5 questions: Mt. Lebanon Village
Tracy Limegrover, is a licensed psychotherapist and psychology professor who is currently pursuing her doctorate at Duquesne University. She took over as executive director of Mt. Lebanon Village earlier this year.
What inspired you to make the move to Mt. Lebanon Village?
When I moved to the community, I went on a search for an organization that I could volunteer my time with. I wanted to be sure to find a group with a mission that I felt I could be true to and garner meaning from. I found Mt. Lebanon Village at a First Friday event and originally volunteered to be a driver. That later morphed into an invitation from the board to interview for the executive director position.
What’s been your greatest challenge?
Of the challenges that any organization faces, the greatest for MLV, is to brand itself and to make a big splash and an indelible mark in Mt. Lebanon and the surrounding South Hills neighborhoods. We are a really well-kept secret, and that serves no one, including the very people who most need and desire our services.
Tell us a little about the Village concept.
Villages, which exist across the US and Canada, are membership-driven, grassroots organizations mostly run with a volunteer workforce and part-time paid staff to coordinate access to services such as transportation, health, wellness and social programming. Members also can access vetted providers and tradespeople who can do repairs and provide needed work for members. Intergenerational engagement creates opportunities for members to socialize and participate in activities with all ages.
Describe a typical member.
I like to think that our members are all unique and quite special. However, as always, I find that we as a people have far more in common than we think we do. Our members are what sociologists and psychologists would refer to as a “cohort.” Meaning, a like group of agemates who share a commonality built around shared generational and other cultural identifiers. Many of our members, whether they identify themselves as so or not, are from the Greatest Generation. More specifically, they also are elders who have, for whatever reason, become somewhat isolated from the mainstream, separated from the pack. [Our members] mostly reside independently and often revel in the opportunity to engage with their peers and to be pulled back into the happenings in this community they helped to build. Often, a lack of transportation impedes their autonomy and some times the challenge of re-identifying a circle of friends and support is the factor that MLV helps to address. Whatever brings a member to MLV, we try to help all members to build connections, to be included, and to wrap services and supports around others that insulate them from the very things that might ultimately result in them giving up their identity and their home unnecessarily.
What’s the one thing residents should know about Mt. Lebanon Village?
I wish everyone could know, hear and believe that what we do, what we offer, is invaluable. I speak mostly to the adult children who worry so for their mom and dad. I want to say to them, “Let us help you with your worry; lean on us; we exist to serve the very needs that you want to elevate for your beloved parent or parents.”