New initiative at Eagle’s Trace provides assistance to those in need of a helping hand

Created date

March 23rd, 2020
Barbara Sheffield, smiling here in a beautiful blue top, developed the idea for a Neighbor-to-Neighbor program at Eagle’s Trace.

Barbara Sheffield developed the idea for a Neighbor-to-Neighbor program at Eagle’s Trace.

The premise behind the newest initiative at Eagle’s Trace is simply one neighbor helping another.

“I had a moment when I couldn’t figure out how to change in the ink cartridge in my printer,” says Barbara Sheffield, who moved to Eagle’s Trace, the Erickson Living-managed community in West Houston, in September 2018. “That’s when I had the idea for a program that matches residents’ skills with neighbors who need a onetime helping hand.”

Barbara, a member of the Community Life Committee at Eagle’s Trace, presented her idea to the committee and was met with enthusiastic support.

“All of our clubs and activities at Eagle’s Trace are resident-driven,” says Kristen Kennedy, resident services coordinator. “As staff members, we support and facilitate their ideas, but it’s residents behind the active and diverse offerings we see on the calendar each month.”

Barbara’s idea took root, and the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program became a reality.

Lending a hand

“The committee put together a survey for residents to indicate areas in which they are willing to volunteer, whether that’s changing an ink cartridge or reaching an item on a high shelf,” says Barbara. “We distributed the survey in January, and residents returned the surveys indicating skills they’re willing to share. We compiled their responses into a list of all the services and volunteers.” 

Barbara says the skills listed on the survey stemmed from a room-by-room analysis of her own San Luis-style apartment at Eagle’s Trace.

“There are tasks I find easy and others that are a little more challenging,” says Barbara, former director of human resources for ConocoPhillips and retired president and CEO of Members Choice Credit Union. “I know I have skills to share as well as tasks where I could benefit from a helping hand.”

The general services department at Eagle’s Trace handles all maintenance in residents’ apartment homes, but Barbara was looking at tasks like changing the time on a clock or feeding a neighbor’s dog.

“I went room to room and asked myself, ‘Where would I potentially need help in this room?’” she says. “We live in a place where people help each other. My hope is the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program promotes the idea of a community of friends who are there for each other.”

Barbara notes the Neighbor-to-Neighbor initiative is intended to provide onetime or short-term assistance. Residents who need continuing, long-term assistance can schedule those services through the Eagle’s Trace Resident Life Department.

“In my experience, the benefit of helping others far exceeds the effort,” says Barbara. “This initiative is one more way to strengthen our relationships with our neighbors.”