About REAL Connections
The “Village” Movement for Service-Rich Aging at Home
Home and community-based services can support individuals to age in place, yet it can be a challenge to find safe, quality services to meet one’s full range of evolving needs. Beacon Hill Village (BHV) in Boston was created to locally address this very issue. The innovative community-based program provides a one-stop, trusted resource that enables people to live safely and well at home for as long as possible.
For more than a decade, the BHV experience has demonstrated that older adults are willing to invest in a membership program that offers access to an array of vetted service providers, focused social and educational programs, organized community volunteers, and the convenience of a knowledgeable resource to assist them in finding and coordinating services.
The so-called “village” model has caught on nationally and even internationally. Numerous articles and publications (Forbes Magazine, AARP Magazine, New York Times to name a few) have promoted it as an aging strategy for the future. The first west coast village was launched in the Palo Alto area in 2008. Since then, villages have developed in several California communities, among them San Francisco, Santa Monica, San Diego, and Santa Barbara.
Today, a national Village-to-Village (VtV) Network enables developing and operational villages to share knowledge and resources. To learn more about villages nationally and globally, visit www.vtvnetwork.org. REAL Connections is a proud member of the VtV Network.
Creating REAL Connections
Inspired by the village movement, a committed group of your neighbors researched local residents’ interests, planned services and programs, determined a membership approach and volunteer needs, and embarked on fundraising. REAL Connections launched in July, 2012.
REAL Connections provides members with coordinated services and professional expertise along with a variety of educational, health and wellness, cultural, and social programs. Members can access assistance that engages local volunteers, our staff, strategic partners and a cadre of vetted and trustworthy service providers.
REAL Connections is dedicated to providing you with the information and resources you need to live independently and well, and to age gracefully in your home and community.
At REAL Connections our philosophy is: Real life. Real choice.
A Village Brought To You by Community Senior Services
Grassroots-organized and locally-focused, REAL Connections operates as an independent program of Community Senior Services.
Community Senior Services is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to “connect people, information, resources and communities to enrich the lives of older adults.” Established in 1975, the organization plays a unique role as a community organizer, information resource and collaborator on senior issues throughout the Inland, Pomona and East San Gabriel Valleys. Community Senior Services is recognized for its multi-community scope and service area. The organization works in concert with a range of community leaders, social, healthcare, city and county organizations, businesses and service providers whose engagement is essential to the program’s success.
REAL Connections Structure
REAL Connections is designed and implemented as a modified “hub-and-spoke” operating structure. Community Senior Services, the “hub,” is the strategic and administrative arm, guiding program operations. The Community Senior Services Board of Directors serves as the board for REAL Connections.
To ensure that programs and services are responsive to local needs—your needs—REAL Connections developed two community-based networks: REAL Los Angeles (LA) and REAL San Bernardino (SB). REAL SB and REAL LA are the geographic operating “spokes,” each with a member council and working committees.
REAL LA offers neighborhood connections for members who reside in Claremont, La Verne, San Dimas and parts of Pomona. REAL SB connects members in the San Bernardino County communities of Alta Loma, Rancho Cucamonga, San Antonio Heights and Upland. Regardless of geographic location, REAL members can attend all REAL Connections' sponsored events.
These areas were chosen following an extensive survey of area residents. As REAL Connections gains momentum and capacity, we hope to expand into adjacent communities, though to maintain member service and satisfaction, growth may be phased.