Who is in your village?

We often refer to the adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but we can apply that saying in many situations. Really, it’s important to cultivate a village–a group of resources– to help you navigate your way through life. Despite what we may have learned from our own childhoods, we don’t always have to be self-reliant. It’s ok to ask others for help (and to let them help).

Now is a good time to make a list of people and places who are there to help during tough times.

An obvious place to start is to think about people close to us who would be more than happy to help if we asked. Create a list (names and contact info) of relevant people and post it somewhere in the house so that everyone has access. In fact, it might be a good idea to brainstorm this list as a family. Here are some ideas:

  • Friends
  • Family members
  • Neighbors
  • Congregation members
  • Colleagues
  • Members of organizations to which you belong (e.g., clubs, volunteer organizations, civic associations, online communities)
  • Doctors, therapists, coaches, teachers, or other professionals
  • Veterinarians¬†

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Don’t forget about community resources

As you make your list, extend your thoughts to your greater community (a coach or social worker can help you locate resources, if you are stuck). Examples include the following:

  • Neighborhood associations
  • Community centers
  • Groups for seniors
  • Advocacy groups
  • Local and national charities (e.g., United Way, food banks or pantries, churches)
  • Student services at the college/university (if you are a student)
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Caregiver organizations (Here’s a list)
  • Mental Health organizations (Here’s a list)
  • Respite services
  • Transportation services
  • Housing organizations
  • State and federal agencies
  • Emergency services, hospitals, and care facilities


Sometimes our reluctance to ask for help stems from our experiences with getting needs met as a child.

Place your list where you keep all of your important family information (e.g., insurance info, medication lists) for ease of access. Review and update it periodically, and remind yourself that there is help out there. If you are a caregiver, there’s an app that can help you mobilize help.

Finally, think about how you can be of help to others in tough times–how your talents and skills can help make people’s lives a little easier. Hopefully, you’ll end up on someone else’s list.

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