When You Need A Village: How To Organize A Caregiving Team

Here are 5 simple steps to organize a caregiving team or “helping village” for yourself or someone else in a time of need.

This is a group of volunteers who can provide short-term local support!

My wish is to spread the idea of the Helping Village and encourage people to organize one for themselves or for someone else.

When emotional, physical or mental recovery is required, it can make a huge difference to receive help rather than be alone in the process.

If you have difficulty asking for help or resist receiving support, please check out these 2 related posts:

RELATED VIDEO:  http://littlewoo.org/learn-to-ask-for-help-when-you-need-it/

AND ARTICLE: http://littlewoo.org/why-we-dont-ask-for-help-and-how-to-get-over-it/

The Helping Village Origins

On multiple occasions, I’ve gathered a group of people to help someone in the community during a challenging time in their life.

Usually, the person needed immediate support but didn’t qualify for government assistance or couldn’t afford private services. (Or they felt so overwhelmed, they couldn’t navigate those routes.)

But often, it was also because they needed the intimacy and personal touch that comes from receiving help from a community rather than an organization. It’s about being a part of a living village, where you are a valued member and not a transaction.  And often, it’s about the deeper desire to feel like you matter and that people care.

For example, a young man in the community was released from hospital with a serious chronic illness (without home care options) so I coordinated a group of 12 volunteers to provide nearly daily help at his home. To do this, we had to find reliable people and I aimed to create a system that was easy, clear and sustainable. (using email and google docs)

For 2 months, we helped him with daily tasks like cooking, groceries, cleaning, laundry and garbage.  Upon request, some of the volunteers also sat with him, offering the solace of quiet company.

Then, the next year, I organized the group to help him for 2 more months when the illness returned.

Since then, I used this process with others who needed a “helping village” for a period of time. Some were very successful and some were very challenging.

What I’ve Learned So Far:

1. This kind of project is meant to provide short-term peer support for someone so they can revitalize, heal or re-organize their life.  Generally, it works well for a 1 to 3-month commitment.

2. The person receiving support must communicate what they want clearly and be able to communicate with the Liaison throughout the project.  The group cannot proceed without their expressed consent and continued guidance!

3. Sometimes, the person’s needs may exceed the scope of this format or the available resources.  In those cases, professional help and advocacy will be needed.  (e.g. social worker, hospital, doctors, member of parliament, advocate, lawyer etc)  This is a grassroots and volunteer effort so there are limits to what can be done.

4. When you organize your volunteers with collaborative online tools, you won’t need tons of emails or phone calls.  There are many tools and sharing platforms that make organizing much easier.

3 Recommended Tools to Organize Your Caregiving Team:
Email combined with Google Documents

My wish is to spread the idea of the Helping Village and encourage people to create villages for themselves or for someone in need!  I hope this guide will give you ideas, shorten your learning curve or inspire your own loving experiments…

If you want to tell me about your helping village project or wish to share some great tools and best practices for organizing caregiving teams, please post in the comments of this article OR email me at treasures@littlewoo.org

May you witness humanity’s tremendous generosity as you gather help with an open heart and clear guidelines.

May you witness your own beautiful heart in action as you help others during their times of challenge.

Much love to all beings…

Guide to Creating A Helping Village
Right click on this link or the pdf image + choose “save link as” to download to your device!

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