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Our Staff

 

Jo Ellen Mistarz,

Executive Director

Jo Ellen joined The Village Common of RI in June, 2019. Prior to this, she served as Grants Manager, Elder Services, Catholic Social Services of RI, where she worked on the CareBreaks respite program, Powerful Tools for Caregivers, and other RI programs and services funded by State and Federal grants.

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Jo Ellen's previous experience encompassed health care management, public policy analysis, consulting, and editing and writing. Jo Ellen has an MBA in Finance and Marketing, MA in English/Creative Writing, and BA in English and Journalism. She is the 2019 recipient of the Langevin Lifetime Achievement Award from the Family Caregiver Alliance of RI.

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Eliza Sutton 
Village Coordinator

“Eliza has been working as the Village Coordinator for 1 year. She grew up in Upstate NY, spent many years in NYC and arrived in Providence in 2007. She has a Masters Degree in Public Health and has spent the bulk of her career working on issues around food insecurity among marginalized communities, with a focus on urban agriculture.

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She brings community organizing and program planning and implementation skills to her work at The Village Common. Eliza is excited to be a part of the Village community during this exciting time of growth. She lives with her husband, daughter and cat in Providence. Eliza is passionate about gardening, being outside as much as she can, and reading.

village.coordinator@providencevillageri.org

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Our Board


Anne Connor 
Board President 

In 2015, a friend invited me to an information session where we first learned about the village movement. As newcomers to Providence, Sean and I were able to meet other like-minded adults in this community of mutual support. I was elected Secretary of the Board in 2016.

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My career has been varied: children’s librarian, legal administrator and paralegal. I attended college in the Midwest and received my MA at Columbia University. Community service is part of my family’s DNA so volunteerism has always been important. In addition to being on The Village Common Board (Secretary) and Fundraising Committee co-chair, I have served as former President of the Prudential Committee at The First Unitarian Church of Providence. I have been a public school mentor and library associate. I was elected a 2012 CD1 Delegate to the Democratic Convention.

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Suzanne Francis 
Past President  

My first encounter with the Village Movement was an article about the launch of the Beacon Hill Village in Boston. I was fascinated by the idea. A decade or so later, I attended an information session for a Village in Providence. I was “hooked” on the Village concept and was determined to be actively involved. I became a board member in 2017 and was elected an Officer in 2018.

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My work life includes jobs in the public, not-for-profit and private sectors – starting with three years at the Urban Redevelopment Authority in Pittsburgh after college. Later my husband and I moved to Rochester, MN, where I started and ran two innovative childcare programs. Those experiences led me to the Yale School of Management to learn more about managing organizations. I joined Xerox Corporation as part of a new business start-up and later worked for the Xerox Foundation, with responsibility for funding Community and Women’s Programs. In 1986 I joined Schaffer Consulting in Stamford, CT and spent nearly 30 years working with large and small organizations to plan and implement complex changes. Being a Village member, volunteer and member of the Board during the creation of the Village Common has been an exciting way to start my retirement.

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Patrice Moskow
Board Secretary 

Some years ago, while living in Boston, I learned about Beacon Hill Village and the Village Movement: the whole concept seemed sensible and right. On moving to Providence in 2017, I was delighted to learn that there was a local Village, and began volunteering as a driver in Spring of 2019.

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Since then, I’ve become involved with additional aspects of the Village and the Village Common: service coordinator, fix-it person, tech team, Providence Village Steering Committee member, Coordinating Council alternate, and various ad-hoc projects. I’ve enjoyed getting to know our members and the city.
I grew up outside of Boston, have degrees in German literature and linguistics, have packed fish, been an academic research and reference librarian, sheep farmer, and a carpenter. In Rhode Island, I have been involved with Rhode Island Family Literacy Initiative.

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Peter Viner-Brown 
Board Treasurer

 

I came across the Village Movement in 2017. The Providence Village was looking for volunteers as home helpers and drivers. I have really enjoyed getting to know the members, driving them around, and fixing things. I was elected to the Board in 2018 and elected Treasurer for the Village Common in 2019.

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After graduating from London University, I worked in power engineering in the UK. I arrived in the US in 1982 (my wife, Samara is from Rhode Island), got involved in wind power, and later in the growing field of information technology. I rounded out my working life by doing some teaching.

Also, along the way, Sam and I managed to raise our son, Tristan who is an aspiring performance artist living in Brooklyn, NY.

Retirement has enabled me to volunteer with Dorcas International, Inspiring Minds, Green Energy Consumer Alliance, School One and the Village Common. I like to keep busy!

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Laurel Holmes, MSW

Board Member 

I have been intrigued by examples of mutual aid in community for many years and the Village concept is a strong demonstration of how people together can create supports they need to live fully throughout their life.

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Over 10 years ago, I was part of a small group that created a village in my area of southeastern CT and now by virtue of my work, I am again a part of establishing a village in Westerly.
Currently I hold the role of director of Community Partnerships/Population Health for Lawrence + Memorial and Westerly Hospitals, of Yale New Haven Health System. I am committed to social justice, health equity, anti-racism, and improved community health and am part of a team that leads partnerships with residents and community organizations to address community concerns. I am also responsible for the community health needs assessments and improvement plans’ activities and the reporting on community benefit commitment and program direction for various grant-funded initiatives for both hospitals. In previous roles, I have worked for an arts organization and a statewide political organization. As a volunteer I have served All Souls Unitarian Universalist congregation, the New London Community Meal Center, Habitat for Humanity, and various professional and arts organizations. My refuge is a small house and big garden in Mystic, CT which I share with my husband Doug and daughter Ella.

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Lorraine Keeney

Board Member

I saw a number of flyers posted around Barrington in 2019 which drew me to a focus group on aging. The rest is history; over the next several months Providence Village members came to share their excitement, experience and expertise. I became a member of the steering committee to explore creation of a Village in Barrington and a representative to the committee developing the statewide Village Common. In January 2020 I was pleased to be invited to join the Village Common Board.

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I have varied experience developing, administering, researching, and evaluating humanities, interdisciplinary and educational programs. I taught elementary school after UC Berkeley graduate school and researched curricula, vocational training programs and networking at the Far West Laboratory in San Francisco. In the 1970’s I moved to DC and then Rhode Island and worked at Brown’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform and the John Nicholas Brown Center. At URI I was Program Manager for SNAP-Ed and coordinated the Fall 2001 Honors Colloquium on Sustainability. I have participated and led programs for Life Long Learning and developed a writing/performance program, Scribing with Elders at Elmhurst Nursing Home.


I enjoy Mah Jong, quilting, reading and the beach. I look forward with much pleasure to further engagement with the Village community.

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Maureen Maigret

Board Member 

As a strong promoter of efforts to help older adults live in their communities of choice I was delighted when I heard about Boston’s Beacon Hill Village. I hoped a similar program would be started in RI and followed the start and progress of The Providence Village with great interest.

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In 2017, Patrick Mattingly and I served on a conference panel, for THE THIRD AGE: The Role of Faith-based Communities in Elder Care. Patrick talked about the Providence Village and I shared findings from the Report of the Aging in Community Subcommittee of the Long-Term Care Coordinating Council which I Chair. Subsequently, I met with Patrick and Suzanne Francis to hear about the exciting plans to create The Village Common and was thrilled when the state grant to help implement it was awarded. I am impressed with the success of the Providence Village and fully support efforts to bring the "village" model to other communities through The Village Common. As the state population grows older, this mission to help older adults to live safe and healthy at home is more important than ever. I look forward to working with Board members and JoEllen Mistarz your able Executive Director to promote, enhance and sustain this work.
My professional work began in the healthcare sector working for 20 years as a Registered Nurse. The Women’s Movement of the 1970’s inspired me to run for office which began my second career working in public policy. Elected for five-terms to the Rhode Island House of Representatives from Warwick, I was the first woman appointed to the position of Deputy Speaker and successfully sponsored numerous legislative measures to improve health and human services, to foster women’s equality and to make government more transparent. I worked for a number of state officials in the administrative and policy areas and was Director of the Department of Elderly Affairs. Since retiring from state service in 2006, I work as a consultant on aging and long-term care policy and have authored several reports on the state’s older population. Currently, I Co-Chair the Long-Term Care Coordinating Council. My volunteer work includes co-leading the Office of Healthy Aging’s digiAGE Collaborative and providing policy consultation to the Senior Agenda Coalition. In addition to my RN diploma, my education background includes a BS degree from RI College and an MPA degree from URI.

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Pat Mattingly, Board Member 

I first heard about the Village Movement at a community gathering in late 2014, and got involved in early 2015 because it’s a good fit for my interest and experience.

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My wife Marcia and I have lived in Providence for 29 years, and previously lived in Boston, Seattle and Baltimore. Now retired for ten years, following 35 years in health care leadership roles in government and non-profit organizations - as senior executive in community health centers, integrated health systems, hospitals, health plans and medical groups. My underlying passion through this time has been health policy and planning to provide universal health coverage and care for all, and support patients in making healthcare decisions. So, as we grow older, supporting Village efforts to stay safe and healthy in our homes is a “no-brainer”.

When we are not out in the community on Village business, you can find us in our gardens near Benefit St in Providence or in the Hudson Valley town of Chatham, New York. We have learned that there are no mean people, only kindness and love in the garden.

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Jim Maxwell 
Board Member

I first heard about Providence Village in March 2015 when I attended an informational session about it. I was drawn to the mission of the Village, and based on my professional career prior to retirement,

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I judged I could provide support in a number of areas that would be valuable to the organization. I felt this work would be rewarding to me personally, and it has proven to be so. I was elected to the Providence Village Board in 2015 and elected as an officer in 2017.

I moved to Providence to join the senior staff of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) in September 1984 after having spent 14 years as a professor in the Department of Mathematics at Oklahoma State University. During my time at AMS, I managed the programs and services that the AMS provides to its 30,000 individual members primarily located at colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada and the rest of the developed world. Support of the governing boards and committees of the AMS, also a non-profit organization, was a major part of my responsibility.

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Susan McCalmont

Board Member 

I first heard about the Village Movement and the Providence Village at a brown bag lunch sponsored by the Life Long Learning Community. Afterwards I happened to catch the eye of a friend, a Providence Village member, who suggested I get involved and immediately signed me up as driver. That was 2015, and I’ve been a driver ever since.

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I also joined the effort in 2018 to develop a local village in Barrington. I serve on the Barrington Village Steering Committee and on the Village Common Board as Barrington Village’s representative.


I've lived in Rhode Island for 50 years, most of that time in Barrington. I'm retired now but worked over 30 years for the RI Supreme Court in charge of planning, an interesting role requiring a Master's Degree in Public Administration.


Since retirement I’ve had the opportunity to travel extensively, mostly for birdwatching. I’ve also been active in the community as a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate in Family Court, as the treasurer of the Barrington Democratic Town Committee, as a participant in the Life Long Learning Community, as a driver for the Providence Village and as an organizer in creating a Barrington Village.


My husband and I have two daughters who live on the other side of the country, Oregon and New Mexico. They are both in the health care field providing primary care to underserved populations. We wish they were closer but are glad they chose great places to visit and are doing such important work.

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Territa Percelay

Board Member 

I first heard about the Village Movement at an introductory meeting held at a local library three years ago. I was drawn in by the concept of mutual support for seniors who want to remain at home in their neighborhood as they grow older. I was elected to the Board in 2018.

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As a volunteer, I reached out to local stores and restaurants to obtain discounts for Village members and volunteers. I have been involved with the Fund-Raising Committee and the Social Events Committee.

I worked at advertising agencies in New York City helping to plan and execute campaigns for national brands. I created specialized promotional premium products. My current business interest is Finysh Line, an e-commerce company which offers a line of inspirational and motivational jewelry.

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Lenore Piper Bunting

Board Member

I learned about the Village concept from an article in the Boston Globe several years ago. When I retired, three years ago, ending my law practice, getting involved in my Local Village became a wonderful resource for creating a new life. I was elected to the Board in 2018.

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Originally from Philadelphia, I have lived in Ohio, New York, Michigan, South Carolina & Massachusetts before moving to Pawtucket tin 1995. I have degrees from Syracuse, Harvard and Northeastern Law. Most of my working life I represented disabled children and adults especially around special education concerns. And as a trial lawyer, I represented children or parents who were involved in the Massachusetts Juvenile Court system as the result of abuse and neglect complaints.

I have a long history of volunteer work; currently in addition to becoming a Village board member, I am a Service Coordinator, and I am on the Activities and Membership Committees. I help out at the Pawtucket Backpack Program. I am on the Temple Beth El Sisterhood Board & co-chair of the Social Justice Committee and I again am coordinating a class for LLC.

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Bonnie Ryvicker

Board Member

A friend mentioned to me that she was attending a focus group about the possibility of forming a “Village” in Rhode Island and that it would be something that I might find interesting. I attended the meeting with her and became excited about helping to create a new entity that would build community while assisting older adults (like me) remain in their own homes.

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I have a graduate degree in sociology and early childhood.  I taught in NY before moving to Providence. I coordinated a Volunteer Program at the former Jewish Home. After the facility closed a proposal, I wrote for an outreach program to elderly in RI. was funded.  I coordinated that program for seven years, following this I worked with Family Services in Fall River marketing for a program which found families for disabled individuals to live with.  Although challenging, I was a passionate advocate of the Program and had success in locating families and in obtaining referrals to the Program.

After 7 years there, I moved on to work with Community VNA in Attleboro. While there I did community outreach and marketing, educational programs for seniors. I also had a monthly newspaper column and a few cable tv programs. I found myself teaching at Senior Centers about issues related to “staying healthy.”

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Joseph Santarlasci

Board Member 

I first learned about my local Village through a friend of my wife. I became a member and it was a fantastic decision. I’ve been relying on volunteer rides through my local Village and it has made a tremendous difference for us. I was elected to the Board of the Village Common in December of 2019.

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I have lived in Rhode Island for the past 10 years with my wife, Betsy. My career was on Wall Street for 40 years, where I started my own firm, devoted to corporate turnarounds in 1984.  Currently, I serve as an adjunct Professor in Finance at Bryant University.

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H. Philip West Jr.

Board Member

A friend suggested that my wife, Anne Grant, and I attend an information session about the Village Movement, and we knew immediately that this was for us. I was elected to the founding Board of the Providence Village in 2015.

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I’ve enjoyed driving people, working on the newsletter, and serving as an ambassador. I helped establish the Advisory Council, and in 2018, Anne and I gathered the neighborhood circle pilot for the Oakhill-Woodlawn area of Pawtucket.

A graduate of Hamilton College and Union Theological Seminary, I did further research at Cambridge University. After two decades as an activist pastor in New York City and Connecticut, I followed my wife to Providence in 1988 and found work as state director for Common Cause. After 340 years of unchecked legislative supremacy, Rhode Island had become notorious for corruption. But an era of reform had already begun. I was in position to help enact many laws and six constitutional amendments that created the nation’s strongest Ethics Commission, restructured state government, and established separation of powers. In retirement, I taught Ethics to graduate students at the University of Rhode Island and wrote SECRETS & SCANDALS: Reforming Rhode Island, 1986-2006.

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276 Angell St. Providence RI 02906 401-441-5240