What is the Village Network of Petaluma?
The Village Network of Petaluma is a nonprofit, membership organization designed to empower older adults 50+ to continue to living affordably and well in our own homes as long as we wish and are able to do so - by providing personalized assistance, services, and a trusted community. Similar Villages are functioning successfully in over 200 communities nationwide, with 23 so far in the Bay Area.
All Villages are members of the national Village to Village Network, which provides blueprints for success and on-going connections between Villages. See www.vtvnetwork.org
How can the Village Network support me in living independently?
We like to call it “interdependent living,” as the Village is building a community of trust to empower members to support one another, as in traditional neighborhoods. After making a single phone call, members are connected to a person who listens actively and coordinates access to services such as transportation, social connections and activities, minor home repairs and computer help - provided by volunteers or screened service providers. Within the last 13 years, this innovative model has been initiated in nearly 140 similar successful villages all across America, with 14 in the Bay Area, and we are learning from their experiences.
Is the Village Network a place to live?
The Village Network of Petaluma is a community network of support for older adults 50+ living in The Petaluma/Penngrove area, not a residential facility.
What are the benefits of becoming a member?
Members are part of a caring and vibrant community with a single number to call for assistance in meeting many of their short and long term needs.
- One phone number to call for assistance or for help in coordinating services
- Prompt, friendly and personalized service
- A wide range of social and cultural activities
- Social connections
- Minor home repairs, computer help and temporary pet care
- Transportation for groceries, errands and medical appointments
- Access to pre-screened vendors who often provide discounts
- Home visits and phone check-ins (if desired)
- Note-taking at medical appointments
- Support for family care-givers
- Safety net for when an unexpected need for help arises
- Peace of mind
If there are so many other senior services available in Petaluma, why do we need a Village?
The Village Network of Petaluma has carefully researched the senior services available in Petaluma and found that many services are stretched beyond capacity, available only to people with low-incomes or cost prohibitive. Given shrinking community resources, spiraling costs of senior services and healthcare, and dramatic increase in the number of aging baby boomers, our mission is to fill in the gaps in affordable services by providing a peer network of support. We collaborate with existing community organizations and services, and do not intend to duplicate services.
Recent research on the impact of Villages by Dr. Andrew Scharlach of U.C. Berkeley, has shown that the 9 Villages in California that he studied for 3 years improved the well-being and social connectedness of their members - by providing assistance in the areas of comprehensive, personalized information and reliable referral resources, transportation, social activities, volunteer opportunities, and support to help navigate the transitions of aging. See The Impact of the ''Village'' Model on Health, Well-Being, Service Access, and Social Engagement of
Why should I become a member if I’m active and healthy right now?
As with insurance, a Village Network of Petaluma membership provides you and your family with peace of mind, and allows you to be prepared for the unexpected. It offers a trusted community of support to provide the help you need to continue living in your own home.
For many members of Villages, the community self-help aspect is the most important reason for joining. Membership offers a sense of belonging to a mutually supportive community and opportunity to volunteer your service to others. Members also have the opportunity to join as Social Members, at the regular fee, with all but $50 tax deductible (and the choice to convert to a regular membership at any time). Many members have joined to help build our Village so it's here for all of us as we age!
Others especially prize the convenience of calling one number to get all kinds of services, whether it's a plumber, an accountant, a driver or help with a computer. Discounts for members are a benefit, too.
What are the membership dues?
Village Network of Petaluma is a non-profit membership fee-based organization, and once we have completed our start-up phase, will be primarily supported by fees from its members. It is our intention to keep the fees as affordable as we can. Based on our projected costs and the experiences of similar organizations in the Bay Area, dues are $55/month for individuals and slightly more for a household of two or more (with a discount for those paying annually). In the longer term, we intend to offer subsidized memberships for people with limited income, but first we need to build a sustainable organization.
Currently, volunteers provide the administrative, program, and direct services, as Villages are "member-driven." However, in order to create a lasting, sustainable organization, we have determined that, after our start-up phase, we will need to hire a Program Director to expand personalized and reliable services, train volunteers, and screen service providers and handle general administrative tasks. And of course we now have organizational costs, office rental (at a low cost) and equipment, and liability insurance.
How does the Village Network operate?
The Village is guided by a volunteer Steering Committee and assisted by several other teams of community volunteers who help in developing ideas and procedures. Those committees include: Budget/Finance; Outreach/PR; Resources; Programs; Website/Technology; Volunteers; and Program.
Daily operations of the Village Network of Petaluma is currently managed by a volunteer Operations Manager, working with a team of office volunteers. They coordinate member requests and manage volunteers, as well as the Village’s activities, programs, and volunteer opportunities.
Do volunteers need to be members? Do members need to volunteer?
Although we do encourage members to volunteer, it would not be required. Volunteers, who can be of any age, do not have to be members. Membership for volunteers who are 50+ is encouraged, and will support the Village in building a sustainable organization which will be here for all of us as we age.
I live on a fixed income and cannot afford the yearly membership fees. Does that mean I can’t join?
Village Network of Petaluma places a high value on including any member who wishes to join, regardless of income, and we hope to be able to do that within the first few years of operation. In order to support memberships for lower income members, Village Network of Petaluma will have to secure grants, donations or business sponsorships, which we will seek after we launch and have a track record. Nationally, around 70% of Villages do this within a few years of launch.
I have another question, how can I ask you for more information?