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January 2017 Newsletter

Village Network of Petaluma

The Village Network of Petaluma
A nonprofit membership community of support
serving the Petaluma and Penngrove area.
Village office: 402 Petaluma Blvd. North

Table of Contents

Online program calendar at

One free month of membership
for new memberssigning up in January!
Welcome to the Village
Thursday, January 19, 11:00 – 12 noon
Saturday, February 18, 11:00 – 12:00 noon
Village Network Office, 402 Petaluma Blvd. North (at Oak St.).

One free month of membership for people who sign up in January
A introductory meeting for adults 50+ and their familymembers who want to learn more about the innovativeVillage concept of “friends helping friends” to continue living vibrant, active, and connected lives in our own homes as we age. Learn how membership offers social engagement, transportation, home assistance, computer help, connection, and fun! Bring a friend or loved one, get your questions answered, and meet Village members and volunteers.
Weekly Walking Group
Tuesdays, 8:30 – 9:30 am. Meet at Walnut Park on 4th St.
We have fun, great conversations, and exercise while exploring neighborhoods and gardens, or walking across the river. Everyone welcome. Email Sue Miller atrmiller875@comcast.netfor info, and whether rain cancels.
Our Life Stories and Legacy
Tuesdays, 10:15 – 11:45 am, Village office. Newcomers welcome.
Our life stories and legacy are unique andimportant both individually and as a community. We explore ways to preserve, celebrate, and honor our experiences. Tell your story using writing and creative projects. We work together to create a setting which can inspire participants to celebrate their life stories and remember long-forgotten details. For more info Members free, non-members $5.
Qi Gong Class
Thursdays, 9:30 – 10:30 am, Village office. Newcomers welcome.
Fridays, 3:30 – 4:30 pm, Petaluma Health Center,* 1179 No. McDowell

* Co-sponsored by the Petaluma Health Center and the Village Network
Start the new year right by learning movements and exercises targeted for specific organ systems like heart, spleen, liver, lungs, and kidneys. Healthy bodies can be enhanced by “The Five Elements Qigong,”an ancient form of movement that is designed to energize and strengthen the five major systems in Chinese medicine. There are no restrictions on who may come - if you cannot stand, the poses can be done easily in a chair with benefit. It is preferable, but not necessary, to attend all classes. Members free, non-members $5.
Elad Levinson has studied Qi Gong for many years and is currently in teacher training level one of Qigong Dharma with teacher Teja Bell. He has also been practicing meditation since 1975.

Film Discussion Group
Friday, January 6 and 20, 10:15 – 11:15 am, Village office.
We are now offering a movie discussion club that meets on alternate Friday mornings. Each meeting consists of a roundtable critique of the film we chose the previous meeting and have each seen on our own, and a decision regarding the next movie to see.La La Landis the movie we chose for Jan. 6. Please RSVP to Jerry Spremich (discussion facilitator), at 415-827-3206, For Village members and volunteers.
Finding YourArtist Within
Monday, January 9, 10:00 – 11:00, Village office.
Bob Phillips, a local artist who didn’t start painting until he retired from a career in business, had always considered himself inept at drawing and coloring. He will discuss how he got started as an artist late in life. Bob’s experience proves that it’s never too late to start painting or drawing. You don’t have to sell or show your work. Making art just for yourself is relaxing as well as exciting, meditative, and joyful. He will also provide a list of local resources and free classes. Please RSVP to Stephanie at 776-6055
Bob, a member of the Petaluma Arts Association, has won a number of awards as an advanced amateur, and his work has been on display in the Village Network office this fall.
Women’s Circle - for members
Wednesday, January 11, 9:00 – 10:30 am, at the home of a member.
(Last session of 4-month series is on Feb. 8.)
This discussion group provides an opportunity to share thoughts and feelings about what life is like as we age, and the gifts and losses we experience. It is important to plan to attend all 4 sessions,and necessary to attend the first to participate.
Sarah Fleming, MFT, is a psychotherapist in private practice. Sarah has worked in Petaluma with families and individuals for 15 years.
Gentle Yoga for Balance, Flexibility, and Increased Energy
Wednesday, January 11 and 25, 11:00 – 12 noon, Village office.
Practice gentle yoga and breathingtechniques, and improve posture, balance, flexibility, and energy. Can be done seated or standing - beneficial for all health levels. In addition, we’ll be investigating simple ancient hand gestures, or mudras, with accompanying meditations to support stress reduction and resilience. Come early, as we’ll start on time. Members free, non-members $5/class. Bring a large towel.
Pat Martin, CMT, EEMPC, CYT, has worked with hundreds of clients for over 20 years in her Petaluma practice. She focuses on optimizing health and managing stress, with tools including yoga, massage therapy, and Eden Energy Medicine. Pat teaches yoga at P.O.S.T. Wellness by Design.

Gardening Group
Monday, January 16, 12 – 1:30 pm, at the home of a member.
Join our monthly gardening interest group, meeting in each other’s gardens. This is not about having a showplace, but about seeking suggestions, new ideas, and having fun. Please RSVP to Suzanne Clarke for the address,
TED Talks Discussion Group
Wednesday, January 18, 10:00 a.m., Village office
Have you ever pondered how the news distorts your world view? What about all those satellites accumulating up above us? Do you realize maps tell us not just where we are but also who we are? Find out about all this when we view two or three 20-minute TED talks and talk about what they talked about. Contact Jane Merryman for more info (,707-762-1023). RSVP
Bocce Ball
Wednesday, January 18,4:00 – 5:00 pm, Leghorn Park. (Meets 3rdWed. of the month.)
No experience necessary, rain cancels. We have a lot of fundress warmly! RSVP to George Beeler
Poetry Group
Friday, January 20, 1:30 – 3:30 pm, in a member’s home.
(Meets 3rdFriday of the month.)
Poets are invited to join us to share our poetry with one another. For more information and the location of the meeting, contact Sam Doctors atsamdoctors701@gmail.comor 530-414-4032.
Village Game Night
Friday, January 20, 4:00 – 6:00 pm, in a member’s home.
Newcomers welcome.
We will have potluck finger food and games. Join us, and bring a favorite game if you wish, or just bring yourself and have fun. RSVP for address to Stephanie, or 776-6055.
Post-Holiday Blues or Depression?
Monday, January 23, 10:00 – 11:30 am, Village office.
Got the blues after the holiday season? Knowanyone who does? Depression is a common problem for older adults, but it is not a normal part of aging. Learn the differences between "feeling blue”and depression. How can you recognize the symptoms, how can you help a depressed person, and what kinds of treatments are most effective? This program is open to Village members and volunteers. Please RSVP, or call 776-6055.
George Young, Ph.D., is a Village volunteer and recently retired Clinical Psychologist.
Village Tech Workshop
Wednesday, January 25, 1:00 – 2:30pm, Village office.
  • Want to be more comfortable using your computer, tablet, or smartphone?
  • Having problems with your cell phone or computer?
Members at all experience levels welcome in this workshop, which will assist you with computer or cell phone issues. Topic for this session will be using the cloud for connectivity, storage, and back-up. Learn new ways to get things done and make your life easier. Led by Village volunteers Sarah Jane Catarozoli (a high school student), Tom Horst and Paul Greenblatt. RSVP
Reminder: If you are a member and need someone to come to your home to help with a computer problem, you can also schedule an appointment with a Village tech volunteer.
Village Singing Group
Thursday, January 26, 3:00 – 4:30 pm (Meets last Thursday of the month.)
No prior experience or talent necessary, just a love of making music. We try many kinds of music – and have a lot of fun! RSVP to Sue Miller atrmiller875@comcast.netfor location.

Book Group
Friday, January 27, 1:30 – 3:00 pm, at the home of a member.
Join us for a discussion ofBetween the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It is available at the public library and at Contact Village member Jane Merryman for the address

Potluck for Village Members and Volunteers: Newcomers welcome
Sunday, January 29, 4:00 – 6:00pm, in a member’s home.
A time to get to know each other better, share good food, enjoy our “conversation café,” and have fun. For members and volunteers. RSVP to Stephanie Wilkinson,, for the address.
“Volunteer 101” Training
Wednesday, January 30, 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Village office.
All volunteers who are interested in workingwith members need to complete this training. If you’d like a one-on-one meeting to discuss your interests, contact Stephanie atinfo@VillageNetworkofPetaluma.orgor 776-6055. Space is limited. RSVP is required.
Birding Group
Since birds don't let us know ahead of timewhen and where they will be, we have to work around that uncertainty. We will be alerting those on the birding email list about places where birds can be seen in the next two weeks, depending on the weather. We might get together to go someplace, or just let people know so they can go on their own. Interested people should contact Len Nelson to get on the mailing list

Coming in February…
Volunteer Driver Training
Thursday, February 9, 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Village office.
We’re looking for a few good drivers, as driving is one of our most requested and appreciatedservices. Completion of this training, in addition to the "Village Volunteer 101 Training,”is necessary before driving Village members to medical appointments, grocery shopping, Rx pick-up, or Village events. RSVP required: 707-776-6055
Exercises Just for You
Thursday, February 16, 2017, 11:00 - 12:30 a.m., Village office.
In this workshop Pat Martin will provide gentle exercises, taking into consideration participants' needs. Those who sign up will be requested to email one or two of their physical and energetic concerns to Pat atpatmart@comcast.netby Feb.1, along with your RSVP. This information is anonymous and confidential. Pat will then develop a one-hour exercise regime that takes into consideration participants' needs. In the workshop, you willpractice exercises that will address collective as well as specific individual physical and energetic concerns and good health. Participants will receive a printout of exercises that will that include at least one of their specific needs.Open to members and volunteers, fee $5.00 for both members and volunteers.
Pat Martin, CMT, EEMPC, CYT, has worked with hundreds of clients for over 20 years in her Petaluma practice. She focuses on optimizing health and managing stress, with tools including yoga, massage therapy, and Eden Energy Medicine. Pat teaches yoga at P.O.S.T. Wellness by Design.

Village Network office: 402 Petaluma Blvd. North
Online calendar

Village Network office: 402 Petaluma Blvd. North
Celebrating David Strange
1924 - 2016

Dr. David Strange, founding member and active participant in the Village Network, recently passed away. We deeply appreciate his generous spirit, deep wisdom, and caring heart. David worked tirelessly to help to launch the Village, then developed our Wellness Support Team, and started our first interest group, a book club in his living room.

A celebration of David’s life will be held at the UCC/Unitarian Universalist church, at 825 Middlefield Rd., on Saturday January 7, at 1pm.
New Beginnings for the Village Network
by Anne Greenblatt, Board President

The Village Network has been steadily growing, shaped by the needs, inspirations, and talents of more than120 committed members andvolunteers. As of January 1, we are proud to announce that we have become an independent nonprofit organization. Village members continue to appreciate the social connections and new friendships with caring people. Our monthly potlucks for members and volunteers drew record numbers over the holidays.

The often rancorous and divisive qualities of both the election campaign and its aftermath have left many feeling lost and bewildered, as the norms and values that we take for granted seem to have been upended. In the numerous conversations I've been part of in the Village, one response stands out. Each of us must decide what we stand for, find out who needs help, and then pitch in. In other words, this is a time for action.

The Village continues to focus on building collaborative partnerships with community organizations, as it's clear we're stronger together as we face an uncertain future. Our new Membership Partners Program, in collaboration with PEP Housing, has exceeded our fundraising goal of $5400 for 10 new members living on limited income. As this pilot program develops, we hope to expand this effort to welcome new members. We're also excited to support the new Age-Friendly Sonoma County initiative, based on the World Health Organization's global network of age-friendly cities. The mission, closely aligned with that of the Village Network, is to build a safer, more connected, and easily navigated community that works well for all ages.

To work toward building a larger, more inclusive, and sustainable Village, we are offering one free month of membership for new members signing up during the month of January. We're also offering our existing members one free month of membership if they recommend a friend who signs up by the end of the month. If you're interested in learning more about becoming a member or volunteering, come to our Village Welcome Meeting on Thursday, January 19, 11:00
12:00, or request a one-on-one meeting by calling 776-6055.

As always, we welcome your engagement and participation as we launch an important new year working to make the Petaluma area a strong community that supports the active engagement of all its members in community life.

Warm regards,
Interview with Gabriella Ambrosi,
Village member and Screened Service Provider

Gabriella Ambrosi, president and CEO of Sequoia Senior Solutions, a North Bay in-home care provider, has been involved in caring for others for over 30 years. After graduating from University Hospital Nursing School in Padua, Italy, Gabriella worked as a registered nurse at two major Italian hospitals. She moved to the U.S. in the 1980s and earned her BA in biological sciences at Rutgers. She returned to Italy, where she pursued a career in marketing with Baxter Healthcare Corporation. She returned to the U.S. in the ‘90s and earned a master's degreein marketing at Golden Gate University.

What attracted you to work in the field of home care?
I have always had an attraction for the elderly. I grew up in an extended family with my maternal grandparents, who helped my parents raise us. My father was the first caregiver I knew; he was the primary caretaker for my mother's father, who became bedbound after a stroke. One of my fondest memories was feeding my grandfather grapes while he lay in bed, unable to communicate due to severe dementia, but nonetheless showing great pleasure either from the grapes, my presence, or both.

What is most rewarding in your work with Sequoia Senior Solutions?
By far the most rewarding part of my work is when I call the daughter or son of one of our new clients to find out how the first day of service went. The relief and gratitude in their voice is what fuels me. A very close second place is the feedback I often receive from our caregivers.

What led you and your husband to support the Village Network of Petaluma?
We heard about Villages being formed in other parts of the country a few years ago. Stan wanted to form one in Petaluma but did not have the time to dedicate to the project. So when he was approached by Anne Greenblatt, he was very happy to help support the creation of Village.

What is it like to run your organization as a married couple?
Along with adopting our three children, it has been the best decision of our lives. Stan and I complement each other. We bring different experiences, personalities, backgrounds, and perspectives to the business. Being together in the company allows us to take time for our children when needed without guilt or resentment.

Can you tell us about your new wheelchair lift van and training for family caregivers (both especially relevant to Village members)?
We call our van “specialized transportation for wheelchair users.” It provides door-through-door service staffed by courteous drivers who are certified companion aides and experienced caregivers. They are qualified to assist with preparing people for the journey, making them comfortable during it, and resettling them upon arrival.

As for the training for family members, after spending countless hours developing a training program for our caregivers, we decided to offer the same training to family members for a small fee. Sequoia Home Care Academy provides weekly classes in our Petaluma office on topics ranging from communicating with a person who has Alzheimer's and dementia, to providing care for a diabetic family member, to caring for a stroke survivor, and more. We are also equipped to train small family groups in their own homes, which is particularly useful when teaching hands-on techniques. Village members who are caregivers can participate in these trainings at no cost.
Sonoma County's
Age-Friendly Initiative Takes Off
When asked, “What disease is the biggest hazard to American healthcancer, heart disease, or diabetes?” the U.S. Surgeon General replied that isolation is the greatest threat to mental and physical health. His answer is actually encouraging, because together we can alleviate and prevent isolation. That’s exactly what the Village Network members and volunteers are committed to doing.

Other groups in our county are exploring this issue, too. On December 9, I attended a symposium titled “Envisioning an Age-Friendly Sonoma County,” hosted by Aging Together Sonoma County and attended by more than 60 people. Many were city and county government leaders and staff or volunteers from nonprofit groups and agencies.

We gathered to hear research results and learn what other communities are enacting. Three experts discussedthe coming “age-wave,” in which 25% of the county’s population will be over 65 by 2030. This poses challenges and opportunities in the fields ofaging and land use planning. These may seem unlikely bedfellows, but it’s going to take cooperation between the two to meet the needs of our aging population.

Three speakers discussed a vision for age-friendly communities. A sparkling takeaway: millennials and baby boomers both prefer to live (and thrive) in urban areas where they can walkto shops, culture, and transportation. The generations share a commonality: driving is not the primary transportation mode for either group. The suburbs, designed for people who could drive, were a good place to raise families while the mom-taxi was in operation. But driving becomes problematic as we age. Our destinations for connection and sustenance remain the same
grocery store, library, senior center, culture, coffee shop, and spiritual community -- but how do we get there if we can’t drive?

We’ll get theretogether, alleviating isolation. Think about curb cuts, a given in city codes today. But it wasn’t always so. Disability activists championed this idea in the early 70s, yet it works for everyone --parents pushing strollers, kids on skateboards, travelers with rolling suitcases, and delivery carts. Another great resource is the nonprofit 880 Cities. Their 880 Rule is “We are convinced that if everything we do in our public spaces is great for everyone from 8 to 80 years old, we will end up with healthy and vibrant communities for all”. See

You’ll be hearing much more about these concepts. Petaluma PeopleServices and the Village Network are involved, and Village reps will attend a City of Petaluma Senior Advisory Committee on January 12. Learnmore and sign up for ways you can get involved at

Lyndi Brown

We would like to acknowledge our accomplished newsletter editor Kathy Lawrence.

We would also like to acknowledge our new
creative MailChimp
consultant Maria Tesoro

Community-Support-Peace of Mind

As part of a national movement, the Village Network of Petaluma is a nonprofit membership organization empowering adults 50+ to continue living active, independent, and connected lives in our own homesand apartments as we age.

402 Petaluma Blvd. North - - 707-776-6055
Village Photo Gallery

Stephanie, our amazing Administrative Coordinator

Our Holiday Volunteer Appreciation Party Team.

Volunteer Appreciation Partiesincreaseour connections and inspirenew ideas.

Potlucks onthe last Sunday of the month are a great way to meet new friends.

The Garden Group decided to do a holiday potluck in December.

Bocce ball!

Game Nights are lots of fun, and learning new games keeps our brains active...

Our Village Launch in June 2014 drew 100 people, with a ribbon cutting by Mayor Glass!
"Thank you so much for enhancing our lives significantly - with inspiration, support, and vital connections!"

- a couple who are Village members

"The "Pros and Cons of Reverse Mortgages" panel you co-sponsored with AAUW was fabulous, and answered so many of our questions."

"As a Village member, I've been on both sides - giving and receiving. I very much enjoy being a Friendly Visitor. However, when I was recuperating form knee surgery, I really appreciated the visits and help of volunteers."

- a Village member
Donors to our new
Membership Partners Program

Patricia Arfsten
George & Ellen Beeler
Fr. Michael Culligan
Laura Dunne
Selma Ehrlich
Paul & SherryEklof
Rabbi Ted Feldman
Wayne & Robin Guptill
Marcia Hince
Scotti Kluess
Lucy Kortum
Tiaga Liner
Maryann Marks &
Elad Levinson
Pat Martin
Len & Charlotte Nelson
Nora Pearl
Alice Rebizzo
Starr Rohrman
Robin Schaef
Paula Schafer
Vreni Schnirman
Janine & Ray Slaughter

Quotes for the New Year

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."

- Will Rogers

"Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18."

- Mark Twain

"To create one's own world takes courage."

- Georgia O'Keeffe
2016 Donors to the Village Network are deeply appreciated

Diamond Sponsors
$1,000 to $5,000
Stanton Lawson &
Gabriella Ambrosi

Sequoia Senior Solutions
In-Home Care Provider
Anne & Paul Greenblatt
Pat Martin
Supporting Donors
$500 to $999
Steve Ayala
George & Ellen Beeler
Lolly Burns
James & Harriet Coyne
Sherry & Paul Eklof
Marie Fletcher
Linda Fox & Floyd Dickman
Robert Gallup
Marilyn Hartley
Janice Kearns
Darcy Levy
Suzanne Miller
Diane Olberg
Nancy Porter
JoAnn Pozzi
Supporting Donors
$100 - $499
Lyndi Brown &
Anthony Tusler
Suzanne Clarke
Jodi Clinesmith &
Chris Samson
Sam Doctors & Meredith Cahn
Peter Holewinski
Home Care Assistance
Gary & Lynn Imm
Len & Charlotte Nelson
PEP Housing
up to $100
Bridie Acton
Pat Burns
Patricia Early
Rod Fraser
To Market, To Market
Tina Hittenberger &
Chuck Pyle
Kathleen Kestlyn
Nina Komiakoff & Paul Smith
Lucy Kortum
Nancy Kull
Kathy Lawrence
Kathy MacDonald
Pam Torliatt

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