Good Neighbors: Diane Resek and don hubbard
North Berkeley Neighborhood Group Coordinators
Story by Charli Depner
Diane Resek and Don Hubbard are creating community, right in their own “back yards,” by building stronger relationships among neighbors in Ashby Village’s North Berkeley Neighborhood Group.
Ashby Village neighborhood groups are a popular source of social activities for members where they can get together close to home. Diane Resek, known affectionately as “The Queen of Potlucks,” has been active in the North Berkeley Neighborhood group for nearly four years. She found a good collaborator in Don Hubbard, who pitches in with organizational duties and handles group communications. He maintains the group roster of 88 members. Don represents the North Berkeley group at Ashby Village’s Neighborhood Group Council, where neighborhood groups share ideas with other Village group coordinators and Manuela Pegoraro, Community Engagement Manager.
The North Berkeley Neighborhood Group enjoys group lunches, potlucks, dinners, and drop-in happy hours. Other interest groups include a creativity group, a cultural events group, a tech group, and a discussion group. From 4-25 people sign up for any given meeting. Diane is gratified that the “topics” group is getting into issues that are of particular interest to people as they grow older. Group members have shared perspectives on diminished/increased capacity, coping with limitations, patient rights, and end of life issues, as well as practical matters of organizing documents and sharing their wishes with the people who care about them.
Don and Diane believe that connections with neighbors can be helpful when members suffer loss, ill health, or other circumstances when a phone call or visit would be appreciated. They are working on this idea with the Ashby Village Care Team. “I am always concerned about members getting isolated without the help they might need. One of my goals is to check in on inactive members. Coordination with the Care Team,” Don predicts, “could help the community show support for members, line up volunteer services, and put them in contact with resources.”
Both Diane and Don find volunteering for the Ashby Village Community a worthwhile investment of their skills. Diane was invited to a Living Room Chat when Ashby Village was just getting started. “The idea resonated with me,” she remembers, “I saw it as an ‘insurance policy,’ a way to make sure that I will have support when I need it; but also, as close relationships are lost, it is a way of building a community. I really value the opportunity to volunteer, to get involved with others. I have volunteered as a MedPal, Declutter Buddy and, of course, with the neighborhood group.” Don says he joined Ashby Village “almost immediately” after attending a Living Room Chat. “It has given me the opportunity to help form a community that I am proud to be part of.”