In This Issue
Upcoming Events
From the Executive Director
Member Testimonials
Launch Discount Expires this Month
Volunteer Program
Member Announcements
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2330 Durant Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704
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December, 2010

As we near the end of 2010, the completion of our first six months of operations, there is much to report from Ashby Village.  Some of the important news you will read about in this issue include: 

  • This is final month of the Ashby Village Launch Discount.  If you have been considering, or you know someone who has, please become a member now!  A Living Room Chat will be held next Sunday.
  • Our first annual Ashby Village Holiday Party is going to be a blast, and we already  have 30 RSVP's from members, their extended families and volunteers.
  • A survey will be sent to all members this week that will enable us to learn what is working, what you're seeking more of, and what you want to change.   We're seeking 100% participation, so please be sure to complete your survey.
  • A Volunteer Orientation and Training has been scheduled for Saturday, January 22.
UpcomingEvents Upcoming Events

Sunday, December 5, 2:00 to 4:00 pm
Living Room Chat

Join us for this last opportunity for prospective members to learn about the Village and benefit from the Ashby Village launch discount. Please come to share your experience and be sure to invite friends or neighbors who might be interested in joining as we end this inaugural year.

  • Where: Home of Patricia and Peter Sussman, 2636 Woolsey St, Berkeley
  • Unfortunately this home is NOT wheelchair accessible: three steps
  • Please RSVP here, or call 510-204-9200
Sunday, December 12, 5:00 to 7:00 pm
Ashby Village Holiday Party
This party is sure to be a BLAST!  We invite members, their extended families, and a guest to join us for:
Photo by Marianne Gontarz York
Photo by Marianne Gontarz York


  * Music

  * Circle Dancing

  * Games and Prizes (for kids and adults)

  * Potluck Feast

Later this week, you will receive an Evite with further details about the event, including ways you can contribute to the Potluck .  We'll ask you to let us know who is coming and what dish you plan to bring.


We are excited to have photographer, social worker and gerontologist Marianne Gontarz York with us to photograph the festivities and capture the spirit of strong elders living meaningful lives and the strength and joy of intergenerational ties.

  • Northbrae Community ChurchWho: Ashby Village Members (and their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and one guest) and Ashby Village Volunteers.
  • Where: Northbrae Church, 941 The Alameda, Berkeley
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Please RSVP or call 510-204-9200

Wednesday, November 17th, 3:00 - 4:30 pm
Tea & ChatAshby Village and the Holidays
Come share tea with our Executive Director, Andy Gaines, and join in an open conversation about the joys and challenges of the holiday season.  Please bring your favorite tea cup, especially one for which you might have a story to share.
  • Where: the Ashby Village Office - 2330 Durant Avenue
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • No RSVP necessary, just stop by!
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From the Executive Director
Andy Gaines
My take-aways from the national gathering of Villages in Philadelphia become clear as the rush of new information and possibilities begin to settle in my mind.  Ashby Village is part of a pioneering effort in this country to re-craft the ways in which people age, and with Ashby Village we have built for ourselves a strong, powerful foundation.  I am deeply impressed by the rigor and courage Ashby Village founders and leaders have had.  They have crafted a well-designed organization (Board of Directors, Advisory Board, committees, and fiscal sponsor) that are not cutting corners.  The services--volunteer program, network of recommended providers, and ongoing events-- we are providing members have strong foundations and are functioning well.

There is a long way to go.   Given that the Village Movement has been for the most part the grassroots undertaking of middle to upper-middle class people, the government and foundation funding that typically supports nonprofit organizations is less available.   Membership fees are the fundamental source of revenue for most Villages.   Maintaining members as well as being able to offer subsidized memberships for lower income members, is one of the main topics of discussion at the national level.   The Ashby Village Board of Directors-- comprised primarily of members--determined at the outset that the way we could build a successful, sustainable and professional Village would be to establish a membership fee that could adequately support it.  Accordingly, shortly following the launch we were able to hire a full-time executive director to focus on building the Village and its services.

Compared with other Villages, we have been extraordinarily successful in building our membership (85 members in July, 122 today!) It is clear, however, in order for us to maintain our membership we need our members to believe they're getting value for their dues.  Deepening and expanding the services we offer is at the top of my agenda.  An expansive list of potential additional services has been identified, including: building strategic partnerships with health clubs, adult school and hospitals to establish discounts for services; setting up a Buddy Program for daily check-ins, securing yoga/exercise teachers to provide classes for our members; supporting member gatherings; and much more.  A meeting is currently being planned for those who have helped to develop Ashby Village member services to date.  If you are interested in participating, please contact me.

We are dedicated, and determined, to make our members proud of being part of this
Village.  We're off to a great start and it is going to take the creativity, skill and determination of many of us to help it grow successfully.  Remember: this is OUR Village, and we have a unique opportunity to craft, together, how we want to age in OUR community.
  • Andy Gaines          
TestimonialsMember Testimonials
The giving goes round and round
On Sunday, November 14th, I broke a tooth requiring an emergency visit on Monday to my dentist; my husband had to be at Superior Court in Oakland at 9 a.m. and couldn't take me.  We discussed alternatives and decided to call Ashby Village for help.  Sue Cheney, a member and volunteer, rescued me. She drove me to the dentist, spent an hour waiting for my procedure to finish, and drove me home.

That afternoon, my husband--an Ashby Village Volunteer--received a call from the office requesting his transportation assistance for another member.  The next day he drove another member to the doctor to have a patch removed from her eye following cataract surgery.

It's beautiful being part of a community in which giving and receiving go round and round!
  • Merle Davis
New members "transfer" from Connecticut Village
After I read the story about Beacon Hill Village in The New York Times in 2006, I wished we could move to Boston to participate.  That article sparked conversations across the country.  What an obvious solution to the problem of aging miles, or sometimes even continents, apart from our children.  When I learned that some folks in New Haven were in the talking stages, I volunteered to help.  East Rock Village started about the same time as Ashby Village, so our contributions involved working in the start-up phase rather than using the services. However, we met a wonderful new group of friends, and I was encouraged to walk regularly by joining the ERV walking group.

We're some of those people who say that we don't yet need the help to remain in our homes.  We're only 65 and 70!  But we joined Ashby Village even before we moved here because we believe in the concept and want to help ensure there is such a service for others in the community. It's also an excellent way to meet people with common interests.  Lo and behold, after we moved, the tags we so carefully put on our stereo before leaving Connecticut made a lot less sense once we tried to put the components back together.  Ashby Village to the rescue. Volunteer Raynard Lozano set up our stereo in about an hour's time. We also attended the luncheon at Filippo's, so got to meet a few Ashby Village members.  Although we moved to Berkeley to be near some of our children--our own"village"--we look forward to watching Ashby Village grow and to participating in some of the activities.
  • Herrick and Elaine Jackson
    new members, moved in late October from New Haven, CT

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LaunchDiscount Expiration of Special Launch Discount - December 31, 2011
To all who have been thinking about joining Ashby Village, who have meant to join but haven't gotten around to it, or would like to try it out for a while...there is still time!  You have 31 days left to take advantage of a fantastic offer - 10% discount for 2 years from your membership date.  That means the cost for each individual is $675 (instead of $750) and for households is $1,080 (instead of $1,200) and this will also be the cost for a one time renewal.  To get the full description of benefits, join us at our last Living Room Chat of this calendar year - December 5th (see Upcoming Events).

To become a member, CLICK HERE, print out, complete and send your application to the office.  Give yourself or a loved one a gift - join today. 
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NeedsOpportunities Ashby Village Needs / Opportunities
 Upcoming survey

As we near the completion of the first six months of Village life we're seeking to get a sense of what is working, what you're seeking more of, and what you want to change.  In the next two days all Ashby Village members will receive an email from Survey Monkey asking you to take an anonymous survey that will take no more than 15 minutes to complete.  We're aiming for 100% response rate!  Thank you, in advance, for completing your survey; it will guide us in making future plans.

Join our Service Committee

We are seeking several people to join our Service Committee. You can have a role in expanding the services offered to our members.  Some of the activities may include:
setting up a Buddy Program, locating yoga/exercise teachers to teach classes to
members, contacting local health clubs/adult schools/hospitals to establish strategic
partnerships and discounts for classes or membership. Those are just a few ideas! Participation would require about four hours a week plus one monthly meeting; most of the hours can be done from your home phone and computer.   If interested, please contact the Office and we will put you in touch with a member of the Service Committee. 

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VolunteerProgramVolunteer Program

Orientation and Training: January 22, 2011

The next Volunteer Orientation and Training is scheduled for Saturday, January 22, 2010 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the Ashby Village office in Berkeley.  To learn more about the volunteer program (either becoming a volunteer or finding out what volunteer services are available to you as a member) please contact us at

Thrilled as we are to bring aboard this new group of volunteers, we're just as thrilled with the steady force of volunteers who have already been putting in many hours in the office and out in the community. Over the past few years, and especially this first six months, the numbers have been so great there are too many to acknowledge individually in this newsletter.  But we're thankful to every, single individual who has played a part in the development of Ashby Village.

Appreciation: Irene Marcos

Irene Marcos

Irene Marcos, an Ashby Village member and volunteer, recently assumed oversight of satisfying member service requests.  Given that our services are new, response often requires calm, determination and creative problem solving.  Irene has exactly that capacity, given her extensive professional background as a design professional with such firms as Levi Strauss and Co.  When asked why she has chosen to assume this essential, and often challenging role, Irene shared her belief in the vision of Ashby Village, and her interest in helping it succeed.  For numerous new, start-up projects in the past, including the Women's Cancer Resource Center, Irene has enjoyed using her capacity and personal presence to help vision come to fruition.  We are so grateful to have Irene receiving your calls, and member after member has sent their applause.


Appreciation: Ray Lozano

Ray LorenzoThird year student in the Urban and Regional Planning department of UC Berkeley, Ray began volunteering with Ashby Village this Fall.   Having taken care of his grandmother for several years before college, he was excited to find the Village and felt very aligned with our vision.   Born of immigrant Filipino parents, Ray currently commutes from his family home in Pinole to go to school and work with Ashby Village.  He works several hours each week in the office, and has helped members set-up and integrate their digital and audio devices.  When asked what he likes best about volunteering for Ashby Village, Ray responded: "I feel that I am making a difference when I see someone smile after helping them."

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Members Announcements

I invite my Ashby Village friends to join me at my Open Studio for a showing of handcrafted jewelery, including earrings, necklaces, pins, eyeglass and phone pouches.  On Saturday, December 11 (11 - 6 pm) 20% of any purchases made by members will be contributed to Ashby Village!  (This is the day before the Ashby Village Holiday Party, a great opportunity to show off your new fashions!) This showing is part of the Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios.

-- Barbi Jo Stim, Member and Board Member

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Save 10%
Ashby Village Membership
10% discounted rate for the first year of membership
plus one year of membership renewal

(regularly $750 per member)
(regularly $1,200 per household)

Offer Expires: 12/31/10 -- THIS IS THE FINAL MONTH!