In November of 2014, Chip Poston and his neighbor Carol Clark first read about the Virtual Village movement in a newspaper article. During the winter of 2014-15 we held several community meetings in South Toe and a Steering Committee was formed. We began operation of a Pilot Program in February 2017.
The vision of MY Neighbors is to develop an all-volunteer eldercare network serving two mountain counties of North Carolina, Mitchell and Yancey. The roots of our vision are in the Village to Village Network, a group of “virtual villages” that have grown rapidly around the nation and has also spread internationally. “Virtual Villages” are grass roots, member-driven organizations where neighbors support one another in living safely and affordably in their own homes for as long as possible.
MY Neighbors is an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff. Volunteers provide all of the effort needed to help the elder Members we serve. We are a nonprofit corporation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and a state recognized charity.
Meet the Board and Committee Activists
Following are brief bios of most of the key players in MY Neighbors:
*(Board Chair and Chair of the Volunteer Committee) Chip Poston taught school for thirty-five years at Arthur Morgan School and George School, an international Friends boarding and day high school in Newtown, PA. From 1993-1996 he was a peace development worker with the Mennonite Central Committee in Jerusalem and has since returned to Israel/Palestine six times leading groups. He is a member of Celo Friends Meeting.
*(Board Vice-Chair, Chair of the Marketing Committee) Karin Rolett, a native of Sweden, is a retired clinical social worker/family therapist and community activist. She is grateful that her children and grandchildren (mentioned below) are mostly living close by. She loves the outdoors, all critters large and small, clay work and books.
*(Treasurer) Stacy Oates is MY Neighbors' handbook and document specialist. She and her spouse Russ retired to North Carolina after spending thirty years in Alaska. There she worked as an accountant and administrative officer, most recently for the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles. She volunteers as an AARP Tax-Aide, preparing tax returns for senior and lower-income community members. Her interests include reading, embroidery, and visiting family in Alaska and Virginia.
*(Recorder) Penni Ackerman Powell is a retired clinical social worker and psychotherapist with a focus on children and families. She has been a board member for several non-profit organizations including Hospice of Charlotte. She is a member of Temple Israel in Charlotte.
*(Board Member, Head of the Call Managers) Bill Schultz moved to South Toe in 2004 from Portland, Oregon where he worked as an attorney, administrative law judge and mediator. He and his spouse Lisa have been married for forty-three years. They worked at Arthur Morgan School for a few years before retiring. Their daughter Katey Schultz and her husband Brad Quillen also live in the area. For the past three and a half years Bill has volunteered as a Guardian ad Litem for the 24th Judicial District. He continues to serve as a mediator and teaches electives at AMS from time to time. His interests include reading, woodworking and blacksmithing.
*(Head of Technology) Paul Lundquist is an artist-blacksmith, internet technology person & computer helper living in Celo. He served as board member and president of the internet service provider main.nc.us, was on the founding committee of HandMade in America and created the Toe River Arts Council Studio Tour. He is doing the computer work for MY Neighbors and its virtual office as well providing computer support for The Toe River Skill Exchange.
*After more than forty years as a part-time resident of South Toe, (Board Member) Carol Sasek and her husband are at last building a home base in Celo! Her professional career has stretched from resource development to nonprofit management consulting, public education and real estate brokerage. Her community service, nonprofit board participation and volunteering earned her the National Points of Light award in 2008.
*(Board Member) Stephen H. Powell is a retired physician who practiced internal medicine and geriatrics for thirty-five years. He was the founding medical director of the Presbyterian Senior Health Center in Charlotte and led an interdisciplinary team focused on maximizing vitality and quality of life for the older patients that were served. He has a long standing interest in health care ethics, policy and clinical operations. He is an active member of Temple Israel in Charlotte.
*(Board Member) Johnny Riddle is a lifelong resident of Yancey County. He has been a self-employed businessman for over 30 years. Johnny married his high high school sweetheart, Janet Robinson Riddle over 30 years ago. They have two daughters, Anne and Molly. Johnny has served on the Yancey County Board of Commissioners for nearly ten years and has served as Board Chair for the last eight years. He is a leader in the growth and development of Yancey County.
*(Former Steering Committee member) Ron Rolett is a retired public health physician who spent eight years working in health departments in North Carolina and twenty-three years in South Carolina. He and Karin have been married fifty-five years and counting. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Currently Ron volunteers with Celo Health Center, The Appalachian Therapeutic Riding Center, and The Habitat for Humanity Re-store. Ron also speaks fluent English, Swedish and German.
*Rachel Swinney served on the MY Neighbors Steering Committee until it graduated to being a Board. (She remains on the Marketing & Fundraising Committee and the Membership Committee.) Over the years she used her education in Communication Arts through serving on numerous nonprofit boards. She worked with a battered women's shelter, a hospice program, a teachers’ association, a craft community, and with two historically Black colleges. Then she realized she wanted to serve folks in a deliberate healing way, so she has been a full time massage therapist for twenty-eight years and counting. She has lived in Maryland Virginia, Florida and Tennessee but recently moved full time to South Toe to develop her passion for homesteading.
Others who have helped us out along the way include David Johnson, Benoit Delcourt, Catherine Peck, Cynthia Sexton, Lee Rule and Ruth Ann Marotta. We have been blessed with a lot of human capital at MY Neighbors!