Lately I have been participating in some lively discussions with other Mill Valley-ites about forming a new Marin Village Mill Valley (MVMV). Mill Valley residents have been brainstorming about how to get a MVMV started, what it would look like, who might want to volunteer and how to distinguish it from the other four Marin Villages so that is represents the special character and culture of our Mill Valley community.
There are four Villages that currently comprise the Marin Villages - one in Sausalito, one in Ross-Valley, one in Homestead Valley and the fourth is in Tiburon/Belvedere.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Village Movement - it all started in Boston. In 2002, Beacon Hill Village in Boston pioneered the “aging in place” and "neighbors helping neighbors" village concept.
Today the Village to Village Network, which helps establish and manage villages, reports that there are 70 villages nationwide with 115 more in development. Many are located along the North Atlantic coast.
California has 13 exisiting villages, of which Marin Village is one. There are five others in the Bay Area and 25 more statewide that are being developed.
The purpose of each village is to empower "aging in place", i.e. to enable older adults to comfortably and safely live out their lives in their homes as much as possible.
Village members join for an annual fee which averages $600/year for Villages across the country. Members then have access to a wide range of member benefits.
For example, members have a myriad of special members-only events: trips to activities, local speakers, luncheons, classes, etc. They also have access to a heavily screened list of providers for many different kinds of useful household and professional services. These providers often offer a discount on services for Village members.
And perhaps most importantly, many Village members both volunteer their time and expertise to other members and can ask for volunteer help themselves. It's not a requirement to volunteer. Right now there are about 152 volunteers amongst the exisiting Marin Villages with 467 members.
For more of a general idea about Villages, here's a link to a newspaper article just published about the new village launching in Monterey called the Monterey Bay Village on July 1: "Concierge Service Plans to Deliver for Seniors."
Note: On Thursday, June 14 from 10-11 a.m., the Marin Villages will be the topic of a presentation at the Marin County Commission on Aging meeting at the San Rafael Community Center on 618B Street in San Rafael. Speakers will be Loulie Sutro, founder and board chair of Marin Village, and Trish Hibben, a board member.
More information about Marin Villages is available on its website. If you are interested in participating in discussions about the upcoming Marin Village Mill Valley or in talking with someone on the telephone, call 415-457-4633.