Flowers Can Bloom on Bluffs
A tribute to the late Neva Drages written by Shanaya Dias
During our most challenging moments, it is easy to feel as though we are stranded on a peninsula: a piece of land surrounded by on three sides by water. While our loving family and friends resemble the strip of land that connects us to the world, we may still feel utterly isolated and alone. Through my time at the PVP Village, I have found that this organization bridges this gap by facilitating meaningful social and community engagement.
After my neighbor lost her husband, her feelings of isolation prompted me to seek out community resources that might provide assistance and comfort. Once researching our options, I accompanied her to a PVP Village meeting that explained the services they provide. I decided to volunteer at the Village after that meeting because I felt that the organization's values mirrored my own values of service, community, and wellness. I chose to participate in their intentional care program, which provides personal connections to members of the Village.
Through this program, I met Neva: an incredible woman in her 90s whom I instantly connected with. Her warm, welcoming home immediately felt familiar to me—the decor was unmistakably from my birthplace, Japan. We ended up talking for hours, discussing our backgrounds and similar interests in Japanese culture. Despite our generational gap, our friendship flourished as we shared our experiences.
Our mutual respect allowed us to create amazing memories together. We relived our teenage years when we went shopping together; as Neva tried on her new clothes, it felt like I was with a friend I had known for years. During our shopping trip, she mentioned that she had not been to the beach in over a decade. In response, I took her to see the ocean, and I was overjoyed by her excitement.
My memories and stories are only a portion of what the PVP Village has enabled. This program allowed me to make a friend during the unlikely circumstances of COVID-19 and taught me the importance of building a support system within the community, especially during difficult times.
Ultimately, Neva and I forged a friendship that I will never forget. We supported one another. We vented, laughed, and provided reassurance when we shared our hardest memories. Neva liked to garden, so it made sense why she reached out to the PVP Village. At the Village, we do not just maintain individuals’ everyday lives—we grow lifelong friendships.
Shanaya Dias - PVP Village Volunteer