The Providence Village Newsletter: June 2018
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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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Officials & Senior Advocates
Honor Cy O'Neil

Story & photos by Phil West

Rhode Island’s top elected officials honored Providence Village founder Cy O’Neil on May 8. Gov. Gina Raimondo and Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee also gave awards to Kathleen McKeon, who heads Catholic Social Services, and Linda Katz, co-founder and policy director at the Economic Progress Institute.
The Senior Agenda Coalition and Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island sponsored the Awards Luncheon at the Providence Marriott Hotel. The coalition includes 23 member organizations whose common mission is to “improve the quality of life of older Rhode Islanders.”
Gov. Gina Raimondo recalled the day her father returned from a medical appointment with grim news: “He had been told, ‘Just enjoy every day. There’s not much we can do for you.’”
“My mother, basically kept him alive for nine years,” the governor said. “Nine years,” she repeated for emphasis. “He would go to the doctor, who would say, ‘I don’t know what’s goin’ on. We can’t explain it, but just keep doing what you’re doing.’”
Raimondo said her mother’s love and attention made all the difference. “He was able to live to his last days in his home in a way that was healthy and dignified. I saw the power of that. I believe in that, and that’s what so many of you are working for.”
In 2015, Rhode Island’s population of just over one million people included 175,242 who were over 65. That number is projected to rise steadily to 198,972 by 2020 and nearly 225,000 by 2025. The figure for elders over 85 will likely increase 16 per cent during the decade.
“So, we’ve got our work cut out for us,” said Raimondo. “But Rhode Island is stronger, better, and healthier because of you.”
After her remarks to about 125 luncheon guests, the governor presented gubernatorial proclamations to each of the three honorees.
Senior Agenda Coalition Director Bill Flynn thanked Cy O’Neil and the Providence Village. “We honor him as its founding father,” Flynn said. “And we honor all who have the stamina and vision to build this village. We thank them for building that model, and we hope it will be replicated around the state.”

“It’s humbling to be up here,” Cy O’Neil began. He rehearsed how a group of like-minded people had founded this “village without walls” after “listening carefully to potential members. We built a leadership team of retired folks who had tremendous experience.” He named and credited numerous leaders who were present.
“We think of ourselves as a community of mutual support,” he said. “We share a vision of providing rich, full lives for our members, so we can age in our homes as we grow older.” He described “practical supports,” including volunteer teams who provide lifts and errands.
“We also provide tech support for those gadgets around the home,” he added, and knowing laughter rippled through the audience. “None of this happens by magic,” Cy O’Neil remarked. He outlined the challenges of organizing these services and “shepherding them along as they launch.” The second major thrust of the Village, he explained, is “social engagement” to get people out of their homes “to picnics, potluck suppers, outings, and events.”
He praised the Village’s more than seventy volunteers who deliver services. He told how service coordinators match trained volunteers with those who need specific services. He mentioned Anne Connor as “driver, service coordinator, secretary of our board, and co-chair of our fundraising committee.” He quipped: “That’s a lot. We have to tell her, ‘No, Anne you cannot do any more.’”
He closed by describing phone calls from people around the state who want to start villages in other communities. “There’s a need for an organization to help build and sustain villages.” He described the board’s decision to “help villages get started in other places.”
Members of the Providence Village join in the celebration at the Senior Agenda Coalition Awards.
We Appreciate our Volunteers
By Kathleen Harrington
We often hear from our members how grateful they are for the services our volunteers provide to them, and additionally, how graciously they are treated. It is inspiring to hear stories about how our volunteers go above and beyond when called upon to assist with a request. The Providence Village is extremely lucky to have such a dedicated group of individuals who exemplify what a community of mutual support looks like. With that in mind, on a recent Thursday afternoon, the Providence Village hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Open House at Hamilton House to honor these individuals. A lively group of volunteers, along with members of our board, enjoyed a wine and cheese reception. It was an opportunity to socialize with other volunteers, to connect with some old friends, and to meet some new ones.

In keeping with our commitment to recognize our volunteers, in January we instituted a Volunteer Gift Program. Each month, a volunteer who has performed a service for our members is randomly selected to receive a gift card from a local business, as a small token of our appreciation. As our members know, The Providence Village would not be able to thrive without the selfless work of our volunteers. These amazing individuals provide transportation, home help, health advocacy, friendly calls and visits, tech support, and services coordination. We are eternally grateful for their generosity and commitment to our members.
Membership Elects New Board Members
By Wendy Oliver
On May 5, 2018, about 40 members & friends of the Providence Village gathered at Tockwotton Home to elect a new slate for the Board of Directors at the Providence Village Annual Meeting. Suzanne Francis became our President-Elect, while Gary Leib became our Treasurer. Jim Maxwell moved into the President’s position, while Pat Mattingly became Past-President. Other new board members who were elected for 3-year terms were: Tony Allen, Lenore Bunting, Terry Percelay, Peter Viner-Brown, and Phil West. New Board member orientation will take place in June.
At top: President Pat Mattingly presents a certificate of appreciation to outgoing board member Martha Wales. Left: President-elect Suzanne Francis shares her vision for the PV, and right:  Incoming board member Lenore Bunting
Before the election, outgoing president Mattingly thanked all retiring Board members for their service, including Cy O'Neil, Tina Miller, Nora Cohen and Martha Wales. Then, those new people on the slate introduced themselves individually with short statements about their various roles in the Providence Village. The election was conducted by voice vote, and the entire slate was elected unanimously. Once the election was complete, there was time for refreshments and socializing. Thanks to all who attended the meeting!
Suzanne Francis, President-Elect, 3-yr. term
Gary Leib, Treasurer, 2-yr. term

Board of Directors, 3-yr. term
Tony Allen, Lenore Bunting, Terry Percelay, Peter Viner-Brown, Phil West
Board Member Laura Young welcomes Susan Bayley before the meeting.
Oak Hill - Woodlawn
Neighborhood Circle Begins

By Susan Bayley,  Photo by Phil West
Left to right: Phil West, Lisa Beade, Sue Bayley, Wendy Oliver, Anne Grant, Keith Patterson, Sandra Clarke, Anne Patterson, Lenore Bunting, Gary Leib, Cy O’Neil, Deborah Lake, Ralph Clarke, Sheela Percelay, Barbara Forman, Nori Duncan, Terry Percelay, Penny Faich

A “seed” was planted on May 14 at the first Oak Hill - Woodlawn Neighborhood Circle meeting, exploring a new way of neighbors helping neighbors in the spirit of The Providence Village.
Eighteen area neighbors gathered at the Oak Hill home of Lisa Beade to share food for thought as well as an actual pot luck supper. This is the first of many such gatherings that will encourage ways to make acquaintances and nurture the growth of The Providence Village. It is the result of a Board workgroup that focused on the question: “how do we get Villagers more connected and participating?” 
Anne Grant and Phil West gave a presentation introducing the Neighborhood Circle concept: it is a way to create a greater sense of community among Villagers who are neighbors.  The idea is to strengthen bonds among those Village members who live in proximity to one another, for friendship and support. To that end, we were given an assignment to complete within a month: reach out to someone you do not know within the group, and get together for a conversation.
The Oak Hill - Woodlawn Circle will continue to meet for six months. At the end of that time, we will report back to the Providence Village Board and make recommendations on what we have learned. 
Anyone from the Oakhill/Woodlawn community interested in participating in the pilot circle should contact the Village at 401-441-5240. Anyone interested in further information on the Circle concept and plans beyond the pilot should contact Pat Mattingly or Suzanne Francis at this address:

Volunteer Spotlight:
Sandra Clarke

By Vivian Malloy
Sandra Clarke volunteers as a driver and a coordinator, even though she does not live within the geographic perimeter of the Village or even in Providence itself. As a resident of Attleboro, she is one of our rare volunteers who can only “give and not receive.” But because of her commitment to the values of the Village, she’s more than willing to give of her personal time and energy. Sandra came to the Village not through word of mouth or personal connections. She learned about neighbors helping neighbors – and the newly established Providence Village, the Village closest to where she lives—via the internet.

She was immediately interested, she says, because of her strong belief in helping the elderly remain in their homes. “This is the future,” says Sandra,” the direction that the country needs to take as a whole. We need Villages as an alternative to the nursing home for our ever- increasing elderly population, now that generational families typically don’t live together.”

In addition to her role as a coordinator for Village drivers, managing requests for rides, drivers and schedules, Sandra serves as a driver herself. Unlike many of us, especially as we grow older, Sandra truly enjoys driving. She even enjoys driving in Providence! True, she does rely on her GPS, since initially she wasn’t familiar with the city streets. While working in Boston, most of her life was spent going north, rather than south.

Sandra’s career, prior to retirement, was devoted to Development for the Christian Science Church, the headquarters of the church in Boston. She worked there for twenty years, traveling every other week, frequently to the West Coast, as part of her work. Now that she can stay home, she’s delighted to give up airports, restricting her travel to ventures “behind the wheel.”

Sandra’s non volunteer life includes yoga, the YMCA, theatre, reading and gardening. She admits she’s a news junkie, subscribing digitally to the NYTimes, Boston Globe, Washington Post and the New Yorker. She is the fortunate grandmother of eleven grandchildren, thanks to her two children and her husband Ralph’s two children.

My meeting with Sandra to interview her for this article led to a remarkable “what a small world” story. In a statistically wild coincidence, Sandra grew up in Lewiston, NY, a town of only 4,000, living in a house some two miles from where I went to a very small school, twenty in a class! But these are the kind of connections a Village can and does make.

Longevity Explorers Update
By Diane Strommer
On March 27, the first circle of Longevity Explorers on the East Coast was launched, joining six existing California groups with discussions shared on the Longevity Explorers’ section of The RI “Providence Circle” is a collaborative effort of the Providence Village and Hamilton House, which meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at 2 p.m. at Hamilton House or Central Congregational Church.
This is what Longevity Explorers do:
  • Explore unmet needs related to growing older
  • Try out, compare, and critique interesting products
  • Brainstorm about potential new or better products to improve the quality of life
  • Engage with others to help develop products and services
At the April meeting, a questionnaire elicited the group’s primary concerns and important areas to explore in future meetings. A clip from an early Carol Burnett show began the discussion of one need: less frustrating and difficult packaging. The show, airing late in the 1960’s, exemplified the persistence of that problem. Each participant was then challenged to open a recently purchased item. Most managed to do so, but the absence of tools made some difficult, and one impossible.
As the initial meeting of the Providence circle, questions and comments were free-flowing among the approximately twenty participants with suggestions for future discussion and individual areas of concern and interest. Small problems (fastening jewelry) and large (determining how to maintain independence) provided guidance for future meetings. The questionnaire from the first meeting led to a focused discussion about “maintaining independence,” at the second meeting on May 26.
That meeting began by members sharing favorite gadgets with one another, items that offered a wide range of solutions to problems. A packet of yellow sticky notes, a motion detector to provide light if one needs to get out of bed at night, several varieties of openers for difficult bottles and jars, an easy-to-turn addition to a light “switch,” and a version of Alexa for the car were among the problem solvers. 
Participants then discussed several key issues related to remaining independent, first in groups of three, then with all. The written results of that discussion and the questionnaire designed to determine the technology that members use, comfortably or not, will begin the next Longevity Explorers’ meeting on June 28. Other likely agenda items are housing alternatives and protection from scams.
Age-Friendly RI Day at the State House
Story & Photo by Phil West
Pawtucket Senator Donna Nesselbush (tallest) welcomed advocates to the Senate Chamber for Age-Friendly RI Day at the State House. Pictured here (left-right) are: Susan Bouchard (Alzheimer’s Association), Anne Connor (Providence Village), Sen. Nesselbush, Marisa Petreccia (RI Senior Corps), JoAnn Leonard (Alliance for Better Long Term Care), and Darlene Reza Rossi (AARP). Identical resolutions approved in the Senate and House of Representatives emphasized dramatic increases in the state’s senior population and the value of services that help elders live independently in their homes.
Stephen M. Hallissey Sr.
1947 - 2018

by Dave Reedy
Steve was married to Kathleen McGee Hallissey for 45 years, and had four children. He began volunteering with the Village about two years ago, but had to stop due to a new knee replacement. He really enjoyed the people he met through the Village. He was vivacious, sensitive, and had one superb sense of humor. I was blessed to call him a close friend for 35 years.
Steve Halissey volunteering a ride to the Breakfast Club with member Gail Barlow in 2016.
Member Group Activities
Story & Photos by Jane Adler

Please join us for the Member Group Activities, a wonderful way to have a great time and meet new, friendly people. Just a very few of the things we do include visiting museums, attending lectures, going out for lunch, attending book club, and meeting for breakfast. Many more things are planned for this summer including a boat ride, an ice cream, family time social, and the newly formed “Let’s go out for dinner,” group. Many of our events fill up quickly, so please register as soon as you can.
invites you to the

4th Annual
Colt State Park
Bristol RI

June 13

Open to All

Join us at this beautiful waterside spot for an afternoon of good conversation, food, fun and games.

to Ada Winsten
Wine & Cheese
Meet & Greet

For Members & Volunteers

June 27

4 - 5:30pm

Hamilton House

Join us for this informal social event to chat with friends and meet new ones.

Call Office to Register and request rides as needed.
We honor

Stephen Hallissey

please scroll down in main column
Member Group
  • Supper Club - New Activity
    Sun June 3  5pm
    Bella Pasta, Newport Av, Pawtucket. Join us to explore and sample different restaurants around the area. Good food with good conversation. Guests welcome. Must register. Dutch Treat.
  • Breakfast Club
    Mon June 4  10am
    Butcher Shop, 157 Elmgrove Ave.
    Breakfast and interesting current events discussion. Coffee or full breakfast. Dutch treat.

  • Cooking Demo - Indian Style
    Mon June 11   5pm

    Providence Village and Hamilton House invite you to attend a talk, cooking demonstration and samples from Sanjiv Dhar, chef and owner of the popular Kabob and Curry and Rasoi restaurants. Please call Hamilton House (831-1800) to register for this event by Wed. June 6th. Free.

  • Knitting Club
    Mon June 18  3:30 - 5pm
    We welcome all levels – beginner to advanced. Private house. Free.
  • Lunch at the Art Club
    Fri June 22  12:15pm
    Art Club, 11 Thomas St.
    We enthusiastically welcome newcomers to this very friendly group. Great food at reasonable prices. Dutch treat.
Join Us! For details & to register contact 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 activities subject to change.
New Board Member Profile
Gary Leib
Gary Leib is the new Treasurer for the Providence Village. After college in New Hampshire and grad school in North Carolina and Cambridge, MA, the Army sent him to California and to Vietnam. In 1972, he started civilian work at city hall in Boston and then Lowell in economic development planning. Next, he was Director of Community Development in Bristol, RI for 30 years, doing planning, zoning, grants, conservation, affordable housing and more economic development. At the PV, he is part of the tech support team, serves as a driver, and also helps plan Member Group Activities.
Providence Village
Board of Directors 
2017 - 18
Jim Maxwell, President
Suzanne Francis, President Elect
Pat Mattingly, Past President
Anne Connor, Secretary
Gary Leib, Treasurer
Jane Adler
Tony Allen
Lenore Bunting

Anna Cerutti
Deborah Dunning
Joe Fisler
Suzanne Francis
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
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. 
Learn more about our new offerings
Call our service coordinators

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’s Bear Park
736 Hope St

Stock Culinary
756 Hope St

Support our
Participating Businesses!

A Rhode Island-based meal delivery service.
Savory Fare catered for our second birthday!

If you liked the food and would like to taste more, they have an exclusive
30% discount
for your first order as a Providence Village member.
To take advantage of it, simply type "Village" in the discount code field at checkout on

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.

Member 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.


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
Invite a Friend
Friends interested in learning more about the Village are welcome to join Member Activities; please contact Jane Adler in advance.
Please join us at our next Member Activity. We have a lot of fun and it's a great opportunity to meet others who want to meet you, too. Some new faces join in at events each month.
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

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
Newsletter Staff:   Editor:  Wendy Oliver    
Writers:  Jane Adler, Vivian Malloy, Wendy Oliver, Diane Strommer, Phil West   
Photography:  Phil West, Jane Adler
Obituary Assistance:  Ann 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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