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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Village Network’s guiding principles?

-Village members and volunteers create a caring, trusted, cost-effective community of mutual support as, together, we navigate the transitions of aging. We redefine aging on our own terms as we continue to thrive in our own homes and the neighborhoods we love. We enjoy a better experience of aging because we grow with, laugh with, and rely on each other.  We harness the power of our collective wisdom and experience as we collaborate with other community organizations to help build a more age-friendly Petaluma.

Who becomes a member and who volunteers – and at what ages?

-Our members are ages 50 to 100+. Some are longtime residents, others are new to town. Some continue to work for a living, others have retired from paid employment. Some have family nearby, others don’t. The same is generally true of our volunteers. Members and volunteers alike enjoy being part of our welcoming and supportive community. All say participating in the life of the Village is a fun and rewarding way to share their time and talents and to make new friends along the way.

Memberships

What is the difference between the Village’s two membership options?

-There are two membership options: Members and Associate Members.

  • Individual Members contribute $55/month; Household Members of two or more contribute $80/month.
  • Individual Associate Members contribute $30/month; Household Associate Members of two or more, contribute $45/month.

-Members enjoy weekly access to volunteer services. With one phone call, you can schedule rides, minor home repairs, phone check-ins, and friendly visits as well as help with errands, electronics, and occasional pet care. Members also enjoy access to member-recommended referrals and to our many interest groups, wellness classes, educational programs, and social activities.

-Associate Members enjoy the same benefits as Members with a maximum of three volunteer services a year. To receive additional volunteer services, Associate Members who live in Petaluma or Penngrove may convert to Member status at any time, on a prorated basis.

Do I need to live in Petaluma or Penngrove to become a Village member or volunteer?

-Members do need to live in Petaluma or Penngrove to have access to services; Associate Members and volunteers do not need to live in Petaluma or Penngrove.

If Village services are provided by volunteers, what does the membership fee cover?

-Membership fees support about 70% of the Village operating costs with the remainder supported by grants and donations from individuals and local businesses. Primary costs are for part-time staff, liability insurance, rent, and community outreach. Volunteer teams providing direct services and organizational support help keep our costs low.

Does the Village offer subsidized memberships?

-Our Membership Partners Program raises funds to provide subsidized memberships for those living at or below 175% of the Federal Poverty Index (minus rent or mortgage expenses if you don’t have the benefit of subsidized housing). Call the Village office at 707-776-6055 to learn more about eligibility or about applying to be on our waitlist.

Why would I join the Village if I don’t currently need its volunteer services?

-While the value of volunteer services is clear and measurable, the value of social connection is often underestimated. Studies show that older adults who engage in social activities lead healthier lives and are more able to maintain their independence.

Our Associate Membership offers an affordable way to participate in the Village’s active, vibrant, caring community — and to join the revolution in aging! Our volunteers and other supporters often choose this membership option as a way to help grow and sustain the Village, now and for the future.

Why would I join the Village if I have family who supports me?

-When you join the Village, you become part of a larger, engaged community of support and friendship. As a result, Village Members experience expanded choices, increased independence, and an improved quality of life. Your family experiences greater peace of mind and support.

Services

Does the Village provide hands-on home care?

-The Village does not provide hands-on home care, but our volunteer drivers, medpals, and friendly visitors often work with family members and professional home-care providers as an informal part of the team. By providing rides, note-taking at medical appointments, phone check-ins, and in-person visits, Village volunteers expand available choices and help support wellbeing.

Volunteers

Are Village volunteers vetted and trained?

-All volunteers providing direct services complete a background check paid for by the Village. Those providing transportation must have a good driving record and provide proof of auto insurance and vehicle registration. All volunteers complete our Volunteer 101 Training. Those who volunteer as drivers, medpals, and friendly visitors also receive additional training.

Village volunteers are not only vetted and trained, they are committed to providing quality and caring service, and are greatly valued and appreciated.