Business of the Month: The Ranch

The Ranch’s Executive Director Cathleen Andreucci has accomplished a lot since first arriving at her new job in Tiburon nine years ago.
 
“The budget for the Belvedere Tiburon Joint Recreation Committee was $600,000,” she says. “Now it’s $1.8 million. We are a Joint Powers Agreement formed by Belvedere and Tiburon to provide recreation to the community. We are our own agency with our own board, and we self-fund all our own programs. We receive no tax subsidy, and that’s why we have to charge higher prices for our classes.”
 
When the New York native took over from (then) Director Barbara Creamer, there was one full-time youth supervisor and five part-time employees. Today, there are 12 full-time and eight part-time personnel.
 
“Back then, we were known by six or seven different names,” Cathleen says. “It was very confusing, so we said, ‘Let’s pick one name so people don’t make assumptions about who we are and what we do.’ That’s why we rebranded ourselves as The Ranch when we moved into this new building that we call ‘Dairy Knoll.’” They also settled on a new tag line: ‘The Way We Live Today.’
 
“Attendance at the summer camps was at an all-time low when I arrived,” she says, “and the only places we could hold classes were at Reed School and at the Belvedere Community Center and Tiburon Town Hall – when they were available.” Then enrollment at Reed School rose, and there was a good possibility that other places to hold classes and after school activities would have to be found.
 
Since then, the many camps run by The Ranch have become very popular, with 1,500 children attending. Angel Island Day Camp leads the pack, but there’s also the Fantastical Adventure Day Camps headed by the Harry Potter Camps where campers learn such things as wand making, Muggle magic and dueling. Other camps are the Superhero Training Academy; Star Wars Padawan Camp;  Art & Garden Camp; plus tennis, golf and martial arts camps among others.
 
The Counselor-in-Training program for young teens teaches the kids how to keep campers safe and how to lead, discipline and supervise them. “It gets them ready for a real job,” Cathleen says.
 
For $5, each week, there’s the Friday Night Hangout at Dairy Knoll from 7 to 9 p.m. where 20 to 70 middle school kids show up to play ping pong, board games, watch movies, eat pizza or just chill with friends.
 
The Ranch runs Teenworks, a volunteer program for Del Mar kids to volunteer in the community, helping them to fulfill their school's requirement to do community service. There also are numerous student activities held at both Reed and Bel Aire schools.
 
For adults, there are several kinds of yoga, tai chi, strength training for seniors, a Pilates mat class, hiking, walking, taekwondo, tennis, plus many kinds of bridge, mah jongg, language, art, writing and floral design classes – plus more.

The Ranch also runs or is involved in such events as the Angel Island Adventure Race, Father/Daughter Dance, the Bunny Hop and Egg Scramble, Tiburon Beer Festival, Boo Bash and Breakfast with Santa.
 
And staff members help with the Labor Day Parade, the Belvedere Tiburon Golf Tournament, the Tiburon Half-Marathon and the Walk Your History event.
 
With a big smile on her face, the director holds out the latest brochure of The Ranch's activities and events. “Each week, we serve an average of 1,000 kids in more than 80 classes and over 500 adults,” she says.
 
The Ranch is at 600 Ned’s Way, just above the Tiburon Police Department, 415-435-4355 www.theranchtoday.org

Business of the Month: January 2017                                                                                                                             Tiburon Fire Protection District                                                                                                                    

Did you know our local fire department is among the less than 3-percent of all fire departments in the nation to achieve a rating of class-1? This is the highest rating given by the Insurance Service Office, and it brings the department's premium costs down to the lowest price possible.

Some of the criteria this distinction is based on are: personnel, equipment, water systems, programs, fire protection, education and alarm systems. When Richard Pearce took over as Tiburon's Fire Chief in 2002, the department was in good shape but Rich says, "It's always been my goal to be even better."

To this end, he implemented a number of new programs: the Disaster Preparedness Program, the county-wide Get Ready Program, the Snap Siren – an emergency notification system – and he bought Tiburon's first fire boat from the City of Los Angeles for $1. "We wanted to see if it was worthwhile to have a fire boat," Rich says. This experiment surpassed all expectations. After going through a number of different boats, using a grant fund from FEMA, the department recently bought a new state-of-the-art catamaran with the latest safety features and electrical upgrades.

Rich is a home-town boy, born and raised in Tiburon, and his parents, Mel and Annabelle, still live in the house where he grew up. He went through the Reed school system and graduated from Redwood High School in 1978. During high school, Rich was a Fire Explorer Scout and a volunteer fire cadet in Tiburon. "In the late 70s, I got all excited about the paramedic program and the fire service," he says. "That's when I got the fever." He also became good friends with the crew at the San Rafael Fire Department. After high school, he went into the paramedic program at City College of San Francisco and, the day he graduated, he was hired  by the San Francisco Public Health Department where he stayed for the next five years. "As a boy who grew up in Marin, that was a culture shock and very enlightening," he says.

In 1984, when San Rafael had an opening for firefighter/paramedic, Rich applied, was hired and joined his old buddies on the crew. In 1987, Rich and a business partner took over Marin Ambulance and expanded the business to cover, not only Marin, but also San Francisco and Sonoma counties, with over 100 employees. In 1994, there was an opening in Tiburon for a firefighter/paramedic, and Tiburon Fire Chief Rosemary Bliss hired him. "I was very happy to get back into my favorite service role," he says. Before long, he became Captain in charge of Fire Station 10 at Trestle Glen and, in 2002, when Rosemary retired, he was selected to take over her position as Tiburon Fire Chief.

That same year, Rich and his wife, Christine, were married. They and their two Shar-Pei dogs, Chester and Duke, live in Tiburon, not far from where Rich grew up. He says, "I am very fortunate to both live and work in Tiburon."

Business of the Month: October 2016

Pedego Tiburon


Hello, fun!  We are so excited to welcome our newest chamber member, Pedego Electric Bikes to Tiburon! PedegoTiburon is located at 10 Main Street, right on Fountain Plaza, and promises to bring a ton of fun to our town.

Pedego Electric bikes are are just like regular bikes… only better. You can peddle normally or get assistance up to about 20 mph.
There's a simple control panel and a hand throttle built into the handle bar. For an average person, the bikes will go 20 to 30 miles without peddling or 40 to 60 miles with a little peddling. It only takes four to six hours to fully charge the battery, and it costs less than 15¢ each time.

Store manager, Kevin Wood, and Pedgeo representative, John Orndorff, are busy getting their electric bikes ready for customers to try out either on the town's flat streets or to ride up our steepest hills with ease. Watch for a soft opening on Saturday, October 8.

By then, they'll have 10 different models of bikes to chose from, including electric fold bikes, with prices determined by the battery power. The $2,200 bike has a 36-volt battery; the $3,300 bike has a 48-volt battery. And, there's a wide variety of colors to choose from.

They plan to both sell and rent Pedego bikes and to service any and all bike models, including regular peddle bikes. Future plans also are to conduct bike tours around town and to offer special excursions to interesting nearby areas. The State of California considers these bikes to be the same as regular bikes, so riders do not need a special license to ride one.

Kevin says last year Pedego sold more bikes than any other electric bike manufacturer. Their first store opened four-and-one-half years ago in Southern California; now there are 86 stores across the world – in New Zealand, Italy, Germany, Korea, South Africa and England, plus the U.S.

"We have the exact same battery as Tesla uses in their cars," John says. "Our secret is having people experience the bike for themselves. The bike sells itself."

PedegoTiburon
Open Tuesday - Sunday: 10AM - 6PM
10 Main Street
Tiburon, CA 94920
(415) 900-5090
info@pedegotiburon.comBusiness of the Month: September 2016                                                                                                                        Foodniks

Meet John Snell of Foodniks, who hosts the Chamber Mixer this month. A renovation in 2015 transformed Foodniks into a more upscale yet casual space, with warm rustic accents including a reclaimed barn wood ceiling and distressed pine tables..it is a breakfast, lunch and dinner cafe now, with wine & beer on tap. Our mixer will be exactly one year from the date of this renovation. Come celebrate the innovation and renovation!

No newcomer to the food industry, John has been interested in the culinary arts since his Eagle Scout days in upstate New York. After two years, he left college to be sous-chef at a local hotel, becoming its food and beverage director, then moving on as executive chef at a three-chain hotel in Iowa. 

"That was a whole level of intensity," he says, and after several years, he left to work in a small, upscale Swiss restaurant in Arizona where he met Bradley Ogden. "I was always being asked if I had any formal training," he says, "so I enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park (New York). That was an awesome 22-month experience." He graduated with an Associate of Occupational Science degree in 1989. 

Ogden had just opened Larkcreek Inn, and John was invited to join him. "That was 1990, and all the guys who worked there then are now either executive chefs all over the country or own their own restaurants," John says. He then spent four years at Smith Ranch Homes as executive sous-chef with Heidi Krahling, who now owns Insalata's. 

In 1995, John and a partner opened The Meetinghouse in San Francisco, which was named one of the top 100 American restaurants by Zagat Guide in 1998.
John bought "Let's Eat" at The Cove in 2006 and changed its name the following year. He says he chose "Foodniks" because it symbolizes someone who enjoys food but is also fun and not too serious. 

Last year, he completely gutted the shop, expanding into the space left vacant next door, giving him a total of 2,500-square-feet. The renovation was supposed to take three months; it took five months. Opening day was one year, exactly, before the upcoming chamber mixer that will be held on Wednesday, September 28, from 5 to 7 p.m. This mixer will be Foodniks' first year anniversary celebration with balloons and music, plus a big birthday cake. 

When Brick & Bottle closed earlier this year, John immediately grabbed its sous-chef, Cesar Rugerio, who is now chef de cuisine at Foodniks. Rugerio produces nearly everything from scratch in the Foodniks kitchen - seen through the large glass window in back. The ambiance is casual-comfortable, with a reclaimed barn wood ceiling, distressed pine tables and banquette seating. Local artists' works hang on the walls, and pop rock music plays in the background.

Foodniks has wine and beer available on tap. In addition to offering frozen entrees and casseroles, plus take-out entrees, party menus, salads, side dishes, hot and cold appetizers, all made fresh daily, there are box lunches, perfect for a day of hiking or biking.

Foodniks is now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hours: Monday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Closed Sundays but will be open for brunch starting in November. Phone: 415-383-3663 or click here for the menu and more information.

Business of the Month: August  2016                                                                                                                                 Zohre Grothe, Marin Land Company

Zohre Grothe is our chamber's very first ambassador. The local realtor, CEO and owner of Marin Land Company, will chair the newly created Ambassador Committee, an appointed group which will serve as the backbone of the chamber's membership programs and provide a crucial link between the chamber, its members and the community at large.

Zohre has lived and worked in Tiburon since the 1980s and has deep connections in the local business community. A member of the chamber for the past 25 years, she also is active in the Tiburon-Belvedere Rotary Club, is a volunteer docent at the China Cabin, and is a member of the Belvedere-Tiburon Library Foundation, the Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society and the Richardson Bay Yacht Club.

Zohre is a licensed California Realtor and member of the Marin (MAR), San Francisco and California Association of Realtors (CAR), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) as well as a professional interior designer.

Zohre has plans to encourage more participation in the Tiburon Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and is looking forward to promoting her hometown chamber. "I am honored and privileged to be the first ambassador for the Tiburon Chamber of Commerce," she says.Business of the Month: June 2016                                                                                                                                        Chandler Coaching

Only one person in four spends time doing what they love every day at work says leadership coach and facilitator Pauline (Polly) Chandler. The Tiburon resident contends that if this situation can be changed by activating people’s strengths that company morale could go up along with increased performance.

“This is even more critical for small businesses where resources are limited,” Polly says. “If you can maximize the potential of each person, you can increase productivity, performance and engagement by 30 to 40-percent.”

Since she founded her own company, Chandler Coaching, in 2013, Polly has worked with clients of all ages and backgrounds in the nonprofit, corporate and public sectors, and she has helped both individuals and teams in small to mid-sized businesses across the country.

“I enjoy helping emerging leaders and managers to accelerate their performance by maximizing their strengths, talents and passions,” she says. “My mission is to help people leverage their knowledge and skills to clarify their core purpose and to meet their personal and professional goals.”

Among her many certifications are those from the College of Executive Coaching, a post-graduate executive certificate program; Strengths Strategy Inc.; the Gallup Certified Strengths Center; and she is an Associate Certified Coach for International Coaching Federation. In addition, she has a Masters of Education degree in Management from Antioch University and a Masters of Education in Science Education from Arcadia University.

Polly grew up near Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota, earned her B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1981 in Resource Management and Environmental Education and became a naturalist at a nature center in Delaware.

She met her future husband, Greg Chanis, 20 years ago when they both worked for a land trust in Massachusetts while Polly was teaching science. Married three years later, they took a big step in 2004 when they took a year’s sabbatical. “We bought a truck-camper, put our stuff in storage and left the day after Labor Day to tour as many national and state parks as possible,” Polly says.

“We were in awe of the tremendous beauty but also shocked at the state of our natural environment,” she says. “There were air pollution issues, too much development, and threatened water quality.” This experience influenced her to change her focus from teaching math and science to teaching leaders who could then help communities and the planet to thrive. She went back to school so she could help improve the situation.

After her second Masters degree, she served as the first Service Learning Coordinator at Keene State College connecting students with community and environmental challenges.  She was also hired to a faculty position at Antioch University New England and helped launched their new MBA in Sustainability, one of the first three in the nation.  She was then promoted to also serve as Chair of the Department of Management.

Polly and Greg moved to Santa Barbara in 2013 where he took a job with the county and she founded Chandler Coaching. Last December, they moved to Tiburon when Greg took over as Tiburon Town Manager after Peggy Curran retired.

Each year, Polly donates her time and energy in coaching and training for the environment. Last year, she volunteered to help the Monterey Aquarium. This year it is the Point Reyes National Seashore Association.

Although she has only lived locally for the past six months, Polly already has become involved. In addition to joining the Tiburon Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, she was a volunteer for the rec department’s Race on Angel Island, at the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival, and is a volunteer with 10,000 Degrees and Point Reyes National Seashore Association.

Polly loves being outdoors, enjoying hiking, sailing and biking balanced off by her playing classical piano.

To learn more, go to PollyChandlerCoaching.com or call her at 603-730-4210.

Business of the Month: May 2016                                                                                                                                            Bill Lukens, Attorney–at-Law

Meet one of our chamber’s newest members – Tiburon attorney William M. (Bill) Lukens. 


Bill says being a trial lawyer is perfect for him because he loves to argue. “My mother loved to debate, and I remember having all kinds of great political debates with her even as a five-year-old kid,” he says.

Bill grew up in San Dimas in the San Gabriel Valley on an orange ranch that his great grandfather purchased in the 1880’s. He attended Webb School in Claremont and graduated from Berkeley in 1960 with a business/real estate major but decided to stay in Northern California. “L.A. started growing after World War II, and it wasn’t the same,” he says. He went on to the U. C. Hastings College of the Law, graduating in 1964, as an Associate Editor of the Hastings Law Journal. 

That same year he joined the law firm of Pillsbury Madison & Sutro and moved to Tiburon. He recalled, as a nine-year-old, sailing past here on a cruise boat during a family vacation to San Francisco. “That was a very poignant experience. I remember seeing it as a magical little town on the Bay, and it looked like a great place to live,” he says. He later visited Sam’s with friends and says he liked, even better, what he saw up close.

“When I was growing up, my dad worked at Columbia Pictures in Hollywood and spent three hours a day driving to and from his job from our ranch. I always thought that was too much driving so when I learned there was a ferryboat from Tiburon to the City, I knew that’s where I wanted to live,” he says. 

His first rented home was right on Raccoon Strait, and he recalls watching whalers floating close by his deck with whales strapped to both sides of the boat on their way to their processing plant in Richmond. 

Bill met his future wife, Susan Formanek, while commuting on the ferry.  Her father Art, a retired Army colonel who was a B-24 pilot in WWII, owned the old Harbor Light Bar on Main Street – where Vineyard Vines now sits.

The two were married in 1967, and in 1971, Bill left the big firm in the City to open his own practice sharing offices with Chuck Patterson in a suite upstairs at The Boardwalk. Bill Kuhns shared the space with him in 1975.  Bill says, “I was fortunate to have two great mentors who lived locally –  Allan Littman and Denis Rice, who were also my good friends.”

Over the years, Bill served on Tiburon’s Board of Adjustments – now Design/Review -- and then on the Planning Commission.  He and Susan also began to raise a family: Peter, Stephen and Maggie.

The pair bought the Paolino House property in Old Tiburon, nicknamed “The Manor,” from its then owner, Ellen Bennett, a 1930s Hollywood star.  Bill says many of their friends thought they were crazy, and he admits it and its grounds needed an enormous amount of work. It took the couple 18 years to turn it into the impressive home and gardens it now is.

In 1980, Bill moved his practice to San Francisco and eventually formed the Lukens Law Group, staying there for the next 34 years. He honed his skills and made a name for himself in the legal world as a trial lawyer, specializing in business fraud, property disputes and lender liability litigation.

“I don’t like arrogance or dishonesty, and I really enjoy helping people out of their business troubles, especially with banks,” he says. “It’s very hard for little businessmen to protect themselves because it’s so expensive to process civil cases.”    

He got one of those cases shortly after moving his practice to San Francisco when he was hired by a family in Sebastopol who were in the apple processing business and were about to lose everything to the Bank of America. Bill and a team of lawyers won a $47 million jury verdict against the Bank in Santa Rosa.  The judgment was eventually reversed by the appellate courts after a hard and long fought battle –10 years of litigation – but the family was able to keep its home ranch. This is now one of California’s most cited cases on lender liability issues.  Two years later, Bill went on to win a $65 million jury verdict in Monterey County against Wells Fargo to save a large strawberry operation.   Those verdicts still stand as the largest in their respective counties.

In December 2013, when his building in SF was purchased by Morgan Stanley, Bill closed his San Francisco offices and returned to his old office Tiburon – upstairs at The Boardwalk - to share space again with Bill Kuhns, who was still there. 

Bill warns would-be clients that you can’t just file a case just because you’ve been wronged. “You’ve got to have a winning case, and only an experienced lawyer can tell you that,” he says. “Too many lawyers either don’t know any better or need the business.”

Bill says he’s happy to have his office in Tiburon again. “It’s fun to be back here and to work with locals,” he says in an invitation to new clients. “My motto is, “Have voice, will travel.”

Attorney Bill Lukens is at The Boardwalk Shopping Center, upstairs in Suite A. Phone, 415-433-3000. For more information, go to wwws.lukenslaw.com

Business of the Month: April 2016                                                                                                                                     Chief Francis O'Neill Irish Music Festival

It seems that Tiburon has a new tradition: The Irish Music Festival. The festival, held the last weekend of February, was such a huge success this year, that founder Tom O’Neill says he plans to hold it again next year.

This is good news for the many hundreds of people who came to Tiburon for the two-day extravaganza. Belvedere Police Chief Tricia Seyler says the security cameras posted on the Tiburon boundary showed a 30-percent bump of cars entering and leaving on Friday night, and the Saturday evening show at the Corinthian Yacht Club was sold out by Saturday morning.

Tom was inspired to organize this festival in memory of his Great Uncle Francis O’Neill who spent years collecting Irish tunes that were dying out. Event co-chair was Eric Schoenberg of Schoenberg Guitars. 

On Friday night, Highland bagpiper David Winter strolled back and forth from The Lodge to the end of Ark Row as he played traditional Irish music. Tom joined him on one of his rounds and later quipped, “I love bagpipes from a distance, but when you walk next to them, they’re not as nice,” and David admits to having hearing problems. He later switched to the quieter Irish bagpipes called “uilleann” (pronounced ill-an) when he later moved indoors to play.

Visitors could choose between five venues that hosted entertainers throughout the evening.

The Lodge at Tiburon and Servino Ristorante sported groups playing lively, pub-type Irish music. In contrast, Caffé Acri had highbrow music with a spectacular harpist and guitarist who played music composed to the poetry of W. B. Yeates.

At Sam’s, a woman fiddler and singer from Italy and a man who played guitar and harmonica paired up to give a rousing performance of Irish music, and at Tiburon Wine, a husband (guitar) and wife (mandolin) sang music ranging from sophisticated to very lively. Further down Ark Row, at Eric Schoenberg’s guitar shop, a harpist and a guitarist teamed up to play more serious type Irish music.

“Every venue was full all night long,” Tom says. “Some people stayed in one spot the whole time and others made the rounds.” He added that in addition to the hundreds coming from out-of-town, there also were many locals enjoying the evening. “I could see a lot of people knew each other,” he says. “There was lots of camaraderie.”

On Saturday evening, all the CYC’s 245 ballroom chairs were full. “I wanted the show to have a very tight schedule,” says Tom. “It wasn’t simply music; it was theater. The problem was, when I timed out all the acts beforehand, I never gave a thought to applause.” There was such extended clapping, the scheduled show had to be cut short at the end. The entertainers later told him they had never experienced such an enthusiastic crowd.

Téada, whose five-member band had flown in from Ireland the day before, was in the featured spot that night. They played authentic 1916 Irish music to commemorate the Irish uprising that took place 100 years ago, staged in front of a huge screen showing photographs of the Easter uprising.

An exhausted but very pleased Tom O’Neill says, “I now have a whole year to plan next year’s event.”

For more information, visit Tiburon Irish Music Festival

Business of the Month: January 2016                                                                                                                                     Kaspar & Lugay, LLP

Our newest chamber member, Kaspar & Lugay, LLP, is a relatively new law firm based in Tiburon.

Brent Kaspar began his own law practice in 2013 in an office at The Boardwalk but when business became too much for him to handle alone, he began to search for a partner. He met Arvin Lugay in 2014, the two hit it off and they opened their practice at 1606 Juanita Lane soon afterward.

The firm specializes in family law, tax matters and business litigation. “We pride ourselves in putting together a solid transaction to avoid litigation,” Brent says, “however, when we need to litigate, we step into the courtroom and are successful lawyers.”
 
When the two met, Arvin was focused mainly on business and commercial litigation. He participated in some of the first stock option backdating cases that were litigated by the Department of Justice in the Northern District of California. Brent loves courtroom work. “It’s very fulfilling to have to prepare and not know the outcome, like a sporting event,” he says. “The courtroom is a great theater.

Brent says he and his partner make a great team. “Arvin is highly competent and one of the best litigators I’ve ever been around,” Brent says. “He’s soft spoken but very intense. I’m outspoken but very intense, so we’re a great fit as to a personality standpoint.”

“I genuinely enjoy the Tiburon community and living and working here,” he says. “Everyone has problems, and if we can help someone succeed through our counsel, we’ll be doing them a service.”

The two partners love what they do. Brent says, “I can’t imagine any other career where our central role determines the outcome.”
                                    

Brent grew up on a working cattle ranch in Oklahoma and went to Oklahoma State with a major in accounting. He then was a CPA for an international law firm in Dallas, Texas, but after four years realized he’d rather be a lawyer. Although he admits he never really enjoyed school, he enrolled at the University of Tulsa College of Law where he earned his law degree. Brent moved to Marin in 2008 and to Tiburon in 2010. He has a three-year-old son, Nixon, who already attends a local nursery school. Brent is new member of the San Francisco Yacht Club and loves sailing, a sport he learned in Oklahoma. “Lots of water and wind there,” he says.



             Brent Kaspar
Arvin lived in the Philippines until he was 10 years old when his family moved to New York City, and he graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University in New Jersey with a major in political science. He then earned his law degree from U.C. Berkeley in 2005 and worked for five years at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher and Flom. He met Brent later while he was employed by a small boutique law firm in San Francisco. A wine aficionado, Arvin also enjoys kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He plans to be married this coming July to a school psychologist, and the pair will continue to live in Oakland.

The office of Kaspar & Lugay is upstairs at 1606 Juanita Lane, Suite B. Phone, 415-789-5881. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.   

For more information, visit kasparlugay.com                                               

Business of the Month: January 2016
Marin Villages


The idea for these “Villages” began in 2001 in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood when a group of residents formed a non-profit organization to help older adults with tasks that grown children or close friends used to help with when communities were more integrated.

In 2007, the Marin Grand Jury Report on Aging reported that Marin County was one of the fastest aging counties in the state, with the highest cost of living in California. “People hear you live in Marin and assume you have a lot of money,” says Lisa Brinkmann, Executive Director of Marin Villages, one of two paid Marin Villages’ employees. “This is not true… many older adults now live on a fixed income and struggle to stay in their own homes.”

Marin Villages is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) that was established eight years ago to support the development of local villages in the communities around Marin.  One of its affiliates, Tiburon Peninsula Village, began in 2010. It now has six different villages under its umbrella: Tiburon Peninsula, Homestead, Mill Valley, Ross Valley, San Rafael and Novato.

It uses volunteers to help seniors with such simple tasks as changing light bulbs, getting rides to appointments, walking pets and offering tech support. “Marin Villages gave over 3,000 rides last year, with an average of 270 ride requests from seniors each month,” Lisa says. Marin Villages also has a list of recommended contractors and servicemen to do more involved jobs such as plumbing or electricity.

Other requests have been for help picking apricots off a tree, bring up mail in the mailbox located down a long driveway, having a photo taken of a dog owner with her old, pet dogs and repairing a closet shelf. Basically, tasks that family or neighbors would assist with, but no longer are close by to help.

The mission of the organization is to help older adults stay in their own homes using a network of volunteers who live in the community. “Many people who live in Tiburon-Belvedere are fairly isolated,” Lisa says. “If they live up in the hills and can’t drive any more, they’re really stuck.”

Marin Villages has activities ranging from trips to museums and monthly coffees and lunches to a dominoes group and book clubs. The cost of belonging to Marin Villages is $32 per month for an individual or $39 for a household. “That’s basically $1 a day,” Lisa says.

The end result is to allow seniors to live their own lives, stay active and connected. Volunteers are always needed. “The beauty of volunteering is that there is no set time commitment; you can pick when and with what you want to help,” Lisa says, “and the impact is tremendous.”

The Marin Villages office is open Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To volunteer or to join, call the office at 415 457 4633 or click
here.


             Lisa Brinkmann, Executive Director, Marin Villages                               Volunteer, Mary Vezie, paints the mailbox in front of Marin Villages member's home

Business of the Month: December 2015

Sears Maid Services

Sears Maid Services is the one-stop cleaning service for all your cleaning jobs.

These are the services that Sears offers:
- House Cleaning
- Maid Services
- Light Commercial Cleaning & Office Cleaning
- Post Construction Clean up

For each of these services, there’s a choice of weekly, biweekly, monthly or a one-time cleaning time (move in, move out, house for sale or a special occasion). And you can be sure the job will be done professionally – the Sears Maids are professionally trained, background checked, bonded and insured.

Sears Maids Services provides a free consultation so they know what you want to have done and to be sure your expectations are delivered. Your satisfaction is 100-percent guaranteed ... contact them within 24 hours of your service if you are not completely satisfied and they will return to make it right.

Raj K. Ditta is the manager for Sears Maid Services in Contra Costa, Alameda and Marin counties.
Raj K. Ditta loves to see a property clean and shining – which also adds to the value of any properties that are on sale. Raj is an accredited BBB member and earned a Thumbtack (Best of 2015) certificate.



Sears Maid Services
855 412 8792
www.searsmaidservice.com



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