October 2020
September Board Meeting Worth Noting
by Julie Freestone, Board Member
If you counted how many people virtually attended September’s Ashby Village (AV) Board meeting, you might have been puzzled. There were more than twice as many boxes on the Zoom screen as there are Board members. Held on the day of heavy high smoke cover blocking out the sun and causing an eerie orange glow, Board President Andra Lichtenstein began the meeting by saying “we’ll shine our own light here”.

This meeting may be remembered for at least two other things: it was the first “public meeting” of the Board, where members, volunteers and others were welcomed to the two-hour event. And besides covering the usual topics, the Board had its first look at the document that, when finalized, will spell out the goals and objectives of AV’s new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiative. Consultant Rita Shimmin reminded the group that we are in a “recovery process” and encouraged kindness.

Additionally, at each Board meeting there is a time for “Village Stories”, where Board members hear what is going on in the Village. This month’s share-out was filled with an upbeat check-in on the recent merger with North Oakland Village.

During the comments period at the end of the meeting, many attendees thanked the Board for giving them a chance to see how the Board operates, and for the increased transparency – an area that was called into focus at last year’s Community Forum.

The open annual Board Meeting will continue, usually during one of the summer meetings. 
Upcoming Events
See what's happening this month.
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October 2019 Community Forum Update: What We’ve Accomplished Together
Written by Mary Graham
A year ago this month the Village held a Community Forum as part of our 10th Anniversary celebration. More than 100 members and volunteers gathered to learn about Village history and to explore together the theme of strengthening community. Some strategies for improved communication and transparency could be implemented immediately and others are works in progress. Everyone pitched in. Members created a more congenial Social Hour, staff worked to get Village team and resource directories posted on the website, and Board members came to Neighborhood Groups and Social Hours to explain their function and to hear directly from members. Board minutes are now posted on the website, and members and volunteers are invited to an annual open Board meeting. Click HERE to see the summary report of themes and actions compiled by Arlene Reiff and Mary Graham, Forum Follow-up Coordinators.
There is more to be done. We expect to garner more suggestions for member-to-member connections when we compile responses to the second survey sent out this Spring. And the Village website is scheduled to be redesigned by professionals. The best news is that the Village is moving forward with projects and services that reflect the spirit of the Forum, including the Creative Aging Initiative, our partnership with the Wright Institute, and thoughtful responses to the pandemic.  
More Upcoming Events
New Member Mixer Event

When: Friday, October 2, 2:30-4:00pm
Where: via Zoom

Many of those joining Ashby Village express an interest in getting involved in this community and meeting others.

Ashby Village new members are invited to a small VIRTUAL gathering to engage in a variety of ice-breaker and get to know one another activities.
Welcome, New Kids on our Block!
September Social Hour: Getting To Know You - Part 2 - Imagine a Special Photo Album of Your Life

When: Friday, October 2, 4:00-5:00pm

We saw how much fun everyone was having at our Getting to Know You Social Hour in September. We listened to how disappointed everyone was who wasn't able to show up. So back by popular demand, we are having part 2 of the Getting to Know You series: Imagine a Special Photo Album of Your Life.
What’s special about it is that the album only contains three photographs that you chose to put in it. Which photographs are they? They can be funny, serious, sad, happy, family, anything you want them to be.
Come join us and share with us three photographs that capture special moments or turning points in your life and tell us why.  We will use Screen Share to show digital photos, or you can hold them up to the screen.
Previous participants are more than welcome to attend again. Any questions? Contact Arlene Reiff.
Be An Informed Oakland Voter!

When: Tuesday, October 6, 2:30pm

The League of Women Voters of Oakland will give us the Pros and Cons of the November Ballot Measures. Speakers from the League will provide nonpartisan, unbiased information on all the measures and answer questions. Providing information to help voters make decisions about their communities and their government is a core mission of the League of Women Voters.
This November, Oakland voters will cast votes on:
  • 8 State Propositions
  • 3 City of Oakland Measures
  • 1 Alameda County Measure
  • 1 OUSD Measure
An Oasis in Time: How a Day of Rest Can Save Your Life

When: Thursday, October 8, 10:30am

Join us to hear Marilyn Paul talk about the power of regular rest to help us live well. She will read from her book An Oasis in Time: How a Day of Rest can Save Your Life and talk about strategies to build in regular rest and renewal each week. Read more here.
Be An Informed Berkeley, Albany, and Emeryville Voter!

When: Tuesday, October 13, 10:30am

The League of Women Voters of Berkeley, Albany, and Emeryville will give us the Pros and Cons of the November Ballot Measures. Speakers from the League will provide nonpartisan, unbiased information on all the measures and answer questions. Providing information to help voters make decisions about their communities and their government is a core mission of the League of Women Voters.
This November, Berkeley, Albany, and Emeryville voters will cast votes on:
  • 12 State Propositions
  • 4 City of Albany Measures
  • 8 City of Berkeley Measures
  • 2 Alameda County Measures
North Oakland Village Lunch Bunch

When: Wednesday, October 14, 12:00pm

The NOV Lunch Bunch has gathered for monthly lunches for several years. We have rotated our gathering among a number of restaurants in the North Oakland/South Berkeley area. Since the pandemic, we have been gathering via Zoom, with participants eating their own lunches at home, while we converse via Zoom. We would be delighted to have new participants join us. We look forward to the day when we can resume meeting in person for our monthly lunch together.

For more information about our group, please feel free to email our coordinator, Norma Harrison, at betnorh@sbcglobal.net.
Science and Ideas Group: COVID-19 Vaccine Research: Latest Developments!

When: Wednesday, October 14, 3:00-4:30pm

To date, the world has no defense against COVID-19. The development of an effective, safe vaccine against the virus is the “holy grail” of research in medicine today. How is this research conducted and evaluated? What phases must it pass through? What challenges are involved in conduction of conclusive clinical trials? The primary aim of this education and discussion session is to address these questions.
The speakers will also provide specific information about the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine trial, for which Sutter is a research partner. The Institute is seeking older (at risk because of age alone) adult participants from Berkeley and Oakland. Ashby Village members will have the opportunity, if they are interested, to follow up with the researchers about joining the AstraZeneca trial. Read more about the talk and the speakers here.
Elder Action and Embracing Change Presents: Healthcare and Long-Term Care In the Age of Covid

When: Thursday, October 15, 2:00-4:00pm

Jodi Reid of the California Alliance for Retired Americans, California’s largest grassroots senior advocacy organization, will address what we have learned about our statewide public health system as well as long-term care alternatives as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. She will also address efforts to achieve a universal long-term care benefit and some form of single-payer healthcare in the State of California. Read more here.
Clarewood Documentary Film Group

When: Sunday, October 18, 2:00 - 4:00pm
Where: via Zoom, RSVP for link

The Clarewood Documentary Group has been showing documentaries we love to Ashby Village members for the past two years. Our choices have included thought provoking films about: Social Justice issues, the Arts, aspects of history, travel, anthropology, whatever inspires us and might interest you. Since sheltering in place, we have been watching the designated film on our own and then meeting on Zoom to discuss it. 
On October 18th we will be discussing the film “Crip Camp”. Read more here.

Friday, November 6, 3:00-4:00pm


More details to follow!
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
Volunteers in Action
By Karin Evans

Ashby Village is a community that was built from, and thrives with, the active engagement of its constituents. Did you know that three months after a new member joins Ashby Village, a Member Engagement volunteer reaches out to make sure the newcomer is feeling engaged and has all the information needed to get the most from their membership? And, if a member decides to leave the village for any reason, there’s a volunteer ready to support departure in good tidings, too? 

Read more about tow of our incredible volunteers, Marty Ramey and Bob Stenberg, and all they do HERE.
Volunteer Appreciations
Submitted by Ashby Village Members
Elisabeth Scharbaum stepped into a demanding, complex situation when she volunteered to take minutes for the Neighborhood Group Council meetings. There are 12 council members with a long history of working together on many issues. Our meetings tend toward the chaotic, even with agendas and facilitators. Elisabeth knew none of us and was unfamiliar with most of the topics we discussed. Yet, step in she did, undaunted and produced a marvelous document that one member said “captured ideas I had not remembered”. And, did I mention, the document was delivered 24 hours after the meeting? Bravo! Submitted by Don Hubbard.

Robert Lee, Hilary Naylor and Bill Graham: I would like to appreciate three of AV's wonderful tech volunteers! All are very knowledgeable, kind, and patient with computer and Apple neophytes. Submitted by Larry Fishman.

Carol Takaki: Since I met Carol on a Nature Walk many years ago, I've been impressed with her energy and enthusiasm for activities. She is very active in her neighborhood group, hosting several activities each month. She is exceptionally good at enabling individuals to meet and help one another. Submitted by Audre Newman.
Thank you to all our volunteers!
Healthier Aging
Flu season is upon us. As most of you know, it is even more important this year than ever before that we all get our flu shots this year while the COVID-19 virus is still threatening our health.
Check out this informative article about Flu Shots and make sure you get be immunized soon:

And don’t forget to keep your immune system strong by:

  • Eating well
  • Getting enough sleep and
  • Exercising (AV classes, 365 Y classes, dance for Parkinson’s and more are all available online)
  • When the air improves do get out and walk.
Providing Companionship During COVID-19

In March Ashby Village suspended services that did not comply with the precautions mandated by Shelter in Place. After consulting with the County Public Health offices, our insurance provider, and other local senior living facilities, Ashby Village has determined that it will begin to provide volunteer limited outdoor companionship. Both member and volunteer will be asked to comply with a variety of personal protection guidelines and to sign a Companion Authorization, Liability Release, and Indemnity Form.  

We are grateful to our volunteers who are willing to step forward to serve in this particularly challenging time.
ELECTION 2020: It Takes a Village!
By Rochelle Lefkowitz, Co-Chair, Ashby Village ELDER ACTION

Ordinarily, you might volunteer to help register voters, drive voters to and from the polls, volunteer to be a poll worker, then wait in line at your polling place to vote on Election Day. But these are anything but ordinary times.
Due to COVID-19 and the Voters’ Choice Act, some significant things about voting in California have changed since 2018. For instance, this fall, every registered California voter will get an official ballot in the mail. Things about us--from our hearing, vision or address--may have changed, too. Sometimes, it all looks too complicated to follow alone.
So, this year, plan ahead! Rather than think "Election Day," think of October as Election Month.
Closed polling places and post offices and COVID-19 risks, even Election Day rain, may make many of us want to avoid Election Day lines, despite new safety precautions now in place. Fortunately, there are other safe and easy choices. Because no one should have to choose between their health and their right to vote!

  • Key Dates
  • Registration Information
  • Checking Registration Status
  • Tracking Your Ballot
  • Election Protection
  • Ballot Measures
  • Five Things You Can Do
  • Casting Your Ballot
Professional Referrals
Ashby Village Has Help for You
By Judy Boe, Ashby Village Preferred Provider Team

Ashby Village has hundreds of wonderful volunteers who can help you with many tasks, (albeit some services are limited due to current COVID-19 precautions). Sometimes, though, you will need a professional for a variety of reasons including required experience, skills or licensing, or the task may simply be unsafe or inappropriate to ask a volunteer to tackle.

Good news! We maintain two lists of professional providers who may be able to help! Read more here.
helping hands
Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Village Neighborhood Groups are forming small support teams to offer help to members who may be going through a hard time (illness, surgery, loneliness, hospitalization, bereavement, etc.).
Here’s how it works: Neighborhood Group leaders regularly remind folks to contact them if they—or another member they know—might need some extra support. For example, a member might appreciate some friendly visits or phone calls or might need to have some meals delivered after a surgery. The Neighborhood Group leader passes this request on to someone on the support team who contacts the member to get the details of the situation. If appropriate, they might ask the member if it’s okay to put out the word to the Neighborhood Group so members can volunteer to help. They might also guide the member to appropriate Village services and coordinate any ongoing service needs with Erik Whitaker in the Village Office.
Neighbors Groups offer all sorts of activities from documentary nights to happy hours. Support teams offer another opportunity to strengthen our personal connections.
Pen Pals: Words with New Friends

Since June Ashby Village has been recruiting Pen Pal volunteers to handwrite letters to members within our own Village, however, there is now an opportunity for Ashby Village members and volunteers to correspond on paper, to someone within the larger, national village community.
Ashby Village is partnering with Westside Pacific Villages in Los Angeles to create a brand new Pen Pal program to help improve and manage this pandemic's impact on our community.
While we are trying to build up a lot of virtual events and activities; we also have realized that there are members who don't have broadband, connectivity, or technology.
We are excited about starting a Pen Pal program with other major Villages across the state and nation, and are hoping to get more participants so that we can help encourage more activity and engagement at home without being restricted by technology!
One Ashby Village member says, “Thank you for my pen pal! It is making a big difference in my life while socially isolated without cell phone and internet at home. I finally have the very individual interactions that have made me feel human and connected to AV!”

If you are interested, please contact us at erik@ashbyvillage.org
A Call to All: Send Us Your Six-Word Pandemic Memoirs!

As Mr. Smith, the creator of the Six-Word Memoir encourages in his New York Times piece [PDF version here], "make sense of this moment in history: one person, one story, and six words at a time".

We'll publish those that we receive in our November or December newsletter, so please add a note if you do not want your name included in the submission. Please email them to info@ashbyvillage.org.
Tech Tips
Help Village Members Zoom!

We’re all longing to get together in person, but, until we can, the Village is relying on Zoom for events and gatherings. Are you comfortable with Zoom at this point? Do you have some time to help our members?
Village members request help with various Zoom issues, such as:
  • signing up for a Zoom account
  • downloading and installing Zoom
  • practicing the features of Zoom
  • hosting a Zoom event
You don’t need to be a master of all of these to help our members!
If you are a vetted Ashby Village volunteer and you’d like to provide some Zoom assistance from time to time, email volunteer@ashbyvillage.org or call 510-204-9200 for further information. Thank you in advance!
Resources on Technology Topics

A reminder that resources on a wide range of technology topics are posted on the Village TECH TIPS & RESOURCES page.
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

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.
*At this time, Ashby Village is not able to provide "in-home" tech support.
Reflection on Past Events
September Social Hour ~ Getting to Know You: Imagine a Photo Album of your Life
Written by Arlene Reiff and Sigrid Duesberg

The idea was to imagine a “special photo album” that only contains three special photographs. We were thrilled to see that participants came prepared and shared with us not only their photos but also the stories behind the photos – often happy, family-related, sometimes more serious and sad. It was a real treat to see their photos and hear about key moments and people in their lives. Read all about it here.
State Treasurer Calls for Action by Older Adults
Written by Julie Freestone

An incredibly knowledgeable public official with a soft spot for villages issued a compelling call to action at a recent Ashby Village Arts and Culture virtual event.

In a spirited presentation, State Treasurer Fiona Ma covered a wide range of topics of concern to older adults, stressed how important villages like ours are to ensuring that we age with dignity and independence and outlined a number of things that could and should be done by anyone who wants to contribute to long range planning for older people. (If you missed it, you can watch the recorded version here: https://youtu.be/cOtrLByHPEA)

Ma’s appearance was attended by more than 200 people – a number that impressed the State official, as it was the largest virtual group of the 90 webinars that she’s been a part of during shelter-in-place! She was introduced by Berkley community activist Deborah Matthews, who credited state and local governments wih breaking new ground.

Robert Reich: Reality and Hope for Tumultuous Times
Written by Julie Freestone
The 500 people who attended Ashby Village’s joint Arts and Culture and ELDER ACTION virtual event recently with esteemed economist, commentator and professor Robert Reich got a history lesson, a dose of reality, maybe some cause for hope and even some thoughts on filling the Supreme Court vacancy resulting from Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death.

Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California Berkeley. As sociologist, author and Ashby Village member Arlie Hochschild pointed out when she introduced him, Reich is truly a Renaissance man. He served in various capacities under four presidents and has written 17 books, most recently, The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It.

He had a lot to say about that system, how we got here, where we might be headed and what we should be doing to protect democracy. (If you missed his talk or couldn’t access it because the Zoom limit was reached – our deepest apologies for those affected – and weren’t able to hear his personal story about him and the Vietnam War draft, you can view it here: https://youtu.be/e0BmneiZzW4)

Read full talk review here
A Poem
Edited by Irene Rosenthal and Peter Sussman

Today's featured poem is by Denise Levertov, an English-born poet who spent most of her life in this country and died in 1997. She was a prolific and highly regarded poet with a wide range of subject matter and tone, from the political, social and polemic to the lyrical and intimate.

Read poem here
Member Spotlight - Alison Colgan
As mentioned last month my goal in doing this column is to support the merger of the Ashby Village and North Oakland Village communities, so names in each become familiar to both. As such, I will be focusing these spotlights on our members in Oakland — both new and old! If you have any recommendations of a member to highlight, maybe a friend with an interesting story to tell, a fun hobby, or incredible past accomplishment, please let me know at: rplong145@gmail.com!

- Member and section writer Ruby Long
Alison Colgan is a generous, community committed person. As a member of the Ashby Neighborhood group Outlandish, she gives time to organizing their now Zoom get togethers and, in non-COVID times, hosting potlucks and other meetings. Before the pandemic, she drove transportation challenged members to doctor’s appointments and shopping trips. She also sometimes helps with handy person projects.

She’s a substitute volunteer for Daily Bread, an organization that collects baked goods from bakeries and redistributes them to food banks. Again, interrupted by COVID.

She comes to these jobs with a long history of work with non-profit organizations. In the 60’s she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bolivia where she taught health and nutrition in Spanish at an institute where young people from rural communities came to learn farming and household skills they could take back and teach to others. In 1970 she was a Census worker in a low-income San Francisco area, helping those with long-form census questionnaires complete them.

After law school she took a job as an attorney for the State of California. And one of her early jobs was to help implement labor law intended to protect the rights of agricultural workers. Continuing to work for human rights, she eventually became an administrative law judge and did that until her retirement.

Now, living in the Rockridge area with her husband Darryl Katz, she stays busy with the volunteer jobs and her women’s hiking group, transformed these days by COVID into a woman’s Zoom coffee drinking group.

She also manages to spend a fair amount of time in her backyard, full of plants chosen to host butterflies and, with a – get this – espaliered – apple tree. The squirrels get more of the fruit than she does, but she has spent most of her life working for non-profit groups, why stop now?
Bulletin Board
Check Your "Annual Notice of Changes" - New Kaiser Services Coming in 2021

Remember to read the proposed annual changes to your health care plans. In 2021, some plans, such as Kaiser Senior Advantage, will include the new services of transportation to and from medical appointments plus meal delivery following a hospitalization.

This notice often comes as a paper brochure, a few weeks before it is time to renew your annual membership, so you can see what services you will keep/lose/gain if you renew. It's important to read through the entire brochure to see what changes apply, especially for pharmacy as specific drugs that were covered one year may not be covered the next.

Currently proposed - starting in 2021 - for Senior Advantage Members (Kaiser's Medicare plan) are these additional services:

  • Transportation Service (other than a licensed ambulance): Transportation to bring you to and from a network provider when provided by our designated transportation provider. Routine and Post hospital discharge transportation. 24 one-way trips per calendar year (50 miles per trip). Non-emergency medical transportation (gurney or wheelchair van) will require prior authorization from a network physician.
  • Home Delivered Meals: Meals delivered to your home following discharge from a hospital or skilled nursing facility (referral required). Up to three meals per day in consecutive four-week period, once per calendar year.
  • More exercise via computer on kp.org/exercise, and kp.org/selfcareapps give free access to Calm (meditation) and MyStrength (mental health)

Thank you to volunteer Sandra Kramer, for your close reading of your Annual Notice and alerting us so we could share widely!
Support Our Schools!

All schools, all ages, and non-classroom assignments need volunteers more than ever because of distance learning. Classroom volunteers would work from home and be physically safe. Must have reliable, high-speed internet service and a willingness to learn some new tools and platforms. Training provided. You will connect with kids on-line and help the teacher in many different ways. An opportunity to do something important and rewarding in these times when so many are struggling. Contact Charlie Schad (AV member and volunteer) at charlie.sch@att.net for more details.
Need Some Extra Help At Home?

"Hi, I’m Bruce, an Ashby Villager….76 in excellent health. How about a trade, lodging for my care for you...I have lived in my rental house for 30 years but it will be sold soon. Ivy League educated, I am from a professional family and I have helped people for many years in an international non-profit.
I am a longtime member of a meditation community. I have assets and excellent local references if needed. Thank you."
-Bruce [bpachter@sonic.net or call 510-435-2966]
Looking for a New Home for Stairlift Chair

Bought it several years ago and have used only a very few times. It goes up/down 9 steps. The asking price is $1000 but negotiable. The buyer would have to remove and pick up. (The photo is not the actual chair). Please contact Lourdes at 708-466-0441
Thank you to the Ashby Village volunteers who contributed to this issue of the Village Voices newsletter.