The Providence Village Newsletter: December 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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Providence Village Receives Tufts Foundation Grant

Story by Tony Allen

If you can create a Village in Providence, can you create a Village elsewhere in Rhode Island?

The Providence Village has received a $10,000 grant from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation to take the first steps in creating more communities of mutual support like the Village. The grant is the Village’s first such award since becoming active in December, 2015. “This grant recognizes the value of the Providence Village plan to grow the Village movement in Rhode Island,” said Pat Mattingly, former president of the Village’s board of directors. With this award, he added, the foundation “recognizes that we’re on the right track.” 

Central to bringing the Village concept to other parts of Rhode Island will be a new organization, The Village Common of Rhode Island. The Village Common will provide a single common governance, administration and operational structure that new Villages can use. Each new Village won’t have to go through – on its own - creating an administrative infrastructure, recruiting, vetting, and training volunteers, and, of course, attracting new members. This should dramatically shorten the time and effort required to get from start-up to real results.
A new Village may comprise residents of a particular town, neighborhood, or members of groups affiliated with faith-based, health care or social organizations. One goal is to develop Villages in underserved communities. While each Village will retain local identity and leadership, members of every village will participate in the governance and administration of the Village Common. Goals for the first year of the grant: Organize the Village Common, establish a fundraising campaign for growth, and launch a new Village.

Board Weighs Fundraising, Snow Shoveling and Outreach

Story & Photos by Phil West

Jim Maxwell, Board President
Lifted by occasional gales of laughter, the Providence Village board of directors covered its November agenda smoothly. 
Fundraising Co-Chair Anne Connor reported pledges or donations of more than $8,500 received so far in the year-end drive. “We’re on a good path to fundraising success,” she said. “Four or five new donors are mostly volunteers. They see from a different angle how important the Village is.”

Membership Chairperson Jane Adler reported that four new members joined the previous week, for a total of 117. She outlined community information sessions before the holidays. A wine and cheese party will be announced shortly, with invitations going to all on the Providence Village email list, whether current members or not.

With November snow still melting along curbs, Benefits Chair and Past President Pat Mattingly outlined a snow removal program that volunteer John Harkey is inaugurating. “Half of our members live in places where somebody else clears show,” he explained. “We’re going to reach others who need shoveling.” Those who shovel may be neighbors, volunteers, or professionals, depending on the need. Any members who anticipate needing help should call the office to get on the list.
Deborah Dunning describes qualifications of Corinne Russo, while Pat Mattingly (left), Lenore Bunting, and Joe Fisler listen.
Deborah Dunning proposed a new member of the Advisory Council, which she co-chairs. She nominated Corinne Calise Russo, who retired from state government after serving as Director of of Elderly Affairs and as Deputy Director of Human Services. Ms. Russo currently serves on the Governor’s Commission on Aging. Earlier in her career, she founded a private geriatric care management practice providing client assessment, care planning and care coordination for elders and caregivers. Board members unanimously affirmed her as a member of the Advisory Council.

Jim Maxwell reported that we have two new volunteer drivers, Michelle LeBrun and Rich Reuter.

President-Elect Suzanne Francis shared recent progress in outreach to a small group that has begun organizing in Rumford. 
Laura Young followed up on her previous report on organizing in Barrington, where 79 per cent of respondents to a survey indicated that they would like to remain in their homes and that they favor building a community of mutual support. “There was a gap in the town,” she said. “Everyone seems to feel the energy of starting.” 
Other topics on the agenda included plans for the board’s December 1 retreat, the strategic plan, and updating the Providence Village website.  
Intergenerational Learning at School One

By Carl Hirsch
I am just now completing one of the most interesting, unique, and rich learning experiences in all of my 78 years! Really.
Carl Hirsch,
photo by Diana Champa
School One, here in Providence, has been presenting a series of classes involving intergenerational learning, a process that has senior citizens and high school students exploring a subject within the context of a single class together. This semester, the class, entitled “Drawing Myself,” explored the process of creating memoirs utilizing both drawing and writing. The teachers, Eve Kerrigan and Monica Schinn, presented skills inherent in the two art forms of drawing and writing, both focused on mini memoirs.
Hands on Workshop, photo by Diana Champa
Although I taught art to high school students for most of my teaching career, this is the first time I have been a student with them. In this environment, we are not only learning visual and writing skills but also, we discuss and share our work with the whole class. Openly sharing one’s creative work has a certain risk, and yet the risk is greatly rewarded by the development of community, awareness, pride, and personal growth. Here, two streams of life experience come to confluence to generate an extremely rich exchange of thoughts, emotions, and talents. The freshness, authenticity, directness, and emotional honesty of the young students complemented the vintage, distilled experiences of the seniors.  At times I felt honored to see and hear the personal expressions of my younger classmates and, in the next moment, to hear fellow seniors’ equally personal work. As the weeks passed, we experienced a growing openness with each other and the creation of true community through participation in the arts.
Student shows art to one of the teachers, Eve Kerrigan.
photo by Anne Grant
The next class in the series, “Intergenerational Book Arts,” will run from December 6, 2018, to February 28, 2019. Enrollment is limited.

Please email Diana Champa, Director of Literary Engagement at School One, or call 401-331-2497 to enroll or make inquiries.
Walking Confers Benefits On Those Who
Make The Effort

Story & Photos by Phil West
Retired science teacher Nancy Nowak recalls walking regularly from her home in Oak Hill to Nathan Bishop Middle School, about half an hour each way. “That was my stress-buster,” she says with a smile.
In retirement, she loves walking along Blackstone Boulevard and through the Blackstone Conservation District. She walks more than an hour, usually seven days a week. Her good health is apparent.

“My only health concern is my memory,” she says. “But walking’s good for that, too. Basically, I do it because I like it.”

Walking confers priceless benefits on those who make the effort. The peer-reviewed journal Lancet recently published data drawn from studies of 1.237 million people between 2011 and 2015. The article noted that doctors have long understood the value of exercise in reducing mortality connected with cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes. This study aimed to clarify ways that regular exercise affects mental health. Researchers concluded that “physical exercise was significantly and meaningfully associated” with mental health benefits.

Other studies show that vigorous walking reduces by half the cognitive impairment and memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Fine walking routes lie within easy reach of those in the Providence Village. The highly visible Blackstone Boulevard walking path draws thousands each day. With gentle slopes and a relatively smooth course, it offers an easy 1.7-mile trek between the Lincoln School and a cluster of restaurants at the Hope Street end of the Boulevard.

Less-traveled trails wind through the 
Blackstone Park Conservation District, a wooded wonderland that borders the Seekonk River just north of the Red Bridge. Some walkers drive to the river’s edge and park along River Drive, near the Narragansett Boat Club or where Irving Ave. meets Gulf Ave., a paved stretch reserved for people and dogs on foot. Paved areas offer choices of level walks or steep inclines.
For those who prefer walking through woods, maps show reasonably maintained trails. Some are smooth and level, others steep. Those who ignore the “KEEP OUT” sign (intended for cars, not pedestrians) south of York Pond will discover a stairway with railing that rises to a wooded bluff bounded by split-rail fences.
“I enjoy being out in the sunshine,” Nancy Nowak says. “It makes me feel good, happy. . . I like looking at the trees and the moss, which I’m trying to identify.” Abundant native wildflowers bloom in sequence through the seasons, drawing bees and humming birds. Countless mushrooms pop up after summer rains.
Solitary jaunts abound in the Blackstone Conservancy. Dog-walkers, birdwatchers, artists, students, and joggers provide a sense of safety in the forest. 
“I find exercise boring,” says Providence Village member Anne Grant. “One guy, who shall remain nameless, tricked me into walking each day when he introduced me to fascinating podcasts that give me a break from the computer.” 
“I use carbon-fiber Nordic trekking poles,” she adds. “They add invigorating upper-body exercise in addition to stability.”

Sidewalks and paved areas remain open throughout the year, but paths through the woods are not plowed and may be icy during winter.

For a gallery view of Blackstone Conservancy photos through the seasons by Phil West click this link
How to Know When to Stop Driving

By Diane Strommer
“People outlive their driving ability by eight to ten years,” said John Paul, the guest speaker from AAA Northeast. The occasion was the November meeting of the Providence circle of Longevity Explorers, 
and the topic for the month was “How to Know When / If It’s Time to Stop Driving.” According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (, although older adults do not rival the accident and injury rates of young adults, the incidence of accidents and the death rate do begin to increase for drivers aged 70-74. They are highest among drivers aged 85 and older, a group for whom the death rate from accidents is also highest.
These data are not surprising given that as one ages, reaction times slow, depth perception fades, mobility issues increase, and recovery from sun or headlight glare takes longer. John Paul made a number of suggestions to help us continue to be safe drivers as we age. You can “cheat your reaction time” by increasing the distance between your car and the next one to at least 3 seconds of following distance. You can be prepared to stop by putting your foot close to or hovering over the brake pedal. You can be sure that your headlights are working at their best by having the glass cleaned and getting brighter lights.
Medications—including non-prescription drugs and herbal remedies—can also affect one’s abilities on the road. John Paul suggested the website as a useful resource. One can enter all the medications and remedies that one takes and learn whether there may be a drug interaction and/or an effect on driving that needs to be discussed with your physician. Aging adults are also most likely to wear seatbelts, and many are aware of their need to change some of their driving habits. Some stop driving at night or on high speed highways or limit their time on the road to low those hours when traffic is lightest.
John Paul distributed a booklet by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety that includes a self-rating tool and facts and suggestions for safe driving. Some additional copies of that booklet and a flyer on “How to Go on Ice and Snow” are available at Hamilton House. Courses supported by AARP and AAA in a group or on-line can help the older driver sharpen skills and awareness.
The good news for aging adults is that more alternatives exist to owning a car than ever before. Some people who have totaled the cost of car ownership—including taxes, insurance, gasoline, servicing, and the cost of the car itself—have found that they save money by using public transportation and ride-sharing services. Instructions about how to use Lyft and Uber are on the website. The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) has developed an app for smart phones that can be downloaded to locate bus routes, buy tickets, and find other services.
The Providence group of Longevity Explorers will have the last meeting of 2018 on
December 20 from 2-3:30
in the Fireplace Room of the Central Congregational Church next door to Hamilton House. Two subjects are on the agenda: planning for 2019 and a discussion of “Loneliness and Social Isolation among Older Adults.” New participants are always welcome.

Adelaide Eicks Comegys

Excerpted fromThe Providence Journal, Nov. 18, 2018

ADELAIDE EICKS COMEGYS passed away at age 88 in her home in Providence on November 13, 2018. Born in Baltimore, Mrs. Comegys came of age in Cambridge, Massachusetts and New York City, and later completed the Harvard Business School Management Training Program. While in Cambridge, she met and married Harvard Law School graduate Walker Comegys of Wichita Falls, Texas. They had two daughters: the elder, Elizabeth Lee Chafee, a social worker who resides in Providence with her husband Zechariah Chafee, and Catherine "Kate,” who was born with severe mental and physical handicaps, which led Mrs. Comegys to champion the rights of persons similarly challenged. Mrs. Comegys and her husband integrated the Hamilton-Wenham schools to allow Kate and those following her the opportunity for a mainstream education. She served as a board member for The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps (TASH) and addressed groups across the country on the topic of the civil rights of the handicapped. Her memorial service was held on Wednesday, November 28th in St. Martin Church in Providence. Condolences may be left at

Thank you Volunteers!
Providence Village members and volunteers help staff information tables around town–
Jane Adler and Marlene Yang
 Table at Charlesgate with Laura Young and prospective member, Ed Adler (back right).
Great opportunities to meet new friends and members when you volunteer for outreach. Gary Leib and Bonnie Ryvicker at a summer outreach table at Lippitt Park.
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
Early New Years
Friday December 28

Hamilton House
Join us! Toast your old and soon to be, new friends. Wine, cheese, dips, etc. and soft drinks.


Invite a Friend
Friends interested in learning more about the Village are welcome to attend.

Register with Jane Adler
by Mon, Dec 24, 12 pm.

please leave your name and phone number. 


Members and Volunteers - Call now for help with snow removal.
Village volunteers are available to help you find a resource 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 ext. 241 or email:

Or if you live in the area served by the Summit Neighborhood Association, roughly bounded by Rochambeau north to Hillside, North Main east to Elmgrove, you may write to the Summit Neighborhood Association’s Snow Brigade for help from volunteers. 


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.

Member Group
Join us!
  • Lunch at the Art Club
    Fri Dec 7, 12:30pm
    Lunch at the Providence Art Club on Thomas Street. Very reasonable prices. We welcome new people. Very friendly group. Dutch Treat.

  • Worcester Art Museum
    Weds Dec 12, 9 am
    Art Lovers! Another opportunity to see a fantastic museum. 
    Leave 9 am, home by 3:30 or earlier. Total cost is only $14 for admission. Registration closes Sunday, December 8 at 12 pm, so please REGISTER NOW. (Members have the opportunity to register first; unfilled seats will then be offered to volunteers, but please sign up now.)Reply to:

  • Dinner Club
    Sun Dec 16  5pm
    Our fabulous Dinner Club. We are going to the China Inn, Pawtucket. This restaurant is well-known in RI, and has a reputation for good food and nice atmosphere. Check website for menu and prices. Registration closes December 14, 12 pm. Dutch Treat.

  • Meet & Greet
    Fri Dec 28  4-5:30pm
    Join us for an Early New Years MEET AND GREET. Toast your old and soon to be, new friends. Register by Monday, December 24, 12 pm. Wine, cheese, dips, etc. and soft drinks. FREE.
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
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. 
Join us for Member Group Activities, a wonderful way to have a great time and meet new, friendly people.
Invite a Friend
Friends interested in learning more about the Village are welcome to join Member Activities; please contact Jane Adler in advance.

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:  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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