Tell us briefly about A Little Help and how it started. A Little Help is a Colorado nonprofit connecting neighbors to help older adults thrive. A Little Help began in 2005 when a group of Washington Park residents joined together to empower older adults in their neighborhood to age well in their homes. Based on the National Village Movement, A Little Help equips neighbors to fill vital gaps in services to help older adults age in place on their own terms. In 2007, A Little Help was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) with the vision of neighbors connecting across all generations and engaging to promote strong communities. Volunteers help with tasks including yard work, snow removal, home organization, technology assistance, friendly visits, check-in calls, care navigation, caregiver respite, and transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping, and social events. Neighbors of all ages engage in community building programming like summer picnics, holiday parties, and topic-based interest and wellness groups. A Little Help now connects neighbors intergenerationally in three Locations across Colorado- Metro Denver, Northern Colorado, and the Western Slope, and has successfully adapted and scaled its model to fill gaps in services and sustainably address challenges facing older adults in urban, suburban, and rural areas.
What drew you to be involved with A Little Help’s mission? A Little Help’s intergenerational mission resonated with me as I was beginning my post-graduate nonprofit career nearly ten years ago. I was very close with my grandparents and knew how important it was for them to age in their own homes, and how grateful they were to be able to do so with the support of family and friends. When my grandfather went into a rehabilitation facility after a surgery, I remember how anxious he was to return to the comfort of his home. When I learned about A Little Help back in 2012, I immediately connected to the mission of connecting neighbors to help older adults thrive in their own homes and communities. Over the last nine years with the organization, I have witnessed the forging of beautiful, reciprocal friendships between older and younger neighbors of every background. Intergenerational, interdependent communities help every community member thrive.
What specifically will donations go toward? Contributions made through RMCC Gives will support our older adults to age well in their own homes and beloved communities. Your generosity helps us coordinate and provide much-needed services for our older adults, including transportation, yard, and home chores, and snow shoveling. It costs A Little Help approximately $1,000 per member per year to provide high-quality, life-affirming services and programming, and with our ‘pay what you can’ membership contribution model in which some folks are not able to contribute and some folks pay more than their share, our average annual member contribution is around $200. Your donations help us to subsidize the cost of service provision and provide scholarships, so members most in need can access necessary services.
We’d love to hear a specific story that stands out to you that shows how A Little Help has really helped someone in need. Rosemary was a member of A Little Help for over 13 years, and I know many in our community got to know her personally on trips to Beauty Korner and driving home from King Soopers through her favorite shortcut, McGibbon Alley.
Rosemary joined A Little Help at our inception in 2007 when the organization was just a few neighbors with a vision to empower older neighbors. Through the years, Rosemary received weekly rides to her hair appointments and to the grocery store, which were big social outings. Although she received rides, at first Rosemary did not participate in any social activities we organized. In 2012, we began Service Saturdays! and at our first fall event, Rosemary was cautious about letting so many “strangers” work on her chores, and asked only for raking help. But after interacting with her volunteers, three adults, a teenager, and two six-year-olds, Rosemary warmed up and gave a long list of spring tasks.
After this initial success, we reached out to Rosemary through Care Calls with an invitation to Scouts and Sages, a program connecting our members with Scout troops through stories, games, crafts, and snacks. We were happily surprised when Rosemary accepted our invitation- it turns out, she had helped start and lead the Scout troop at Steele Elementary for her daughter 70 years ago. Rosemary came to our event and had a great time talking with the girls, sharing stories about her Wash Park neighborhood full of new homes, and about shoveling coal as her winter chore. The troops were so excited to hear these stories of personal local history.
Because she enjoyed herself so much at Scouts and Sages, Rosemary started coming to more events, including Summer Picnics. At her first picnic, the youngest attendee was three and Rosemary was the eldest at 95, with every generation represented in between. Before her participation, it seemed that the longer Rosemary lived, the more isolated she became as she outlived her social circle. Because she chose to open herself to the community, Rosemary enjoyed the last years of her long life (102) in her own home, connected with her neighbors of all ages, as a treasured member of the community.
What is the best way for people to help into the future? Your contributions to A Little Help, whether time, talent or treasure, are so appreciated and meaningful. We are always in need of a little extra help with transportation, yard, and home chores, snow shoveling, and caregiver respite and would love for you to volunteer with us. We even have Service Saturday! events coming up to support our older neighbors with seasonal yard chores, including raking, window washing, gutter cleaning, and weeding if you’re able to get involved on 11/6 or 11/20 in Denver. And of course, your financial support goes a long way to helping our older neighbors to thrive in community. Please consider supporting local older adults by contributing to A Little Help. We have a generous anonymous donor who is willing to match up to $2,500 dollar for dollar to double the impact of your contribution today.
What do you see for the future of your organization in the next year or so? A Little Help’s model can work in nearly any community because we leverage a plentiful resource, good neighbors. In the next year, we are launching our vital services in Grand Junction and western Weld County to continue to grow our rural impact, where resources are fewer and needs are greater. With your support, we’ll be able to get our model up and running in new communities, for more older adults to age well. Thank you!
We hope you will join us in donating to A Little Help!
ABOUT RMCC GIVES: We’re celebrating our 40th anniversary by giving back through our #RMCCGives initiative! We will spend 2021 supporting six nonprofits nominated by our brokers. Stay tuned as we highlight each organization every two months and spend the time supporting their worthy causes. Want to find out how you can get involved? Contact us!
Read more about RMCC Gives on RISMedia’s Featured News HERE