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Steve Levin — Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Written by Shelley Hebert

As Portola Valley resident Steve Levin watched the beginnings of the coronavirus emergency unfold, he realized that he and his neighbors already had an effective tool that could help at this critical time.  Known as “PVForum,” it is a listserv connecting thousands of area residents through a lively and ongoing exchange of email messages. On PVForum, neighbors publicize events, seek and offer advice about resources, post items for sale and even find lost pets.  PVForum is a highly trusted source and, as Steve describes it, “the glue of the community.”

Steve recognized that this existing communications infrastructure could be used to help neighbors help each other as they shelter-in-place.  Together with community volunteers Rebecca Flynn and Jane Wilson, he helped develop and launch PVCares, a new service to match vulnerable neighbors needing help with others wanting to assist them.

PV Cares has specific safety guidelines to ensure that volunteers are healthy and don’t place themselves or their neighbors at greater risk of contagion as they help with shopping or errands. Volunteers provide a range of other assistance, too, such as help with computer issues, arranging home repairs, and providing emotional support and empathy by phone.

So far 85 volunteers have registered through PVCares.  In addition to benefitting vulnerable neighbors, their willingness to step up impacts the whole community.  “Everyone feels better knowing that they live in a place where people want to help each other,” Steve said.  Drawing on his professional expertise in coaching leaders, building teams and designing organizational change, he knows that when people see those around them engaging in positive behaviors, it quickly becomes the community norm of “that’s what we do around here.”  Thanks to Steve’s initiative, the glue of the Portola Valley community is becoming even stronger.

Sat, May 30 2020 7 Sivan 5780