Who We Are
North Star Village is part of a national movement of adults who are innovating ways to change the world and age better. Together we provide the friendships, engagement, activities and support that older adults and certain people with disabilities need to remain happily engaged in our communities.
North Star Village is a vibrant nonprofit that connects members with each other and with the resources we need to stay active, independent, and fulfilled. We rely on one another — and on an extensive volunteer pool, referred service providers and partnerships with local agencies, groups and businesses.
Members enjoy a multitude of services and programs
- whether they be social, cultural, physical or practical, that enhance our quality of life today, while also helping develop peace of mind about the future. Our flexible approach allows members to tap into our community activities as they need them, when they want them.
Our village is part of the National Village movement
, an endeavor of older Americans who are taking charge of our future as we age. The movement emerged as a natural answer to a time old problem: not being able to remain in our homes as we age. In 1993, the first village, Beacon Hill Village
was conceived in Boston, MA, and transformed the way elders age forever. The Village concept is that a community of people can pool resources by paying membership dues and volunteering their skills and time to support the Village infrastructure and to assist one another.
The village model has now been adopted in 110 different villages currently existing and another 120 in development across the country (more information here
)! We hope other elders who want to decide their own futures are inspired to start villages in their communities if they don’t already have one.
As part of a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization
, North Star Village welcomes donations of cash, stock, mutual funds, furniture, supplies, and equipment.
Ann Chamberlain retired from many years as a Nursing Professor at the University of
Portland and Linfield College. She continues to offer her expertise as a volunteer Clinical
Supervisor at Rose Haven day shelter for women and children in N.W. Portland.
For 30 years Ann has been a member of a Women’s Spirituality group. She is also engaged in planning and participating in an annual Maiden, Matron, Elders Spiritual Outdoor Camping Retreat each summer.
Ann enjoys her rose and bamboo filled garden in the Kenton neighborhood as well as the
magical time serving as a “grandmother” for her 8 year old second grader at school activities and hip hop dance recitals.
Ann is active on the North Star Hospitality Committee and is a member of the Recommended Vendors Committee.
Anjala Ehelebe holds licenses in Long term care Insurance, Life Insurance, Property and
Casualty and Mortgage Insurance. She worked in Management with different agencies for the State of Oregon and as a Loaned Executive for United Way. For seven years she served on and then became Chair for the State Rehabilitation Council.
For over 30 years Anjala has participated and served in leadership roles with the Woodlawn Neighborhood Association. She also served on the Board of the NE Coalition of
Neighborhoods later taking on the role of their Operations Manager for a time. She is the
author of Images of America: Portland’s Woodlawn Neighborhood, a photo history.
Her experience as a caregiver for family members has given her a passion for the Village
movement and advocating for people with disabilities. Anjala serves as Past Chair, Liaison with Villages NW, and as a Marketing Committee member.
Marianne LaBarre is Professor Emeritus at Seattle University. With a Doctorate in Leadership she served there for 30 years teaching, directing Graduate Programs and being the founding Director of the Executive Leadership Program and the Pastoral Leadership Program. Marianne’s joys in retirement include getting her daily 10,000 steps in walking her beautiful University Park neighborhood with her partner and their corgi, Finnegan. She also offers Soul Collage sessions for the Village members.
As Chair of the Governing Council and facilitator of the membership team Marianne enjoys welcoming new members through the application process and supporting the community life of the Village.
Barbara Miklos retired from numerous leadership positions for the State of Alaska in areas
related to Children’s Services, Health Care, Public Health and the Department of Corrections. In addition to positions as Executive Director and Director she served on numerous Boards and Commissions.
Following retirement and prior to her move to Portland, Barbara volunteered for 7 years in Tanzania, Africa. Her work there included teaching English, grant writing and working with street girls. She continues to be committed to sponsoring a preschool for Masai children, making it possible for them to attend the government school when they come of age.
Barbara is chair of the Outreach committee, a liaison for the Recommended Vendors Committee and a member of the Circle of Representatives to Villages NW.
Mary Shepherd has been a secondary school teacher in the sciences and math and has worked in senior management on several levels for private business, non-profit organizations and the State of Oklahoma.
She received her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in 2006. A career in health insurance began with BCBS of Oklahoma and ended in a Vice President position with a Third Party Administrator serving self-funding companies in Oklahoma.
As a volunteer, Mary has served as a mentor for children in need through the YWCA, helped Vietnamese children integrate into the Public School system, served as a docent for both the Oklahoma City Zoo and the Tulsa Zoo, participated in the 3rd Grade Reading With Friends Program and volunteered for the American Red Cross.
Mary is Co-Chair of the Governing Council and serves on the Club Express committee.
Tina Smith has over 20 years experience in Financial Analysis and Project Management work with start ups and large corporations.
For 15 years Tina was a care giver for an aging family member which connects her to “love
what the Village is doing and being excited about being able to help.”
She has served in the positions of Treasurer, Vice President and President in her five years of work with non-profit Boards.
Tina now serves as the Transportation Coordinator for North Star Village in addition to volunteer driving and doing her full time work. The Woodlawn Neighborhood is home to Tina, her boyfriend, and Bella, her cat.
Nancy Stevens has been a public health advocate and consultant to non-profit organizations for the past thirty-five years. Currently, she mentors high school students for Minds Matter.
She also fosters golden retrievers for Golden Bond Rescue, hosts for Airbnb and fishes the
rivers of the Northwest with Stonefly Maidens and Women on the Fly.
Nancy lives in the Linnton neighborhood and spreads the word about the Village in our
Northernmost region. She joined the North Star Village's Planning team in 2015 and continues to serve as Treasurer on the Governing Council.
Cheri Tessler worked as a Speech and Language Pathologist in Woodstock, Illinois. She also acted in Community Theater at the Woodstock Opera House (where Orson Wells got his start).
Cheri has been involved in the formation of North Star Village from the beginning. She oversees the Fundraising Committee, serves on the Membership committee and coordinates the North Star phone answerers for our service calls.
Cheri and her husband Fred, who is a driver for North Star, live in the Arbor Lodge neighborhood. They enjoy frequent travel abroad, and life in Portland engaged with the joys of their grandchildren.
Stu Webster works for the American Wind Wildlife Institute, a research group supporting deployment of wind energy while minimizing impacts to wildlife. He has a Bachelors in environmental studies and a Masters from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management in California.
Prior to this position Stu constructed two residences designed by his architect wife Anna and her business partner.
Stu serves as the Recording Secretary for North Star Village and is active with the Recommended Vendors Committee, driving and other volunteer services. Stu shares, “Collaboration and comradeship come naturally to me. I enjoy the challenge and opportunities that working towards a common goal with others brings.”
Stu and Anna have called the Portsmouth neighborhood home for seven years.
Iris Wernher is currently a doctoral student with an emphasis in gerontology at Portland State University. She serves as a Graduate Research Assistant at the Institute on Aging and brings her background as an organizational and clinical psychologist to her current academic studies. She is actively involved in the Age-Friendly Portland Initiative.
Iris has been part of the process of creating and shaping the Village since its formative years through a variety of roles on the Planning Committee. Currently she is the Volunteer Coordinator, Volunteer Trainer, and Webmaster.
In her words, Iris “is fascinated by this innovative and forward-looking concept" which links her to fellow Villagers "who believe in reciprocity, community and the far-reaching power of a shared vision.”