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Village Stories 2013

COORDINATING mutual support on a cul de sac

by Hilary Lorraine, Ashby Village Member and Volunteer

Several years ago, two people on a little cul de sac in Kensington joined Ashby Village and they then encouraged others on their street to join. Now there are six households who, as members of the Village, provide volunteer assistance to each other. When one of them needs a ride, they contact the office and their request is posted on the general email request list. This alerts a volunteer who lives on the cul de sac, who is usually are able to respond.

This Ashby Village coordinated mutual support system allows neighbors to help each other when they can, but when not, to draw on the larger volunteer pool. This street-based mutual support group is now beginning to expand to include people who attend the Village sponsored monthly lunches. This creative member-initiated use of Ashby Village will now provide a model for spreading it to other neighborhood groups in the Village. .

INTROVERT goes to AV potluck

by Mary Graham, Ashby Village Volunteer

I'm not shy, but I am an introvert. I'd rather not mingle with large groups of people. Yet, as a new volunteer, I found myself looking forward to the Village's holiday potluck. Where would it fit on the continuum of 4-H and church potlucks that I remembered from my small home town? As I came in, the band was warming up and the tables looked festive with fresh flowers and two kinds of water. The staff and event volunteers had been busy!

I dropped off my casserole and headed for the book-exchange table. Hilary seemed to be in charge, and we visited over the music. She gave me a great tip: Mack's Pillow Soft ear plugs block movie and airplane noise. People were dropping off lots of books. I asked one guy how he could part with a vintage E.B. White volume. "I'm divesting," he said cheerfully, "I try to get rid of something every week."

Standing in line to sample the dozens of main dish and salad offerings, a volunteer named Roger gave me another great tip: San Francisco State University offers summer courses out of Sierra City on Highway 49. I know that part of the Sierra well, and can imagine spending a week at a summer camp for grown-ups.

For an introvert, visiting one-to-one is ideal, and I struck up a conversation with Joan G. An ideal dinner companion, Joan is a voluble Village member and a long-time Kensington resident. We chatted about her positive experience with the Village staff and volunteers, and we agreed that the Inn Kensington biscuits have been delicious for 25 years.

When Andy Gaines began to speak, it was like herding cats to quiet everyone in the room—people just couldn't stop visiting. Then the band began its second set, and this introvert realized her social stamina was running low. As I slipped out, I felt a positive glow—I was becoming part of this new Village.