The Providence Village Newsletter: June 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.
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
A Note from the Editor:
We are testing a new design for our Newsletter. We have increased the type size and simplified the layout to make it more readable on our digital devices. Let us know what you think! We welcome your feedback.
Thank you, Wendy Oliver
Introducing Jo Ellen Mistarz
The Providence Village's First Executive Director

Story by Diane Strommer
Photo by Phil West

I have long believed that English majors can do anything.  The training to think both critically and compassionately about the human beings who move through their stories transfers to many professions. That belief was reinforced when I spent a delightful hour and more with Jo Ellen Mistarz, who studied English on both the undergraduate and master’s levels at Indiana University, Bloomington, where she also received an MBA.  Even our brief time together demonstrated that she has both the analytical and personal skills to serve in the position she calls “a gift.”

Jo Ellen will become the Executive Director of The Village Common on June 17.  The Village Common is to be the umbrella organization that will help to develop communities of mutual support throughout Rhode Island—communities like the Providence Village.   As new villages are created, Jo envisions serving new populations with perhaps different needs, understanding that one model rarely fits all. 

The personal experience of caring for her husband, who was a physician, during a ten-year illness before his death last June, and her professional career, have enlarged her knowledge and honed her skills.  They have also given her a deep understanding of the needs of caretakers, as well as of the challenges and opportunities of serving an aging population.  Most recently, she has been the Elder Services Grants Manager at Catholic Social Services. With twenty-five years of experience in non-profit organizations related to health care, her work on national, state, and local levels ranged from health care consulting focusing on public policy issues and managed care, to strategic planning, marketing, and product development.  She is also a certified “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” workshop leader.

Jo Ellen has considerable experience in seeking and developing alliances with government and public service groups.  She believes that organizations like the Providence Village will be supported by government agencies and organizations within Rhode Island, and the time is right for strategic development.  She has worked with many of the groups with which the Village might be allied.

In our far-ranging conversation, we touched on having pets.  Jo has two aging cats and a dog.  Her mother lives with her, and her daughter, who has just graduated from Brown University and will next attend Brown’s Alpert Medical School, is nearby. “I like to have a full house,” Jo said in reference to her animals, but suggesting more.

On June 17, Jo will begin serving the Providence Village, using her many talents to realize the plan for the Village Common.  She is emphatic that her first goal is to get to know the members, to hear their ideas and dreams for the Village and to forge a close working relationship with the members of the Board.  She wants to meet as many members of the Village as possible so that she can know the Village as a community, but also as a set of individuals.  The Village is extremely pleased to welcome Jo Ellen Mistarz as our first Executive Director. 

Providence Village Receives State Grant
Story by Rosalind Ladd
Photos by Phil West
President Jim Maxwell is very pleased to announce that the Providence Village has received an $80,000 Community Enhancement Grant from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services of Rhode Island. The grant will fund the first steps of the transition of the Providence Village  to The Village Common, which will help develop new villages throughout the state. Gov. Raimondo announced the award at a news conference on May 24th, 2019.

Led by the newly appointed Executive Director, and benefitting from the experience of the Providence Village, the Common will guide the development of the Village model for smaller  communities throughout the state, including underserved communities which could not support a stand-alone village. 
The Village Common will provide a single administrative structure for all the villages, allowing local Village leaders to focus on  organizing the services that enable older adults to live independently and enjoy rich and fulfilling lives. Outreach efforts are already underway, exploring interest and needs with community members in East Providence, Barrington, and Burrillville.

This is the first year of the competitive Community Enhancement Grants, which target innovative ideas to help people stay in their homes.  The funding is from a federal grant to the state, used until now to help individuals move from  nursing homes to home. The grant to Providence Village is a two-year grant, providing $50,000 in the first year and $30,000 in the second and  will be used to fund the new position of Executive Director. 

The drafting of the proposal was a true team effort. The Strategic Plan developed during 2018 by the Planning Committee (Cy O'Neill, Suzanne Francis, Bonnie Ryvicker, and Jim Maxwell) provided much of the framework needed for the state proposal. Pat Mattingly led the effort to adapt and expand the relevant parts of the Strategic Plan into a compelling proposal that met the stringent requirements of the state's proposal submission process.
City Council Member Engages Neighborhood Circle

Story & Photos by Phil West
In an era when many are discouraged about politics, Pawtucket Councilor Meghan Kallman engaged members of the Oak Hill Neighborhood Circle over a potluck supper. “By day,” said Nori Duncan in introducing the two-term council member, “she’s a professor of global inclusion and social development at U. Mass. Boston.” 

“A number of you are my constituents,” Ms. Kallman told seventeen neighbors gathered to meet her. “Some are not, but we’re all community.” For ninety minutes, she answered questions on numerous topics. 

“As a commuter,” she said, “I’m excited about the new train station that’s scheduled to open in 2021.” Construction will begin this summer on deteriorated land along a stretch of tracks between Conant and Dexter Streets in Pawtucket. The Cities of Central Falls and Pawtucket have jointly designated 160-acres of underused properties that straddle their border and the railroad as the Conant Thread Development District.
Ms. Kallman wants developers to provide at least ten per cent of new units in the district at affordable cost. “If a developer buys a mill building for conversion into apartments or condominiums,” she said, “some of us want to keep one tenth affordable for people of modest income — like certified nursing assistants and teachers.” She said developers have already pulled permits for 634 new rental apartments. “An abandoned mill building,” she noted, “isn’t paying much in taxes, but if you put in a hundred units, they’re all going onto the tax roll.”

Beyond incentives available through state and federal government programs, Ms. Kallman argues that inclusionary zoning requirements are only fair. “We have seniors living on fixed incomes. We also have young people, whose real wages have increased by one percent in the last sixteen years, while housing prices have increased by forty per cent.” Developers resist such mandates, she said, and the City Council is divided on the question.

Ms. Kallman said it was important for citizens to call elected officials. “We as councilors don’t get that many calls about things. Nor does the mayor’s office. If the mayor gets five calls about something that’s an issue with a capital ‘I.’”
She noted that government success stories often go unnoticed. Test scores in Pawtucket schools have gained ground but did not receive press coverage. “We’re now outperforming a bunch of the private schools and charters in the area. There’s real progress in the right direction.”

Over pastas, salads and planked salmon, members of the neighborhood circle asked about the closing of Memorial Hospital.

“Memorial was governed by laws enforceable at the state level,” Ms. Kallman said. “That side of the city has very few medical services.” She shared preliminary options for repurposing the building as assisted living for seniors. “But everything takes time and has to go out for bid.” Meanwhile, she said, “wait times have gone up at Miriam and Rhode Island Hospital.”

Other topics included ongoing efforts to keep Hasbro in Pawtucket and possible reuse of McCoy Stadium. Neighborhood circle members asked about the Apex site, speed cameras, street trees, park renovations, and the municipal water supply.
Jody Josephson expressed concern about tap water and mentioned touring the water plant. “I thought they were doing a good job, according to what they tested for, but there are chemicals that they don’t test for because they’re not required. Rhode Island was a highly industrialized place, starting in the 1800s. We have a lot of old mills and soil contamination.”

Sheela Percelay commented: “Pawtucket water used to be horrendous, but the League of Women Voters took it on as a local issue. And because of that our water is far better — not perfect, but better.” On one topic after another, Ms. Kallman shared details that few knew. She offered to introduce members of the circle to city officials responsible for delivering services.
Responses to the evening were overwhelmingly positive. “I love this,” said Anne Patterson. “She’s so accessible.”Susan Bayley agreed: “It’s wonderful to have her. It’s intimate, but she’s reaching a number of us at the same time. She knows her stuff.”
Providence Village Website
Gets an Update

Story by Cy O'Neill
We’ve recently updated our website thanks to the generous volunteer efforts of employees from Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI. As part of a community relations program at BCBSRI called Impact Blue, teams of Blue Cross employees volunteer their skills and expertise to work on projects of importance to local community organizations.  Our thanks go out to the ten Blue Cross employees who worked the project. And special thanks go out to Carolyn Belisle, Managing Director of Community Relations at Blue Cross Blue Shield, who has been the driving force behind the Impact Blue program.  Be sure to see what’s new at
Providence Village Social Committee's
Fifth Annual Picnic in the Park
At Colt State Park

Bristol RI
Save The Date!
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
11:30am - 3:30 pm
Join us at this beautiful waterside spot for an afternoon of good conversation, food, fun and games. Bring your fishing pole or bike and any outdoor games you'd like to share. We have a variety of games, badminton and croquet.
We'll supply lunch, non-alcoholic drinks and dessert.
Benches are available, but bring your own blankets and chairs to sit on the grass.

to Ada Winsten:
DIRECTIONS:  From East Side: Take1-195 to EXIT 7. Follow RI 114 South through Barrington and Warren to Bristol.Continue along Hope Street in Bristol (RI-114 S) to the entrance of the Park (where you will see two bulls) on the right.Turn right into the park and then turn left along the water until you reach SHELTER #1

Providence Village Services

Learn More About Our Offerings
Call our Service Coordinator - Eliza Sutton
PV Group Activities
By Jane Adler
Providence Village members and volunteers visited the RISD Museum in Providence this past month. The highlight was visiting the historic silver exhibit from the Gorham Silver Company here in Providence.
The Sunday dinners continue to be popular, but in June we dine on a Saturday.  Best of all, we all have so much time to talk. We have lots more activities this month; Join us for trips to IKEA or the Kennedy Presidential Library; check out the Book Club, or meet a Rhode Island Justice! I hope to see you there.
Group Activities

June 2019
Join us!
Please register for all events
Monday, June 10, 9:30pm
Free Bus Trip to IKEA

You don’t have to want to buy anything to have fun in this store. It’s filled with interesting things from drinking glasses to cooking spoons to pretty napkins to furniture. And they have an interesting place to eat at reasonable prices. Returning home around 2:30-3 PM.
Register by Thursday, June 6.

Monday, June 10, 3:30pm
Book Club

We are reading Sons of Providence by Charles Rappley.
Private home. Free.
Register by Saturday, June 8.

Tuesday June 18, 11am
Meet the Justice

Meet with Presiding Justice, Alice Gibney, in her courtroom for questions and answers. 
Free. Very limited space. 
Register by noon,  Friday, June 14.

Friday June 21, 2 - 4pm
Film Noir
Film Noir Presentation by Paul Stein with film clips such as The Third Man, Nosferatu, Touch of Evil and Mildred Pierce  
Free with snacks to share. Private home. Limited reservations.
Register by Tuesday, June 18.

Wednesday, June 26, 9:00am

Presidential Library Trip

Free bus trip to John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
 $12 admission fee (plus tip for driver.)

Register by Saturday, June 22.

Saturday, June 29, 5pm
Our Fabulous Dinner Club

Many of our members requested, for a special treat, that we go to Al Forno Restaurant, 577 S. Water Street.
Please note: they are not open on Sunday, so this event is scheduled for a Saturday. 
Zagat says this upscale Italian restaurant is a treasure, a “world-class” destination…etc.”  They are known as the birthplace of grilled pizza. Check the menu and especially the prices on the website,
Register by noon, Monday, June 24.  No registrations accepted after that day! Dutch treat.
Invite a Friend
Friends interested in learning more about the Village are welcome to join Member Activities; please contact Jane Adler in advance.
A Note From Jane:
If you’d like to go to any of these activities, it would be appreciated if you would 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.  
All events are subject to rescheduling. Must register for all events.  
Please r
eply to: 
Upcoming Events
All Welcome - Free
Central Congregational Church - Fireplace Room
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.
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
Providence Village Newsletter

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:
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. 
Link for INFO

Merchant Discounts
Village Members & Volunteers

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.

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!

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

visit our website: 

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
Copyright © 2019 Providence Village RI, All rights reserved.

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