SPRYE’s inception began in 2008 through civic and community-minded residents who appreciated their community, its resources and history; and who were committed to living independently and safely there as they grew older.
In 2008, Westchester County Department of Senior Services launched the Livable Community Connection Program that was designed to help older adults age in place. With support and assistance from the Rye Senior Advocacy Committee and The Rye Task Force, SPRYE (originally an acronym for Staying Put in Rye and Environs) was starting to take shape.
According to SPRYE founders, Beacon Hill Village in Boston was an inspiration for them and other such “Village” startups.
This Boston grassroots organization that launched in 1999 sought to connect with and care for one another through an array of services, social and wellness programs, cultural and educational activities. In fact, an entire nascent movement was born!
The Beacon Hill Village manual provided SPRYE with guidance and best practices. In 2011, after years of research and preparation, SPRYE held its Grand Opening at the Locust Avenue Fire House in Rye to an enthusiastic reception. Betti Weimersheimer was hired as the first Executive Director, the Osborn graciously donated office space, and volunteers signed up to help. The new organization stood ready to offer valuable assistance and services for older adults in the area.
In 2016, SPRYE moved into its headquarters at 55 South Main Street in Port Chester, and actively served an expanding membership from the communities of Harrison, Port Chester, Rye and Rye Brook.
In 2018, the founding director retired, and Marie Johnson stepped in to lead the growing organization. After celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2021, SPRYE took strong steps in strategic planning to equip itself for the next decade to come. The minimum Membership level was reduced to 55 so more could benefit from the enhanced programs and enrichment SPRYE provided. Importantly, SPRYE revamped its Mission Statement, Values, Vision and Website for the betterment of the ever-growing numbers who connected with them.
There is now a network of 250 “villages” in operation across the United States, with 60 in development.
SPRYE has become a leading suburban model, producing innovative programs and services, participating in strategic discussions on issues related to “aging in place,” and providing guidance to nascent villages. We proudly serve our members with respect and compassion.