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

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Berkeley, CA 94704

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Fall 2013

Message from the Executive Director

2013 has been Ashby Village's year of "Connection and Engagement." As our member numbers have grown, several neighborhood groups spontaneously developed from members' desires to know each other more fully within smaller geographic areas. These connections have resulted in close-knit communities providing increased support, communication and social interaction. As villages within our greater Village continue to grow, they create lasting friendships, along with an active and engaged membership.


We now look just around the corner to 2014. As we transition from a start-up to a stable, sustainable village, our focus 

shifts to the need for "Inspiring Leadership." Our dedicated

founding members envisioned

Andy presenting the new 
Member Handbook at the 
Spring Member Forum

an "aging friendly" community in which, working together -- members and volunteers alike -- we provide members with the practical means and confidence to remain in our homes as we grow older. Our first three years have marked a passage in this vision from dream to reality. We know that the mission, values and goals of Ashby Village have motivated our dedicated volunteers and members to step into this vision as leaders. In the coming year of "Inspiring Leadership," we hope to engage ever more people to step into leadership roles and inspire others to become an integral part of fulfilling our vital and visionary purpose.


Andy Gaines

Executive Director



Archstone Continuation Grant awarded to Ashby Village 

In September, the Archstone Foundation awarded a $50,000 continuation grant to Ashby Village to be used to increase membership benefits and services, recruit low income and ethnically diverse members, and continue our sustainable business operations.


Ashby Village Featured in Liberty Mutual Online Magazine

Irene Marcos, member and Volunteer Team Chair, was recently interviewed for the article, "A Creative Solution to Retirement Homes," published in Liberty Mutual Insurance's national online magazine on August 30, 2013. In addition to Ashby Village, Cambridge at Home and Beacon Hill villages were spotlighted. 

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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.


Member and Volunteer Forum

Sunday, October 6, 2:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.

At this Forum, policy and demographic trends in the area of aging will be presented by Wendy Peterson, director of the Senior Services Coalition of Alameda County, followed by discussion of how Ashby Village could bring its collective voice to local efforts. To read more or to register,  click here or call the office.


Living Room Chats

Sunday, October 20, 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, Dec 1, 2013, 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

We give those who might be interested in joining our Village an opportunity to hear from our Board Members about what it means to be part of the Village. This is an excellent opportunity to ask questions, and there are always lively discussions. To read more or to register for October 20,  click here (for December 1,  click here) or call the office.


Volunteer Orientation and Training

Saturday, November 16, 2013, 8:30 a.m. until 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 and participating in this training, please contact the office.  

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


Ashby Village Holiday Party

Friday, December 13, 2013, 4:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.           

Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda, Berkeley

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


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Expressions of Gratitude


"I was the one who called and was told that a macular degeneration group had just formed. I can report that the group "saved my life." I was in the middle of trying to pass the California board exam for MFTs. I got word yesterday that I passed! Now I really have the time to volunteer."

- Submitted by Volunteer Eleanor


"My connection with volunteers keeps becoming more and more gratifying and wonderful. They are such fine people - so generous and interesting that I can't wait for their visits. And I almost forget what I needed from them, because what I get is so much more than practical help; it is warmth and companionship and caring - it is the luxury of getting to know them as new friends."

- Submitted by Member Betsy


"This newsletter keeps getting better and better, kind of like Ashby Village itself. Thank you!" 

- Submitted by Volunteer Natalie


"I had knee surgery recently for a torn meniscus and am not confident yet in either walking or driving any great distance. I wasn't sure how I'd get to a doctor's appointment until a friend, an Ashby Village member and volunteer, suggested I try Ashby Village. A volunteer stepped up and offered. Likewise I used an Ashby Village volunteer to drive me to my surgery a few weeks ago. I feel as though I should be a poster child for people who realize how important Ashby Village membership is even though family may be around to help. 

- Submitted by Member Elaine


"I've just been a member of Ashby Village for a week or so and have had a quality of services that amazed me. I knew Berkeley was special but this topped my expectations. Mark, the computer whizz set up a very useful calendar on my MAC and cleaned my files all with cheerful good humor. Lisa who answered my first request for a driver was a biologist who was still working and active in several other organizations. My second, Angus, was not only particularly helpful, but a thoroughly delightful English professor at Sac State. My husband who asked half joking if he could get someone to hem his PJ's got a woman, Beth, who directed research at U.C. Berkeley! All I can say is thank you Ashby Village." 

- Submitted by Member Brenda

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Recognizing the signs of Dementia and Alzheimer's for members and volunteers

An increasing number of members are dealing with, afraid of and concerned about dementia issues, both for themselves and their spouses.  Many of our volunteers would benefit from 

knowing the signs and symptoms of cognitive decline in order to provide the best possible services to our members. 

A valuable presentation was given recently to Ashby Village members and volunteers by Senior Helpers of Berkeley to address these health concerns. Those who attended this training have a deeper understanding as to how to provide support. Our community is recognizing these changes, embracing them as reality, and inviting exploration and discussion. 


A copy of the video, and a list of the best testing facilities in our area, are available by contacting the Ashby Village office.  Information about Senior Helpers can be found at


Feedback from attendees included the following comments:

"From the perspective of a volunteer, I first want to say that one of the reasons that Ashby Village succeeds at being a real community is by including people who are not "official members" to attend their events. I found the Alzheimer's/Dementia workshop to be excellent. It was extremely informative and very well presented. I attended the event because I have a friend who was diagnosed pre-Alzheimer. This presentation helped me understand what is happening to her, both mentally and physically, and to be more aware of what I can do to assist her." 



"I found this training very helpful to me personally. I suspected that I was "losing it" little by little and knowing the warning signs is very helpful. Now that I have more information, I will definitely get checked out by a professional. Some of my symptoms can be considered "normal aging," but I do notice a big difference between ages 60 and 69. Thanks to this presentation and the follow-up discussion, I am motivated to take action."



Information gathering for Under 70s Member Study Nears Completion

In line with its vision statement, Ashby Village is committed to serving a multigenerational community. To discover how the Village can best attract and engage members who are 50-70 years of age, a study was initiated to discuss transitions, resources and opportunities. At this life stage, members and volunteers are personally involved in transitions such as a recent and/or impending retirement, building a new career, adjusting to an empty nest, caring for an older relative, or trying to define their highest and best purpose during the next stage of life. 


Preliminary results reveal that many members and volunteers are enthusiastic about their lives at this stage, however, most were concerned about being or becoming less physically active. There were many ideas and suggestions about additions to current programs and services, as well as much heart-felt appreciation for the help and support which the Village has provided in the past. The study's findings are part of a two village study being conducted with Lincoln Park Village (Chicago, IL), the findings of which will be presented at the national Village to Village Conference in November.

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Village Needs and Opportunities

Ashby Village Seeks Leaders

We're looking for members who are interested in taking on a leadership role in the village. I was a co-founder of the village and have been chair of the board for a bit over five years, sometimes sharing the role with my co-founder, Shirley Haberfeld. We remain committed to this important organization. For the village to continue to be a vital part of our community, it can't keep recycling our dedicated Founding Board members.  We need new people to develop a sustaining leadership in order to continually reinvigorate ourselves and serve the needs of our membership. 


Do you have board experience? What about the leadership roles you've had over the years? Perhaps you know a member whose skills and energy will continue to keep us innovative and effective. If so, please contact Andy Gaines. We'd be happy to talk with anyone about taking a more direct role in the governance of our village.

Thank you.

Pat Sussman


Village Needs and Opportunities

  • Program Leadership Team
  • Outreach and marketing - tabling at Farmers Market
  • Speakers Bureau
  • Inreach and Outreach Ambassadors
  • Party planners
  • Someone to engage in volunteer recruitment opportunities
  • Research
  • October 13: assistance tabling at Berkeley Open Streets

Volunteer support given to members in the last quarter

Our caring, talented and enthusiastic service volunteers have answered a variety of member calls for assistance and service requests including:

  • Help doing homework for an Italian class
  • Giving a ride to the veterinarian to pick up cat medication
  • Upholstering a worn out seat cushion, adding new padding
  • Study buddy for a written driving test
  • Smart phone troubleshooting
  • Help installing an outdoor clothes line 

Organizational volunteer activities supporting Ashby Village's vision and mission include:

  • Answering office phones
  • Serving as committee and team members
  • Conducting surveys
  • Writing and editing
  • Setting up and taking down for events

Volunteers are needed in so many ways! There are numerous opportunities at Ashby Village for you to help.  To learn more, please email Pat Carvalho.

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VtV Network Announces Launch of National Village Exchange

Ashby Village recently participated in a pilot program of the Village Exchange. The national launch of this program has now been announced, with 32 Villages click here participating from a number of different states. The National Village Exchange Program enables Village members to experience the benefits of Village communities when they visit areas in which Villages operate and participate in the program (short-term visits up to four weeks only). When members are traveling, they can participate in Village programs, get information on restaurants and hotels, and call on the local Village for limited assistance. There is no additional cost to members, unless the local Village is charging its members for a program or trip, in which case the visiting member will pay the same. It's a "World of Villages at Your Fingertips."


Beacon Hill and the Village Movement Featured on PBS News Hour

As part of a Health series on aging, Ray Suarez of the PBS News Hour interviewed Beacon Hill Village members and Founder Susan McWhinney-Morse and filmed various village activities over a two-day period in July. The report, entitled There's No Place Like Home: Seniors Hold on to Urban Independence Into Old, aired August 8, 2013.


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Sam Foushee - Member and Volunteer

Sam Foushee retired in 2000 after 25 years of teaching elementary school, and he says, "I haven't looked back."  Sam has lived for 22 years in the Watergate complex, a low-rise "village" of condominiums in Emeryville.  A few years ago, Sam and his wife, La Rae Schneider, began exploring options for aging in place.  Sam attended the Village-to- Village Network Conference in Oakland in 2011, where he met Andy Gaines, Executive Director of Ashby Village. 


Sam and Andy began to discuss how to launch a village start-up at Watergate.  Andy introduced Sam to Tobey Klein, another Watergate resident and an Ashby Village volunteer, who had the same idea.  Sam, Tobey, and Andy worked together to envision and launch the Watergate Neighborhood as a part of Ashby Village, marketing to the more than 1,700 Watergate residents.  Watergate@AshbyVillage was officially launched in September 2012.  Looking back one year later, Sam is pleased with what's been accomplished. 


Ashby Village coordinates all the volunteer calls for Watergate, and the requests are usually filled by a core of 14 Watergate resident volunteers, some Village members and some not.  According to Sam, the volunteer corps is a vital part of the Neighborhood, helping to build community.  "Everybody knows everybody," he says.  His wife La Rae is a volunteer and Sam serves on the five-member Watergate Neighborhood Steering Committee that arranges events, heads up recruitment, and sets policy.  Watergate @ Ashby Village has a monthly gathering at Watergate's Clipper Club, where well-attended "Coffee and Conversation" talks are given by members or occasional guests.  Recent topics included robotics and container gardening. 


When asked how many hours he volunteers each week, Sam replied, "Wow.  Good question."

In addition to his work with the Village, Sam is an Alameda County Master Gardener, the Co-Director of the Emeryville Community Organic Garden, and he chairs the Watergate Landscape Committee.  Whether it's a garden or a village, Sam is a knowledgeable and dedicated volunteer and leader.  At the one-year anniversary of the Watergate Neighborhood start-up Sam says, "We've got a good core group, and we're happy with where we are headed."

- Written by Mary Graham

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New Member Chana Bloch Honored by Berkeley City Council

Chana Bloch first heard about Ashby Village from Ted and Betty Roszak in a Poetry Reading Group, one of the many creative communities in Berkeley, then from Ashby Village members Marcia Freedman and Sandy Butler, her co-editors on, a quarterly online journal of the arts by women over sixty.
chana bloch

Chana was drawn to Ashby Village for some of the same reasons that inspire her work: "This is a community that was created because it needed to exist; it gives a positive shape to the often difficult facts of aging; it is engaged in collaborative nurturing." As she says: "It takes a village to sustain an adult." As a poet, Chana's project has been to confront the often difficult facts of a life, to give them a shape in words, to find structure and order in what can feel like chaos. Her life as a poet and new member of Ashby Village reflect the symmetry of Ashby Village, which has created a communal form to hold the complexity of aging and her poetry, in which she creates language to reflect the fullness of being human.


Each month the City of Berkeley honors someone in the community who has made a contribution to the arts. Chana's work as poet, translator, scholar, and teacher will be honored on October 15, which will be declared "Chana Bloch Day" by Mayor Tom Bates at the City Council Meeting. No marching bands, no ticker-tape parades. A proclamation will be read, and she will read a new poem (see details below).

- Written by Sandy Butler

Chana Bloch Day

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 

Berkeley City Council Chambers, 7:00-7:30 pm

2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way

Parking in the area is difficult, so those interested in attending should come early. The proclamation and poem will probably be read at the beginning of the meeting.


Welcome New Members

Curry & David Barber

Sue & Richard Bender

Chana Bloch

Ron Freund

Rosalind Gordon

Margot Harrison

Jerrie & Allen Meadows

Jean Radford

Sabina Ubell

Brenda Webster & Ira Lapidus


Committee Chairs

MEMBERSHIP:  Betty Webster, 


SOCIAL SERVICES:  Roberta Pressman, 

NOMINATING: Patricia Sussman,









PROGRAM MANAGER -  Andrea Mok - 




CHAIR:  Patricia Sussman

SECRETARY/TREASURER:  Andra Lichtenstein

Bob Davis

Marcia Freedman

Laura Peck

Roberta Pressman  

Betty Webster

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