If you are 55 years of age or older and live within the Corry Area School District, you’re in luck.

If you need assistance with anything from transportation to a doctor’s appointment to a new furnace to an afternoon outing, there is an organization that can help.

Village Friends Inc. is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to assist senior citizens in the community. The mission includes helping seniors live independently while staying in their own home.

Village Friends Inc. is part of a national, nationally recognized “village movement” concept developed 12 years ago in Boston, Massachusetts. Corry’s Village Friends Inc. is the first one in northwestern Pennsylvania. The closest one is in State College.

“I don’t know where you can get what we do for $33 a month,” said Karen Croyle, executive director of Village Friends Inc., a nonprofit organization.

Currently, Village Friends Inc. has about 60 members, but since the organization started in 2015, it has served about 140 people.

Services include, but are not limited to:

- transportation – to doctor’s appointments, shopping, pick up a prescription;

- handyman services – move a window air conditioner, bring Christmas decorations down from the attic, light yard work;

- technology assistance – program thermostats, help with computers and cell phones;

- away from home – house check, pick up mail, pet care.

Tim Adams is the group’s volunteer who handles technology-related requests.

Members may also participate in social activities, which Croyle says are most important next to transportation.

“It is so important for older adults to stay connected to the larger community,” Croyle said.

There are two to three organized day trips a month, and volunteers do the driving. Trips include visiting museums, the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, theaters and restaurants. Although, Croyle said, finding a restaurant that can accommodate a large group has been a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We also have a coffee club and a game day,” Croyle said.

Croyle said seniors benefit from the social interaction.

“If you talk to members, the thing they’ll tell you they value the most is the social connections they make,” Croyle said.

All volunteers are required to undergo a background check.

Village Friends Inc. also has a list of “vetted vendors.” Those are local people who respond in a timely manner for services such as a new furnace and offer Village Friends Inc. members a discount. All “vetted vendors” must carry insurance or be bonded and have references.

Village Friends Inc. is governed by a board of directors. In addition to Croyle, personnel include Wendy Whiteman, program coordinator; Deb Kacpura, president; Len Clark, vice president; and Mary Darling, treasurer. Board members are Dick Patterson, Eric McCray, Janet McIntyre, Joan Hannan, Phyllis Marchitelli and the Rev. Mary Norton.

Members must be individually mobile and able to make their own decisions. For more information or to be become a member, go to www.villagefriendsinc.org and click on membership or call 814-964-2767 for an application.

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