This month the CFOC Nonprofit Spotlight features The Friends of the Village Library of Cooperstown’s “Welcome Home Cooperstown” program.
Dr. Anush Patel, a Bassett Healthcare oncologist, saw some new hospital employees struggling to establish community ties. To welcome newcomers and to encourage new residents to make the Cooperstown community their permanent home, Dr. Patel took an idea to Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh and the Friends of the Village Library. Thus was born Welcome Home Cooperstown, Meet and Greets, events held on the first Tuesday of each month at 5:30 PM. Held at the Village Hall at 22 Main Street, these events connect new area residents with longtime community members, businesses, and nonprofits.
“By starting Welcome Home Cooperstown, we want to promote inclusivity, compassion, and a way of making connections,” said Dr. Patel. “The overall goal is to better integrate the community and make it as welcoming and sustainable as possible.”
A committee of interested citizens and representatives from the Village of Cooperstown, Bassett Healthcare, Cooperstown Central Schools, and the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce, came together to organize the events, with support from the Friends of the Village Library and the Community Foundation of Otsego County.
The need for consistent welcoming events resonates with area institutions that invest heavily in recruiting employees to the Cooperstown area. Given the challenges facing recruitment—including geographic isolation, lack of cultural diversity, and affordable housing—it makes sense to ensure that those who relocate to our area are appreciated and made welcome. Rather than a one-off event, Welcome Home Cooperstown is building an ongoing, monthly community program to demonstrate long term commitment to building a stronger, more diverse, and welcoming community.
Since it began in May 2023, Welcome Home Cooperstown events have been well attended, averaging 40 people, with a mix of newcomers and established residents. Participants share tips and advice with those new to the area, with refreshments and entertainment providing a sense of community congeniality. Businesses representing the Chamber of Commerce have hosted information tables, while groups such as the League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area and Bassett Healthcare have sponsored refreshments. Local musicians including Peter Daum, Fast Friends, and Polly Messenger have generously shared their talents to create a joyful atmosphere at the events.
With Community Foundation support, Welcome Home Cooperstown is creating new marketing and outreach materials to spread the word of these Meet and Greets to those who relocate to our area. The support will enable the program to continue into 2024 and beyond. All community members are welcome to join in the important work of building a diverse and welcoming home for all of us.
For more information on the Friends of the Village Library of Cooperstown, contact Lynne Mebust at email@example.com.
Content provided by The Friends of the Village Library of Cooperstown.
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