Our monthly board meetings are on the third Tuesday of the month, 6:00–8:00 pm via Zoom.
Meetings are open to the public unless we are holding a closed session.
For information on attending the meeting, agenda items, membership, volunteering, or becoming a board member, contact President Alisan Andrews.
View our current officers and board members.
Barbara was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, graduated with an Arts degree at the University of Wisconsin and headed to Europe. As an Art major, she looked up all the museums she could find and savored the brilliance of the artwork in person. After two years traveling via youth hostels, friends in Sardinia provided a job in a jet set boutique on the Costa Smeralda. Barbara spent five years there designing and fabricating high fashion clothing and jewelry, marrying a Sard, and having twin girls, Jasmina and Jessica.
The worldwide gas shortage ended that career. She came home, became certified in K–12 and special ed, and worked in Milwaukee’s mental health long-term care (LTC) facilities. The Reagan plan to close LTC facilities for the mentally ill influenced her decision to go to California and be in the Mediterranean-like climate she had grown to love. In October 1981, with her then 9-year-old twins, they moved to Santa Cruz. They lived in tents at an alternative school in Aptos, where she was the head teacher. They eventually found a rental next to Highlands Park in Ben Lomond in 1982. Barbara states, “Not many places in the Santa Cruz area were available to an unemployed single woman with two cats, a dog, and a pony!”
When VWC signs appeared on the roads stating, “If this bridge goes out, how are you going to get home?” Barbara got involved. She signed up her neighbors for the VWC Neighborhood Survival Network and helped in the Annual SLV River & Road Clean Up. She even took a CERT class. Given the number of national disasters and local hazards the Valley has experienced, Barbara sees the critical need for community cooperation in these woods. She notes the Valley Women’s Club has stepped up and helped pick up the pieces every time.
Barbara’s first job out of college was in the Milwaukee County Infirmary OT department, organizing activities for chronically mentally ill residents. She subsequently directed activities in a skilled nursing home and an intermediate facility. Her experiences there helped her find her calling in California as a long-term care insurance agent, assisting folks to stay comfortably in their own homes when a disability strikes. She continues to help her LTC insurance clients navigate their benefits.
In addition to being a Valley Women’s Club Board Member, Barbara participates in the Environmental, Women’s Solutions, Membership, and Marketing Committees. She always shows up to help with mailings and VWC events. Barbara has also served on the boards of the Monterey Bay Iris Society and the Santa Cruz Fungus Federation.
Barbara asked one of her LTC clients what she could do for her as a VWC board member. She replied, ”There is no support group for caregivers in the Valley.” In 2016, she formed the SLV Caregiver Support Group to fill the need. Monthly meetings offer informational programs, peer support, discussions, and community development among the attendees.
After a hiatus due to COVID, the in-person meetings have begun again on the first Thursday of the month at the VWC Office at the Highlands Park Senior and Community Center, 2-3:30 pm. If you are a caregiver for a friend or family member, please come and enjoy the camaraderie and refreshments. To learn more about the SLV Caregiver Support Group, visit our webpage and follow us on Facebook.