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Community matters to new resident Patricia “Pat” Martin

When looking to relocate to a new community, Pat Martin had two requirements - a swimming pool and a place she could share with her cat Harley.

Aberdeen Village offered both and seemed a perfect fit.

“I’ve done a lot of research of different communities, and Aberdeen Village had them all,” Pat said. “Before I moved in, I had a cat jungle gym put on the wall. It has a stairway, bed, a box on the wall, a little platform across the windows, and a hammock. This will tell you a little something about my priorities. I wanted my Harley to feel at home - because he didn’t have a choice. At least I could make him comfortable.”

Now that she and Harley have settled in since their September move-in, Pat’s worked to continue her long-standing community work, as well as making sure Harley’s adjusting OK.

“He’s adjusted well,” Pat said. “He’s still getting used to the fact that the front door doesn’t go to the outside. It goes to a hallway that he’s not been brave enough to venture out to. He wasn’t used to having so many people around. I wasn’t either. But we’re adjusting. It’s good.”

Before making the move to Aberdeen Village, Pat lived in Prairie Village, after having spent much of her life in the Turner neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas. She’s always had a focus on doing whatever she could to improve her community.

“My interest in the community translated into some of the things I’m interested in,” Pat said. “I have a long-time interest in social justice. For years I was a member of the League of Women Voters, and I served on their board and various projects. I’m involved now in the Good Faith Network. We’re in our second year, and have about 20 different churches in the Johnson County area. Faith leaders got together and said we’re doing a good job on spiritual discipline, going to church, and praying. We’re doing a pretty good job on mercy - giving immediate aid to people in need. But we’re not doing a very good job of trying to change the system and working toward justice. So, they created a format and are part of a bigger group that helps provide a template for social action campaigns.”

The work is rewarding, and challenging. But it strives to reach into vulnerable communities, gather valuable information, and then leverage the collective voice of the network to advocate for change. Last year’s goal was to address homelessness and mental health needs in the community. This year, the network is advocating for affordable housing.  

“Last year we had 1,200 people who met in an assembly with county commissioners and got a commitment to work for specific goals,” Pat said. “The county was going to get a person to work on housing issues and we got them to include as part of the job to end homelessness. They had plans for a Mental Health navigation center to funnel people to resources, but not until 2028. We got them to move the timetable up 3-4 years. We use communication and the power of the people behind us to work on these issues.”

In her career, Pat worked in Human Resources and Benefits. When she retired, she wanted to keep that work going, so she helped establish a local Senior Health Insurance Counseling center to aid seniors in making choices in Medicare programs.

“We inform them about choices in enrollment, different drug plans,” Pat said. “We had a counseling session here at Aberdeen Village this fall. I and another counselor had times when people could sign up to help residents with Medicare - that’s a community thing I’m involved with.”

In addition to her community work, Pat sings with the St. Mark’s United Methodist Church choir - and has joined in with the twice weekly sing-along sessions at Aberdeen Village. She’s also taking part in physical and occupational therapy to maintain her mobility, and she’s eager to soon join the Aberdeen Village book club.

Pat said the staff and residents have been fantastic, and the people are a big part of what drew her to Aberdeen Village.

“I chose Aberdeen Village because I felt more at home with the people,” she said. “I thought what really matters is the people you’re around. They have a program here where they assign people to go to a meal with you the first week. It can be really intimidating to walk into a place where you don’t know anyone. I like that program a lot. They make an effort to make newcomers feel at home.”

Along with her “wonderful” cat Harley, Pat plans to continue to enjoy her experiences at Aberdeen Village - and continue her work to make her communities, old and new, better.

“No matter what situation you’re in, you can work for improvement and change,” Pat said. “If there are ways we can work together for a better community, that is a great value to have. What’s better for everybody is better for the individual, too.”

And if the time comes that she’s unable to do that work, she’ll be happy to enjoy the sunsets from her apartment.

“I can enjoy them from my window, because I face west,” Pat said. “If I become where I can’t drive anymore, it will be awesome to watch the sunset, and I won’t have to go anywhere to do it.”

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