July 2020
Ashby Village and North Oakland Village Enter Second Decade Together
by Julie Freestone and Rochelle Lefkowitz

Most ten-year olds have a major growth spurt. Their elders often shake their heads, amazed by the strong, maturing beings these pre-teens have become, yet at times frustrated by what we see as energy wasted in order to appear more independent.
Today, amidst closures and cutbacks brought on by the current pandemic, our two ten-year-old villages, with the same vital mission and vision, have created a way to strengthen both of our offerings and operations.
As of July 1, 2020, Ashby Village (AV) and North Oakland Village (NOV) have merged to provide even more robust programming and support to older adults in Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Kensington, parts of Oakland and Richmond... “We are delighted to have this opportunity to join forces, to make us stronger and more resilient in these challenging times,” says Andra Lichtenstein, President of AV’s board. She points out that since both villages have existed for ten years, they have a wealth of experience and wisdom to share ... read full article here
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Beginning Our Journey Toward Equity and Inclusion
Last month, the Ashby Village (AV) Board of Directors passed a resolution committing our organization to promoting greater inclusion in our community and to challenging the institutional racism that impacts us and our society. The action coincides with the beginning of AV’s second decade and formalizes efforts made during those first ten years to address diversity, equity and inclusion.

In a letter to the Ashby Village community, Board President Andra Lichtenstein explained that the Board plans to set this in motion through deep self-reflection and a systematic assessment of the values, policies, practices and strategies of Ashby Village. “We intend to draw on the knowledge and wisdom of experts in our community and across the country as we join thousands of other communities and groups on this journey.” Read her full letter here .

Read full piece here .
In honor of this Tenth Anniversary, we cordially invite you
to join us for our special “10 for 10” programming series:
ten events that celebrate who we are as an organization, a community, and a Village.
Raising our Glasses to Celebrate 10 Years - LIVE!

Join us Wednesday,  July 29th at 5 p.m . to celebrate the Ashby Village Tenth Anniversary (launched July, 2010). This 30 minute broadcast will feature the premiere of the Ashby Village film:  Aging Better. Together.  
More Upcoming Events
Science and Ideas Group: Tracking Face Blindness Using Citizen Science

When: Wednesday, July 8, 3:00-5:00pm

Do you have trouble recognizing familiar faces? not names (this is a problem for everybody), but faces.  It turns out that maybe 1 in fifty people are truly disadvantaged here. This condition is called prosopagnosia. Some of this is the result of brain damage but most instances seem to occur with no obvious pathology. The latter cases include the well-known author Oliver Sacks. Ashby Village member Ken Nakayama will explain this interesting phenomenon. Read full description here .
Pre-Social Hour: A Trip to Sri Lanka

When: Friday, July 10, 3:00-4:00pm

Roger and Audre Newman have been members and volunteers of Ashby Village for several years. Audre is a retired scientific illustrator and Roger is a retired instructor of anthropology and history at local community colleges. They both like to travel and have been to many parts of the world. Their interest in the natural world led them to become birdwatchers after a trip to East Africa where the birds were found to be just as interesting as the mammals.
The Sri Lanka slideshow reports on a recent trip there with Rockjumper, a birding company based in Capetown, South Africa. This tropical country off the south coast of India has a diversity of habitats due to elevation changes and rainfall patterns...Highlights of the slide show are close-up views of painted storks, peacocks in full mating array, and the wild ancestors of domesticated chickens, the jungle fowl. This is your chance to see a nice variety of species without the challenges of tropical weather, including beautiful bee-eaters, rollers, Sri Lankan jays and a variety of owls and frogmouth. We hope you can make it. Read more here .
Writers Supporting Writers – The Simpson Literary Project

When: Tuesday, July 14, 10:30am

Diane Del Signore and Joe Di Prisco will talk about Joe’s books and about the Simpson Project’s innovative private/public partnership with the UC Berkeley English Department. Since 2016, the Project has promoted writing and reading across the generations because storytelling is the foundation of a literate society. It awards the annual $50,000 Joyce Carol Oates Prize for a distinguished mid-career author of fiction. (Joyce is a judge for the Prize and sits on the board as an honorary member. She has served as the Project Writer in Residence in the Bay Area.) The Project facilitates free writing workshops for underserved teenage authors, taught by Simpson Fellows from the Berkeley English Department, in locations such as Girls Inc in Downtown Oakland and Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall. It also causes to be published a yearly anthology of Project-related authors,  Simpsonistas: Tales from the Simpson Literary Project , edited by Joe. Read more about our presenters here .
Embracing Change Presents:
Managing Normative Issues of
Aging and Health Care Crises

When : Tuesday , June 21, 10:30am

Sometimes we need a little more help as we age to continue to live a life of health, meaning and purpose. Other times, we may be facing unexpected crises and need to quickly find assistance for partners, our spouses, or ourselves.
Meet our Social Care Team and learn how Ashby Village’s Member Support team can help you, and when Ashby Village services are not enough, learn how to efficiently access outside services for homecare, hospice, assisted living, and other supportive services. Read more and see our presenters here .
The Daughters of Erietown- An Afternoon with Connie Schultz
*Arts & Culture Series*

When : Sunday, July 26, 2:00-4:00pm
Where : via Zoom Webinar

Pulitzer-prizewinning columnist Connie Schultz will speak about her new bestselling novel  The Daughters of Erietown , a powerful probe of the deep truths and moving stories of three generations of women in rural Ohio, exploring issues from the dignity of work to teen pregnancy and shattered dreams. Connie Schultz is a nationally syndicated columnist and journalist. Read more here .
Our Wisdom Years: Growing Older with Joy, Fulfillment, Resilience and No Regrets - Dr. Charles Garfield

When : Tuesday, July 28, 10:30am
Where : via Zoom

In his just-published book, Our Wisdom Years: Growing Older with Joy, Fulfillment, Resilience, and No Regrets - which was selected by Amazon as their #1 new release in gerontology and social sciences – Dr. Charles Garfield weaves together his training as a psychologist, his work as the Founder of the Shanti Project and his personal experiences of aging. The book’s central theme, and the focus of his, is that the most profound growth of our lives can happen in the home stretch, the years after age sixty or so. Read more here .
In lieu of our annual Volunteer Appreciation Party, for the remainder of the year, we will  highlight and appreciate several of our volunteers, some working behind the scenes that you may not ever meet.

If you'd like to nominate a volunteer or would like to contribute an appreciation, please let us know! Contact  pat.c@ashbyvillage.org
We Cheer All Birthdays!!
By volunteer Suzanne Riess
Here’s a feature story of two fabulous Ashby Village Volunteers, the Birthday Card Artists! These two volunteers create and send remarkable happy-making birthday greetings to Village members and legions of Village volunteers - Sandra Kramer and Greta Sholachman.
How the Magic Happens at Ashby Village Events
Story by Tricia Sullivan, AV Office Corps Volunteer

Everybody loves Ashby Village Events : the parties, the presentations, the activities. Here are two behind the scene volunteers who make Events happen: Sigrid Duesberg and Sue Diehl. Their work is complementary: Sigrid plans events and Sue gets the information out to everyone.

Both Sigrid and Sue bring a strong background to Ashby Village. Sigrid, the Events Team Coordinator, was the operations manager for a private laboratory in Vienna (Austria) for ten years. Sue, who creates and edits the Ashby Village calendar, brings an extensive background in technology to Ashby Village. Read more here
Ambitious Plans for Creativity Initiative

The committee organizing the Ashby Village creativity focus, timed to coincide with the Village's 10th anniversary, has begun to set up concrete ways of implementing the ideas members presented in breakout sessions during a Zoom membership meeting on May 22. 

As a first step, the committee renamed the venture, initially known as Creative Aging. It will now be called Exploring Creativity. The intent is unchanged: To assist members in identifying and pursuing their creative passions, in much the way that a previous Village-wide emphasis encouraged members to pursue healthy aging.

The programs and tools the committee is planning will be accessible to members and volunteers from a centralized Creativity section on the Village's website, once technical issues are resolved. The major features are:

  • A rotating online gallery of members' and volunteers' artistic work
  • Formation and online listing of a "starter package" of interest groups, classes and workshops 
  • An online Creativity Resources Exchange

Following this section are details on two of the initial groups that are ready to launch now. Both will meet on Zoom and begin in July: Support Group for Exploring Your Creativity and Life Story Writing Group with author and longtime writing coach Amy Gorman. 

The committee's ambitious plans will take a few months to implement and will be rolled out in stages, but meantime, members and volunteers are again urged to write to coordinator Arlene Reiff with their wish list of ideas for other ways of encouraging the creative passions that animate and intrigue so many of our members and volunteers. The organizing committee will consider ways of accommodating your ideas. 

For now, the committee has its hands full responding in concrete ways to the enthusiasm evident in our previous two Zoom sessions. Anyone interested in catching up on those earlier sessions can do so here and here .

- An Exploring Creativity Event -
Participants in the Life Story writing group will explore their stories using a guided process based on Guided Autobiography . The purpose is to preserve life stories and experiences in the context of a supportive group. It is not a how-to or technical writing group, but rather a supportive, motivating class to get our stories down on paper. Each week participants write two pages on a theme --- such as on family, work, health -- and are prompted with many questions provided by Amy. Then the following week participants share what they wrote in a non-judgmental, supportive positive group setting. 

What: six sessions, maximum of 6 - 8 Ashby Village members
When :  Mondays, July 13, 20, August 3, 10, 24, 31, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Where : via Zoom
Requirement: Ability to use email and willingness to share email addresses and stories online.  Amy wishes to speak to anyone who is interested in or has questions about the group before they sign up.
Registration:    There is limited space for this event. Please RSVP to Amy no later than  July 5 at amygorman@sbcglobal.net and include your telephone number. 

Read more about this exciting new group and its leader here .
Getting Started: A Support Group for Exploring Your Creativity

Can you use a gentle nudge and/or ideas for getting started on a creative project? Ashby Village will host two Zoom sessions for members and volunteers who would enjoy talking with others about how to explore your creative potential. You might benefit from brainstorming with others or get help narrowing down what you might try. You can help encourage others while getting ideas for yourself. This will also be a great opportunity to get to know others in the Ashby Village community.

Two sessions   for a maximum of 24 participants each
When :   Fridays, July 24 and August 28, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.   
Where : via Zoom. A link will be sent to participants prior to the group. Please let us know if you need any assistance in setting up Zoom.
RSVP Plan to attend both sessions if you like, but it’s not required. Please respond no later than the previous Wednesday (July 22, August 26) to  info@ashbyvillage.org .
Tech Tips
Would you like personal assistance from Technology & Electronics Volunteers?

Tech Volunteers are here for you! With assistance by phone or Zoom, we can help you with priority needs such as:

  • using communication apps
  • ordering groceries online
  • communicating with health providers
  • streaming entertainment
Manage Your Passwords (or keep the front door open!)
On June 23rd we offered a Zoom workshop on Manage Your Passwords . If you missed the workshop, check out the slides posted on the Ashby Village TECH TIPS & RESOURCES page.
Future workshop: Streaming Media

Watch for an announcement of our next workshop, Streaming Media . This workshop will cover topics such as:
  • what "streaming" is
  • internet requirements for streaming
  • free and paid subscriptions
  • how to stream to your TV
Need our assistance?
Email info@ashbyvillage.org or call 510-204-9200 to request assistance. When you put in your request, let us know if you're familiar with online tools such as Zoom, Google Duo, Facetime, or similar. If you're not familiar, a volunteer will arrange a training session.
Reflections on Past Events
Second Chance to See Riveting Adam Hochschild Presentation
If you missed author and historian Adam Hochschild’s riveting Arts & Culture presentation last month “A Time Trump Would Love: The United States of 1917-1920”, you can watch the recording online above or by clicking here – and donate if you didn’t get a chance to do that. Hochschild is working on a book about those times, when the press in the United States was censored, protestors were jailed and deported and racism was rampant. Talking with us about the topic, he said, helps him be clear about what he’s writing about. The new book is several years from publication; his latest book Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical—the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes , was released in March.
What We Are Reading
Curated by volunteer Patricia Hom

by Nick Triggle, BBC News, 10/04/2019

by Angus Chen, NPR, 10/26/2019

by Alberta Health Services and the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, SCIENMAG, 02/18/2020

by CW Healey, Ladders, 02/18/2020

by Alix Spigel, NPR, 03/23/2020

from WIRED, 04/08/2020
Gateway, a program of Berkeley Age Friendly Continuum, is designed to support elders taking charge of their aging experience. Prior to the Shelter in Place, its prevention/early intervention effort used a home-visiting format to support Berkeley residents to take steps to reduce illness, injury, loss of independence, and medical costs. The Berkeley Age Friendly Continuum is a project of Ashby Village, that serves as its fiscal sponsor.

Gateway has recently launched its own newsletter, and have produced two during Shelter-In-Place with resources and brain fitness games and research , check them out!
Bulletin Board
Are you a used, working sewing machine, looking for a new home? 

I don’t care if you’re a table-top or floor model, newish or oldish. Your looks are not an issue. I promise you will not be placed in a closet and ignored. Rather, you will happily settle in here and become a beloved member of our family. You will join me, Carlos and Lexi, and our cats, Zeytun and What’s-Her-Name, as they climb all over you and jump down when you’re not sewing something. Please let me know ASAP if you’re interested in joining our family and we’ll arrange for a meet-up. 
We look forward to meeting you soon. Virtual hugs, Beverly Slapin. 510-647-8912   bslapin@gmail.com
In Loving Memory
Margie Pezzaglia
March, 1921- June, 2020
From Margie's Daughter Janet:

"Many years ago my sister and I read a story about Ashby Village, and thought it would be a perfect match for our mom Margie. She was immediately enchanted and adored the opportunity to connect with new friends and have fun. Whenever she couldn't make it to one of the socials, she was always disappointed. The Ashby Village friendships and gatherings made such a big difference to her quality of life. She was sharp and vital until the end, and we're so grateful for all that your community did to make that possible."
Betsy Hess-Behrens
March, 1923 - June, 2020
Betsy Hess-Behrens, 97, died peacefully the morning of June 10, 2020, in her apartment at The Point at Rockridge. Born in Buffalo, NY, she was the daughter of Freda (nee Berns) and Herman Muelke...She is survived by her four children, seven grandchildren [Rachael, Abhaya, David, Nathaniel, Michael, Nicole, and Alexander], eight great-grandchildren [Eleni, Desmond, Layla, Benjamin, Ari, Thea, Madrone, and Makoa], and her beloved dog, Greta.

Her passionate, dauntless spirit, her humor, and her joie de vivre inspired all who knew her. She will be greatly missed.

A Remembrance Website with her full obituary can be found here: bit.ly/bhb-memories .
Thank you to the Ashby Village volunteers who contributed to this issue of the Village Voices newsletter.