Ashby village's Tenth Anniversary
Story by Karin Evans
It’s an exciting moment in the history of Ashby Village--we’ve just entered our 10th year of service to our community! Though we formally turn ten in July of 2020 we’re already making preparations for celebrating that milestone. “We’re looking at the next steps for the second decade,” says Executive Director Andy Gaines. “The theme is one of maturing and developing.”
Ashby Village launched July 1, 2010, with 85 members, an enthusiastic crew of volunteers, and a staff of 1. Today the village has 385 members and 315 volunteers and 4.05 full-time-equivalent staff members. Over the past 10 years, in response to the needs and requests of the membership, dozens of new programs have been added, including our Healthier Aging Initiative, Arts & Culture Series, Connections and Decluttering services, and much more. At last count, Ashby Village counted 85 unique functioning teams, committees, interest, support and neighborhood groups. For this past calendar year, Ashby Village fulfilled 1,443 direct services to members, (over 90% of those requested) and volunteers provided 13,267 hours of assistance to the organization and its members.
“Our vision while we grow is to evolve in ways that best serve our members, volunteers and the larger community. while maintaining the inter-connected community that is unique to Villages,” says Andra Lichtenstein, Board president. We’ve expanded our borders reaching south to Oakland and north to Kensington and El Cerrito. In response to community activists in Richmond, a Pilot Project has begun, assessing whether to extend services to Richmond. Our founding Board of Directors has transitioned into a policy-making board, while a Program Leadership Team was formed to create and guide day-to-day programs.
In celebration of the Tenth Anniversary, the Board of Directors has drafted a new Mission Statement. That Mission Statement will be a focus of the August Village Voices. Special programs are already in the works to mark this official tenth year, beginning with the Arts & Culture event with Betty Reid Soskin, Sunday, June 30th at Epworth United Methodist Church. At age 98, Betty is the oldest National Park Ranger serving the United States who interweaves her experience as a young black woman in segregated America in her stories. Another Arts & Culture event, featuring well-known food expert, former restaurateur, and Ashby Village member Narsai David, will follow at the end of October.
As Ashby Village has matured, we have partnered with organizations in the wider community, becoming fiscal sponsor and lead organizer for Age Friendly Berkeley, and the Berkeley Age Friendly Continuum. We have also partnered with Cal and Covia to develop Berkeley Home Match. “We are now recognized as a leader in aging services in the larger community,” says Andy.
Ashby Village will enter its second decade with a number of new projects and events already being planned:
- An Ashby Village team is at work developing an archive, including photographs and a timeline, of Ashby Village history, which will formally be welcomed into the Berkeley Historical Society in the Spring of 2020.
- An Art in Aging exhibition is being planned in which Ashby Village member artists will be invited to create pieces that reflect their intimate experience of growing older.
- A Civic Leadership Forum will connect Ashby Village with other local leaders and initiatives.
- With a goal of becoming a multigenerational community we will focus on ways to involve friends and family in the Village.
The year will culminate in a 10th anniversary open house and celebration party (date to be announced), featuring special performances, an auction/fundraiser, great food and drink, recognition of the village’s many milestones, and more. Watch the newsletter for details. “We’ll be celebrating all we’ve done, where we are, and where we’re going,” says Andy. Get ready!