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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


Suzanne Francis, Board 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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Jim Maxwell,
Past President

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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Anne Connor, Board Secretary 

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