The Providence Village Newsletter: April 2019
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What is The Providence Village? A grassroots, community-based, non-profit network of mutual support for those of us who want to stay in our homes and neighborhoods as we grow older.
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Friends Reflect on the Big 100
Ruth Whitford & Anne Giraud

Story & photos by Phil West

Anne Giraud (left) and Ruth Whitford (right) and were newborns when Congress passed the 19thAmendment in June 1919. They were toddlers when the final state ratified women’s suffrage in 1920. Now, as centenarians in the Providence Village, they cherish the examples of other women. Ruth points to a picture of her grandmother and credits her influence. Both took inspiration from Eleanor Roosevelt.

Ruth turned 100 several months ago, and Anne followed in March. At Medway Place, where both have apartments, a poster offers congratulations.

They met when they were sixteen. “My mother gave me the keys to the car,” Anne says. “We drove all the way to Tanglewood to hear the Boston Symphony.”

“It’s unbelievable how the world has changed,” Ruth says. She recalls the drama of Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927. Her husband, who taught French and was visiting Paris, hurried out to a muddy airfield with a huge crowd to welcome the American pilot.

Anne also marvels at advances in travel and communications. During World War II, her husband stormed ashore in Guam with American amphibious forces. From jungle ridges above the beach, Japanese machine guns rained fire and turned the sea red with blood. George Giraud survived fierce fighting and remained on that distant island during the war.

“But I got a telegram from Guam,” she says. “He wrote, ‘Meet me at Aunt Leona’s as soon as possible.’” The aunt lived near San Francisco. “I hadn’t seen him in three years. But getting to California was nearly unbelievable.”

She traveled to Chicago but found no way to reach the West Coast. “Behind me in line,” she says, “two naval officers overheard me trying to get help. One said, ‘There’s a troop train going out tonight and you’re going.’ And, by gosh, I did it.” They contrived the pretense that she was a Navy nurse, reporting for duty in San Francisco and got her onto the train.

“Today,” Anne says, “I think I’d be horrified if any of my children did that. I wondered how I dared to do it, but I did." In California, she learned that her husband had brought a prisoner stateside. “I got to see him for three days,” she says, “before he went back to Guam.”

This winter, about to turn 100, Anne told her five children scattered around the country not to do anything more than a telephone call for her birthday. “They said, ‘Oh, Mother, we haven’t made up our minds.’ Then I was having breakfast on Wickenden Street with my daughter-in-law, when a man came up and sat beside me, and it was my son Stephen. He had flown in from South Dakota. And then when I came home, when I opened the door, there was my other son from Seattle. It was a wonderful surprise.”

After retiring, Ruth and Ted Whitman imagined that they would volunteer to help others. To their surprise, Ray Gibson, the minister at Central Congregational Church, asked them to launch a new project called Hamilton House. They developed an array of arts, education, and travel programs.

Jessica Haley, now the executive director of Hamilton House, notes that one room in the historic building is dedicated to the Whitfords. “They were pioneers in expecting people to be independent and socially connected,” she says. “That’s been the success of Hamilton House. I credit Ruth and Ted.”

On March 19, the Providence Village Board unanimously approved a new policy. Starting with Ruth Whitford and Anne Giraud, any members of the Village who reach 100 will become life members and never be charged further membership fees.

Volunteering at the 
Providence Village

By Eliza Sutton, Village Manager and Volunteer Coordinator

The office phone rings.  I answer it; it’s a man on the other end, saying he saw volunteer opportunities for the Providence Village on the United Way website, and asks if he can have more information. Later in the day, a head pops around the Village office door. It’s Jillian, a Providence Village member who is also interested in volunteering.  These are two of the ways volunteers are recruited to help the Village grow and fulfill its mission.

Since the Village started 5 years ago, one of the principles driving the organization is that it is volunteer-run.  An important first step to fulfilling this principle is volunteer outreach. We do this by showing up at events with informational flyers, developing relationships with organizations that promote volunteer opportunities for non-profits, and plain old word-of-mouth. 

After we have an initial conversation with potential volunteers about the Village and its Mission and all of the volunteer opportunities that are available, we make a date for the person to come to the office so that we can meet in person.

At this meeting, the interested person fills out the Intake form.  We make sure to review what opportunities are available for volunteers (see list in this newsletter).

Now is the time for potential volunteers to ask questions: Do drivers need to have insurance (answer: YES); what happens if she isn’t available to volunteer 3 mornings a week (answer: perfectly okay, we will ask others who are available on those mornings.) Volunteers sign a confidentiality agreement, along with some other legal forms, we conduct a background check thru an online company, and away we go!

Now volunteers are ready to meet their team leader, who will introduce them to their team and give them training if necessary.  And there you have it – new volunteers are now part of the Village community!

In subsequent newsletters, we will focus on all of the various services that volunteers can get involved in. Stay tuned!

Fundraising Committee
Seeks Raffle Donations

by Rosallind Ladd
The Committee has been busy thinking up fun events to help raise money for the Providence Village. This summer will see a repeat of the successful charity night at the Flatbread Company.  So, mark your calendar for Tuesday, July 16, 2019. Open to all – bring friends and neighbors. Come and enjoy good food, good company, and maybe win a nice raffle prize, as well. Last year’s event was awesome (as our grandkids would say), netting over $1,600 for our organization.

Currently the Committee is asking for donations for the raffle. All sorts of gift cards are welcome – to restaurants, stores, theater, movies, airport transport. Personal services are good, too, e.g. garden consult. Bottle of wine? A painting?

Volunteers on the night of the event are needed, too:  4 pm for set up,  5-9 pm to greet guests, sell raffle tickets, etc. Contact to sign up.
Senior Agenda Coalition Advocates for Elders

Story and Photos by Phil West
Two top leaders of the Rhode Island General Assembly met delegations from twenty senior organizations, including the Providence Village, to discuss legislation backed by the Senior Agenda Coalition. 

Senate President Domenic Ruggerio and House Majority Leader Joseph Shekarchi took questions from the audience. They expressed personal and political support for the coalition’s proposals. 
House Majority Leader Joseph Shekarchi and Senate President Domenic Ruggerio confer with Senior Agenda Coalition executive director Bill Flynn.
Coalition Executive Director Bill Flynn said the legislation had been distilled from “hundreds of small meetings” across the state, where elders expressed needs that are often overlooked in the media. “These aren’t gripe sessions,” Flynn said, “but story-telling. No-fare bus passes are crucial for many.” 

He added. “One person told us: ‘My support group is my medicine. If I can’t get to my group, I can’t help others.’”
The coalition’s top priority is continued funding of $5 million for the No-Fare Bus Pass Program that currently assists over 5,000 seniors and 13,000 persons with disabilities. Governor Gina Raimondo’s proposed budget preserves the program.

The budget (19-H 5151) will be the subject of many hearings during the spring legislative session. Rhode Island’s Fiscal Year 2020 begins on July 1, 2019.

The coalition also supports a budget for an Independent Provider Program, modeled on laws in Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, California, and Washington State that would “rebalance” long-term care funded through Medicaid away from institutional settings and toward home-based care.

Another coalition priority is raising eligibility limits for long-term care co-payments from 200 per cent of the federal poverty level to 250 per cent (19-H 5566 and 19-S 0280). It also backs budgeting additional $185,000 for respite care for caregivers (19-H 5385 and 19-S 0438).

From a microphone on the floor, Alzheimer’s Association member Susan Benesch asked whether Rhode Island could join other states that provide a tax deduction for medical expenses. “These are expensive for seniors,” she said. “They’re essentials, not luxuries.”
Susan Benesch asks House Majority Leader Joe Shekarchi about tax deductions for medical expenses.
Majority Leader Shekarchi explained that Rhode Island is a “piggy-back state,” where residents’ income taxes are computed under a formula from their federal tax returns. “That reduces your state tax. We try to be fair. I wish I had a better answer.”

“We would love to cut everything,” Ruggerio added, “but we can’t.”

After the event, Ms. Benesch, a member of the Alzheimer’s Association, observed that owners are not taxed for boats, storage, or docking fees in the state. “I guess seniors don’t have a big enough lobby,” she said.

Maureen Maigret, a former five-term state representative and later director of the Rhode Island Department of Elderly Affairs, advocated from the floor for increasing the voice of seniors by creating a cabinet level Office of Elderly Affairs that would report directly to the governor.

Five board members of the Providence Village participated in the March 5
th meeting at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Warwick. 

Board Treasurer Gary Leib commented: “I was impressed that both leaders showed that they care deeply about seniors. It helps that both have family members who deal with our issues. They saw a huge turnout for this meeting. Public pressure in large numbers can move mountains.”
Maureen Maigret speaks.
Every bill at the State House has a number.
Basic bill information and tracking:
If you would like help finding or tracking legislation, please contact Phil West,
Persona Non Grata at the JCC

by Kate Sanders
Would you risk your career to save the lives of strangers? This was the question faced by the 39-year-old Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese consul to Lithuania in 1940, as the Russian army was approaching. To escape, it was necessary to have a visa from another country, visas were nearly impossible to obtain, and even those with visas had a long and dangerous journey to reach safety. Sugihara and the consuls of other nations were caught between long lines of refugees desperate for help and governments reluctant to authorize it.

Sugihara’s life up to that point, what led him to his decision, and what happened afterwards make for a dramatic story. On Sunday, March 24, 140 people were in the audience to see a Japanese-made movie based on that story, Persona Non Grata, co-sponsored by the Providence Village and the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center.
After welcoming remarks from Barbara Wahlberg of the Holocaust Education Center and Jim Maxwell of the Village, Ada Winsten introduced two officials from the Japanese Consulate in Boston, the Vice Consul, Yashusi Nakamura, and the Political Consul, Makoto Furue. Mr. Nakamura noted that the story provides valuable lessons about serving a cause larger than ourselves, and that “We find strength in our common humanity.” We then had the opportunity to see the movie for ourselves – and if you weren’t there, look for a chance to see it. It’s well worth seeing! Finally, following the movie, Ada Winsten, who is herself a "Sugihara Survivor," answered questions about those years, when her family escaped from Poland to Lithuania, then on to Japan and China.
Group Activities

Photos by Jane Adler

Lots of Activities this month! Join us for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a lecture, a trip to a museum or IKEA, or keep it simple with just a cup of coffee! Newcomers and old friends welcome. 
Our activities included the March 11 meeting of the Providence Village Book Club held in a private home. While munching away on snacks, twelve of our Providence Village members and volunteers discussed Still Life by Louise Penny. Some of of liked it, some of us, not so much – which made for an interesting and lively discussion. We will meet again on April 8 at 3:30; when we will be discussing the book, Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. 
Three Brown Bag Lunch Lectures this month! Join us for some interesting topics and good company. 
The Dinner Club on March 10that Jacky’s Waterfront restaurant was considered a big success. The food and atmosphere and especially the company, was great. We always have a good time on these outings. In April, we are going to Twin Oaks. If you’ve never been to the Dinner Club, you may just want to give it a try. 
Invite a Friend
Friends interested in learning more about the Village are welcome to join Member Activities; please contact Jane Adler in advance.

Merchant Discounts

Village Members

All Providence Village members are eligible for merchant discounts from restaurants and stores on the East Side of Providence. Please show your member card in order to receive the discount.  Participating merchants are listed below. If you take advantage of the discount, please let the merchant know that we appreciate their support!  Thank you.

Business Discounts
for Village Members & Volunteers
With Your Village ID Card
You Get 10% Discounts at the following locations

click on name for website details
268 Thayer St
Kabob & Curry
261 Thayer St
Meeting Street Café
220 Meeting St.

Pasta Beach Restaurant
195 Wayland Ave
727 East Ave


Venda Ravioli Grocery & Restaurant
265 Atwells Ave

D’Ambra Sunoco
438 Hope St
(Discount on auto servicing and tires)

East Side Shell
1100 Hope St
(Discount on auto servicing and tires)
(Can be added to a AAA discount for greater savings)


Palomino Gifts
247 Rochambeau Ave

Rhody Craft
769 Hope St

Evolve Apothecary & Spa
769A Hope St

Henry Bear's Park
736 Hope St

Stock Culinary
756 Hope St

Support our
Participating Businesses!
We are inspired by neighbors helping neighbors

We are committed to an inclusive, community-based network of mutual support

We call our endeavor
The Providence Village
Ways to Volunteer!
The Providence Village needs you!
There are many opportunities to volunteer. Training is provided for each job, and the schedule is under your control. Here are the job descriptions:
Home Help: Household Chores and Handy Help

Village Friends: Provide regular check-in calls, longer friendly phone calls, or in-person visits to members.

Social Group Activities: Help plan and assist small group social, cultural and educational activities.

Technical Support:  Assist members with computers, phones, TV remotes, i-pads, and other devices.

Driver:  Take members to and from doctors’ appointments, shopping, and errands. The schedule is flexible.

Service Coordinator: Take phone calls from members to coordinate services for them. This can be done from your home. 

To volunteer, please call us at 401-441-5240.

Volunteer Writers
Needed for

Providence Village

Please help us cover the PV news and keep our readers informed!
Write an assigned article on a monthly or occasional basis, and contribute your own ideas to the mix. 
For more details, please contact Wendy Oliver, Editor:
A Message From Jane!
If you’d like to go to any of these group activities, please register promptly to avoid being put on a wait list. Also, some of us have waited until the last minute to register and discover something we wanted to attend has been cancelled because of a lack of response! Please register as soon as possible so we know how many are coming, and please let us know if you will not be attending after you do register to make room for another person. Thank you.  

Join us!

Please register for all events
  • Breakfast Club
    Tues April 2  10 am

    If you like to start your morning off with a cup of coffee and conversation, please attend the breakfast club. This is always an enjoyable time and a great way to really get to know someone. Hope to see you there for a coffee or a full breakfast. Dutch treat.
  • Brown Bag Lunch 
    Thur April 4 12pm

    Lifelong Learning: Brown Bag Lunch lecture: Join Mark Searles, NBC10 Chief Meteorologist to hear about “Southern New England Weather History.” Bring your lunch and we will sit together at a PV table. Please register so I can save your seat. Free.
  • Book Club
    Mon April 8  3:30pm
    We are reading Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. 
    (Next month, Palace Walk by Naguib Makfouz.) Private home. 
    If you'd like, please bring simple snacks to share. 
    Free. Please register.

  • Lunch at the Art Club
    Tues April 9   12:15pm

    Lunch at the Providence Art Club on Thomas Street. Very reasonable prices. Very friendly group who love to meet new people. Register by April 7. Dutch Treat.
  • Bus Trip to IKEA
    Wed April 10  9:30am
    A fun place to walk around just to see this famous store. Shop for anything from furniture to such things as colorful paper napkins, dish towels, pillows, vegetable peelers to drinking glasses. Eat lunch there if you wish. (Cosco is across the street.) Free. Please register.
  • Brown Bag Lunch 
    Thur April 11 12pm

    Lifelong Learning: Brown Bag Lunch lecture: “Law and Order Behind the Scenes: Judges Talk about Their Toughest Cases.” Co-author Judge Russell F. Canan, a Washington D.C. Superior Court Judge will offer a benind the scenes look at how judges make their toughest decisions. Not to be missed.  Bring your lunch and we will sit together at a PV table. Please register so I can save your seat. Free.
  • Coffee Break
    Weds April 17   3:30pm

    Meet us for coffee. Let’s get together at a local café and just talk about our day and get to know each other. (Details on registration.) Dutch treat.
  • Bus Trip to Harvard Art Museums 
    Tues April 23  9:30am
    Free bus trip to Harvard Art Museums, Boston. $13 museum admission fee (plus tip for driver.) Lunch, if you wish, at their Café. Home around 3pm.
  • Movie Day
    Thurs April 25  Afternoon

    Movie Day! We are going to the Avon together to see whatever movie is playing. (We will let you know the movie as soon as the Avon announces it.)
  • Dinner Club
    Sun April 28  5pm

    Our fabulous Dinner Club. We are going to Twin Oaks, 100 Sabra Street, Cranston. American food with salad bar. This restaurant has had a good reputation for many years. It’s one of the old time favorites. Large menu featuring American and Italian foods. Good food, good prices and good portions. Link to menu and prices. Registration closes Thursday, April 26 at 12pm. Dutch treat.  (Providence Village transportation is not available on Saturday. Will try to car pool.).
  • Brown Bag Lunch 
    Tues April 30  12pm

    Lifelong Learning: Brown Bag Lunch lecture: Back by popular demand. Jesse Holstein and Community MusicWorks. Enjoy an exploration by Jesse and listen to a partial performance of Bela Bartok’s 4thString Quartet with members of Community MusicWorks. Bring your lunch and we will sit together at a PV table. Please register so I can save your seat. Free.
Must register for all events. All events are subject to rescheduling. Check email invitations for details, reply to Jane Adler and please leave your phone number:

* For weekend and evening activities, members may need to provide their own transportation or carpooling.

IMPORTANT: To assure that I received your email registration for any activity, make sure you receive a "thank you" email from me.

All welcome - Free
at the
Central Congregational Church - Fireplace Room
Upcoming Programs - Save the Dates!

Thursday, April 18
Update on Alzheimer’s Research
Guests, Charles Denby & Theresa Fogarty, Alzheimer’s Disease & Memory Disorders Center at RI Hospital, Diane Strommer

Thursday, May 16
Research Study: Monitoring Health with the Apple Watch

Guests, Dr. Elizabeth Goldberg and Dr. Jennifer Mammen, Miriam McRobb and Jerianne Berman

Thursday, June 20
Essential Apps and How to Use Them

A workshop for all levels, including non-tech users, Ronda Umphrey.
After a summer break in July and August, meetings resume on September 20 with our fall schedule.  Sylvia Danforth serves as the Coordinator of the program and can be reached through Hamilton House. All welcome! Free.
Social Events
Seeks New Members!
This committee plans the annual Colt State Park picnic and other events. Would you like to help? You need not be a member of the Providence Village to join the committee.
If you are interested, please contact:
Ada Winsten - 274-4717
or email
Providence Village
Board of Directors 
Jim Maxwell, President
Suzanne Francis, President Elect
Pat Mattingly, Past President
Anne Connor, Secretary
Gary Leib, Treasurer
Jane Adler
Tony Allen
Lenore Bunting

Deborah Dunning
Joe Fisler
Bonnie Ryvicker
Terry Percelay
Peter Viner-Brown

Phil West
Laura Young

Providence Village
Advisory Council
Deborah Dunning
Barry Fain
Jay Glasson
Beverly Ledbetter
Lynette Lopes
Marcus Mitchell
Herbert Rakatansky
Dan Siegel
Barbara Sokoloff
Bill Twaddell
Phil West
Learn more about our new offerings
Call our service coordinators
Amazon Smile Program
The Providence Village now belongs to the Amazon Smile program. This program donates a small percentage of sales to various charitable organizations. Shop at and a percentage will go back to the Providence Village. See link for further information. 

Age Friendly RI
Check out the website for Age Friendly RI. They have lots of very helpful information about us “older adults” in RI.
click here
The Providence Village

Our Mission
The mission of the Providence Village is to create a community of mutual support, so that we can live rich, full lives in our homes and neighborhoods.

Our Vision
The Providence Village will provide a single source of access to programs and services that support a healthy, safe and satisfying life for our members.

Our Core Values
Generosity, Diversity, Engagement, Collaboration, Sustainability

Newsletter Staff:   Editor:  Wendy Oliver    
Writers:  Jane Adler, Vivian Malloy, Wendy Oliver, Diane Strommer, Phil West   
Photography:  Phil West, Jane Adler
Obituary Assistance:  Anne Connor, Amy Webb, Phil West
Design:  Amy Webb - Mockingbird Design

visit our website:

email:          phone: 401-441-5240

We welcome your tax-deductible donations
Please make your checks payable to The Providence Village.
The Providence Village is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Our mailing address is: 276 Angell St. Providence RI 02906 
For more information on the Village Movement, visit the Village to Village Network:

Copyright © 2016  The Providence Village   All rights reserved.
The Providence Village Newsletter


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Providence Village RI · 276 Angell Street · Providence, RI 02906 · USA

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