Distributed to Village members and to others who have expressed an interest.

The Ashby Village Member Digest, published between newsletters, is not available to the public.


In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Word on the Street
Volunteers & Vendors
New Members

Contact Us

2330 Durant Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704

(510) 204-9200

On the Web


May 2011

FeatureStorySafety Tips for an Elmwood Home 

I knew we needed a grab bar in the bath tub. I'd struggled after shoulder surgery and vowed to get around to it. But it never occurred to us that the wobbly hat rack could be a danger zone. And my husband, who is 6'5", doesn't have the best balance.
Jacksons and Andy

Andy Gaines (Executive Director) talks with Herrick and Elaine Jackson about safety issues 

We had agreed to use our unit - the second floor of an Elmwood triplex - as a test run for Ashby Village's home safety assessment program. Cheryl Crane, one of three volunteers who did the assessment, knew a friend whose mother was in the hospital with a broken hip after grabbing a similar unstable piece of furniture.
Likewise we thought we'd done a pretty good job of putting nonskid pads under the rugs. But the volunteers agreed we should put two-sided tape under the rugs so we won't trip. They also suggested banisters on both sides of the entry stairs and the steep stairs to the attic. We have a list of must-dos (more smoke detectors) and optional fixes (levers instead of door knobs).
Volunteer Luciano Corazzo also told this longtime East Coaster that the heavy appliances should be on the bottom shelves, not the top, in earthquake country. And I learned that bookcases are now attached to the wall with flexible, not stationary, brackets.
The volunteers were Walter Park, a disability expert who for many years ran a housing nonprofit, helped negotiate the state's housing accessibility regulations and founded the San Francisco Mayor's Office on Disability under former Mayor Willie Brown Jr.; Crane, who runs Crane Design Studio and has a specialty in seniors' issues; and Corazzo, who has a doctorate in natural resources as well as experience in remodeling several of his own houses. They're working together to launch Ashby Village's free home safety and accessibility program.  (See Volunteers & Vendors for more information.)

 -- Elaine Hooker Jackson  



Lever HandleOne of Walter's frustrations is that so many contractors seem to forget that doors can be opened much more easily with levers rather than knobs, especially by older folks or people with disabilities. As a service to Ashby Village, he inserted a lever in the door in the logo. Thanks, Walter.


Activities sponsored by Ashby Village

WEDNESDAY, MAY 11, 3:00-5:00 p.m.    

AT HOME WITH GROWING OLD: Universal design re-imagined

Susi Stadler (MBA, MA in Architecture) will lead a presentation on the role of home changes as we get older.
  • Jewish Family and Children's Services, Suse Moyal Center for Older Adults, 2484 Shattuck Ave. (corner of Dwight Way). Street parking is available in front for 90 minutes (there will be a break to move cars) or on Blake Street for two hours.
  • Wheelchair-accessible
  • Open to members and up to two guests
  • RSVP here, or call our office at (510) 204-9200.
  • Please let us know if you need a ride.


SUNDAY, MAY 15, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

POTLUCK & POETRY: Food, Wine and Words

Our hostess has also invited guests to share a story about themselves.   

  • The home of Thelma Peck, 840 Washington Ave., Albany
  • Limited to 15 to allow easy conversation
  • Wheelchair-accessible 
  • Bring a poem and favorite dish to share (enough for six)
  • RSVP here, or call our office at (510) 204-9200, and let us know what dish you will bring.
  • Let us know if you need a ride

SUNDAY, MAY 22, 2:00-4:00 p.m.   


These chats, typically hosted by Ashby Village members, will give you an opportunity to hear from our Board, staff, and members about what it means to be part of the Village.
  • The home of Eve and Clark Poling, 428 Avon St., Oakland
  • If it's a nice day, we will be outside in the courtyard which is wheelchair-accessible; indoors is not wheelchair-accessible.
  • RSVP here, or call our office at (510) 204-9200.
  • Let us know if you need a ride.
SUNDAY, June 5, 2:00-4:00 p.m.   


  • The home of Joan Cole and Bob Wendlinger, 20 Treasure Hill, Hiller Highlands, Oakland 
  • This home is not wheelchair-accessible.
  • RSVP here, or call our office at (510) 204-9200.
  • Let us know if you need a ride.

MONDAY, June 6, noon    


Details will be announced in upcoming Member Digest



TUESDAY, June 7, 3:00-4:30 p.m.   
Levels of Partnership

Slide from PowerPoint presentation

TEA & CHAT: Ashby Village Partnerships  

Join members of the Ashby Village Partnership subcommittee -- Marj Wolf and Carole Kennerly -- to discuss potential collaborations.  Andy Gaines, Executive Director, will share the presentation he gave at the American Society on Aging Conference in San Francisco. 
Details will be announced in upcoming Member Digest, or call the office at (510) 204-9200.


FRIDAY, June 17, 10:00-noon  


Details will be announced in upcoming Member Digest

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The Ashby volunteer  squad has been praised before, but let me add my appreciation.  Betty and I have needed a lot of help with transportation for my countless doctor and hospital visits over the last few months.  Volunteers have shown up reliably, even at early hours.  Bob Davis, Tom Boyden, Paul Axelrod, Milt Mozen, Margaret Neidorf, Mike Lara, Shirley Haberfeld and  Sam Ciofalo have been especially helpful, often providing rides to and from appointments.  They have all been wonderful -- proof of how valuable Ashby Village  is.  Thanks, thanks, thanks!

-- Ted Roszak



Herb North and Carolyn Strauss

Herb Strauss and Carolyn North

One Friday morning my husband Herb was having some strange symptoms so we went to the Kaiser emergency room, where they examined him and said he needed surgery later that day. At that point the doctors couldn't say if Herb's condition was routine or life-threatening. We waited all day in the ER for surgery, and at the end of the day I took a break to go home for some rest and a bite to eat. Once home, I realized I should not be alone for the surgery, it was a Friday night and too short notice to find a friend to accompany me, and our family lives across the country. Then I remembered Ashby Village, and called for help.

Within the hour I got a call from volunteers Bob and Merle Davis, who picked me up and drove me to the hospital. They waited with me for three hours, until we got the good news that Herb was fine and could go home the next day. Bob and Merle drove me home and told me graciously that they had been prepared to spend the night with me if necessary. We had never met before; we have not seen each other since. But they probably saved my life that night -- or my heart, at least -- and I will be grateful to them forever. Not to mention Ashby Village, which makes such encounters possible.

-- Carolyn North



I am so grateful for the assistance and support of volunteer Marion Anderson. When I returned from knee surgery, I was in tremendous pain and, without professional home care, I wasn't sure how I was doing. In addition to being a volunteer for Ashby Village, Marion is a trained nurse. She asked a number of questions and listened to my concerns. I felt comforted and assured by her presence.

-- Irene Marcos


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Village needs and opportunities


FrontRow To GoFragile consonant sounds carry about 75% of the meaning in speech but are easily destroyed by background noise. FrontRow To Go strengthens these critical sounds, doing the work of a 12-band equalizer with a single switch.    

At our Member Forum last month we tested this system and received a highly favorable response from our members.  Now we need your help purchasing it.  For a limited time, we can buy it for $500 - 50% the typical purchase price - given that this would be our first sound system and we are a nonprofit.  Please consider assisting us to support our members with a wide range of abilities and need.   To make a tax-deductible contribution, please click here



This person would work with the Board and the Executive Director to come up with story ideas, then edit the material and format stories and photos in a software program, Constant Contact. The newsletter comes out once a month and goes to members and anyone who has expressed interest in Ashby Village. There's also a simpler Member Digest that comes out once a month. It lists activities of interest to members and includes reports by members of various activities. If interested, please contact 


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Volunteer Orientation and Training

SATURDAY, MAY 14, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Volunteers support members through transportation, home handiwork, assistance at medical appointments, home safety assessment and more. To learn more about becoming a volunteer, please contact our Volunteer Training, 1-22-11 office.   
  • Ashby Village office, 2330 Durant Ave.
  • Wheelchair-accessible
  • If you would like to participate, please contact us immediately at (510) 204-9200 so we can begin the application process.   


MedPal Training  

SATURDAY, MAY 21, 10:00-noon  
Do you ever go to the doctor's office prepared with your list of questions and determined to remember everything you're told, only to get home and feel as though you have more questions than answers? Ashby Village offers MedPal, a free service for members who want transportation to medical appointments, help with note-taking during medical visits, assistance in navigating the medical maze and help in scheduling follow-up visits. An Ashby Village volunteer will take notes during the visit if needed and send the notes to the member within a day.

Join Margaret Neidorf, Charlotte Herzfeld and Marion Anderson for the training session. Please let Marion know if you will attend or if you have questions: or (510) 524-4597.


Home Safety Program Training

The statistics are clear: Falls are responsible for killing more than 18,000 older people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And up to 30 percent of older people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas. AARP says the overwhelming majority of single-family homes in California have physical barriers that can challenge seniors and people with disabilities.   

Walter Park identifies tripable step

Walter identifies  

tripping hazard 


Ashby Village has designed a home safety assessment, free to members, to help you become aware of hazards in your own homes. We are now looking for volunteers to spend a few hours each month visiting members' homes to evaluate safety.Volunteers will go in pairs to members' homes and will use a check list to guide the assessment. Participants will receive two training sessions: one in a classroom and another in someone's home.

Walter Park and Cheryl Crane (see "Safety Tips") will coordinate the training, which will be held in early June. See the Member Digest in mid-May, or call the office at (510) 204-9200 to learn more.


APPRECIATION: Roberta Pressman
Roberta Pressman

Roberta Pressman at Ashby Village Holiday Party

Roberta moved to Berkeley a few years ago from Boston, home of Beacon Hill Village which served as the inspiration for the village movement in this country. "I loved the idea and was ready for community," she said. "I was excited to jump in and help build Ashby Village."


Roberta had a long career as a psychologist in Boston, developing and coordinating family services for an agency, as well as teaching and supervising family and couples therapy to psychiatric residents at Massachusetts General Hospital. She joined Ashby Village's Services Committee in 2009 and headed the committee that interviewed and selected Home Care preferred providers.


Several incidents that occurred shortly after launch made it clear that Ashby Village needed to consider how it could better assist members in time of need. Roberta was central in creating the Social Service Committee, which has provided guidance to staff, devised procedures and protocols, and provided training and support to members. The committee helps people come to terms with the many challenges that can face us during later stages in our lives. (See Social Service Drop-In Hours.) We are grateful for the talents and experience Roberta brings to Ashby Village.



WEDNESDAY, MAY 18, 1:30-3:30 p.m

If you are dealing with the care of a loved one, are concerned about a change in your own health or are facing any other challenge, members of the Social Service Committee are here to help. Conversations are strictly confidential. 
  • Ashby Village office, 2330 Durant Ave.
  • Wheelchair-accessible
  • Please call our office to make an appointment, or you can call subcommittee Chair Roberta Pressman directly at (617) 319-9801.


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  • David Burton
  • Thelma Elkins
  • Jane Ellison
  • Nell Haskell
  • Jenny Larvick 
  • Burns and Marion Macdonald
  • Barbara Morgan

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Committee Chairs


MEMBERSHIP:  Betty Webster, 


                                                                             Barbi Jo Stim, 

SERVICES:  Joann Sullivan,  

                       Judy Boe,

                       Shirley Haberfeld, 


REVENUE ENHANCEMENT:  Andra Lichtenstein, 
















CHAIR:  Patricia Sussman, 

VICE CHAIR:  Shirley Haberfeld, 


Bob Davis,  

Marcia Freedman, 

Laura Peck, 

Jane Selby, 

Barbi Jo Stim, 

Betty Webster,  

Marj Wolf,   


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