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!
Giving & Receiving
Programs & Services
Upcoming Events
Village Opportunities
New Members

Contact Us

2330 Durant Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704

(510) 204-9200  

On the Web

Like us on Facebook




Contributors to our 

2013 Annual Appeal: 

It Takes A Village 

Membership Fundand Sustaining Members

will be recognized  in the Spring Newsletter.





 In-Kind Supporters





Community Church




Winter 2014

Letter from the Executive Director

This year's Holiday Party capped off a successful year of connection and engagement in our Village. More than 100 people attended the Fourth Annual celebration, a record number that attests to our growing community.  Amid a potluck dinner and jazz by The Astronauts, members and volunteers dined, conversed and danced.

2013 Holiday Party (Photos: Alan Stein)

 As members and volunteers begin to know each other through social events like our holiday party and working together on committees, as well as providing services to each other, the sense of community has grown. 


"My general sense is that we are really beginning to become the community we've been defining ourselves as from the beginning. The lesson, I guess, is that you can't mandate community, but with time and proximity and common purposes and pursuits, it happens. Very exciting," one member said.


"We really are becoming a community," another member and volunteer said after the party.


In early 2013, based on conversations with the Board, members and volunteers, Ashby Village started Program Teams to support the development of Village programs and services. These teams (made up of both members and volunteers) have come together to take leadership in expanding our core program areas.  Leadership from each of these teams gather regularly as a body known as the Program Leadership Team ("PLT").  See News Flash to read more.

Following the goals set out by our recently completed Business Plan, Ashby Village is transitioning from "start-up" to "stability."  To this end we are expanding volunteer participation and leadership:
  • Andy Gaines welcomes Villagers at Holiday Party
    The Board of Directors, with the Berkeley Board Fellows from the Haas School of Business, is moving from a founding board to a governance board.  The Board membership will be expanding.
  • The newly established program teams, particularly Membership Support, Outreach and Volunteer, are welcoming additional members.
  • Several of the program teams are seeking co-leaders.

As 2013 comes to a close, Ashby Village celebrates a successful year of member and volunteer connection and engagement and looks forward to making 2014 a remarkable year of inspiring leadership.


Andy Gaines

 NewsFlashNEWS FLASH! 
Introducing Our NEW Program Teams, and the Program Leadership Team

As a part of our upcoming year of "Inspiring Leadership," we have assembled new teams that will take responsibility for some of the most important activities and programs the Village provides. The goals of these teams are to provide oversight and visioning for Village programs and services, to provide members with high quality and relevant activities and services, and to develop new leadership from members, volunteers and the larger community.


Program Teams - The teams listed below are currently active or being developed.  Additional leadership and team membership is urgently needed. If you are interested, please contact the team leaders directly.  Following is the "charge" of each team:

  • Social Service: Consultation and ReferralTo provide prompt and effective referrals and services that best promote the overall well-being (social and emotional) of our members. The four essential components include consultation, training, prevention and support groups, and creation of community partnerships.
  • Membership SupportTo welcome new members, orient them to how they can contribute to and make use of their membership, to engage new and non-engaged members in the programs and services of the Village, and to support connections between members and the overall Village.
  • Outreach AmbassadorTo recruit and secure new members by spreading the word of Ashby Village in the community, identifying and engaging interested prospects and making those for whom it is appropriate members of our growing Village.
  • Volunteer Recruitment and Appreciation: To ensure that Ashby Village has a vital, engaged volunteer program that serves members well and provides a rewarding experience for volunteers. Its primary activities are in recruitment, training and appreciation of volunteers.
  • Events and Engagement: To provide opportunities for Ashby Village members and volunteers to meet socially, to provide access to educational events that promote better understanding of issues of aging, as well as outings to cultural events.

Program Leadership Team ("PLT") - The PLT is made up of leaders from each of our new Program Teams. The goal is for each of the Program Teams to have two co-leaders. The PLT will serve as a forum for addressing emerging program issues and for suggesting policy and overall vision for Village programs and services to the Board. 


The newly operational PLT presented their individual team goals and plans for the coming year at the December Ashby Village Board meeting. It was a rousing meeting, as one Board member wrote:

"It was the most exciting and satisfying meeting that I have had the privilege to attend since I joined the Board in 2009. The energy and enthusiasm was infectious. It seemed as though we were seeing the village being lifted to a new plateau."


A member of the PLT responded:

"It was a stroke of genius to create this new layer of program leadership. It will surely make room for the Board to do the needed governance, fundraising, and policy formation that are necessary for our sustained growth and development."


Village to Village Network Recognizes Outstanding Service and Contribution

At the 5th Annual National Village Gathering, Ashby Village was honored with two new awards.


The "Promising Practice of the Year" award recognizes practices which can be shared with and adapted by other villages. Ashby Village was recognized for its monthly practice of "Birthday Greetings for All" through personalized cards and calls. We are grateful to artist and member Dr. Danute E. Nitecki for donating hundreds of her beautiful cards of her paintings to Ashby Village to be used for birthday greetings ( Thank you Dr. Nitecki for your contribution!


Tom Boyden congratulated by 
Andrea Mok (L) and Pat Carvalho (R)

The Village to Village Network also created its first

"Volunteer of the Year" award for exemplary service. Our very own Tom Boyden received an Honorable Mention for his service to Ashby Village. Tom has been working weekday mornings in the office since 2010, answering phones and providing rides. Staff members describe him as the "office jack-of-all-trades...someone whose irresistible laughter and warm, joyful demeanor are contagious." Tom has gone above and beyond in his volunteer duties, reaching out to local organizations to collaborate on projects which benefit our members. Congratulations, Tom. You deserve this recognition! 


FY 2012/13 Annual Report         

The Ashby Village Annual Report has been published for the fiscal year July 2012-June 2013. Many goals and milestones have been reached, including a substantial increase in our volunteer corps, a 20% increase in membership, 15 new recipients of the It Takes a Village Subsidized Membership Fund, a large increase in member participation in Village events, many new events and support groups formed, a 50% increase in revenues, the completion of strategic and business planning processes, and exciting programs planned for the year ahead. This was a banner year in which we moved substantially forward toward our goal of sustainability. 

Back to Top    

Spotlights SPOTLIGHT

Shirley Jowell and Mary Jo Powell

Co-Chairs, Events and Engagement Team

Shirley Jowell and Mary Jo Powell volunteered to co-lead the Events and Engagement Team when Program Manager Andrea Mok sent out a call for team leaders in late Spring 2013. Jowell and Powell, as they are sometimes affectionately called, already knew each other from the Solano Lunch Bunch, an activity of the Thousand Oaks Hamlet Neighborhood Group. Mary Jo says that she and Shirley do some of their best work over lunch, and both are prodigious planners and organizers. In just a few months, they have built a team of volunteers who plan and coordinate events in four basic interest areas:  Health and Wellness, Financial, Technical, and Cultural. They

Shirley Jowell (photo: Zoe Meyers)

encourage their teammates to "think outside the box." One successful recent event was a cell phone training conducted by Sophia Johnson and several of the boys from the East Bay School for Boys, next door to the Village offices.


Mary Jo and Shirley share the same leadership philosophy -- they are inclusive and collaborative. Both say that the success of the team is not so much due to their leadership as it is to the strength of the team members to find topics and develop them independently. As Shirley says, "The exciting part is that we're at the beginning of our development." If a team member comes up with an event idea, they are encouraged to follow through on it. Two team members, Nola Chaves and Sophia Johnson, have been very proactive in creating and developing ideas.  Although finding a time for the team to meet was a challenge at first, a Friday night potluck was organized and, over food and wine, the ideas began to flow.


Shirley has been a Village Member since 2010 and believes in the mission to keep seniors in their homes. Within a few months, she found that she herself needed Village services while recovering from hip surgery. She was particularly impressed with the Med Pal and gardening 

Mary Jo Powell (photo: Zoe Meyers)

help. Mary Jo joined the Village in 2013. A retired registered nurse and health care consultant, she was looking for a volunteer outlet when she found Ashby Village. In addition to her work with the Events and Engagement Team, Mary Jo volunteers as a driver and with the Med Pal program.


Andy Gaines, Executive Director, has great respect for the Jowell and Powell team: "They stepped in at a time when leadership was lacking in the planning and coordination of events. The vital programming that has emerged from their efforts is impressively demonstrated in our full, dynamic schedule of events." Shirley and Mary Jo plan to continue their enthusiastic, low-key leadership. They encourage Village members to check the calendar frequently for new events, and to go to the Village homepage and click on the "Calendar" choice at the top-center of the page.  

--Written by Mary Graham

Back to Top      
GivingReceivingGIVING & RECEIVING   

We came home from vacation and found the kitchen dark, an upstairs light flickering, and a bulb out in the hall.  All high ceiling lights. What did we do? We called Ashby Village. Luciano rode to the rescue, changed, tested, and fixed all. Bless Luciano and bless Ashby Village.

Submitted by Members Ben and Marlene


Thanks again so much for our talk yesterday - it really boosted my morale! As I'm writing that down - I am realizing: Yes, maybe that's the greatest thing about AV: It boosts my morale so much: when I speak to the office staff - all you supportive people - and when a volunteer comes: not only am I grateful and relieved for the specific help I've gotten e.g,  in my garden, with things (like an old TV taken away), with a computer problem - I always feel so good and optimistic, my mood barometer makes a big jump up!

Submitted by Member Frieda


Just wanted to let you know that Joe did a fabulous job with our wireless network. It was a very complicated job, and he tackled it with determination and stuck with it regardless of how long it took. He not only solved the problem, he left us very organized notes on everything he did. I am really appreciative. Thanks so much.

Submitted by Member and Volunteer Andra


Your are the best. What a great job you are doing. It can't be easy to coordinate all your requests. Thanks for everything.

Submitted by Member Eleanor


I look forward to Thursdays for the chance to serve and the wonderful environment that you have created.  It is so much fun, thank you. Giving and receiving is part of life. My gift of a few pastries is not a fair exchange for all the joy I receive.

Submitted by Volunteer Lula to the office staff

Back to Top    

ProgramsServicesPROGRAMS & SERVICES 

New Initiatives Designed to Attract and Engage "Under 70's"

In Fall, 2013, Ashby Village - in conjunction with Lincoln Park Village (Chicago, IL) - conducted a study of its 50-70 year old members and volunteers to explore how to best attract
and engage them. Its findings, along with several new initiatives, were presented to a packed
Presenters at VtV Conference
Dianne Campbell (L) and Barbara Koren (R) of Lincoln Park Village with Andy Gaines presenting
audience at the national Village conference in November. Programmatic initiatives include:
  • Developing programs designed to meet the needs and interests of this cohort, such as fall prevention, sexuality, issues of aging, death and dying, value of pets, and earthquake preparedness
  • Forming peer sharing circles
  • Hosting field trips and adventures
  • Creating compelling cultural events
Marketing and communications initiatives include addressing "boomer" interests and values in materials and messaging, targeting single women and recently relocated prospects, and organizing events to expose adult children of members to Ashby Village.  


Board Development and Berkeley Board Fellows

Each academic year, the Haas School of Business partners with the Center for Nonprofit Leadership and the Bay Area nonprofit community to place Board Fellows with area nonprofits, working on board-focused projects that the nonprofit has determined. Brandi Howard (School of Social Welfare) and Casey Lord (Haas Business School) are our Fellows for the 2013-2014 academic years. These Fellows, although graduate students, have a great deal of professional experience that will assist in guiding us through the process of transitioning from founding board to one of governance. They are finishing up a series of interviews of current board and committee members, as well as staff and national village leaders, to identify strengths and skills that future board members can bring to a governance board. 

Back to Top      


Events are open to all 
except where specified




Living Room Chats

Sunday, Jan 5, 2014, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM - Click here 

Sunday, Feb 9, 2014, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM - Click here 

Sunday, Mar 9, 2014, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM - Click here 

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, click next to date above or call the office. 


Volunteer Training & Orientation

Saturday, February 22, 2014, 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

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. Volunteers support members through transportation, home handiwork, assistance at medical appointments, home safety assessment and more. If you're interested in volunteering please fill out an application here.  

Back to top 


Volunteer Support Given to Ashby Village in the Last Quarter

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

  • Spending an hour with member playing the piano and singing along.
  • Helping member print from iPad and managing passwords.
  • Calling member regularly to check in and having a conversation.
  • Altering clothing, repairing a skirt, making a pillowcase.
  • Working with member to refresh French speaking skills.
  • Studying for upcoming driver's test.
  • Arranging mother's memoirs using MAC Word.

Organizational volunteer activities supporting Ashby Village's mission:

  • 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.

Back to Top     

    Rebecca Chambers

    Kristina Holland

    Anne and John Jaurequi

    Judith and Stanley Lubman

    Alice Meyers and Malcolm Zaretsky

    Barbara Sargent

    Enid Scheibman

    Hugh Tassey

    Anna Marie Taylor

Back to Top

Program Leadership Team Chairs


Shirley Jowell - Mary Jo Powell -


Irene Marcos,; Julie Vega,


Roberta Pressman,; Debby Levy,


Joan Cole -, Marcia Freedman (Speakers Bureau)


Liz Raymer -












CHAIR:  Patricia Sussman


MEMBERS: Bob Davis, Marcia Freedman, Laura Peck, Roberta Pressman, Betty Webster

BOARD FELLOWS: Brandi Howard, Casey Lord


Back to top