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By Blog Master
Posted: 07/04/2022


The Village is a member-driven organization with many opportunities for members to plan and initiate activities. All committees and groups welcome your participation.

AFFINITY GROUPS - Submitted by Barbara Madden

A goal of Pasadena Village is to create a supportive community and to prevent isolation that can come with aging. Our affinity groups offer many opportunities for members to socialize, to meet new people, and to make friends. As members discover common interests they reach out to the Village membership to form affinity groups, which allow them to explore these interests with others. Affinity groups are self-led, have a defined membership, and are open to all Village members. Groups plan their own meetings and activities.

During COVID, the groups were determined to maintain their activities and relationships. Some affinity groups, such as the Bridge and Book groups, met online for many months. Some, such as the Urban Walkers and Hiking groups, met outdoors wearing masks. As COVID restrictions eased and members were inoculated, in person meetings have resumed in many of the groups.

The variety of affinity groups currently available reflects the diversity of our Village membership. Newer groups include Knitting and Conversation, Spirit Talk, an LGBTQ+ group known as the “Village People”, a Garden Group, and a Cultural Explorations group. More recently, the Adventuresome Dining and Village potluck groups have returned.

COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE – submitted by Dick Myers, Chair

The Communication Committee provides leadership for the operation and maintenance of the Village website. The main purpose of the Committee is to present a dynamic and user-friendly web portal that invites members and non-members to learn more about the goals and programs of the Pasadena Village. During the year different teams took responsibility for site design and review, page creation, IT and Zoom support, and the newsletter.

Accomplishments during the year included:

• Documentation of 60-70 Zoom meetings each month

• An increase in “blog” usage with over 51,000 views since we began using our blog feature

• Establishment of a YouTube channel where our recorded presentations are available to the public

• Establishment of a working relationship with Vroman's bookstore where all of the books mentioned in our meetings and blog posts are featured and available for review

• Expansion of our newsletter mailing list to more than 1,000 names with an average newsletter open rate of nearly 50%.

• Creation of an analytics team to review and report statistics on the performance of our website

• Creation of a Facebook team that regularly posts material to Facebook to expand our visibility with the public

• Establishment of a community events page where we publicize upcoming events that are open to the public

• Start up of an entirely new section of the website intended to explain the benefits of Village membership and participation to all of our constituents

CULTURAL COMMITTEE - Submitted by LuCinda Haagenson & Karen Bagnard

The Cultural Committee’s task is to offer a variety of cultural opportunities for our Village members. The agenda for this past year has been particularly full. Continuing our use of Zoom technology, we were able to offer both in-person and on-line cultural experiences, such as the following:

• We partnered with the Pasadena Public Library to offer a poetry reading by a local artist.

• With grant funding, we were able to partner with the La Pinteresca Branch of the Pasadena Library, on a conversation of selected works of art from the 1400’s to the present day. Noted arts enrichment facilitator, Helane Rheingold, guided the virtual tour. 

• We partnered with the Pasadena Museum of History for a virtual tour of the historic Fenyes Mansion.

• We arranged a talk by writer Naomi Hirahara, who shared how she researched the Japanese internment experience to inform her most recent novel.

• We arranged a talk by author Dr. Clarissa Castillo-Ramsey, who shared some of her diverse stories of personal struggles of women through the ages. After the talk, under Dr. Castillo-Ramsey's guidance, we tried our hand at journaling.

Zoom allowed us to make our cultural programs accessible to Village members who might have hindrances to getting out. The programs were also available to members of the public, both locally and around the country.

As COVID restrictions eased, we also offered two additional cultural outings:

• We visited the Arboretum and saw performances at Boston Court, LA Opera, and the Pasadena Playhouse.

• A small group of Village members toured the Hindu Temple in Chino Hills and enjoyed lunch at their cafe.

Perhaps the highlight of the year was a visit to Apricot Lane Farms. Lois Heyman, a new Pasadena Village member, made arrangements through her son, who works at the farm. Eighteen Village members, hailing from our urban culture, made the trek to Simi Valley for a private tour. This remarkable 200 acre farm is bio-diverse and organic and was featured in the 2018 documentary The Biggest Little Farm.

Each new member joining the Village brings the potential of new ideas and new connections to help us expand our cultural boundaries.

Educational Programs Committee - Submitted by Wayne April, chair

The Education Programs Committee’s focus is on arranging presentations of interest to the membership. The presentations encompass a wide range of topics. Last year they included:

• the practical, such as Planned Giving, Long-term Care Planning, and Preventing Financial Abuse

• the topical, such as Ageless Sexuality, Gender Fluidity, and Aging Like Jagger

• the medical, such as Preventing Colorectal Cancer, Skin Cancer Prevention, and Urology 101

• the esoteric, such as the Early Black History of Pasadena, a tour of the local Mountain View Cemetery and Mausoleum, and Baking with Hanna.

In 12 or more yearly presentations, the committee strives to cover as many areas of interest as possible. The committee welcomes suggestions from anyone. Most presentations are currently through Zoom, but as the Pandemic eases, a few more are being offered in person. The meetings are fun, and the committee welcomes any members who want to join in.

All of the presentations are recorded and available for viewing by going to our Presentation Recordings on our website.

INCLUSIVITY COMMITTEE - Submitted by Karen Bagnard, Chair

The Inclusivity Committee is dedicated to increasing the representation of our diverse community within the Village membership. Our efforts have resulted in a new affinity group for LGBT and allies called “Village People.” We participated in Altadena’s first Pride festival, “Pride Power Walkabout”, with a good deal of interest generated in our organization. In addition, other committees have offered presentations covering gender fluidity, black history, Chicano art, and AAPI (Asian American, Pacific Islanders) topics of concern. Our Village also participated with Ashby Village, San Francisco Village, and Village Movement California to present “LGBT Elders on Aging, Activism and Sex.” In addition, we are partnering with the NAACP and the Southern California Women’s Health Conference.

The committee also oversees the "1619 Project" which meets twice monthly to grapple with the impact of slavery on our country and "Racism Now" which has provided presentations and forums to illuminate the historical and contemporary presence of racism on our culture. These two forums attract not only Village members but participants across the country who seek a safe place to discuss these sensitive topics.

While we have made progress towards some of our goals, we are now in the process of re-evaluating our strategies as we move forward. Our efforts continue to enrich the value of the Village by increasing our diversity.

SUPPORT ASSESSMENT TEAM - Claire Gorfinkel, Chair

The Support Assessment Team consists of social workers, nurses, and other professionals working with Village staff. Our aim is to reach out to members who face challenges related to health, social isolation, transportation, care giving, and other aging issues. We also work with other committees to develop educational programs, discussion groups, and support groups.

The team also oversees the Staying Connected volunteers who telephone and/or visit members to prevent isolation and offer support. We supervise Social Work Interns who keep in touch with members and work on special Village projects. Our members have demonstrated their resilience with myriad social interactions, and we are grateful when members let us know that they - or others - may need some extra attention.

Two highlights of the past year reflect how fortunate we are to work with young Social Work Interns from USC and Azusa Pacific University. One intern helped start and facilitate “The Wonder Years” orientation program. This program helps new members get acquainted with one-another and the Village as a whole, The program also enables long-time Village members to become more aware of how the Village operates. Another intern helped create and facilitate a second Women’s Group.

We are delighted that more members are offering to make check-in phone calls, and we look forward to enhancing our member-to-member interactions.

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