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

The Ashby Village Member Digest, published between newsletters, is available to members only.


In This Issue
News Flash!
Upcoming Events
Giving & Receiving
Programs & Services
New Members

Contact Us

2330 Durant Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704

(510) 204-9200  

On the Web


Summer 2012

UCSF Study of Loneliness in Later Years
I was driving to work and heard Forum on KQED radio about a study showing that loneliness can be lethal to seniors. That sounds like an ad for Ashby Village, I thought! So I called in and told the host, Michael Krasny, how pleased I was to hear the topic being addressed. I talked about the Village movement and Ashby Village in particular. We've received a lot of good feedback, including an invitation to make a presentation to interns at a health center for seniors.
The program grew out of an article in the San Francisco Chronicle June 19 about a study conducted by the University of California at San Francisco and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study author, Dr. Carla Perissinotto, is a physician at LifeLong Medical Care's Over 60 Health Center; LifeLong Medical Care serves as the Ashby Village fiscal sponsor. Doctors found that people who reported being lonely were more likely to suffer a decline in health or even die over a six-year period than those who said they were content. The study included 1,600 seniors over age 60. The article said that the UCSF study is among the largest to link feelings of loneliness with ill health. According to the study, feelings of loneliness can produce stress hormones which impact a person's immune system. Loneliness can make people more vulnerable to pain, too, the study said.
Ashby Village's mission includes supporting a vibrant community of individuals who help one another remain active, engaged and inspired as they age. We accomplish this through a variety of programs and services. We also find that because we cover such a large geographical area - Berkeley, Albany, Kensington, El Cerrito, and North Oakland - members want to get to know each other in smaller groups built around their neighborhoods. Ashby Village has introduced two programs that encourage members to connect: a neighborhood group, or "pod" program that helps members meet in small, local groups for discussion and socializing, and Partner Connection, which offers members who live alone the opportunity to sign up for a daily phone conversation with another member. Both programs respond to a need for connection, which can help stave off feelings of isolation and loneliness. We are grateful to be able to offer activities, programs and services that help older people in our area feel more connected.
Andy Gaines
Executive Director

To read or hear more about this study:

By Erin Allday
San Francisco Chronicle
Tuesday, June 19, 2012

KQED Forum with Michael Krasny
Wednesday, June 20, 2012

To read a member's response to her first "pod" meeting, click here.

Visit Ashby Village's Facebook page to read about the study:

Like us on Facebook
 NewsFlashNEWS FLASH! 

Coming of Age Grant Awarded to Ashby Village

Ashby Village has just learned that it is one of four nonprofit grant recipients from Coming of Age in the East Bay. Coming of Age is a national initiative designed to help individuals 50+ connect and contribute to their communities and build the capacity of organizations to utilize the skills, passions, and interests of people 50+ to further their mission and revitalize communities. This grant will allow us to engage a team of video professionals to train volunteers to film Ashby Village members sharing stories of how the Village has affected their lives. We'd like to thank our grant-writing team: Andrea Mok, Elaine Hooker, Debby Levy and Irene Marcos. Stay tuned as this exciting project gets going...


Membership - Engagement and Growth

Ashby Village began with 85 members in July 2010 and has now tripled its membership to 213 members. We continue to welcome new members each week. "I love the wonderful people and growing sense of community," said one member. "I am dedicated to the Village concept and want to help the movement and our Village grow into maximum sustainability. Most important to me is the quality of membership, the excitement which participants bring to the idea of living in flexible community."  Click link to download our recently published  At a Glance - Our Second Year.  


It Takes a Village Membership Fund Accepting Applications 

Ashby Village seeks to support the socioeconomic, racial and cultural diversity in the East Bay. We want our services and programs to be accessible to a broad range of older adults, not only to benefit current members, but also for other potential members who could not otherwise join.  The It Takes a Village Membership Fund has been established to subsidize reduced-fee memberships to lower-income adults who cannot afford Ashby Village dues, as well as current members who cannot afford the renewal fee. For more information, click here.


Do you have Medi-Cal (Medicaid) insurance? Are you eligible for Medi-Cal? 

Ashby Village has begun discussions with the Alameda Alliance for Health, a nonprofit managed care health plan for Medi-Cal-eligible Alameda County residents, about the possibility of Ashby Village membership fees being covered, as appropriate, for those who will be enrolled in the Alliance's forthcoming managed care plan for seniors.  While any formal agreement is still in the future, for planning purposes we would like to know how many of our current or prospective members might be eligible for this coverage. (Alameda County residents only. Your information will be kept strictly confidential.)  Please call Andy Gaines to discuss - 510-204-9200.

Back to Top


Activities sponsored by Ashby Village

                For a link to the calendar on the website, CLICK HERE     

All events are open to the public.


SUNDAY, JULY 8, 2:00-4:00 p.m. 

Home of Danute Nitecki, 2296 Virginia St., Berkeley

Living Room Chat 

An opportunity to hear from representatives of our Board, staff and members about what it means to be part of the Ashby Village community. To read more or register, click here or call the office.



FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2012, 10:00 a.m.-noon - Please note change of date.

Joaquin Miller Park,  

NATURE WALK: Joaquin Miller Park

Join us for a walk through the magnificent redwoods on the Sequoia Bay view Trail in the Oakland Hills. Hosted by Roger Newman. To read more or register, click here or call the office.   


TUESDAY, JULY 17, 4:00-5:30 p.m.

JFCS/East Bay, 2484 Shattuck Ave. (at Dwight), Berkeley

Planning for Your Aging Future

None of us knows what's in store in the future, but we can and should be making plans now. In this free workshop, Priscilla Camp, an experienced Elder Law attorney, will guide us through the steps to take in the event we lose the ability to make decisions for ourselves. Sponsored by Ashby Village and JFCS/East Bay. To read more or register, click here or call the office.      


WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 12:00 p.m.

Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St, Oakland, CA  94607

OAKLAND MUSEUM: Lunch & Tour With Board Member Laura Peck

Join us for lunch at the Blue Oak Café, then tour The 1968 Exhibit ( To read more or register, click here or call the office.   


TUESDAY, JULY 31, 12:00 p.m.

Cafe Tomate, 2265 5th St, Berkeley

LUNCH: Cafe Tomate 

To read more or register,  click here or call the office.  


SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012, 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Home of Barbi Jo Stim, 2136 Acton St, Berkeley, CA

Living Room Chat

An opportunity to hear from representatives of our Board, staff and members about what it means to be part of the Ashby Village community. To read more or register,  click here or call the office.


FRIDAY, AUGUST 17, 10:00-noon

Huckleberry Preserve,  Skyline Blvd. Oakland, CA  

NATURE WALK: Huckleberry Preserve 

Huckleberry Preserve has a year-round display of blossoming plants, many rare to the East Bay. As you stroll through the 241-acre preserve, stop periodically, look around and reflect. Here you can experience an ancient slice of time. Look for ripe huckleberries! After the walk, group members may choose to lunch together in Montclair. To read more or register, click here or call the office.


SATURDAY, AUGUST 25, 2012, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

The Office, 2330 Durant Ave., Berkeley 

Volunteer Training & Orientation

Members are increasingly calling in for support, which is wonderful! In order to effectively satisfy these requests we need to continue to grow our volunteer program. Some of the areas where volunteers are needed for Ashby Village include transportation, technical support, home handy work, support of members at medical appointments, and communications (newsletter, digests, web site). If you would like to participate, fill out an application online or contact the office. Just a little of your time can make a big difference in someone's life.


SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 1:00-4:00 pm.

Tilden Park at Padre Picnic site

Ashby Village 2nd Annual BBQ PICNIC

Bring your friends and family and come spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon in the beautiful (and fully wheelchair accessible!) Padre picnic site. This year's picnic will include an "Interest Faire" designed to introduce Ashby Village services (i.e. MedPal, Home Safety), encourage the identification of special interests (knitting, bridge, gardening, walking, poetry, lunch) and formation of special interest groups.  To read more or register, click here or call the office.

GivingReceivingGIVING & RECEIVING   

Gratitude for transportation volunteers: Thanks so much for your help getting me to my medical appointment. Having knowledgeable, able volunteers on both ends ensured that I could be transferred safely and without feeling I was in danger of falling.  -Joan 


Thanks to our handyman and for help with organizing: Luciano came over and fixed some plumbing issues on Monday. He lives just around the corner from us and is an absolute genius and such a sweet person! Julie comes once a month, came last Saturday for an hour, and probably will start up again in September when we get back from our travels. She's an amazing help to me because I can't see well enough to do my filing and organizing.  -Liz 


Great help with computer glitch: Mark was very patient in a short phone conversation yesterday trying to identify the source of my pesky computer problem, and he arrived right on time this morning. His focus and patience in dealing with the issue were very impressive, and he gave me some valuable tips for the future. He was fantastic, finally discovering the source of the problem, which is why I can now email from my Entourage application. It's so great to have volunteers like Mark serving our needs! For my first experience getting help through Ashby Village, it was a resounding success!  -Pat  


Feedback from a neighborhood group member: We had about 12 people, the discussion was satisfying and many people expressed how good it was to meet with a smallish group so we could get to know each other through a discussion of meaningful thoughts. -Carolyn 


Volunteer's Gratitude: Ashby Village allows me to feel that my efforts are accomplishing something important, that my talents are appreciated, and that I'm making a difference to both members and the community at large. -Mark  


MedPal Appreciation: I have been volunteering with Ashby Village's MedPal program. Recently, I found myself on the opposite side of the relationship when I was diagnosed with cancer. Even though I was quite knowledgeable about all the medical ins and outs, it was overwhelming to be dealing personally with a life-threatening illness.


I had learned from past experience that it is important to bring along a support person to medical appointments. Fear and anxiety can get in the way of accurate listening and asking important questions. An extra pair of ears, especially objective ones, can be invaluable. I made a point of always having someone with me when I saw my doctors and was very grateful for the notes that were taken by my companion.


I was able to review the medical information discussed, as well as the recommendations given, in the quiet of my home so that I could make the best choices about my treatment and care. My companion worked with me to formulate questions to ask at appointments and cued me when I needed reminders. I strongly encourage others to take advantage of the MedPal program when navigating potentially complicated medical terrain. It was an invaluable service for me. -Margaret
Back to Top

ProgramsServicesPROGRAMS & SERVICES 

Member Services

Members have become more familiar with the services Ashby Village offers. Volunteer services provided to members increased from 92 last year to over 500 this year.

Elizabeth Kelly (member) gets support from Tom Boyden (member/volunteer)


One member's response to the recent annual member survey question on the greatest importance of Ashby Village was: "It's the prospect of sympathetic attention to service requests we make and, if needed, the prospect of help and service. This is a friendly organization whose members value community and offer personal assistance if needed." Another member commented that "the two most important things to me about Ashby Village are meeting new and interesting people and getting help when I need it."


Committee Spotlight - Events Committee

The Events committee plans and hosts a variety of opportunities for members to socialize and exchange ideas and practical information about aging with grace, dignity and joy.   We host monthly nature walks, restaurant gatherings, taking advantage of our East Bay assets and knowledgeable volunteers. We organize book readings and slide shows hosted by our accomplished members. We are the force behind the lively and well-attended winter holiday parties, spring members' forum and the August summer picnic.


We are so much more than great party planners-we are community organizers and builders. We are constantly looking for simple and innovative ways to facilitate new relationships and strengthen existing ones. Lately, neighbors have been organizing for mutual support. We are now focused on helping members with common interests hook up to knit, share garden cuttings, read or attend plays, knit or walk together.

Back to Top    
Village Needs and Opportunities

The Social Services Committee Seeks Volunteers

This important committee consults with members on a variety of health and wellness matters, family and individual crises, and planning for age-related issues. The Social Services Committee fosters alliances with community agencies that serve our members and periodically reviews the preferred provider list of social services businesses. At this time, we are looking for volunteer help to research and select community resources, such as rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, home health care agencies, and assisted living facilities for our preferred provider list. To volunteer to serve or for more information, please contact Roberta Pressman, Committee Chair, at


Ashby Village has outgrown its office!

Do you own, work with, or know of a building with extra space? Ashby Village has outgrown its current space and is actively seeking another office. We would like three or more rooms (600-800 sq. ft.) and, ideally, access to an optional large meeting room. We would like to be located in an easily accessible site in our service area. As a small nonprofit, cost is a strong consideration. Please contact Andy with any leads or with an offer to help with the search. 

Back to Top    

APPRECIATION: Deborah Jay Levy 

Whoever would have thought that pretty young woman with the warm manner and flashing smile was a doctor of law, and a distinguished one at that, with a collection of honors that boggles the mind? Who could have imagined that she would spend her valuable time - when she isn't earning a living as a lawyer/mediator working to improve society's lot - volunteering in our office, coordinating and improving Ashby Village services, especially the challenging area of transportation?


Debby lives in Walnut Creek and has come to Ashby Village several times each week since January. Full of verve and ready laughter, her inspiration is felt by all who know her as she heads the Member Services Committee, an important, demanding job that has taken a while to fill. It's a tough assignment, as Debby assists and supports several essential service subcommittees, including the volunteer program and preferred provider network, and t hose addressing transportation, MedPal and more.


"My grandfather is my mentor," Debby says. A Holocaust survivor from Czechoslovakia, he arrived in Los Angeles via Hong Kong, starting a family and founding a business. Both Debby's father and husband are doctors. She has three children ages 12, 17 and 18, as well as a yapping silky terrier she rescued from the Berkeley streets and quiets with an all-engulfing embrace. All this, and she still finds time for eight hours a week at the gym, date nights with her husband of almost 22 years and enjoying the San Francisco Bay on her boat.


"It continues to amaze me - the quality of people who step in to volunteer with Ashby Village," said Andy Gaines, Executive Director. "Debby is a skilled, competent, committed and joyful person to work with. Her dedication to Ashby Village continues to energize and inspire us all."

--Written by Marion Benedict  

  Back to Top      


    Evan and Mary Appelman

    Hillary Bendich

    Tom and Karen Boyden

    Barbara Dales

    Shawn Dubin

    Kay Eisenhower

    Annette Herskovitz

    Julianne Morrris

    Phyllis and Bill Olin

    Elizabeth Pigford

    Louise and John Rasmussen

    Marion Ross

    Peter Solomon

    Debra and Dick Williams

Back to Top      


Committee Chairs


MEMBERSHIP:  Betty Webster, 


                                                                             Barbi Jo Stim, 

SERVICES:  Joann Sullivan,  

                       Judy Boe,

                       Shirley Haberfeld, 

















CHAIR:  Patricia Sussman

VICE CHAIR:  Shirley Haberfeld

SECRETARY/TREASURER:  Andra Lichtenstein

Bob Davis

Marcia Freedman

Laura Peck

Roberta Pressman  

Jane Selby

Barbi Jo Stim

Betty Webster

Marj Wolf 


Back to top