided by Palisades Village. We also have developed a network of more than 100 volunteers, who assist with transportation, household tasks, and many other forms of support.

Palisades Village’s services and events are managed by a small administrative team, with assistance from a large network of talented volunteers and board members. Learn more about our team.

 

 

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