The Providence Village Newsletter: May 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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A Village of Many Villages
By Cy O'Neil

Now that the Providence Village is in our third year of operations, the Providence Village Board is looking at how best to ensure our long-term sustainability.  At the same time, the Providence Village office is getting calls from people interested in starting a Village in their own communities.  They are looking for advice on how best to proceed.

These are the three key challenges for the broader Village movement in RI: growth, development and long-term sustainability. 

We talk about the Providence Village as a community of mutual support, where neighbor helps neighbor in ways that make a difference, in ways that make it possible for us to remain in our own homes and community as we grow older.

What if there were a community of mutual support for Villages – a Village of many Villages, where resources were shared in order to respond to our common challenges?  The benefits of such an approach could include: a shared call center that handles requests for volunteer services for all of the Villages; a shared resource that could provide a wide array of referrals when member needs exceed what volunteers can provide; shared resources to support the recruiting of new members and volunteers; and a shared office and staff. What if this Village of many Villages could provide meaningful support to communities that want to start a local Village, support that would help them get up and running in less time than if they were on their own?  In short, what if there were a Village of many Villages whose mission was to support the growth, development, and long term sustainability of the Village movement in RI?

This larger vision is currently under consideration by the Providence Village Board.  In the summer and fall of 2017, Board members looked at five different Villages around the nation that have a large membership, but are also able to maintain a strong sense of local community and connectedness among members.  Each provided a different example of a way that a Village of many Villages could work.

One Village was of particular interest – HomeHaven of New Haven, Connecticut. HomeHaven is a configuration of six distinct Villages that all operate as a part of one larger HomeHaven Village.  Each local Village is rooted in a specific neighborhood in New Haven or in a neighboring community.  Some are located in dense urban areas.  Some are located in suburban areas.  And one is in a semi-rural area, some distance from New Haven.  In addition to its Board of Directors, HomeHaven has a leadership council made up of leaders from each local Village.  The leadership council meets regularly with the HomeHaven Executive Director to ensure operational support for each local Village and to ensure that the special needs of members are met.

Over this past winter, the Providence Village Board has held planning sessions to explore both how best to support the long-term sustainability of the Providence Village in particular and the growth and development of the Village movement in RI.  In April, four Board members travelled to HomeHaven to meet with HomeHaven leadership to learn more about their operational model.

As a result of all of this work, the Providence Village Board, at its April meeting, voted to use the operational model of HomeHaven as a starting point for a more formal strategic planning process for what could be created here in Rhode Island.  Stay tuned for future developments…
Atwater-Donnelly Folk Trio Featured at Spring Concert
By Liz Palter  Photos by Phil West
One of Rhode Island’s favorite music and dance groups performed for members and friends of Providence Village on Sunday, April 15. On one of our coolest spring days, Atwater-Donnelly and Cathy Clasper-Torch were like flowers, lovely spring flowers. The event was hosted by the Social Events Committee of Providence Village at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church hall, chaired by Ada Winsten. More than 65 East Siders attended the performance. The Atwater- Donnelly Trio includes Aubrey and Elwood, the Atwater-Donnelly couple, and Cathy Clasper-Torch who sings and plays the violin, cello, and erhu, which is a fascinating Chinese violin. More than 20 musical instruments provided variety and authenticity to their traditional folk music-making. Other instruments included banjo, harmonica, dulcimer, and ‘feet.’ Aubrey took the stage with her clogging, much to everyone’s great enjoyment. At one point, she also turned to her full bag of pipes of many sizes - whistles, some antique, some handmade, and even a dog whistle. Aubrey was great at telling us all about the instruments they were playing with and their music. Her narration is a wonderful part of the performance.
Their music is Celtic, Appalachian, Cherokee, American, Canadian – some of them were songs and melodies passed down by Jean Ritchie from a “singing family of the Cumberlands.” Jean Ritchie at a young age had sought out her uncle to learn 300 tunes with Celtic roots, which she has passed on. Aubrey underscored one of her own favorite lines from one of the early 1800’s, “Your beauty has conquered me.” She called on her dulcimer to play a favorite Joan Mitchell piece from her Blue Album, “Spanish Lady.” This was a 300 year old Irish song. We thus returned to the days of coffee houses.
Another familiar song, if you attend Atwater-Donnelly concerts, was the counting song…”round and round goes the wheel of fortune.” Elwood had several songs and harmonica solos and caught our attention with his puppetry. Before the break for refreshments, the group performed a humorous song to honor Rhode Island. One of the lines was this one - “only Rhode Island has quahogs the size of your fist.” The concert continued with a seaman’s song and a tune for children. We learned a bit more about the duo and its travels. We also learned that Cathy teaches many violin classes up in Cumberland. Atwater and Donnelly have been singing together for more than 30 years, and they perform at numerous folk festivals and give workshops around the country.
Upcoming is the Blackstone River Theater Solstice Festival, to be held Saturday, June 16, 11 am to 7 pm at Diamond Hill Park where Atwater-Donnelly and many other groups will be performing. The Social Events Committee’s next event is Wednesday, June 13 –the Colt State Park Picnic and Games.
Annual Meeting
Set for May 5

By Wendy Oliver
The Providence Village will hold its annual members’ meeting on Saturday, May 5 from 2-4 pm at Tockwotton Home in East Providence. (see side bar for rsvp details) The main purpose of the meeting is to elect a slate of new board members and officers to fill the positions of those rotating off the board.  Board members serve three-year terms, participating in the governance and activities of the Village. An update on Village news, along with refreshments, will round out the meeting. We hope to see you there! Non-members & Volunteers are welcome to attend, but will not vote. The following people were nominated to serve on the board for the 2018 slate:

    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

We hope to see you there! Non-members are welcome to attend, but will not vote. Please call the Village if you need a ride: 401-441-5240.
Wisdom From Bella Luna's Human Companion
Story & Photos by Phil West

After a trip to City Kitty, a member of the Providence Village returns to her home and unzips a wheeled pet carrier. She agrees to share her story if I promise not to use her name. “Just mention Bella Luna,” she smiles. As if on cue, the cat bolts out of her carrier.

She hates getting her claws clipped, says Bella Luna’s human companion. “I can’t understand how she can forgive me for allowing her to be tortured. That’s the only way an animal can think of it. She knows I sit there and let it happen to her. But I bring her home, and she’s still happy with me.”

Bella prowls the apartment. “She’s taking inventory, making sure everything’s still in place. Cats believe that everything belongs to them.”

Like the poet T.S. Eliot, whose lifelong love of feline personalities inspired the musical “Cats,” Bella Luna’s human companion admits to loving animals as much as people. “I’ve lived with animals my entire life.”

The longest she ever went without an animal was four months. “When I lost my previous cat, I said ‘I’m done. My heart’s been broken too many times. No more.’” But then a friend asked her to babysit Bella, and she agreed. The owner seemed relieved, and Bella found a permanent home.

I ask if elders who feel lonely should get a pet, whether cat or dog.

She ponders my question. “That could be a good thing if they have a connection to animals. But if you take in an animal and your heart’s not in it, that’s not going to last. The animal’s going to get hurt. I never encourage people to just go out and get an animal.”

She strokes Bella affectionately. “Sometimes people want an older person to get married or get an animal. They think, ‘Grandma is feeling lonely, so let’s get her a cat.’ That relieves their worries, but the cat may start ripping the drapes and flying off the chandelier. That makes grandma crazy, and the cat ends up back in a shelter.”

So, what should someone ask before getting an animal?

Bella nuzzles her human companion, who answers with a question: “Do they really have the compassion to save an animal that’s in a shelter? I took Bella when she was seven. I would never have taken a kitten. I’m much too old. People want puppies and kittens because they’re cute, but they need a lot more attention.”

She turns pensive, saying she calls a friend every morning: “Just to let her know I’m alive. If anything happened to me, Bella has to be protected.”

For most of her life, she says, “I’ve preferred animals to humans. But that’s changing. I’ve been with the Village for almost two years, and I haven’t yet met anyone I didn’t like. It’s changing my view of humanity.”

Gene Armstrong

Gene Armstrong passed away on Friday, April 20, 2018 at the age of 72. Gene was a volunteer driver for the Providence Village almost from the first day of our operations. Consequently, she was known and well-liked by many Village members and Village volunteers. She graduated in 1967 from what was then Pembroke College as a math major, and went on to work in computing and programming in a number of jobs, including at MIT. When that work no longer suited her, she decided to travel extensively, living for extended periods in places as diverse as the south of France, Laguna Beach Ca, Key West Fla and Cape Cod. Later in life, after returning to Rhode Island, she became immersed in Kundalini yoga and Buddhism. She insisted on living at home until the very end, and several Village Health Advocates and other volunteers came together to help make that possible.

A memorial service will be held for Gene on May 20th at 2pm in Lincoln Woods, a place Gene loved to walk with her dogs and her friends. If you plan on attending, please send an email note to Memorial donations in her name can be made to: Doctors Without Borders, ASPCA, Defenders of Wildlife, or the US Fund for UNICEF. Rides may be requested by calling 401-441-5240.
Sally Marks
Sally Marks, one of the first members of the Providence Village, passed away on Jan. 13, 2018.  She was 86.  Sally was an internationally known scholar of twentieth century European history.  She was a graduate of Wellesley College (Undergrad), the University of North Carolina (Masters) and the University of London (PhD). Her teaching career included positions at Rhode Island College and Brown University.  In addition to numerous articles in journals in this country and abroad, she published four volumes of history, specializing in inter-war European international relations.  She was a generous supporter of the Providence Village.
There will be a memorial service for Sally at noon on Friday May 4th at 608 Hope St. in Providence.

Grace Tagliabue
Grace Ten Eyck Tagliabue died on March 29, 2018 at age 95. Grace was married to John Tagliabue [poet and Bates College English professor 1953-1989] who died in 2006.  Grace moved to Providence in 1998 from Lewiston, ME. She was an artist who sometimes illustrated her husband's poetry. Her father was a mayor of Schenectady, NY. Survivors include daughters Francesca Gould, who lives in Providence, and Dina Tagliabue, who lives in Torino, Italy.  Her grandchildren are Phoebe and Alexander Gould, and Juniper and Terra Tagliabue.

Providence Village organizer, founding Board member, and Past President Cy O’Neil is one of three community leaders to be feted at the Senior Agenda Coalition’s Fourth Annual Spring Awards Luncheon.

Tuesday, May 8
Providence Marriott Downtown

Linda Katz, co-founder of the Economic Progress Institute, and Kathy McKeon, supervisor of community services at Catholic Charities and a long-time leader in supporting providers of respite care, will also be honored.
Luncheon tickets are $60 per person.
Register by telephone:  401.351.6710 
or online

and learn more about the Senior Agenda Coalition of RI
Providence Village
Wine & Cheese
Meet & Greet

Photos by Jane Adler

Plenty of good cheer and company to go around at the Wine & Cheese - Meet & Greet in April at the Hamilton House. Members and volunteers shared wine, food and stories at these popular event. Join us again at the next Wine & Cheese - Meet & Greet in June.

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.
Providence Village
Annual Meeting

All Members & Volunteers Welcome!
Please join us for this important event.
See article for details on electing new board members.


May 5

Tockwotten Home
East Providence

Please RSVP

To register call the PV office at
and include a request for a ride as needed.
We honor

Gene Armstrong
Sally Marks

Grace Tagliabue

please scroll down in main column
invites you to the

4th Annual
Colt State Park
Bristol RI

June 13

Open to All

Stay Tuned for Details
Member Group
  • US District Court Tour - POSTPONED!
    Tour of the US District Courthouse planned for Tuesday May 1 has been postponed until further notice. Thank you.
  • Brown Bag Lunch Lecture
    Tues May 8   12pm
    Temple Beth El, Rick Beyer, writer and film maker will talk about his book, Rivals Unto Death: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Bring your own lunch; we sit at our reserved Providence Village table. Free.
  • Book Club
    Fri May 11  1pm
    Rescheduled from April
    Reading Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Cornell. Meet at private home and watch the movie Mr. and Mrs. Bridge" on big screen TV. Bring wine and hors d'oeuvres for a little party while we discuss the book and compare it to the movie. Limited space. Register early. This activity is open to any member or volunteer who would like to join us just for the movie and hear the comments. Free.
  • Breakfast Club
    Mon May 14  10am
    Butcher Shop, 157 Elmgrove Ave.
    Breakfast and interesting current events discussion. Coffee or full breakfast. Dutch treat.

  • Knitting Club
    Mon May 21 3:30 - 5pm
    We welcome all levels – beginner to advanced. Private house. Free.
  • Lunch at the Art Club
    Fri May 25  12:15pm
    Art Club, 11 Thomas St.
    We enthusiastically welcome newcomers to this very friendly group. Great food at reasonable prices. Dutch treat.

  • Botanical Gardens
    Wed May 30  11:30pm
    Celebrate late spring by looking at flowers and plants at The Botanical Gardens at Roger Williams Park. Bring your cameras.
    $2 senior rate

    Lunch optional, 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.
PV Book Club reading "As You Lke It" out loud. Members took various roles and acted them out. It was even more fun then we all thought it would be! - Jane Adler
Providence Village
Board of Directors 
2017 - 18
Pat Mattingly, President
Jim Maxwell, President Elect
Cy O’Neil, Past President
Anne Connor, Secretary
Tina Miller, Treasurer
Jane Adler

Anna Cerutti
Nora Cohen
Deborah Dunning
Joe Fisler
Suzanne Francis
Bonnie Ryvicker
Martha Wales
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
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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Providence Village RI · 276 Angell Street · Providence, RI 02906 · USA

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