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March 2019 Newsletter

Village Network of Petaluma
A nonprofit membership
community of connection and support
serving the Petaluma and Penngrove area
Village Office: 955 Petaluma Blvd. South

Aging  Better  Together


Wonderful News for Our Subsidized Memberships!

 Lyndi Brown, Village Team Leader, thanks Melissa Becker, Board President of Fabulous Women, for their   generous gift of $9,300 to support memberships for Village members living on limited incomes at PEP Housing   or on PEP’s wait list. Thank you, Fabulous Women!
Table of Contents

Special Programs:
For the Love of Learning: Try OLLI!
Black History Tour

Interest Groups for Members and Active Volunteers
Weekly Walking Group
The Joy of Writing Group
Qigong Class
Film Discussion Group
Gentle Chair Yoga
Wednesday Morning Village Drop-in Coffee Hour

Gardening Group
Retired Nurses Group
Village Game Night
Village Support and Discussion Group
TED Talks, We Discuss
Bocce Ball
Tech Workshop
Village Singing Group
Village Book Group
Potluck for Village Members and Volunteers
Men's Discussion Group
Mindfulness-Based Meditation Group

Daytripping: Exploring New Horizons


Online calendar at

Information Meeting: Get to Know the Village
Thursday, March 14, 11:00 - 12 noon, Village office.
Learn how adults ages 50+ enjoy connecting with others through the Village Network in Petaluma and Penngrove. We believe a better experience of aging is possible when we grow with, laugh with, and rely on each other as we navigate the opportunities and realities of aging. Village membership offers social programs and connections as well as volunteer services including transportation, note-taking at medical appointments, friendly visits, computer help, and personalized referrals to community resources. Bring a friend and get your questions answered. Meet Village members and volunteers. Questions: call the Village office at 
776-6055 or info@Village

For the Love of Learning: Try OLLI!

Tuesday, March 5, 1:00 – 2:30 pm, Petaluma Regional Library.
Open to the public. Classes at Sonoma State’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) offer older adults an opportunity to continue their education without tests and grades in a fun, relaxed, congenial environment. Enjoy a sample lecture on artists Jackson Pollack, Lee Krasner, Mark Rothko, and more – all of whose work we can see at S.F.’s Museum of Modern Art. RSVP ASAP to or 707-776-6055.

Presenter Linda Loveland Reid chairs OLLI’s Community Outreach Program and is a popular lecturer, teaching art history at both Sonoma State and Dominican Universities.

Black History Tour
Tuesday, March 12, 1:00 – 2:30 pm, Petaluma Historical Library & Museum.
Enjoy a free, docent-led tour in celebration of February’s Black History Month as it flows into March’s Women’s History Month. Look back to the 1800s and the first African Americans to make Petaluma their home, as well as the founding of Petaluma Blacks for Community Development in 1978. Stay for refreshments and conversation with exhibit curator Faith Ross. Attendance is limited to 20 Village members, volunteers, and friends.RSVP by March 5 to or 707-776-6055.


Weekly Walking Group
Tuesdays, 8:30 – 9:30 am. Meet at Walnut Park on 4th St.
We share fun, great conversations, and exercise while exploring neighborhoods and gardens, or walking across the river. Everyone welcome. Email Sue Miller at for info, and whether rain cancels.
The Joy of Writing Group
Tuesdays, 10:15 – 11:45 am, Village office.
We write for fun, in fiction, in nonfiction, memoir, poetry, etc. We write original stories in a noncritical environment. So come have fun with us, whether you are a veteran writer or a nervous beginner. All are welcome. Members free, non-members $5. For more info email

Qigong Class
Instructor Elad Levinson will not be teaching at the Village Office this month - Qigong will resume in April.
Fridays, 3:30 – 4:30 pm, Petaluma Health Center,* 1179 No. McDowell.
* Co-sponsored by the Petaluma Health Center and the Village Network.

Qigong is a mindful movement training that supports balance, relaxation, vigor, and strength. Qigong is also a meditative practice that encourages awareness, focus, and calmness. Participants report feeling confident as they walk without a fear of falling. There are no restrictions on who may come - if you cannot stand, poses can be done easily in a chair. Members free, non-members $5.

Elad Levinson has studied QiGong for many years with teacher Teja Bell. He has also practiced meditation since 1975.

Film Discussion Group
March 1 and 15, 10:15 – 11:15 am, in a member's home. (Meets 1st and 3rd Friday of the month.)
Would you like to join a group of film lovers who get together to discuss the latest hits? We agree on a movie to see on our own and discuss it at the next meeting. Please RSVP to Jerry Spremich at 
415-827-3206, or For Village members and volunteers.

Gentle Chair Yoga -To Improve Balance, Flexibility and Increase Vitality
Thursdays, 11:00 – noon, Village office.
We practice gentle yoga, Eden Energy exercises, breath work, and meditation with a focus on improving strength and resilience as well as stress reduction. We do both sitting and standing poses. All Yoga levels are welcome, including total beginners. Village members free, non-members $5.

Pat Martin, CMT, EEM-CP, CYT, is a State Certified Massage Therapist, Eden Energy Medicine Certified Practitioner, and Certified Yoga Teacher. Her focus in this class is on optimizing health, strength, and stress reduction.

Wednesday Morning Village Drop-In Coffee Hour
Wednesdays, 9:00 -10:00 am, Aqus Cafe, 189 H St.
Village Network members and active volunteers are invited to a weekly Wednesday drop-in. Village member and volunteer Tiaga Liner facilitates.

Gardening Group
Tuesday, March 5, 9:00am - around 1:30pm, field trip to Western Hills Garden, Occidental.
(Group meets first Tuesday of the month.)

Join our monthly gardening interest group, meeting in each other’s gardens or on field trips. This is not about having a showplace, but about seeking suggestions, new ideas, and having fun. This month we will travel to Western Hills Garden, leaving Petaluma around 9:00 am. The group will meet up to arrange carpools. $15/person charge for the tour by the owner. The group plans to meet for lunch afterward at the Union Hotel, Occidental. Please RSVP ASAP to trip organizer Len Nelson at, or 707-480-6170. 

Retired Nurses Group
Wednesday, March 6 (first Wednesday of every month),10:15 - 11:45 am, in a member's home.
We will discuss our nursing practices, education and favorite stories, among other things. In the process we will get to know one another. Contact for the meeting place and any questions.

Village Game Night
Friday, March 8, 4:00 – 6:00 pm, Village office. Note new time! (Meets 2nd Friday of the month)
A great way to relax and have fun at the end of your week. We have several new games to play. You can also bring a game you like, finger food snack, or drinks (optional). Or just bring yourself. Newcomers welcome. RSVP to the office for address at, or 776-6055.

Village Support and Discussion Group
March 14, 1:30 - 3:00pm, Village office. (Meets 2nd Thursday of the month through June.)
This group offers Village members an opportunity for support and discussion on a variety of topics relating to life changes that accompany the aging process. Topics emerge from the group or are suggested by the facilitator, and participants may attend on a drop-in basis. Please plan, though, to arrive at the beginning and to stay for the full length of the attended meeting.

Facilitator Bev Miller worked with Hospice of Petaluma for over 30 years, providing one-to-one and group support.

TED Talks, We Discuss
Tuesday, March 19, 1:00 – 2:00 pm, Village office.
TED Talks are back. We listen to a couple of 20-minute TED Talks and then talk about them. Topics? Who knows…come and find out. 
Please RSVP by March 12 to or 707-776-6055 to let us know you will be joining us. Contact Jane at for more information.

Bocce Ball
Wednesday, March 20, 4:00 – 5:00 pm, Leghorn Park. (Meets 3rdWednesday of the month.)
No experience necessary. We have a lot of fun! Rain cancels. Newcomers are welcome. RSVP to George Beeler at

Tech Workshop
Wednesday, March 27, 3:00 - 4:30 pm, Village office. (Meets last Wednesday of the month.)
Members at all experience levels welcome in this workshop, which will assist you with computer, tablet, or cell phone issues. Learn new ways to get things done and make your life easier. Led by Village volunteers Tom Horst, Steve Schlich, and Paul Greenblatt.

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, March 28, 3:00 – 4:30 pm, in a member's home.
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 Tiaga Liner at or 658-1646 for location.

Village Book Group
Thursday, March 28, 2:00 - 3:00 pm, in a member's home
We will discuss Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson (nonfiction). Contact Lorraine at for meeting location, or call 776-6055.

Potluck for Village Members and Volunteers
Sunday, March 31, 4:00 – 6:00 pm, in a member’s home. (Meets the last Sunday of the month.)
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 776-6055 or for the address.

Men's Discussion Group
Alternate Thursday afternoons, Village office.
We get together with other men on a regular basis to discuss men’s lives and other topics in a spirit of fellowship.If you are interested or even curious, RSVP to 776-6055 or The group is limited to eight members and volunteers.

Mindfulness-Based Meditation Group
Consecutive Saturdays, January 19 through March 23, 10:00 – 11:00 am, in a member's home.
Registration for this series is full. The next series is scheduled to begin in April, and dates will be announced in the April newsletter. For more information, contact

Facilitator Freeman Humphrey is a retired psychiatric social worker who has led mindfulness-based meditation groups for over ten years.


Daytripping: Exploring New Horizons
Tuesday, April 16, 1:30– 3:00 pm, Village office.
 Open to the public, Daytripping offers a new way to enjoy the world around us. Discover     an array of organized one-day trips close to home and longer ones all over the country.   Learn about all types of excursions, including performing arts, museum tours, and sports   events. To reserve a seat, RSVP by April 9 to or 707-776-6055.

Presenter Spencer Gold has been a tour planner and director for the Daytripping Travel Company for over nine years. He has a passion for travel and is enjoys providing age-friendly tour experiences.

Online calendar at:

Village Network office: 955 Petaluma Blvd. South 707-776-6055
The Village Network Reaches a Milestone

We now have over 100 members! We're happy to report that our new AssociateMembership has proven very popular and has brought in many new members. This moves us much closer to our goal for long-term sustainability, and it means we’re now offering more than 17 interest groups, led by members and volunteers wanting to share their passions and talents with the Village community.
Featured Volunteer Opportunity for March: Mentor Me Petaluma
Mentor Me has been matching students from kindergarten through 12th grade with one-on-one adult mentors since 2001. Our mentors are trained and supported throughout their mentorship. We ask for a two-year commitment, but the majority of mentorships become lifelong friendships. Mentorships start out meeting once a week on school campuses in dedicated mentor centers supplied with all kinds of games and snacks. As the mentorship grows, off-campus permission can be given and the mentor and mentee can explore activities all around town and beyond. We have two new mentor trainings each month and walk-ins are welcome! Please check our website for the dates and more information:
Fidaa Shaheen, Mentor Program Manager
Village Volunteers Give to the Community in Many Ways

Many of our 90 volunteers also donate their time and energy to other worthwhile causes and organizations in our community. Here are the ways a few of them reap the rewards that come from helping others and contributing their talents.

Thomas Chamberland
Tom is a volunteer handyperson for the Village. “Last September I enrolled as a volunteer in Mentor Me, a Petaluma-based organization that provides volunteers to mentor youth. I was warmly embraced by a second grade student at La Tercera Elementary School. We started off at the required commitment of one hour per week, but when this marvelous and talented boy asked if I could help him with his homework, how could I refuse? Currently, I spend three to four hours per week with the little guy during and after school at a facility within the school campus. We work on his reading and math homework and on building projects like our most recent venture, a mechanical dinosaur. Having no grandchildren, this is a great and fulfilling outlet for me in my retirement.”

Sue Miller
Sue is leader of the Village New Member Welcome Team. “One of my favorite retirement dreams was to train with the Adult Literacy League. I was paired with two Mexican-American women who devoted themselves to improving their English communication abilities in our not-so-easy language. Once they graduated the program, I volunteered in a lower grade bilingual Spanish-English setting and then at Loma Vista, Petaluma’s bilingual charter school. In each setting, I let the students know they are teaching me too, in their own mother tongue. So it’s more than a fair exchange, not to mention one that never fails to put a smile on my face.

Steve Ayala
Steve volunteers for the Village as a handyperson and driver. “I am also actively involved in folk dancing, a longtime passion of mine. I put together all the weekly digital practice music for the folk dancing groups in Petaluma, Santa Rosa, and Sonoma -- and go folk dancing with them three times a week. I occasionally serve as a DJ and also teach folk dances. In addition, I’m on a committee for the California Folk Dance Federation, helping organize and fund a statewide gathering, probably in Petaluma, for the several hundred folk dancing teachers in California.”

Kathy Lawrence

Kathy is the Village Newsletter Writer/Editor. “As a grief counselor at the Hospice of Petaluma, I meet with a recently bereaved person for eight sessions, either at the hospice or in the individual’s home. The hospice offers support in a group setting or through one-on-one peer counseling, and this free service is available to any member of the community. Although volunteers must complete an intensive training program in order to provide grief counseling, I have found that simply being a good listener is the main qualification. People who are grieving often just want a sympathetic, empathetic person to listen to them without judgement. Meeting with bereaved clients is often very sad, but watching them become stronger and more resilient is always rewarding.”

Mentoring Youth Promotes Cognitive Gains in Older Adults
Older adults who tutored children or took part in some other form of volunteer service were able to delay or even reverse declining brain function, a new study reports. Using MRI, researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that older adults who participated in a youth mentoring program made gains in key brain regions that support cognitive abilities which are important to planning and organizing daily life.

The program is designed to benefit both children and older adults’ health and can have the added benefits of improving the older participants’ cognitive abilities, enhancing their quality of life.

“As life expectancies increase, it’s important, from a public health standpoint, to delay the onset of diseases associated with aging,” said study author Linda Fried, dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. “This study suggests that new kinds of roles for older adults can be designed as a win-win, for addressing important societal needs, such as our children’s success, and simultaneously the health and well-being of the older volunteers themselves.”
More information about the study and its findings is available at, and

Join a Village Volunteer Team
Rides are the most requested service in the Village Network community, so volunteer drivers are always very welcome. However, there are many other wonderful volunteer opportunities that are equally appreciated.For example, friendly Visiting Team members are matched with members with similar interests whom they visit regularly. The Handyperson Team helps members with small home services. Technology Team members assist members with iPhones, iPads, electronics, and more. Village Ambassadors handle our outreach efforts, giving presentations and distributing brochures. Members of the Program Team organize our special monthly programs or coordinate our interest groups. The Hospitality Team puts on our fun social events. The Office Team is at the center of the action.

If you'd like to explore volunteering at theVillage, come to an info meeting on the second Thursday of each month from 11:00 am to noon, or call Joanne Martin Braun, Village Manager, at 707-776-6055, or email

Our Brains Love to Continue Learning
If the thought of going back to school evokes a scary scenario of homework and exams, be assured that the many older adults involved in ongoing education have discovered a very different reality. As they take advantage of myriad opportunities to learn new skills or brush up on old ones, they’re finding that learning can actually be lots of fun. Continuing education not only keeps those critical neural networks flexible, but it can enrich life, increase social interaction, and boost self-esteem.

Classes for older adults are available in a variety of venues, including college campuses, senior centers, and community rec centers. Some programs are free, some charge nominal fees, and some, like Road Scholar (, which promotes learning through travel, involve significant costs, though discounts and scholarships are sometimes available.

Locally, Santa Rosa Junior College offers classes in creative arts and health and fitness, among others ( Sonoma State’s Lifelong Learning Institute provides free classes on a wide range of subjects for adults over 50 ( The Osher Marin JCC presents lectures on a variety of topics (, and a bit farther afield, Book Passages in Corte Madera provides a full schedule of workshops and classes (

Of course, the first place we in the Village usually look for interesting, stimulating, and diverse educational offerings is the list of programs at the beginning of this newsletter. Taking advantage of these and the many other ways we can continue to learn will reap intellectual, social, and health rewards.

- Kathy Lawrence

You May Qualify for Free Tax Preparation
A program called “Earn It! Keep It! Save It!” is providing free tax return preparation for low- to moderate-income individuals and families at two locations in Petaluma. To qualify for free tax help from IRS-certified preparers, your household income must be less than $60,000. Being a U.S. citizen is not a requirement. Visit or call 211 or 800-325-9604 for more information.

Members and Volunteers: Can You Recommend Excellent Professionals?
The Village maintains a Member Referral Database, as we receive many member requests for referrals to local tradespeople, contractors, housecleaners, homecare agencies, and other types of professionals. If you can personally recommend a person or company that has done excellent work for you, please email or call the office with the name and contact information for the service you recommend. You’ll be doing a favor for the Village community and supporting a local business as well!

Thanks to so many generous donors, we exceeded our targets for 2018! We received over $20,000 for our General Fund, and over $20,000 for our Membership Partners Program Fund. Your donations make a big difference in helping us build a sustainable community and include more of those in our community living on limited incomes.

We Deeply Appreciate This Year’s Donors
to Our General Fund


Provider of professional Home Care services since 2003.
Also providing Home Care training to family caregivers.


Rip City Riders presenting their $1000 donation to grateful Village volunteers.

Rip City Riders
Summit State Bank
Steve & Carolyn Gavriloff, Westgate Real Estate
Jeff Lyons, Adobe Creek Funeral Home
Vince Giovacchini, Giocacchini Construction
Jeff Morgan, the Spanos Corporation
In memory of Alex & Faye Spanos
Rev. Daniel Green, St. John’s Episcopal Church
Dr. Myrtle Heery, International Institute for Humanistic Studies


$500 to $3000
Wayne & Robin Guptill
Sid & Gerry Lipton
Pat Martin
Sue Miller

$100 to $499
Meredith Cahn & Samuel Doctors
Margaret Kullberg, in memory of Dick Wilcox
Kathy Lawrence & Rod Fraser
Robert Leichtner, in honor of Ruby Palmer
Leslie Quadres, in memory of Harold Quadres
Cynthia Rathkey
Mike & Sue Riley
George Young & Kelly Corbett

Up to $100
Bridie Acton
Richard Allen
Joanne Martin Braun
Lyndi Brown & Anthony Tusler, in honor of Anne & Paul Greenblatt
Dennis & Carolyn Buss
Helene des Rosiers, in memory of her father Jean-Paul
Marilyn Gambonini
Tina Hittenberger
Freeman Humphrey
Kathleen Kestelyn
Lynn Knudson
Nancy Jean Kull
Harvey & Darcy Levy
Kit Lofroos
John Mazzella
Maryann McCourt
Robert & Nancy McFarland
Paul Mihaly
David & Cheryl Perry
Starr Rohrman
Shadi Shamsavari
Pamela Torliatt
Donna von Edelkrantz

We Deeply Appreciate This Year’s Donors to Our Membership Partners Program Fund
- for Subsidized Members Living on Limited Incomes –


Melissa Becker presenting generous donation of $9,300 from Fabulous Women to delighted Village member Lyndi Brown - to support subsidized Village memberships.

Bryant Monihan presenting generous Kiwanis donation
of $1080 to grateful Village volunteer Lyndi Brown.

Kiwanis Club of Petaluma

Summit State Bank

Maria do Ceu, Out West Garage
William McDevitt, Jr., McDevitt Construction Co.
Rotary Club of Petaluma Foundation
Rabbi Ted Feldman, B’nai Israel Jewish Center
Rev. Michael Culligan, St. James Church


$500 - $1000
Patricia Arfsten
Stacy Banas, in gratitude for Village member/volunteer Joellen Aymond
George & Ellen Beeler
Becky Devine
Liz Warren

$100 - $499
J.E. Bukszar
Colleen Campbell
Mel & Ann Fox
Paul & Sherry Eklof
Terri Johnson
Scotti Kluess
Diane Judd & Ronald Krempetz
Len Nelson
Alice Rebizzo

Up to $100
Diane & John Benjamin
James & Harriet Coyne
Earl & Micky Dolcini
Sue Firkus
John Haugen & Lorraine Graves
Harvey & Darcy Levy
Tiaga Liner
Beverly Miller
Regina Reilly
Vreni Schnirman

Our Social and Associate Members are Donors to the Village Network
(All but $50/year of their membership fee is a charitable contribution)

Avra Alexiades
Steve Ayala
George & Ellen Beeler
Vina Breyfogle
Lyndi Brown
Laura Burns
Lita Clear-Sky
Paul & Sherry Ekloff
Robert Gallup
Martha Helland
Lorraine Graves & John Haugen
Anne & Paul Greenblatt
Camille Jordan
Darcy Levy
Suzanne Miller
Teresa Nelson
Lona Poehlmann
Paul & Judy Praetzel
Regina Prince
Regina Reilly
Barbara Stagg
Bob Stires & Gaye Kelly
William Luther
Gail Wilson

Your donations are vitally important in building a sustainable organization.
All financial and in-kind donations are tax deductible,
as we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

If you would like to support the Village Network, make checks payable to:
"Village Network of Petaluma"
P.O. Box 442
Petaluma, CA 94953

Or you can donate on-line at

We extend our appreciation to Kathy Lawrence, our newsletter writer/editor,
and to Denise Wilbanks, who handles MailChimp formatting,

for contributing their expertise.

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 live active, independent,
and connected lives in our own homes and apartments as we age.

955 Petaluma Blvd. South - -707-776-6055