Rapp at Home launches website, attracts volunteers, members

By Patty HardeeBy Patty Hardee
Sharon Pierce, board chair of Rapp at Home, addresses attendees of the organization’s open house last weekend at the RAAC Community Theatre.

The website for Rapp at Home (rappathome.org) went live last Friday, just in time for an open house to recruit volunteers and members. The open house, held at the RAAC Community Theatre in Washington, drew about 30 people. On the coldest day of the year, attendees warmed up with pastries and coffee donated by Triple Oak Bakery, Creekside Bakery and Central Coffee Roasters.

Board members Sharon Pierce, Ed Eager, Heidi Lesinski, Danny Wilson, Emery Lazar and Patty Hardee, and Planning Coordinator Ken Gray were on hand to talk about the organization’s mission and goals. In a short presentation, board chair Pierce told attendees, “Rapp at Home was created to help us all stay connected to our community as we age.”

Pierce and Gray emphasized that although the organization will coordinate and centralize access to information, services, and social activities, the direction of Rapp at Home will depend on its members. Gray explained that there are over 200 similar organizations — part of a “village” network — around the country. “Village organizations are typically member- and volunteer-driven,” he said. “Each village is unique to its location and the specific needs of its community.” He explained that an important aspect of all villages is their emphasis on social activities, such as classes and workshops organized around members’ interests. These help members stay connected to their friends and neighbors.

The presentation evidently hit a chord with the attendees, most of whom looked to be in their 50s and older. Questions came quickly, stimulating a discussion touching on sensitive issues such as serving isolated members of the community, providing medical assistance, the urgency of finding new fire and rescue volunteers to replace the aging members, and the need for caregiver respite.

Rapp at Home plans to hold future gatherings to continue the discussion, either in public venues or at board members’ houses. In the meantime, Rapp at Home board meetings are open to the public and all are invited — the second and fourth Thursday of every month, in the Extension Office conference room above Tula’s, 311 Gay St, Washington. Meetings start at 1 p.m..

For more information about Rapp at Home, volunteer opportunities, and membership, go to rappathome.org. Or contact Rapp at Home by email at info@rappathome.org, or by phone at 540-937-HOME (540-937-4663).

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