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
What About Villages?
Member News

Contact Us

2330 Durant Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704

(510) 204-9200


On the Web 

Like us on Facebook

Spring 2013

Celebrating Volunteers This Month

Are you an ex-administrative judge who wants to follow her passion and volunteer with Ashby Village as a handyperson? Would you like to be of service doing the driving for your own elderly parents, but because they are aging in another country you can't, however, you can be an Ashby Village driver? Are you a practicing attorney who wants to write something other than briefs? These questions have all been answered yes by our volunteers. We have many different kinds of opportunities for service.


Walter Park, founding director of SF Mayor's Office of Disability, 
offers volunteer consultation on issues of safety and accessibility

We want Ashby volunteers to always know that we want each of them to have personally fulfilling volunteer experiences in mind. We always want them to know how much we appreciate them. 


Membership in Ashby Village has grown in the last three years to over 259 members. As you may know, our village functions with three paid staff: Andy Gaines, our Executive Director, Andrea Mok, our Program Manager, and Pat Carvalho, our Operations & Volunteer Coordinator. In the recent volunteer training, almost half of those who participated were members wishing to be volunteers as well. As our members recognize that there are many and varied services available to them which are performed by our volunteers, we count on more and more calls for our wonderful and generous volunteers to assist with member requests. Members are always letting our volunteers know how much they mean to them and to the success of our village.  


Andrea Mok, Program Manager, applauds volunteers at a recent appreciation luncheon
For those of you who are not yet volunteering with us, we want you to know that there is an opportunity here for you to activate your passion, use your skills and experience and be an important part of assisting members to continue to be active in their communities and homes. To hear some stories about what had drawn some volunteers to Ashby Village, check out our Volunteer Spotlights.

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month. Please join us in saying a big and heartfelt THANK YOU to all our volunteers. We cannot do what we do without you.


Irene Marcos

Volunteer Committee Chair



Feature Story Last Week

Health, San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 

By Victoria Colliver

Senior villages help people stay independent



"California, and the Bay Area in particular, is one of the fastest-growing regions for senior villages - grassroots, neighbor-to-neighbor networks of members and volunteers who help each other out with various services and tasks that help seniors stay in their homes as long as possible."


Member & Volunteer Forum: April 7th

For Ashby Village, 2013 is the "Year of Connection and Engagement." Please join us at this all Member and Volunteer Forum to identify our skills and interests and explore how we can bring them into our Village.  


The Village concept is about support and community, enhancing peace of mind and social capital. It is a communal idea - that a community of people can pool resources by paying membership dues and volunteering their skills and time to support the Village and one another. Our continued success depends on the active participation of engaged and enthusiastic members and volunteers: CONNECTION + CONTRIBUTION = BELONGING.


Ashby Village Featured in March Oakland Magazine

Oakland Magazine, March-April 2013

By Susan Kuchinskas

How New Transplants Can Dig in and Get Connected

Two members planned a move from Connecticut to Berkeley and found Ashby Village to be an ideal match for their needs. Learn about why they joined the Village even before they packed their suitcases.


Youngest New Ashby Village Member

Congratulations to our Executive Director, Andy Gaines, who became the doting father of daughter, Raina Joy Gaines, on February 6th. Six weeks later, Raina and her mother, Leda Dederich, are well, having lots of fun and snoozing whenever possible; brother Jaren (3) adores holding his sister and stepping up to his new role as big brother.


Back to Top    

Activities sponsored by Ashby Village and its members

Please see our calendar of events sponsored by Ashby Village, as well as for announcements of upcoming interest group meetings. Members can log into the website to register. Events are open to the public except where specified.


Thursday, Apr 4, 2013, 5:30 PM until 7:00 PM

Jewish Family and Children's Services/East Bay, 2483 Shattuck Ave., #210, Berkeley

To Drive Or Nor To Drive?

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


Friday, Apr 5, 2013, 4:00 PM until 5:30 PM

Ashby Village Office, 2330 Durant Ave, Berkeley

Happy Hour!

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


ForumSunday, Apr 7, 2013, 2:00 PM until 5:00 PM

Tang Center, 2222 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA

Ashby Village Member Forum

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


Thursday, Apr 18, 2013, 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM

Temescal Regional Park, Oakland

NATURE WALK For Slow Pokes

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


Saturday, Apr 20, 2013, 8:30 AM until 1:00 PM

Ashby Village Office, 2330 Durant Ave, Berkeley

Volunteer Training & Orientation

Our next volunteer training is coming up! Members are increasingly calling for support and, to effectively fulfill their requests, it is essential that we continue to grow our volunteer community. Some of the areas where volunteers are especially needed are transportation, home handy work, support of members at medical appointments and communications (writers, HTML website support). To become a volunteer, please fill out an application online. To read more or to register, click here or call the office.


Sunday, Apr 21, 2013, 2:00 PM until 4:00 PM

Home of an Ashby Village member in Oakland

Living Room Chat

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


Friday, May 3, 2013, 4:00 PM until 5:30 PM

Ashby Village Office, 2330 Durant Ave, Berkeley

Happy Hour!

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


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ashby Village Office, 2330 Durant Ave, Berkeley

Volunteer Appreciation - Brunch

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


Friday, May 10, 2013, 10:00 AM until 12:00 PM

Pantoll Ranger Station - Mt. Tam, Marin County

NATURE WALK For Fast Folks

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


Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM

Tilden Park Botanical Gardens, Shasta Road, Berkeley


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


Thursday, May 23, 2013, 2:00 PM until 4:00 PM

UC Berkeley Retirement Center, place to be determined

Living Arrangements

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


Saturday, June 1, 2013, 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM

EDMUD's King Canyon Trail

NATURE WALK for Fast Folks

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


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Ashby Village Office, 2330 Durant Ave, Berkeley

Volunteer In Service Training

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


Thursday, Jun 20, 2013, 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM

North Berkeley and Albany, 1281 Gilman Street, Berkeley

NATURE WALK For Slow Pokes: North Berkeley

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

Back to top 


Ashby Village's dedicated volunteers share their skills and experience with members. As part of April's Volunteer Appreciation Month, the following are a few of our many stories as reported by volunteer reporter Peggy Havey.  


Ronnie Boynton

Ronnie, a retired pediatrician, member and volunteer of Ashby Village, has lived in Berkeley for more than thirty years. Ronnie says it is the excitement of the diverse environment which first drew her to the area: the restaurants, the people and the stories. Ashby Village is simply a continuation of those people and their personal stories. Being introduced to Ashby Village by a former nurse in her office has given Ronnie a continuing sense of fulfillment which began when she first embarked on a career in medicine.

In fact, the medical profession was the perfect backdrop for Ronnie's present volunteering services at the village. She participates in Med-Pals which enables her to drive a member to the doctor's office, sit with the patient and doctor, ask the patient's questions concerning procedures or medication and take notes. Her presence and support assure that patients understand the options they have for their future care.


To complement this work, Ronnie enjoys classical music and is so taken with opera that she volunteered as an usher for the San Francisco Opera. Reading and a Pediatric Journal Club occupy a portion of her life, and she especially enjoys opportunities to explore the thoughts of women authors. When not participating in these activities, Ronnie and her partner are seeing the world. For them, traveling has included an a well-rounded itinerary of Ireland, England, Denmark. southern France, South America, Guatemala, Mexico, and southeast Asia. These adventures are enhanced by Ronnie exchanging her residence on a temporary basis for a residence in a foreign country. This adds a personal touch that would be absent in a hotel during the tourist season. Her greatest joy comes from hiking in nature, an enriching activity she enjoys every opportunity she gets.


All of this wonderful knowledge and experience is shared on a daily basis with the extended family which she and her partner embrace, a family of almost twenty-five  grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Ashby Village simply enlarges her family environment.


Valerie Yeakel 

Valerie has been volunteering as a driver for the past year and a half. She was initially drawn to the village concept because of her wholehearted support of the experience and desire of many to stay at home as they age, and Ashby Village is the ultimate in helping folks do that. She thought it was a perfect match for her to be involved in a volunteer organization that supports this concept.

The sense of fulfillment when resolving a client's problem and the ability and know-how necessary to assist someone, especially an elderly person, has always been rewarding for her. Much of Valerie's business life for the past twenty years has been in customer service, and the satisfaction of helping others where she can is something she wishes to continue to do.


Once a week, Valerie drives someone to get groceries and finds it rewarding because this activity is so different from her usual office commitments. The process of helping in a one-on-one relationship has truly enriched her life, and she is grateful for it.


Outside of Ashby Village, Valerie is hooked on Albany Public Library book sales. Her main literary interest is fiction, especially mystery stories with a concentration in American detective fiction and a sprinkling of northern European gum shoes like Henning Mankell. Valerie is looking forward to meeting more interesting people through Ashby Village, listening to their stories and comparing them to her own, which might just be an expression of the detective in her.


Will Moore

Recently retired, Will came to Ashby Village through a member recommendation and began to volunteer in July 2012. His main contribution has been in transportation which he says he thoroughly enjoys because of the people he meets. Will drives several members each week and also has a standing assignment to drive one individual. He mixes and matches his driving excursions to grocery stores, doctor appointments and hairdressers. He is able to continue to experience diverse personalities and learn different stories, and continues to experience the very same diversity he had available to him in his work-a-day world. He wishes to continue and amplify the qualities he developed during his employment as a care provider and administrative support person by engaging in a similar caring approach to life within Ashby Village. The connections he has made with members affect his life in a positive way and draw him back week after week to make members' lives easier and more fulfilling. The ongoing assistance which he gladly shares with members keeps him engaged with people, an experience he has always enjoyed in the past and will continue in the future.


Will relaxes in his garden by growing both flowers and vegetables. When he is not tending his garden, he is maintaining his bee hives, a task he says is no trouble at all. On a more adventurous note, he is learning new approaches to conservation in his engagement with a group of like-minded friends who restore lands along streams in our local area. Will does not end his quest for new and different activities with these projects alone. He also fly fishes in the Sierras and fishes the Farallon Islands for "Rock Fish." While this might sound really adventurous, it is not fishing for "rocks" but for Red Snapper, a fish which is familiar to us all. Will has been married for forty-one years, has two adult children who live away from the Bay Area, and one grandchild whose upcoming visit is keeping him busy.


Mort Davis 

Mort and his wife Gloria joined Ashby Village at its inception and became volunteers a short time after. He grew up on the East coast and obtained a Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley in applied mathematics in 1961. After spending two years at Princeton and

two years at Rutgers he taught at the City College of New York for 33 years. He has two grown children and three grandchildren which induced him to spend half of each year in California since 1999 and finally to make California their permanent residence in 2007.


Aside from mathematics. Mort is interested in English and Scottish history (primarily the Tudors and Stuarts), the law, and plays bridge. He has taught mathematics at Berkeley City College and was a volunteer tutor at UC Berkeley. If members of Ashby Village have grandchildren who desire math tutoring, he would be glad to serve them as well.

Back to Top    
Expressions of Gratitude

"This is a perfect example of being scared, inviting people in, finding solutions that were not previously imagined, then thrown for a surprise along the way. All things leading towards changes that are okay. It would not be possible without Ashby Village."

Submitted by Susan, the daughter of a member, after working with the Social Services Committee, specifically Charlotte, and our volunteer corps who immediately responded to a request for regular phone calls.


"SC left a message at 9:30 p.m. last Saturday. I returned the call on Monday morning, and here are some things she said: 'Ashby Village really is my anchor. I called last night feeling a bit fuzzy in the head, anxious and disoriented. Leaving a message brought me in touch with the outside world, and I was fully confident that someone would call back in the morning. That knowledge that I will always get a return call from Ashby Village is a source of great comfort to me.' Tom's response to this message is "Comments like this are the reason I volunteer 20 hours a week for Ashby Village."

Volunteer Tom Boyden's appreciation of Ashby Village members


"You have been so helpful in finding rides for Ann, even though these days it is so uncertain what she will be able to manage. Thank you for all of your help with Ann. It is really a lovely service you provide."

Submitted by Lynette on behalf of member Ann in appreciation of volunteer Randi


"Laura came and did a very thorough visit of our house and made many very good suggestions, and she will put them in writing for us so I am very pleased. Thank you to Ashby Village!"

Submitted by a member after a visit from the Home Safety Assessment Team

Back to Top    


Neighborhood Groups Springing Up

by Betty Webster and Beth Burnside 

What do people enjoy about neighborhood groups? We've heard many answers to this question: Deepening the community experience, expanding companionship, the variety of topics that are touched on at each monthly meeting, the possibility of dropping in for coffee at a local coffee house at appointed time slots and knowing an Ashby Village friend will probably be there, making local friends that might be called upon when an unexpected need comes up. In one of our groups, people gather on Sunday afternoons to play board games. In another, members visited the home of one of the group who has been creating beautiful tapestries for many years. To read the full story, click here.


Interest Groups Have Taken Off!

Ashby Village continues building connections through the formation of new interest groups which have sprung up in response to members' needs and requests. Current groups include:

  • Macular Degeneration Support Group: This is a support group for people struggling with low vision due to macular degeneration
  • Armchair Natural History Club: Ashby Village families host a once a month event indoors event at a wheelchair accessible home to learn more about fascinating natural history topics. 
  • Poetry Group: A group of members interested in modern poetry meets every month or so, discussing a different book of poetry each time.
  • Transitions Group: A facilitated discussion and support group dedicated to addressing common transitions of later life, we look at normative reactions to change and what kind of support is most helpful during and after significant transitions.
  • Bereavement Group: This group has formed for members who have lost their partner in recent years and are ready to explore both their grief and the reconstruction of their lives.
  • New Walking Groups
    • FASTFOLKS will walk two to three miles in two hours on alternate Fridays and  Saturdays.
    • SLOWPOKES will walk one mile or less in two hours on alternate Tuesdays and Thursdays. 
To find out more, please call the office.

Back to Top      

Village Needs and Opportunities

Volunteers are needed in so many ways! There are numerous opportunities at Ashby Village for using your skills and experience to help our members and staff. We are greatly in need of volunteers who can help with:

  • Website updates - HTML (can work from home if necessary)
  • Computer data entry
  • Answering phone/filing/collating/organizing
  • Member service requests intake (phone and computer)
  • Administrative assistance with new and renewed memberships
  • Follow up calls to members/volunteers
  • Web Event updates/revisions, on-line registrations, on-line attendance
  • Design, implement and evaluate new member welcome process
  • Provide in-home training to members on website features, email and internet basics
  • Research and recommend accessible online tools for easy community-wide connection
  • Organize quarterly educational, social and cultural events
  • Layout, design and formatting of online newsletters and flyers
To learn more, please email Pat Carvalho.
Back to Top    

Village Convening April 3rd at LMU

Sponsored by the Archstone Foundation as part of the Creating Aging Friendly Communities through Sustaining Village Initiative, this Village Convening will bring together Villages and community representatives from across California to address Village Partnerships and Advocacy.The event will feature two separate workshop tracks in the morning to maximize peer to peer knowledge exchange. For more details, click here.

Were You There? Remembering the 1963 March on Washington

Capitol Hill Village in Washington, D.C., and the Ruth Ann Overbeck Project are collecting individual memories of the August 28, 1963, March on Washington, on a special Memories page on their website. Each story reflects what an individual saw and felt when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his "I Have a Dream" speech to an unprecedented crowd that gathered on the Washington Mall. Anyone with a memory of that day is encouraged to submit his or her story at  

Back to Top      


Author Spotlights  

Cecelia Hurwich has written a book, 92 and Dancing, a tale of adventure and adversity set against the backdrop of the 20th century's great events. Growing up in China and the San Francisco Bay Area, Cecelia worked her way through college during the Great Depression, served as a lieutenant in the navy during World War II, married a naval officer and raised three children. She later divorced, traveled to India, became an environmental activist and embarked on adventurous treks around the world, eventually reuniting with the love of her life. At age 70, she earned a Ph.D. and became an authority on vital aging. Cecelia used the wisdom gained from her own research to find the inner strength and personal meaning to carry on with joy-still dancing at the age of 92! 


Carolyn North loves to write and dance and uses both as vehicles for her work as a healer. She has been married to the same man for 50 years and has three children and four grandchildren. She was a midwife in India, sung in a Gospel choir, started a farm, taught dance healing, started a hunger organization, Daily Bread, and has written 11 books on matter and spirit. Her most recent book, Worldshift Happens: Facing Down the Fear, Waking Up the Mind, addresses the realities of our time with deep seriousness, humor, personal stories and suggestions of how to keep on keeping on. 

Welcome New Members
Grant and Lorna Bennett
Mollyanne Brewer
Anita Garey and Nicholas Townsend
Arlette Gerson
Anne Good
Joan and David  Halperin
Arlie and Adam Hochschild
Rachel Kahn-Hut
Thelma Peck
Carmella Anderson and Douglas Rodgers
Joan Sprinson
Malka Weitman and Eric Strauss
Priscilla Thomas
Barrie Thorne
Elizabeth Tilles


Committee Chairs


MEMBERSHIP:  Betty Webster, 

DEVELOPMENT: Andra Lichtenstein,


SOCIAL SERVICES:  Roberta Pressman, 

NOMINATING: Patricia Sussman,










PROGRAM MANAGER -  Andrea Mok - 





CHAIR:  Patricia Sussman

VICE CHAIR:  Shirley Haberfeld

SECRETARY/TREASURER:  Andra Lichtenstein

Bob Davis

Marcia Freedman

Laura Peck

Roberta Pressman  

Betty Webster


Back to top