In 2016, Don Bell moved to the North side of Chicago, and through the Reduced Fee Membership program became the 400th member of the Village.
He was truly a man whose life was in transition. He had just lost his mother after 18 years of being her primary caregiver; he had moved away from two adult sons and six grandchildren. He had just turned 65 and as a gay man, was looking forward to being part of the first generation of out LGBT seniors. He says, “In the Village I found just what I needed. I found contemporaries working at living active and purposeful lives. I found powerful women in positions of leadership and men who were not the least bit diminished by it. I found new approaches to re-imagining my aging experience through Life 3.0, and I found commitment to diversity through the LGBT Task Force. It didn’t matter that I was African-American. It didn’t matter that I was from the South side. It didn’t matter that I had limited financial resources. I found welcome.”
Don says, “I am thoroughly committed to what we’re trying to do collectively as The Village Chicago. We are people building a caring and connected community across the barriers of race, class, gender, age, ability, and sexual orientation. And here I have found not only welcome, but fulfillment, friendship, and purpose.”