In This Issue
Upcoming Events
From the Executive Director
Volunteer Program
Members Connecting with Members
Member Testimonials
Member Accolades
Member Announcements
New Members
Contact Us
2330 Durant Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704
Quick Links

January, 2011

Just a few days into the new year and things are bustling at Ashby Village.  In this issue, you will read about a host of new events, opportunities, acknowledgments and accolades, including: 
  • This month, we will hold a Volunteer Forum to celebrate the work of the more than 65 individuals who have helped to build and operate Ashby Village.  We will also hold our third Volunteer Orientation and Training for new volunteers. 
  • The Ashby Village Member Survey has been completed with great success.  More than 75% of our members participated, sharing valuable information of the demographics, wants and needs of our community.  Join us for a public presentation of these findings at our Special Report (see Upcoming Events below.  Results and analysis will be shared with our community shortly thereafter.
  • Several new columns have been added:
    - Members Connecting with Members - a forum in the Weekly Digest that will allow members to gather special interest groups
    - Accolades - a place to recognize the achievements of our many accomplished members
    - Announcements - items that we believe will be of use and of interest, to our members
    - New Members - recognizing new members each month
  • Last week, the Member Services Committee had an exciting brainstorm and planning session for 2011.  Actions are underway to deepen and expand Ashby Village services.  We welcome new committee members to join us at our next meeting January 28th, 3:30-5:00.
UpcomingEvents Upcoming Events
Unless otherwise noted, Events are for Ashby Village members only

Monday, January 10th, 2011, noon
Lunch at Mint Leaf, A monthly Village gathering
This first month of the new year we dine on authentic Indian food.  Join other Ashby Villagers at Mint Leaf,  a family owned and operated restaurant that uses seasonal organic produce and free range meats from local farmers whenever possible.  The lunch menu is an "all you can eat" (!) Indian buffet which includes choices of three chicken dishes, vegetarian dishes, rice, salad, fruit and dessert.  Fixed price of $10; please bring cash.

  • Where: Mint Leaf Restaurant, 1513 Shattuck Avenue (East side of street)  Berkeley (between Vine Street and Cedar)
  • This is wheelchair accessible
  • Please RSVP here, or call 510-204-9200
Saturday, January 15th, 9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Volunteer Forum - For past, present and future volunteers
For more details, click here

Tuesday, January 18, 3:00 to 5:00 pm
A workshop on Ethical Wills
Join us for an informative workshop on Ethical Wills with Diane Beeson,  professor of Sociology at Cal State University, East Bay.   An Ethical Will (Hebrew "Zevaoth") is a document designed to pass ethical values from one generation to the next.  Today, ethical wills are written by both men and women of every age, ethnicity, faith tradition, economic circumstance, and educational level. See "The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours by Marion Wright Edelman", "Everything I Know: Basic Life Rules from a Jewish Mother"
by Sharon Strassfeld, and President Barack Obama's "A Letter to My Daughters".  While the content may be similar to a memoir, the intention is to transmit love and learning to future generations.
  • Where: Jewish Family and Children's Services, Suse Mayal Center for Older Adult Services, 2484 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley.  There is parking on the street for 90 min  and 2 hour parking around the corner
  • This is wheelchair accessible with an elevator to the 2nd floor.
  • Please RSVP here, or call 510-204-9200
Saturday, January 22nd, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
VolunteerOrientationVolunteer Orientation and Training - For new volunteers
For more details, click here

Monday, January 24th, 3:00 - 4:30 pm
SPECIALREPORTSpecial Report: Ashby Village Survey Findings
Please join us for this first public presentation of the Ashby Village member survey findings.  This survey, conducted in December, 2010 was completed by more than 75% of our members -- a remarkably high response rate.  Marcia Freedman, chair of our Outreach Committee, will share the survey results and an initial analysis.   Responses will be solicited from participants, and discussion will be moderated by Andy Gaines, Ashby Village Executive Director.
  • Open to members and nonmembers
  • Where: the Ashby Village Office - 2330 Durant Avenue
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Please RSVP here, or call 510-204-9200
Sunday, February 13th, 5:00 - 7:00 pm
Potluck & PoetryFood, Wine and Words!
Our Village is growing, and finding ways to meet new friends and strengthen ing member connections is high on our agenda!  Building on the success of our 2010 Potluck Dinners, we will combine Food, Wine, & Words again to celebrate Valentine's Day. The twist on this supper is that we will have three potential hosts!  We want to make sure each gathering offers members a chance to sit around a dining room table and break bread and share favorite poems. So, bring out your Shakespeare, Dorothy Parker, Robert Frost -- bring a favorite dish and a poem to share and together we will  illuminate the many forms of love.  
  • Where: the host homes will be announced as the number of participants, and their location, has been determined.  Rides will be available as needed.
  • At least one of the host homes will be Wheelchair accessible
  • Please RSVP by Monday, February 7th, and let us know what dish you will bring.
Back to Top

From the Executive Director
Andy GainesFor the last month I have been creating a Plan of Action for 2011 and it feels as though we're already moving full steam ahead.

This process of preparation for the new year began with a reflection on where we've been.  Ashby Village launched its member services in July with 85 members.  Now, six months later, we have 134 members, far in excess of what had initially been projected.  When I stepped into my role in September, we had 25 vetted, trained volunteers with little to do.  We reminded our members of our readiness to support, and actively encouraged them to call and use our services.  Happily, the requests are rolling in, and we're scrambling to serve them adequately.  The regular notes and calls of appreciation are punctuated by the findings in our just completed survey overwhelmingly applauding the support we provide!  We intend to increase our volunteer program so that all requests can be honored promptly and effectively.

My intentions for Ashby Village were punctuated this fall by my participation in the national gathering of Villages in Philadelphia.  I returned with the sense that our Village is well-founded in its organization, infrastructure and core services, but that we have a long way to go in deepening and expanding our resources.  I became aware of the common challenge of every Village to meet its expenses solely through membership dues, and the urgency of achieving membership renewals and in locating other sources of funding.

Accordingly, we've already initiated actions on many fronts to demonstrate the intrinsic value of membership in Ashby Village.  Our revitalized Member Services Committee has begun to identify and prioritize where to focus its efforts, in transportation; partnerships with other organizations or businesses; member companionship; assistance with medical appointments; and home safety assessments.  The Events Committee is building our Health and Wellness offerings, planning a series of outdoor offerings, yoga and movement classes for the Spring, as well as a wide range of other member requested events.  The newly formed Social Services Committee is examining how we can best support the physical and emotional needs of our members: gathering concise referral information, planning additional training for volunteers, and considering how committee participants might support members.

On the organizational front, I am very excited about the forthcoming launch of the new Ashby Village website.  The public face should be online by the end of this month, and it will more effectively present what Ashby Village is, what is available to our members, stories of the Village members, volunteers and providers, and regular updates.  The member-only section, expected 4-6 weeks after, will provide a more streamlined forum for members to connect with one another, register for events, and much more.

I have been touched by commitment of the Ashby Village community to move boldly forward in creating a new model of aging in this country.  As we go further into this coming year, I feel honored to help facilitate a beautiful, sustainable Village. 

-- Andy Gaines          

VolunteerProgramVolunteer Program

Saturday, January 15th, 9:00 am - 12:30 pm
VolunteerForumVolunteer Forum - For past, present and future volunteers
This Forum is designed to celebrate the extraordinary volunteer effort that has been put into building Ashby Village, and to looking toward our future.  Together we will create a visual history of Ashby Village within the context of recent US developments and the national Village movement.   Participants will include members of the Ashby Village Board of Directors and Advisory Board, committee members and volunteers who have supported our establishment and growth in a wide variety of ways.
  • Open to members and nonmembers
  • Where: the Ashby Village Office - 2330 Durant Avenue
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Please RSVP here, or call 510-204-9200
Saturday, January 22nd, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
VolunteerOrientationVolunteer Orientation and Training - For new volunteers
Members are increasingly calling in for support, which is wonderful!  In order to effectively satisfy their requests, we need to continue growing our volunteer program.  Some of the particular areas where volunteers are needed for Ashby Village include transportation, home handywork, support of members at medical appointments, and communications (newsletter, digests, website). To learn more about becoming a volunteer, or to know what volunteer services are available to you as a member, please contact the office.
  • Open to members and nonmembers
  • Where: the Ashby Village Office - 2330 Durant Avenue
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • If you would like to participate, it is important to contact us immediately at 510-204-9200 so we can begin the application process.
Tobey and her niece at the Holiday Party
Tobey and her granddaughter at the Holiday Party
Tobey Klein, Events Committee Volunteer

Many weeks ago Tobey was forwarded the names of two new members who expressed interest in leading outdoor/nature activities.  Within days, Tobey had scheduled a meeting of  several parties, including a representative of the California Parks Department, to plan an assortment of Ashby Village Spring events.  Tobey is a highly valued, and key player, on the Ashby Village Events Committee.

Tobey believes that social events and activities enhance the lives of participants, and she delights in assisting our Village to make them happen...with a gusto!  "Some members come out for everything we offer," she says, "and I believe that it helps people to connect with others and feel part of a community".  Tobey was particularly surprised and delighted when about 90 people showed up at the Holiday Party -- almost twice the number expected.  When asked about events that the events being considered for 2011, she replied that they are hoping to do nature activities, musical outings, theater going groups and, of course, the already successful Potluck & Poetry and monthly luncheons.  "Even as a volunteer I feel I have become a part of a wonderful village; it is a very rewarding experience."


Appreciation: Tom Boyden, Volunteer

Tom Boyden
Tom at the office computer

At the time of his retirement, Tom's wife presented him with an edict that he could only do so if he committed to being out of the house at least eight hours each week.  Begrudgingly, Tome agreed; he thought he would be waiting for time to pass.  After volunteering at Ashby Village since September, Tom makes the rare admission that his wife was right in pushing him to do this.   He continues:  I feel happy when I go home from a day's work at Ashby Village.  Last week I drove a member to the hospital and learned that we were both co-arrestees for free speech back in the 60's.  Yesterday I took a member grocery shopping; while I hate grocery shopping, I had such a lovely time helping out this nice woman.  I do all sorts of interesting projects at the office: fixing fax machines, learning about using maintaining a database, figuring out how to mail merge. Unlike the place I used to work, volunteering for Ashby Village is so easy going, pleasant and meaningful thing.  It feels like this is something I've been preparing my whole life to do.

Tom is not alone in his sense of appreciation; Ashby Village member Caroline Summer writes:   I'd like to offer a few words of praise for  your wonderful volunteer Tom Boyden.  I've been quite ill and I couldn't get along without having Tom drive me to my weekly medical appointment in Berkeley.  Tom is not only reliable and thoughtful, he's pleasant to be with:  positive, good-tempered, and intelligent.  I'm very grateful for the assistance he has given me.

Ashby Village is incredibly lucky to have Tom as part of our team.  Most every member he assists is laudatory at his generosity, ease and capacity. 


Back to Top    
MembersConnecting NEW TOOL!  Members Connecting with Members

Many Ashby Village members have expressed an interest in forming special interest groups to discuss books, attend the theater, go walking, and much, much more.  Within the next two months we will launch an online tool designed specifically to support members in making these connections.  In the interim, this column in the Weekly Digest (Members Only) which will serve as such a forum.  Here is how it will work:
  1. Write-up a description of what you would like to do with others.  Include your name, specific interest, and preferred way for members to contact you.  For example:
    -- I live in Rockridge and would like to form a book group that would meet every month. Please contact me at 510.657.9801; evenings before 9 are best.

    -- I live in Albany and would like to find some walking partners. If you are interested, please email me at....

    -- I love dance performances and would love to attend performances in the city. Interested? call...

    -- I would like to host a monthly bridge game at my home
  2.  This announcement will be run in our Weekly Digest, distributed only to members, for four issues.
  3. If you successfully form an interest group, for one or more sessions, please let us know.
  4. We will keep a file on proposed and/or operating interest groups and list them in the online forum when it is launched.

Please think up what you might like to share with other members and send your description to the office.

Back to Top     
TestimonialsMember Testimonials

Volunteer "Driver-Friend"
Ashby Village came through for me in  a huge way during my recent health crisis.  A wonderful volunteer changed her plans in order to drive me to and from a Doctor's appointment one day ahead of schedule.  Her presence was wonderfully calming and it was such a relief to have a trustworthy, efficient "driver-friend" to help me during an anxiety-provoking and difficult day.  Irene organized the transportation with her customary adroitness; thanks to her as well.  I also want to thank all the folks who were ready to visit me and/or bring supplies over the Christmas holiday (also a last-minute request).  I'm glad it wasn't necessary but grateful beyond words to everyone who volunteered and hope to meet you soon.

-- Barbara Freeman (member)

Volunteer assists in the completion of a member testimonial
My husband and I joined Ashby Village , excited by the concept and eager to discover what it might have to offer. We are unaccustomed to asking for help of this kind. My husband had broken his hip and was facing a very slow recovery and some cognitive challenges, and we were determined to remain in our home! When we rebuilt, following the Oakland Hills fire storm, we announced to our family that it was our wish to be here until our last breaths. " They should plan on carrying us out". Well, that may or may not be possible, but the safety net that Ashby Village provides makes it far more likely that this intention will come to pass.

In the past months since we joined, my husband's wish to complete a memoir has been made possible by an amazing woman who is volunteering to help him finish work that he can no longer complete on is own. When I asked Andy to help us find someone who might work with Bob, he put some Ashby Village volunteers to work finding an appropriate person for the job. Michelle McGuinness now comes once a week and we have together crafted a form that works for Bob and that promises completion of the project. An oral history, which will likely be transcribed into written form as well, is well underway. Michelle arrives with her Smart Phone and is videotaping stories which Bob will soon present to our family. This is incredibly satisfying to both of us, and we are so grateful to Ashby Village for finding Michelle and to the time she is donating to his work.

The other service that Ashby Village has provided me is a personal assistant who is helping me with my desk and organizational work. She comes as needed, is lovely, helps me get rid of "stuff' and is a delight to work with.

Our overall challenge with Ashby Village is to think in terms of what we need and how the Village can provide it. It requires thinking outside the box and I trust that over time we will get better at that. As we move into the New Year we hope to be part of this movement which holds so much promise for many of us who are staunchly independent and are now in a stage of life where that fierce autonomy is no longer a viable way to live. The mere existence of the Village, and the marvelous sense of community that is growing around it, has created a psychological and veritable safety net for which we are extremely grateful!
-- Joan and Bob Cole (members)

 Back to Top   

NeedsOpportunities Ashby Village Needs / Opportunities

Join our Member Services Committee

The Member Services Committee met on December 29th and tackled an ambitious agenda. The Committee, with the Executive Director, brainstormed ideas to expand and focus Ashby Village's volunteer and fee-based services in a number of areas, including partnerships with other organizations, health and wellness, transportation and home safety. At its next meeting, Friday, January 28th, from 3:30 - 5:00,  the Committee intends to incorporate information from the recent member survey in order to more fully develop services that are achievable with available resources, will appeal to a wide range of members' needs and interests, and that can be uniquely provided by Ashby Village.  If interested in participating, please contact the office.

Help build communication in, and about, the Village

This Newsletter, the Digest, and soon the Website provide forums for sharing Ashby Village stories, forming special interest groups, appreciating one another, making announcements, and more.  We need your voices.  Please send us your writings and we will assist you to get it published in the Ashby Village media.  We also seek the assistance of skilled writers and designers of the off and online communications.

Back to Top     
MemberAccolades Member Accolades

Earl Cheit accepts awardEarl Cheit (member) honored by Cal Performance as  "longtime trustee and friend of the arts"

Takacs Quartet concert at Hertz Hall ended with an honor and a rare encore, as Professor Emeritus Earl (Budd) Cheit, founding chair of the Cal Performances Board of Trustees, was presented with the organization's Award of Distinction in the Performing Arts and an unexpected final act.

The campus award is given to an individual whose contributions demonstrate exceptional achievement in the performing arts. After presentation of the honor, Cheit was given the singular experience of sitting on stage, among the musicians, as they played Mozart's String Quartet No. 19 in C major, K. 465, the "Dissonance" Quartet...

Click here to read more of this recognition in the UC Berkeley News.

Back to Top    
AnnouncementsAnnouncements by Members
Falls are one of the greatest threats to independence as people age, and it is important for our members to know.  Thank you so much for providing this link on how to prevent falls:
-- Elaine Jackson (Member)
Back to Top    
NewMembersNew Members: 2010
In each upcoming Newsletter, new members of the month will be recognize.  With the completion of our 2010 launch year, we want to recognize all of our "pioneer members" that courageously stepped in with us to build Ashby Village:

Nancy Jaicks AlexanderPatricia Kelly
Kendall and Claire AllphinElizabeth Kelly
Marion AndersonCarole Kennerly
Paul AxelrodGabriela Kramer
Marlene and Ben BagdikianCarolyn Linnard
Gloria BayneRhoda and Leon Litwack
Carol BernsteinIrene Marcos
Barbara Blomer and Seymour ChatmanAnn Martin and Robert Reynolds
John and Judy BoeJoe and Mary McKenzie
Daniel Boone and Deborah WienerJanet Messman
Jill BryansJoseph and Madeline Mixer
Elena Burgess and Martin FriedmanMilton Mozen
Harriet Charney and Lawrence SirottMargaret Neidorf
June and Earl ChietAudre and Roger Newman
Barbi Jo Stim and Sam CiafaloCarolyn North and Herbert Strauss
Joan Cole and Bob WendlingerLorraine Osmundson
Alison Colgan and Darryl KatzSusan Palo and Eric Schroeder
Renate CrockerThelma Peck
Robert and Merle DavisPatricia Porthier
Gloria and Morton DavisRoberta Pressman
Joan DiamondEmily Ransom
Sue DiehlHarriet Renaud
Barbara DonaldDiane Resek
Russ Ellis and Julie ShearerSuzanne Riess
Bob ForthmanIrene Rosenthal
Helena FosterTed and Betty Roszak
Marcia FreedmanSylvia Russell
Barbara FreemanDaniel Sabsay
William and Tari FrenchJoyce Sakai and Frank Greene
Grace FretterPat Sakai and Richard Shapiro
Andra Lichtenstein and William GloverJane and Joe Selby
Helen and Larry Grossman
Sandra and Mal Sharpe
Joan HaberFrayda Simon
Shirley Haberfeld and Bob AllegrottiHarriet Simpson
Peter Ernest HaimanJoanne and Bill Somerville
Bernard and Margaret HarveyRuth and Don Stiver
Nell and Broderick HaskellCaroline Summer
Herb HeinzPatricia and Peter Sussman
Evelyn HendricksJan Taradash
Charlotte HerzfeldElivia Thiederman
Barbara HumesSue Thomson
Elaine and Herrick JacksonSusan Tieger
Josephine JarvisJung-Ying and Elna Tsao
Sondra Jensen and Paul ClintonPatricia Ungern
Rachel KahnGrace Wahlberg
Naneen KarrakerBetty and Bill Webster
Edith KasinHideko Winans

Marjorie Wolf

Lawrence and Mary Yabroff

Eva Yarmo and David Rosenthal

Back to Top