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Davidson Village Network Member Spotlight – Donna Van Vleet, In Her Own Words

by | Jul 11, 2018 | Senior Community Connections, Voices of Davidson

Donna Van Vleet


(Donna Van Vleet is a Professional Fine Artist, semi-retired teacher, and a charter member of Davidson Village Network. She writes about her membership experience with Davidson Village Network.)

Simply put, my membership in Davidson Village Network (DVN) has been like being thrown a life preserver when you are drowning.

The many benefits of my move to Davidson in December of 2015 need no explanation to the long-term residents of the town. However, if those same opportunities suddenly become unavailable because of worsening health conditions, taking advantage of them can only become daunting. Two chronic health conditions worsened for me in January of 2016 and January of 2017, which caused new obstacles with which I had to learn to cope.

Luckily for me, I had not only heard of this neighbor-to-neighbor network of helpers, but had attended some of the early organizational meetings, hoping to become a volunteer. Even before I became a member, I was convinced that this initiative would be an invaluable resource for seniors who were facing changes in their abilities or circumstances.

I have personally benefited not only from the group of drivers available to take me to medical appointments, but also from the expertise of volunteers in other areas. Overwhelmed by medical bills, I was shown specific methods of dealing with them by a volunteer whose professional background was in this very area. When a broken wrist prevented me from working in my garden this spring, I was offered the help of an accomplished and very willing gardener.

But there are also many other kinds of opportunities available, thanks to the work of those volunteers who post a slate of entertainment and educational events that would be of interest to senior adults. These and informal gatherings give us a chance to meet new friends. They provide social interactions so invaluable to enjoying life. We might not individually take advantage of them, otherwise.

Having many times in my own professional life been a caregiver and volunteer for others, it was difficult for me to swallow my pride and admit that I now was the one who needed a little help. It was not easy and I submitted to needs slowly. But I attest wholeheartedly that when you are confronted with the reality that “No man is an Island,” you have to make some decisions. Once you are willing to admit that you cannot “go it alone,” the rest is easy. When you live where such a group of volunteers is not only available, but eager – it makes that decision and admission especially easy. I urge you to take advantage of what Davidson Village Network has to offer. Not every community can offer such a resource to seniors. We are fortunate to have it.

Davidson Village Network

Davidson Village Network is a non-profit organization that is a grassroots effort offering a helping hand to older adults in the Davidson community.  Davidson Village Network provides friendship, social activities, volunteer-provided services, and guided access to community resources.

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