The Village Common Newsletter - December 2020
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"Fall colors near the Seekonk River," photo by Phil West
Bill Harley to Headline Year End Celebration
Dec 10th 5:30pm-6:30pm

By Wendy Oliver

We’re having a virtual celebration! Singer/Songwriter, humorist and storyteller Bill Harley will be there and we hope you’ll be there, too.

What’s to celebrate, given the all trials and tribulations of the pandemic? It has been a difficult year to be sure. But despite the pandemic, Barrington Village and Edgewood Village have both begun operations. The Village Common has completed its first year. And the Providence Village has completed its fifth year. So, you see? There is plenty to celebrate.

Thanks to our generous event sponsor, Residential Properties, we are excited that Bill Harley will be with us to help to mark the occasion. If you’re not familiar with Bill, he is a two-time Grammy Award winning performer who lives in Seekonk. The Washington Post describes Bill as “…a champion yarn-spinner and tunesmith, with a sense of wonder, whimsy and mischief...”

Bill will be joining us for our Zoom celebration on Thursday Dec. 10th from 5:30pm to 6:30pm.

“If you are a Village member or volunteer, all you have to do is register for the event in the same way that you register for all Village Common zoom sessions,” explained celebration organizer Cy O’Neil. “Log onto our website at or call the Village Common Service Coordinator at 401-441-5240. And if you’re not a member or volunteer, we would still love to have you join us. You can click here to go to our page on Eventbrite where you can make a donation and register for the event,” he explained.

Many of us got to know Bill Harley in our younger days when our kids were young. Back then Bill was creating a reputation for himself performing for kids and families. Now, the kids have grown up, we’ve all gotten a bit older, and so has Bill. But his performances have become even more moving and entertaining as he celebrates through song and story our connections with one another and with our planet.

So please be sure to register and join us on Dec 10th at 5:30pm. And why not reach out to your now grown kids and ask them to join in the fun?

Residential Properties: TVC’s First Sustaining Sponsor
By Suzanne Francis

The Village Common (TVC) is delighted to announce that Residential Properties Ltd. (RPL) became the Village Common’s first Sustaining Sponsor in early November. According to Sally Lapides, President and CEO, “Residential Properties is thrilled and honored to support The Village Common’s mission and growth in Rhode Island.” Sustaining Sponsors drawn from RI businesses, corporations and foundations are committed to a substantial, multi-year contribution to TVC. Their help and funds will support the Village Common operations and encourage building more communities to provide social connections and practical support for older adults across Rhode Island.

Consistent with TVC’s vision, recent AARP research confirms the value created by what they call the “longevity economy” – older adults living longer, healthier lives. Today, people 50 and older contribute $8.3 trillion to the U.S. economy each year and that number is expected to grow to $12.9 trillion by 2030. These numbers translate into contributions to our society that make communities stronger: volunteer work, care giving, charitable contributions, job creation and educational services for themselves as well as children and grandchildren. Sustaining Sponsors’ financial support for TVC recognizes the role TVC has in enhancing the lives of older people in Rhode Island Village communities.

Residential Properties is the first of what TVC hopes will be a growing list of Rhode Island businesses and corporations who become Sustaining Sponsors. Sally Lapides led the way by signing RPL up for a multi-year commitment. We welcome others who will follow Sally’s lead and join the ranks of TVC Sustaining Sponsors. Together we can build more communities of mutual help and practical support for older adults across Rhode Island.

VC Delivers Thanksgiving Dinners
Photos by Phil West
"Peter Viner-Brown and Jim Maxwell organized the Village Common Thanksgiving dinner delivery, assisted by Nori Duncan"
"Patrice Moscow and Clare Kirby discuss details while Jim counts cash"
"Peter and Sam Viner-Brown are about to deliver meals"
News from the Edgewood Village
December 2020
By Carol Shelton

Over the last two months, the Steering Committee of the Edgewood Village has worked tirelessly to accomplish the goals that were agreed to in September. We are happy to share the following achievements:

  • On October 24th, a group of EV members set up a table at the Farmer’s Market at the parking lot of Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, a neighborhood treasure. Individuals reached out to shoppers, answered questions and provided neighbors with one of our EV rack cards. EV members were delighted with the response of the shoppers to our efforts to improve life for our neighborhood elders.
  • A process to distribute the rack cards to local Houses of Worship, community institutions such the local library and small businesses in the neighborhood was established with individual members volunteering to distribute the rack cards by November 20th.
  • The Inclusion sub-committee is continuing to pursue their efforts to contact leaders in the community whose reach extends into diverse parts of the neighborhood.
  • A map of our suggested service area has been provided by Ellen O’Hara, Steering Committee member.
  • Barbara Schermack will be presenting a Holiday Cookie Baking Zoom on December 3 and has plans to establish a Walking Group for interested members and volunteers in the coming months.

The COVID 19 epidemic continues to hamper our efforts to create an organization that is ready to supply the community with the services that we feel are needed and necessary to support our older neighbors. But efforts to meet people in their homes or to transport them in our cars concerns both volunteers and neighbors because of the uptick in COVID cases in Rhode Island.

In the meantime, our members and volunteers have been taking advantage of The Village Common’s interesting Zoom offerings for cultural, educational, and social enhancement. We look forward to interacting in person with this growing family of villages in the not-too-distant future.

Barrington Village Community Conversation
By Laura Young
“Vibrant maple leaves dazzle passers-by,” photo by Phil West

The Barrington Village Community Conversation was a Zoom adaptation of a plan for an annual Retreat--reviewing the past year, reflecting on our development, making plans for future growth. Lunch together will be great next year!

BV Steering Committee Members prepared with conversations with members and volunteers about their experiences in 2020 and their hopes for 2021. The Members, Volunteers and Community Members who participated had a chance to meet, review quotes from these conversations, and offer their thoughts for Barrington Village Development in 2021. After a break, there was a tour of the website, showing the local and Village Common opportunities. Questions, answers, and conversation followed, with thoughtful feedback and ideas.

Celebrate Barrington Village Accomplishments!

The Barrington Village, along with their fellow local Villages and The Village Common deserve applause for their accomplishments in 2020. The Celebration on December 10 will be our time to relax and enjoy celebrating in the best way 2020 has to offer---a Zoom Party, and with Bill Harley, who has brought joy to Rhode Islanders for many years.

Pat, Susan, Judie, Frank, Mira, Allan, Betsy, Bob and Laura, as members of the BV Steering Committee are all founders of the Barrington Village, beginning in a year that will be remembered for a very long time. Their resilience, energy and positive spirit helped establish the Barrington Village, with close to 30 memberships, 27 vetted volunteers, and many interested in growing this local network of mutual support.


By John Harkey

Service Coordinators are the volunteers who plug any member of The Village Common into the services they need.
Service Coordinators are also the caring people whose sympathetic concern sustains the community we all need.

Service Coordinators are literally in the middle of Village action, even while sitting at home with only a phone and a computer. Here’s how they connect members to the services they need. A Providence Village member calls the on-duty SC to make a request for service at 401-441-5240 (Barrington Village members call their Phone Monitor at 401-400-5599, or email a request to The SC then forwards the request to the volunteers that the member needs — the ones who will run an errand, drive to a medical appointment or grocery store, who will arrange a caring call, help with computer problems, offer a referral to professional services, or even someone who will shovel their snow.

SCs work from home for half a day, on any day of the week they prefer. I’ve been a Service Coordinator for several years and always look forward to a half-day devoted to cleaning off my desk while waiting for the phone to ring! When a member calls with a request, I type the details into the system, press “GO,” and return to tidying my desk. That’s as simple as it gets, but listen to what four other SCs say about their work.

— I like working with members to solve a problem together. This is when I learn more about our members, and feel that collaborating to solve something engages both of us beyond a simple exchange.

— I just enjoy helping the members. It’s one way I can try to be kind. And most of the members are so delightful, appreciative, and resilient. Sounds trite, but I feel they give me more than I do them, because they set an example & lift my spirits.

— I always like dealing with TW because he’s so kind and friendly and there’s a sense of gratefulness in his manner of speaking.

— I find Jim, Liza and the rest of the Service Coordinating Team a great group with which to be doing this work - lots of support, caring and dedication!

Do you think that this volunteer opportunity might be right for you? We need you! And — you don’t need to be a Village member to be a volunteer.

No one is born a Service Coordinator! Here’s how we bring in a new volunteer. You’ll be shown how to use the computer-based network that is fundamental to the system. Your training is conducted through several Zoom sessions with our leaders, to whom you always have access for help.

Please call a Service Coordinator at 441-5240 and ask to be connected with Eliza in Volunteer Intake. She’ll call you and answer any questions you have about joining the SC team.

All About Masks
By Bonnie Ryvicker, Health and Wellness Committee

It is December this month--winter and the holidays are here. For the past 9 months we have been wearing masks. I am becoming clearer on which masks are better, how many layers of fabric they should have, and whether you also need to wear a filter with them. Clearly, more layers in a mask is safer, but it is also important to keep at least a 6 feet distance between you and others.

The attached article is clear, factual and all you need to know about mask wearing. We hope it is helpful. Please remember to wash your mask after wearing it and change your paper masks daily.

Wishing you a safe, healthy Holiday Season.

Great Idea for Seniors!

The Health and Wellness Committee has been studying a product that is known as “the file of life” or “the vial of life.” This tool promotes emergency preparedness by providing medical information to emergency medical providers.

The product requires that you fill it out with updated information each year. The information includes your medications, physicians, contact information, allergies, and much more. It should be placed on your refrigerator. If an emergency occurs, the fire department or the police department will know where to locate it in your home.

This item is a recommendation for all Village members. A digitally maintained "file of life" is one option to consider. The cost is $8 – it is a great stocking stuffer. If interested, please contact a Service Coordinator at 401-441-5240 and they will relay the information to you on how to best locate this simple but most helpful addition to keeping you safe in your own home.

News Flash!

The Village Common office has "file of life" cards available for members if they do not wish to pay the $8 for the above item that can be updated on your computer each year. So, you have a choice. If interested contact:, or call the Service Coordinator (number above).

Stay Safe,
The Health and Wellness Committee

Georgia On My Mind:
Invitation to Write Letters for the 2021 Senate Runoff Election

By Sue Bayley

On January 5, 2021, Georgia’s two Republican senators will face Democratic challengers in a runoff election that will establish the balance of power in the US Senate.

Between now and then, people across the US will be supporting their preferred side in hopes of capturing the prize — a Senate majority for the Democrats or the Republicans.

A group of Oak Hill residents is working to support voters in Georgia by encouraging turnout to participate in the election. The non-partisan letters are being directed to historically under-represented communities to request their absentee ballots for the Senate runoff. By encouraging Georgians to vote safely by absentee ballot, we can help ensure that all voters’ voices are heard.

Volunteers will add their personal comment, by hand, to pre-printed letters, supply envelopes and stamps, and mail as soon as possible, recommended by December 7.

If you are interested in supporting this initiative, contact Lisa Beade: text or phone (401) 323-6200. You can also contact Vote Forward directly at

Home Safety
By Joy Twelves

Each month we choose a different area of the home to check for safety. Our focus this month is on the kitchen.


  • Frequently used items are kept in easy-to-reach places
  • Suitable task lighting is over work areas
  • Cabinets and drawers have easy to grasp handles rather than knobs
  • Sink has lever style faucet (or touch or sensor) rather than knobs
  • Sink faucet water temperature is kept at or below 120 degrees
  • Cooktop controls are near the front – so the cook does not have to reach over the flame or hot pots
  • The controls for the stove top are easy to read (color coded or backlit)
  • The floor is not slippery – not polished or waxed
  • A lightweight ABC rated fire extinguisher is in an easy to reach place
  • A File of Life (emergency information) is posted on your refrigerator for EMTs
Volunteer Help Wanted. Unlimited Gratification Potential.

Call 401-441-5240 to volunteer.

  1. Service Coordinator —Village Common. Connect a Village member with a service provider — all from home. See the article in this Newsletter.
  2. Steering Committee — Providence Village. Sit in on a meeting of Providence Village’s idea workshop. See the article in November’s Newsletter.
  3. Archivist — Edgewood Village. Digitally organize, maintain, and format all documents related to Edgewood Village. Contact Barbara Schermack at
  4. Snow Help

It’s not too early to plan for your home’s snow removal. Our Villages’ Snow Help program is here to help you arrange dependable snow shoveling at your home. Ask for Snow Help here:

Providence Village: 401-441-5240
Barrington Village: 401-440-5599 or

Will you volunteer to help a Village neighbor with removal of small amounts of snow? Contact your Village’s Snow Help coordinator here:

Providence Village:
Barrington Village: 401-440-5599 or

HELP WANTED is a monthly Newsletter feature. Submit your own Village’s volunteer needs to John Harkey at Mid-month deadline.

"Wild chokecherries in autumn," photo by Phil West
The Village Common of RI
Board of Directors
Suzanne Francis, President
Jim Maxwell, Past President
Anne Connor, Secretary
Peter Viner-Brown, Treasurer

Lenore Bunting, Lorraine Keeney, Pat Mattingly, Susan McCalmont, Bonnie Ryvicker, Terry Percelay, Joe Santarlasci, Phil West

The Village Common of RI
Advisory Council

Barry Fain, Jay Glasson, Beverly Ledbetter, Lynette Lopes, Marcus Mitchell, Herbert Rakatansky, Corinne Calise Russo, Barbara Sokoloff, Bill Twaddell, Phil West

Newsletter Staff
 Wendy Oliver
Design: Josh Kemp   
Writers:  Jane Adler, Sue Bayley, Anne Connor, John Harkey, Rosalind Ladd, Vivian Malloy, Jo Ellen Mistarz, Wendy Oliver, Carol Shelton, Eliza Sutton, Phil West, Laura Young 
Photography:  Jane Adler, John Harkey, Phil West,
Obituary Assistance: Anne Connor, Phil West

Please contact us at:
Donate to The Village Common of RI
Copyright © 2020 Village Common of RI, All rights reserved.

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