The Providence Village Newsletter: November 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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Annual Village Conference Challenges Stereotypes of Aging

Story by Cy O'Neill

Think about this for moment: Your 10 year old grandchild has a 50% chance of living to at least 104. Or how about this: the second fastest growing age group in the US are people 100 years old and older. If that’s the second fastest, what’s the fastest growing age group? People over 85.

The fact is, we are living longer. But has society caught up with this fact in terms of societal expectations, institutions and stereotypes? Have we ourselves caught up with this fact in terms of how we think about ourselves as older adults - not just in terms of the challenges we face, but also in terms of the opportunities that are open to us as we grow older?

These are some of the questions that were at the forefront of the 10th Annual Village to Village Network Conference held in San Diego, Ca. in early October. Almost 300 people from over 120 Villages from around the nation gathered together. Over three days, they explored what it means to live well both today and tomorrow, swapped ideas, and heard from leaders in the Village Movement and beyond.

Jim Nedohon, of the AARP, led off the conference with an address that explored what it means when living to be 100 is the new normal. Across a number of indexes, it’s clear that, on the whole, we in the US are healthy and active longer than even in the recent past. Nedohon called on attendees to challenge the outdated beliefs of growing older as all about decline, dependence and isolation. The outcome of doing so, he said, will be that more people can choose how they want to live and age.

Almost in response to Nedohon’s call for a new vision of growing older, Kate Hoepke and Charlotte Dickson of the regional association Village Movement California delivered an address about the work of their new organization.

left: Kate Hoepke speaks on Village Movement California
The mission of Village Movement California is to promote the long term sustainability of the Village Movement, and to transform the experience of aging in California. Long term sustainability will depend on many factors, but an important one is for Villages to make a shift in their own view of what they are up to. Where in the past, Villages have been transactional, putting emphasis on rides and home help, the real value of the Village movement is found in the relationships that come from relying on one another. Where once a Village might have talked about growing old, the real value of a Village is in supporting members in growing as we age. And where Villages might once have viewed their role as helping older adults age in place, the real benefits are to be found in engaging and growing with one another in communities of mutual support and trust.
In addition to these General Session addresses, the conference provided breakout sessions on a wide range of topics geared toward supporting Villages, their members and the wider Village Movement. The Village to Village Annual Conference is held every fall and next year will be held in the Midwest. Perhaps next year, we can send a large contingent from Rhode Island. Yes?
Board Report
By Jim Maxwell, President

Jim Maxwell 
The Oct. 16 board meeting was preceded by a flurry of activity by Board members who arrived early so they could add personal notes to the 2018 annual fundraising campaign letters. Board members signed over 90 letters addressed to donors to PV from prior years. The Fundraising Committee, co-chaired by Anne Connor and Deborah Dunning, has worked diligently over the past few months to ensure a successful fall campaign.

Inspired by a video developed by the San Francisco Village and available through their website,, Cy O’Neil presented the video to the board and followed that with a proposal for PV to arrange for production of an analogous video based on stories collected from our members and volunteers. The proposal includes obtaining funding to support this work. The proposal was endorsed by the Board. I encourage you to view the video by clicking on the “Watch Our Video” button on the home page of the San Francisco Village. Click Here

Pat Mattingly, Past President, updated the Board on developments with several of the Village’s benefit programs and services. These updates included:
  • Recasting Healthcare Advocacy as Health and Wellness, including the addition of services to assist members in coordinating their care needs.
  • Establish Home Safety as a separate service.
  • Expanding referral services beyond home contractors, including the development of a list of providers of snow removal.

Suzanne Francis, President Elect, updated the Board on the work of the Planning Committee. This work included its collaboration with the Fundraising Committee in the preparation of a grant proposal submitted to Rhode Island Foundation. This substantial effort was led by Pat Mattingly. The grant would be used to support the development of a major fundraising initiative over the next three years as a key step in the transition from a single village (The Providence Village) to multiple villages operating under a single administrative unit we are currently calling The Village Common.

Suzanne also announced that the Board will hold a planning retreat on Saturday, December 1. The program will include a review of progress on the two operating goals established when the Board held its first ever planning retreat in October 2017. In addition, the retreat will explore what revisions of and additions to these goals are appropriate as we plan for 2019 and beyond.

Finally, an update on our search for a new Village Coordinator. We have received a total of eleven applications for the position, which is the successor to the position held by Kathleen Harrington. Work will start this coming week to review the pool of applications with the aim of identifying a subset of the three or four strongest applications. Interviews of the finalists will be conducted by Jim Maxwell, Suzanne Francis,  and Wendy Oliver. The aim is to have someone in the position no later than December 1.

Volunteer Spotlight:
Diane Goldman

Story by Vivian Malloy
On meeting Diane Goldman I was soon reminded of the old saying, “If you want to get something done, ask a busy person.” Because, as it happens, Diane not only volunteers regularly for the Village, she volunteers weekly for a hospice and one weekend every summer she helps out as a volunteer nurse at a children’s bereavement camp. Diane also volunteers at Legacy Corps, a non-profit that provides respite to caregivers of veterans and the elderly. In addition, she works part time reading board exams for people with disabilities. For her own enrichment, Diane is active with her synagogue and she plays the violin with the Providence Adult String Ensemble and a fiddling group.

Despite all, she definitely has room in her heart and time enough to contribute her efforts to furthering the aims of Village. When she first heard of the Village being founded, she was attracted to the goal of helping the elderly stay in their homes. She says that she herself lives in the only house she’s ever owned and “that’s where I want to stay.” She also believes strongly “in people helping people.”

Midway through her professional life, Diane changed careers. She had done interesting science research but eventually came to believe that helping people directly was her true calling. She went back to school at this time, and received a BSN in Nursing in 1990. She then spent the next 27 years being mainly a Hospice and Palliative Care nurse.

For the Village, Diane volunteers as a Service Coordinator 3 or 4 times a month. She connects people to the proper channels, helping members obtain the various services the Village offers. These include getting a ride or help with household chores or technical help or home safety tips or regular check-in calls and more. She knows who to call, for what. The services of the Village are many, she emphasized, and Village services can change as member needs change. One service she mentioned that was new to me, was having someone come and read to you at home when you are homebound.

For the Village, Diane also serves on the advocacy committee and through that is a medical advocate for village members who request company. She will take them and remain with them during their appointments in order to help clarify and summarize what occurs during that time.

We appreciate all that Diane brings to the Village!
Update: Providence Longevity Explorers

By Diane Strommer, Group Facilitator
Last March, the Providence Village and Hamilton House collaborated to start a local circle of Longevity Explorers. Through the website, the Providence-based circle, the first East Coast group, is connected with six others in California. Asking questions and finding answers related to aging are the bases for the circles of Longevity Explorers. We meet monthly to consider both the unmet needs of aging--in products, services, and information--and the value of existing products and services intended for older adults. The website highlights the results of the Longevity Explorers’ investigations and discussions.
The Providence Explorers group has investigated a broad range of topics since it began. We recently considered various living alternatives with presentations from members in September on Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Co-Housing. In October, we considered aging in the community and Assisted Living facilities, discussing various criteria for selecting an assisted living facility and the information and assistance available on the web and from various local organizations. We heard an update on the Providence Village and the range of its services, and looked at other resources for those who elect to remain in their homes and age in their community.
The Providence Explorers’ November meeting will examine research on “older adults and driving” and “avoiding loneliness and social isolation.” We will discuss how to know when to alter driving practices or to stop driving altogether and what one might do to maintain independence and avoid that social isolation. At our December meeting we will evaluate some technological tools to assist with everyday matters like managing medications, help getting in and out of cars, apps for those with low vision, medical alert systems, and whether one should make one’s home “smart.” One principle of all Longevity Explore groups is that it is better to figure out what we older adults need rather than have someone else do it for us.
The Providence Explorers group meets on the third Thursday of the month in the fireplace room of the Central Congregational Church, next door to Hamilton House on Angell Street in Providence. Our next meeting is on November 15. Our last meeting of 2018 is on December 20. Newcomers are always welcome at the meetings. We are also seeking those who would be willing to serve on the Steering Committee or to take on a leadership role in the group.

If you would like to catch up on past meetings, this web address provides direct access to the Providence Explorers’ posts:
Click Here
Building a
Neighborhood Circle

Story & Photos by Phil West
Cynthia Davis barely knew anyone when she arrived at a meeting of the Oak Hill-Woodlawn Neighborhood Circle. “Making connections with strangers just happened,” she says. “What is it about a group of older people who can come together as strangers and feel comfortable? If you’re over sixty, you’re carrying about two tons of grief on your shoulders.”
She likens her experience to a phrase she once heard: “‘Unconditional positive regard.’ It embodies emotional safety, an attitude of openness. It’s an expectation in the circle because it happens so often.”
Cynthia Davis gets her food. 
An internet search confirms that psychologist Carl Rogers developed this notion of “unconditional positive regard” in the 1950s. Rogers wrote that individuals possess “vast resources for self-understanding” but that these resources could only be tapped in a safe setting.

Last spring, the Providence Village Board asked Anne Grant and me to convene a “neighborhood circle” as a six-month pilot project. Married 53 years, both of us were retired clergy. Each of us had led both congregations and secular nonprofit agencies. The goal was to weave a resilient network of mutual support among elders who lived near each other but might never have met.
We sent email invitations went to all Providence Village members in the zip code 02860. By design, the circle would welcome both members and potential members. Five non-members participated. Attendance ranged from 13 to 19, with average attendance of 16.4 persons.

Members with sufficiently large homes hosted the gatherings: Lisa Beade, Penny Faich, Sheela Percelay, and Wendy Oliver and Cy O’Neil. Monthly pot luck dinners began in May and continued through October. Each session focused on making connections and building trust. Keeping confidences is a high value. Participants may tell their own stories to others outside the neighborhood circle, but they are never to talk except in broad general terms about what others share.
Offerings of home-prepared pot-luck entrees.
Upon arriving at 6 p.m., participants place their pot luck dishes in the kitchen, then scatter into small groups, preferably with individuals they do not know. In response to broad questions, they share personal stories, then go by group to fill their plates. Over food, they continue their conversations. At 7 p.m., the entire group meets in a large circle for discussion. 
Nori Duncan listens while Anne Grant explains Barely. 
The evening ends with a brief evaluation, as participants pass “Barely,” a tiny stuffed bear, while answering two questions: “What did you like?” And “How can we improve?” 
Many said they enjoyed connecting with people they barely knew. Sharing experiences in small groups established trust and was critical to the circle’s success.
image: Keith Patterson comments during evaluation.

The Providence Village Board will consider the report on this pilot project during its November retreat. Board members will discuss the possibility of forming neighborhood circles on the East Side and in Downtown Providence.
Member Group Excursion
Story & Photos by Jane Adler

On Wednesday, October 24, Providence Village members and volunteers attended the Wayland Square walk led by our personal tour guide, Barbara Barnes. And it started to rain. And it was cold. Not conducive for a nice walk.

But, not to be stopped by any acts of nature, we piled into the L’Artisan Cafe and over hot cups of tea and hot chocolate brimming with whipped cream, Barbara delivered her “talk, walk.” She handed out maps of the Wayland Square area and told us how Wayland Square got its name, the history of the houses, the shops--the whole deal. At one point, the sun came out and we rushed out the door and saw some of the places that Barbara talked about.
We all agreed it really was a lot of fun and we all want to go to more of her wonderful guided tour walks. She said she’ll do more for us in the spring. We are really lucky.

We also started up the book club again, having taken a break for the summer. The group had a lively discussion about the last book, and everyone voted next month we will read A Gentleman In Moscow, by Amor Towles. We meet the fourth Tuesday of the Month at 3:30 PM. (Register for details.)

And this month’s Sunday night dinner club selection, the Cav,  was spectacular. We all felt as if we were celebrating the holidays, early. Both the food and the ambience were really special, and it goes without saying, so was the company and conversation. Everyone is looking forward to our next month’s dinner; we will go to the Atwood Grill. Hope to see you all there.
Join us for 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 fall so stay tuned! Many of our events fill up quickly, so please register as soon as you can.
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.
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

Coming to your mailbox or email this month -
Providence Village

End of Year Appeal

Your gifts support our community of mutual support.  Thank you for considering a contribution as a partner in our Providence Village community.


It’s Medicare decision time. Medicare members have until December 7 to make any changes in coverage for 2019. There are Medicare counselors available to help you review your plan and make decisions. If you want help with Medicare, please call or email the office 401-441-5240. .
A  Village volunteer will respond to connect you with a Medicare counselor.


Members and Volunteers - Sign up now for help with snow removal
Village volunteers are available to help you find a snow removal contractor that fits your needs. Call the office at 401-441-5240  or email 
 and a volunteer will respond shortly. 

PS: if you live in Pawtucket there is a free volunteer snow removal program available - contact Beth Roberge 401 728 0500 or email:

Member Group
Join us!
  • Mindfulness Training
    Hamilton House
    6 week course

    Thurs Nov 1; Wed, Nov 7; Thurs Nov. 15; TBA
    Mindfulness training group to improve our memory by concentrating on the present moment. This is a six week course lead by Nora Cohen. Hamilton House members are invited to attend. Free.
  • Lunch at the Art Club
    Fri Nov 9, 12:30pm
    Lunch at the Providence Art Club on Thomas Street. Very reasonable prices. We welcome new people. Very friendly group. Dutch Treat.

  • Brown Bag Lunch Lecture
    Tues Nov 13, 12pm
    Temple Beth El
    Time for a Musical Treat: Bach's Goldberg Variations. Join us and enjoy a discussion by Jessie Holstein, Resident Musician, Community MusicWorks and listen to a partial performance of Bach's late masterpiece, arranged for a string trio. Performers are from Community Music Works. Register and we'll sit together at our own table. Bring your own brown bag lunch. Try not to miss this one! Free.

  • Thanksgiving Buffet
    Thurs Nov 15, 12:30pm

    Brown Faculty Club
    Celebrate Thanksgiving early.  Everything you'd want: Turkey, Roasted Root Vegetable & Greens, Mashed and Sweet Potatoes, Stuffings, desserts, and much more! About $18, which includes tax and tip. Providence Village went last year and had a great time. Register by November 11th. This fills up fast.

  • Dinner Club
    Sun Nov 25  5pm
    Our fabulous Dinner Club. We are going to the Atwood Grill, 1413 Atwood Ave, Johnston. Two of our regular Dinner Club attendees say this reasonably priced restaurant is one of their very favorites. (Please go online for pictures of the restaurant, menu and prices.) Registration closes Friday, November 23 at 12pm.

  • Book Club
    Tues Nov 27, 3:30pm
    We are reading, A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles. We meet the 4th Tuesday of the month. Free with simple snacks to share. Please register for details.

  • MFA Boston - Bus Tour
    Wed Nov. 28  9am-3:30pm
    Art lovers, we are excited to offer a Free Bus Trip to Boston Museum of Fine Art, Boston, Mass. We leave at 9am for Boston, return about 3:30pm to Providence. $23 admission fee. Details at registration. Seats are very LIMITED. Register right away. Priority will be given to members, volunteers and guests are encouraged to place their names on waiting list for vacant seats. 

    SAVE THE DATE: Another great bus trip on Wednesday, December 12: Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Mass.
All events are subject to rescheduling. Must register for all events. 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.
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
New Board Member
of the Month
Peter Viner-Brown
Peter Viner-Brown was born in Bedford, England.  He is a graduate of The King’s Grammar School, Grantham, Lincolnshire; Queen Mary College, University of London (B.Sc. Combined Honors: Physics/Chemistry); and Lesley College, Cambridge, MA (MS Management). Peter worked as an engineer and health physicist in the power industry in the UK. In the US, he worked in the IT field for most of his career and as a math teacher for the last few years before retiring. He is a volunteer at School One and The Providence Village. He enjoys DIY projects, travel and keeping his 1986 TVR sports car on the road.
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 Bear's Park
736 Hope St

Stock Culinary
756 Hope St

Support our
Participating Businesses!
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
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.

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:  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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