I can't get the subject of loneliness out of my head. Perhaps it's because just yesterday a member said to me, "Frank, I'm just so lonely. All my neighbors have moved, and I don't know anyone anymore." Her courageous confession to me, unfortunately, was not a surprise because for months now we've been hearing that the lack of social connection is an epidemic in our country. As I've reported previously, even the U.S. Surgeon General released a report on it. Social isolation can increase the risk of premature death to levels comparable to smoking daily. So, how do we become more connected? One recent article suggests that "knowing and caring for the people you live near is good for the neighborhood, and can be a boon for your health and happiness." This is the heart of the Village model – neighbors helping neighbors. And it's not just a transactional arrangement either. The interactions among members, volunteers, and staff creates connections, bonds, and friendships. In short, we're creating community. And yet, we can always do more. The big question is what exactly? Everyone is different. Some tell me, "I'm not a joiner!" or "It's hard to go to an event when I don't know anyone." or even, "I'm too shy." Here's a challenge to all reading this that wants to be more connected: join us for lunch on Wednesday, August 9 at Chef Geoff's on New Mexico Avenue. It's just lunch, and I will personally guarantee you that you will meet someone of interest. To register, just call the office at 202-615-5853 or click here. A reminder that Members Plus can request a ride to and from lunch. I hope to see you there or at another event, even a wellness class online, which might be less intimidating to those that are shy.
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