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Whistlestop SEPTEMBER 2012

E press

The Leading Information Resource for Marin's Active Aging Movement

You Can Help Whistlestop Meet Generous Challenge Grant of $180,000 from MCF B y


s our CEO, Joe O’Hehir, reported in his August column in Whistlestop Express, a rare and wonderful fundraising opportunity is within our grasp. Here’s the situation: The Marin County Foundation (MCF) is offering Whistlestop a $180,000 challenge grant if we can raise $50,000 by September 30. We now need friends of Whistlestop to rally to help us raise the $50,000 to make sure we receive this generous challenge grant opportunity. Since O’Hehir made the announcement last month, donations totaling over $30,000 have come in. So, the goal is very reachable. Whistlestop Express wants to provide stories of some of the many ways your donations are used – all of it to help older adults in Marin County, connecting them to each other and offering social and preventive health services they need to remain active, vibrant members of our community. We are presenting snapshots

From Iran to Teaching Farsi in Marin page 2

J o h n B o wm a n

of seven various services Whistlestop provides here and throughout this issue. ••••• Spanish sounds like singing to Joe Cillo, a volunteer who facilitates Whistlestop’s Spanish Class Tuesdays, from 1 Joe Cillo teaching his Spanish class. to 3 pm. “We like to say, ‘jubilant,’”Cillo says, laughing. make it sing,” Cillo says. “Carve The Spanish class is quite the air with it.” diverse – a doctor, teachers, Spanish class has been an musicians are among the parintegral part of Whistlestop for ticipants and they have lived all about 25 years. It started out over the globe – Mexico, Italy, as a grassroots experiment and Germany, the Phillippines. has had several teachers over There are about 40 people atthe years. Cillo, who has taught tending the class and the averat the college graduate level, age size is between 20 and 25. says he does not consider him Many of the participants are self the teacher of this class, but drawn to the class for some of rather is a facilitator. A teacher, the same reasons that Cillo Carol Costa, comes in to lead decided many years ago to take the class on occasion. a Spanish class at College Cillo, 72, of Kentfield, has of Marin. They realize that been a rocket scientist and California is such a bilingual a company CEO. He does culture and they want to be not consider himself retired. able to speak the state’s second “Retired or retirement in language. Besides, they like the Spanish is ‘jubilado.’ That’s continued on page 5

Myths About Hummingbirds page 11

Multicultural Column Debuts page 12

Table of

CONTENTS 3 4 6 8/9 10 11 12 13 15

Whistlestop Wheels From Rocky's Pantry Rocky Packard

PERSPECTIVE by John Bowm an Whistlestop is Important Center For Multicultural Activities

Golf Tourney Sponsors Whistlestop Classes Activities Calendar The Bird's Side of Marin Richard Pavek Multicultural News Vicky Voicehowsky & Sandra Jimenez Whistlestop Board Column Debbie Mills Two Big Fundraisers

Mrs. Esmaili's Persian group gathers at Whistlestop.


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Marin Senior Coordinating Council, Inc. 930 Tamalpais Avenue San Rafael, CA 94901 Chief Executive Officer, Joe O’Hehir Board of Directors President, Dennis Thompson Vice President, Terry Scussel Treasurer, Michael Rice Secretary, Michael Hingson Karen Arnold • Liza Cozad • Eleanor Delaney Venessa Dixon • Jane Lott • Debbie Mills Lori Peterson • Bill Saul • Bob Sonnenberg Whistlestop Express is a publication of the Marin Senior Coordinating Council, Inc. A 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization. The Mission of Whistlestop: Whistlestop believes that we share a responsibility to ensure that all Marin residents have an opportunity to age with dignity, grace and independence. Whistlestop Contact Information Main Number 415-456-9062 Whistlestop Fax 415-456-2858 Information & Referral Office 415-459-6700 • Whistlestop Express Editorial, Art Direction & Sales John & Val Bowman Editors 916-751-9189 • Missy Reynolds Art Director Advertising Linda Black • 415-485-6700, Ext. 306 Whistlestop Express is printed on recycled paper To be added to, or taken off, the email list for Whistlestop Express, please call 415-456-9062. Or send an email, with your request, your name and address to Subscriptions mailed to your home are $10/year.



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ehrbanoo Esmaili is a strong advocate and promoter of Whistlestop. “I want everyone to know that this is a second home to many people,” she said. “It is important for people Mrs. Esmaili in the community to support this work with their donations.” Mrs. Esmaili came to San Rafael from Iran after the fall of the Shah. She acquired U.S. citizenship and for the past 15 years has volunteered at Whistlestop to help Persian older adults get acclimated in this community. She has assisted more than 100 people to gain U.S. citizenship. “Whistlestop also has multicultural programs for Russian, Vietnamese

and Hispanic people who come here, as well as Persian,” she said. “Many people spend their day here, 10 to 4, and eat at the Jackson Café. They don’t know anyone when they first come, and this is the place where they meet people like them.” She laughed and said, “Whistlestop is well known in Iran because people come here and then tell their families about it. For me, this is my home. I love everyone who works and volunteers here.” She also teaches children Farsi on Saturdays because, “They are born here, know English, but they want to know the language of their parents, to stay connected with their culture.” F

Whistlestop Wheels More Than a Ride; Drivers Praised for Care

Better Care Starts at Home


had a nice driver on the way to Kaiser. I had a caregiver with me, yet the driver still walked with me all the way up the stairs to the door.” This is typical of the compliments Whistlestop receives on a regular basis about Whistlestop Wheels drivers. In the past year, 85% of all comments received were very positive. Another rider said, “I had a fabulous driver to the Recreation Center yesterday. I have a hard time letting people help me because I want to be independent. I let him carry my bag.” And, “I am very thankful for the service. My driver walked part of the way up the hill and then watched me walk to my door. I have severe sciatica and need the help.” Whistlestop rolled its first buses out in 1969 to provide service to Marin County residents with special transportation needs. Today, Whistlestop Wheels operates in partnership with Marin Access, providing more than 500 trips a day with its fleet of 60 buses. F

Thanks from Girl Scouts Dear Whistlestop:


hank you so much for letting us use your parking lot and rooms in Whistlestop. None of this would have been possible without you! Because of you, we were able to make 10,362 meals for the hungry in Marin. Thanks again, Kathleen Deana

Thanks to Donor


esponse to Paula Ross’s request for labels to sew into chemo caps she has knitted has been heartwarming. Paula, 91, of Fairfax, knits hats for people undergoing chemotherapy. Through Whistlestop Express, she asked for labels to sew into the hats reading, “Love, Paula.” Some generous person had them made and mailed Paula 100 embroidered labels. Whistlestop and Paula extend a heartfelt “Thank you!” for this response. She has already used 25 of the labels. F

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nna Haight had been living near her dad, Charles, in Seattle when she relocated to Marin County for a job in 1997. At that time, her dad – who had lived in the Seattle area since the age of 5 – was 77 and happily independent, driving around town and volunteering in food service at senior residences. Over the next few years, however, Charles was told by his doctor to stop driving due to poor eyesight, and his memory began to decline.   Concerned for her father’s safety, Anna moved him in with her in late 2005. “My dad took care of me when I was younger, and I rearranged my life so I could take care of him as he ages,” she said. “We have both been enriched by the experience.” At first, Anna’s dad spent lots of time at continued on page 5

continued from page 1 sound of it – its pleasantness. Cillo got an “Aâ€? in Introduction to Spanish at College of Marin but still could not speak the language. He took an advanced class and got another “A.â€? “I still couldn’t speak Spanish. I said, ‘I can keep piling up A’s in Spanish till the cows come home, but I don’t need that. I want to speak the language.'â€? About 15 years ago, he joined the Spanish group at Whistlestop and soon became more conversant. Eventuhe became the class’s ‘Spanish is like ally facilitator. singing. Carve “I think we have something unique here,â€? Cillo the air with it.’ says. “We have seen real progress. Everyone has a chance to lead the class. We always have a strong underpinning of grammar, but the discussions can be quite varied. And we have a wide range of knowledge – from beginners to fluent speakers. So we try to settle somewhere in the middle.â€? Several people in the group also meet for lunch before class each Tuesday – they have a table reserved in the Jackson CafĂŠ. Spanish class is just one of the many classes where Marin older adults come together to improve their knowledge and to make new friends. F continued from page 4

Whistlestop’s Active Aging Center, which allowed her to have a full workday. “The van picked him up and he took classes and ate lunch there,� she said. “He’s very social, so it was great for him.� Before long, however, Charles was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and Anna enrolled him at an adult day center.  Anna started using Meals on Wheels for her dad in 2011 when the previous operator was delivering a week’s supply of frozen meals on a single day. Since July 2012, the new Whistlestop Meals on Wheels has been delivering fresh meals to Anna’s house three times a week. “They bring fresh salads and sandwiches, which my dad loves, and the nutritional quality is excellent,� she said. Anna knows how important this service is to so many. “Meals on Wheels can be life saving for people who are isolated,� she said. “There is so much need out there, and it is important for our community to support the program.� F

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Whistlestop Express


Whistlestop was honored by the following sponsors of the Jerry Randall Memorial Golf Tournament Abey Arnold Associates, Landscape Architects Andronico's Applied Computer Solutions Arco Smogpros Balletto Vineyards Bank of Marin Benvenuto for Color Salon Beta Breakers Quality Assurance Labs Bob and Mary Basso Bob Griffin Bob Santini Windshield Repair Boerio, Clark & Associates CPAs, LLP Brad LaPoint Clif Bar CPI – Cal-Pox, Inc. Easy Automotive Embassy Suites Hotel -San Rafael Fitzpatrick's Heating, Inc. Four Points Sheraton- San Rafael Frank Howard Allen Realtors Fregosi & Company Paints Gaspare's Ristorante Golden State Orthopaedics Griffin Coins H&H Printing Homeward Bound of Marin Homewell Senior Center IMI Fabrication Jerry Thompson & Sons Joe O'Hehir Jordan Shield Insurance Journey Ford - Novato Karen Arnold Kathy Randall Kenwood Korbel Champagne Cellars Kunst Bros., Inc. Lagunitas Brewing Company

Loyd Bonfante Margie Healy Marin Community Clinics MassMutual - San Francisco Bay Area Agency, Inc. Maya Palenque Restaurant Melting Pot Mike Neustadt Miracle Auto Painting & Body Repair Montecito Market Place Nino, the Magic Guide Dog Nor Cal Mortgage of Marin Onspot Welding and Design, Inc. Pleasures of the Heart ReMax Realty Rob Roehrick Design RPM Mortgage Brokers Safeway San Rafael Pacifics Baseball Club Seadrift Realty, Inc. Seghesio Family Vineyards Silver Oak Cellars Six Flags Marine World Sol Food StoneTree Golf Club Terry Scussel Photography The Village at Corte Madera Tim's Treads Tomatina Valley of the Moon Winery Veronica Martinez Brierley Villa Marin W. Bradley Electric, Inc. Washington Vegetable Company West Bay Builders Whistlestop Board of Directors Whole Foods - Mill Valley Yvette Martinez Dal Porto

And special gratitude and affection for the amazing Randall family who make the entire event a great success!

Senior Center Without Walls: Creating Connections

Helping You Maintain Your Independence

B y V a lerie B o wm a n


he Senior Center Without Walls program is a phone-based community made up of participants, staff, facilitators, presenters, and other volunteers who care about each other and who value feeling connected. Barbara Morrill of San Rafael learned about the services of Whistlestop when she couldn’t get behind the wheel of a car due to a medical condition. She relied on rides from Whistlestop Wheels and received some needed support from a peer counselor. That person recommended that she try the Senior Center Without Walls while she had trouble getting out. She fell in love with the offerings and the caring staff. “If you come up with a need, they are going to find a way to meet it,� she said. “There are lectures you can listen to and ways to participate. I like to call in at 9 in the morning for sharing daily gratitudes. You realize ‘I’m not the only one out there.’ And you’re never too old to learn something.� Barbara loves the armchair travel calls and Brain Sparks. A primary goal of SCWW is the inclusion of isolated individuals as valued members of a community. Participants relate the exciting sense of having something to look forward to and someone with whom they can share. Barbara no longer has to stay close to home, but she says, “I cannot give it up. It’s a Godsend.� To join this free phone-based outreach program, call 877-797-7299. Visit for a catalog of offerings. SCWW is sponsored by Episcopal Senior Communities. F

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Keep Learning at WHISTLESTOP

For a complete list of classes, visit

Drop-in Computer Lab Mondays • 10 - Noon & Wednesdays • 10 - Noon Need help using a computer? We have volunteer computer tutors available to work with you one-on-one, if needed. Computer/Picture Class Beginning: First Friday • 2 - 4pm Advanced: Second Friday • 2 - 4pm Fee: $15 | Instructor: Gene Dyer Registration required: 459-6700 Call for more information and class descriptions. Beginning Computers for Adults Level I Thursday, Sept. 6 - Oct. 11 • 10am - Noon Instructor: Ed Essick | 6-week course for $60 Pre-registration required: 459-6700 This hands-on course will provide you with the basic skills to use your Windows-based P.C. Designed for first-time computer users, this class teaches you how to: start your computer and turn it off, use the mouse and keyboard to perform basic computer tasks, use Windows components to create and print a document, identify the basic parts of a computer and their use and search the Internet to find information. Bring your laptop to class. Windows-based computer needed. Free Blood Pressure Clinic & Medication Checks Tuesdays, Sept. 11 & 25 • 11:30am - 1pm Facilitators: Student nurses from Dominican University | Drop-in Bring all your medications and supplements to find out how & when to take them, how to store them, side effects, or interactions with other drugs. GOING PLACES To register: Contact Lisa O'Brien at 492-9622 A Day in Petaluma /Friday, Sept. 7 Fee: Comm. Member $20 | Depart 10:30am; return 4pm Cheese Tour – Point Reyes / Friday, Sept. 21 Fee: Comm. Member $20 | Depart 10:30am; return 4pm 8

Whistlestop Express


Volunteer Opportunities Contact: Debbie at 456-9062 or We need board/card game leaders; a Chiropractor; Italian Social Group leader; Portuguese Social Group leader; and bilingual computer teacher. Jackson Café Volunteers Needed Volunteers are needed to work at least one day a week from 11am to 1:45pm. The Jackson Café offers a comfortable setting where older adults and their family and friends can eat well and stay socially active. Whistlestop Center Service A volunteer needed to answer phones and do various office duties. Computer experience a plus, but not required. Volunteer is needed from 11am to 1pm, with some flexibility. Whistlestop would like to start a sewing group We need a volunteer to coordinate the club, participants, sewing machines, fabric and thread. Volunteer Drivers for Meals on Wheels Program. Contact Raphael Krantz at 454-0969. In-Kind Donations needed Mah Jongg sets, books, yarn, movies on DVD exercise mats and portable ping pong table. If you have items to donate, please call Debbie at 456-9062. REMEMBRANCE WRITING 101 Is Back Memoir Writing Made Easy Fall/Winter: Sept. 6 • 2 to 3pm (Intro class) Every Thursday beginning Sept. 13–Dec. 20 • 2 - 4pm Fee: $5 | Facilitator: Author Claudia Carroll To register: 456-9062 or Join us to write and share the stories of your life. The workshops are drop-in and on-going. Come meet new and supportive writing friends. Write your collection of life stories in a few short weeks. Publishing ideas too. Inspiring, writing-filled, two-hour sessions. Bring three-ring binder, pen, pencil or laptop.

Commission on Aging-Healthy Aging Symposium Thursday,September 13 • 10:00-12:30 pm Where:Margaret Todd (Hill Cmmty. Room), Novato Topic: Family Caregiving, LGBT Caregiving Considerations

Restore & Improve Your Balance Training Class Tuesdays & Thursdays • 2:30 - 3:30pm Suggested donation: $10 per class/drop-ins welcome Thomas Attardi, BS, MA, NMT, has been working in the health and healing rehabilitation field since 1992, primarily with those that are physically challenged with sustained disabilities, impairments or limitations in their overall physical well-being. Bring a water bottle and 1lb. or 2lb. weights to class.

Movement & Music for Older Adults: A Universal Language Seven Mondays: Sept. 10 - Oct. 22 • 11:10 am - Noon Fee: Free | Facilitator: Diane Hain Registration required: College of Marin 485-9305 or Whistlestop 456-9062 This exercise class is created for older adults who have not been exercising regularly, or have arthritis-related problems. It moves at a moderate, comfortable, yet progressively challenging pace to meet individual needs. Chair exercises to tone both upper and lower body muscles will comprise a major portion of the class. Housing Assistance for Older Adults Individual housing consultations on the 2nd & 4th Wednesday of the month • 2-4pm Appointments: 456-9062, ext.132 Looking for housing options for yourself, an aging parent, relative, or friend? Come get some clarity on housing choices in Marin. Zumba Gold Thursdays • 11am - Noon & Fridays • 11am - Noon Begins Thursday, Sept. 13 Fee: $6 per Class | Instructor: Angela Jakab-Miller Zumba is a great way to stay fit and active. Fun, motivating combination of Latin-inspired music and dance steps guaranteed to get you moving. Zumba movements are easy to follow and for all activity levels. Bring water and a small towel.

MAH JONGG Wednesdays • 10:30am - Noon Instructor: Shirley Etemadfar Beginners and experienced players are welcome. American Mah Jongg is a game that originally came from China. If you’ve played gin rummy, you have a head start in learning how to play this game. Flu shots from Sutter Care at Home Sept. 18 & 26 • 10am - Noon If you are enrolled in Medicare Part B, there is no cost for your vaccination. Bring your Medicare Part B card and a second form of identification to allow Sutter Care at Home to bill Medicare for you. If you are not enrolled in Medicare Part B, the cost is $25. Pneumonia vaccinations are available for $60. The flu program helps to support Sutter’s Hospice and Home Care patients in need. Whistlestop is happy to introduce a new service: Senior Center Without Walls More information: 877-797-7299 Senior Center Without Walls is a telephone-based outreach program for adults 60 and older with a lineup of workshops and activities offered seven days a week, such as brain games, bingo, book clubs, armchair travelers and daily 30-minute gratitude calls. All of the activities take place on the phone; participants call in from their own homes. Mariachi Concert Thursday, Sept. 13 • 4:30-6pm Fee: $5 | For more information: 456-9062. Join us at the Jackson Café to celebrate the Independence of Central America and Mexico with Mariachi Nuestra Leyenda. Register and buy your ticket prior to the event at the Front Office.

Transportation Numbers Marin Access Call Center: 454-0902 Get Qualified to Ride: 456-9062, x106 Cancel a Ride: 457-4630 STAR Volunteer Driving: 454-0969 9

Whistlestop Weekly ACTIVITIES This Month at Whistlestop










9–2 PM 9:30–10:30 AM 10–11 AM 10–NOON 11–12:30 PM 11–NOON 4–5:30 PM

Relax Chair Massage Open Exercise Lamas Qi Gong Open Language AM Monday 457-0586 Learn Computer Lab Open Language German Social Group Open Exercise Movement & Music-9/1 456-9062 Language Citizenship Class 454-0998

$4/8min. $3/class Free Free Free Free $25

9:15–10:15 AM 10:45–11:45 AM Noon–3 PM 1–3 PM 2–3:30 PM 2:30–3:30 PM

Exercise Whistlesizers Open Exercise Cardio Exercise Class Open Relax Manicurist Appt. Needed Language Learn Spanish Open Language English Conversation 454-0998 Exercise Balance Class Sugg. Donation

$2 Free Free Free Free $10

9–10:15 AM 9–2 PM 10–11:30 AM 10–2 PM 10:30–11:45 AM 10:30–NOON 3–4 PM

Exercise Tai Chi Qigong Relax Chair Massage Support Seniors' Circle Learn Computer Lab Support Corazón Latino Relax Mah Jongg Language Basic English for Spanish Speakers

$10 or less $4/8min. Free Free Free Free Free

Sugg. Donation Open Open Open Open Open 457-0586

9:15–10:15 AM 10–NOON 11–NOON 2–3:30 PM 2:30–3:30 PM 3–4 PM

Exercise Whistlesizers Open Relax Knit!!! 457-0586 Exercise Zumba Open Language English Conversation 454-0998 Exercise Balance Class Sugg. Donation Language Basic English for 457-0586 Spanish Speakers

$2 Free $2 $6 $10 Free

11–NOON 1:30–3:30 PM 1:30–3:30 PM 1:30–3:30 PM 2–4 PM

Exercise Zumba-9/14 Relax Friday Flicks Support ACASA Language Practice Spanish Learn Arts & Crafts w/Vicky

$6 Free Free Free $3

Open 456-9062 Peer Counseling Open Sept. 7 & 21

Jackson Café

Monday-Friday 11:00am-1:30pm Located in Whistlestop Active Aging Center

Lunch Menu 60+ Prices/ Under 60 Prices

Main Entrée $4.50/$7.25 (+$1 for Seafood Entrées) Sandwiches $4.25/$6.25 Soup du Jour $1.75/$2.25 Hamburger w/Fries $4.25/$5.25 Salads $2.50/$4.00 Other Items Tuna Salad Side $1.25 Fresh Fruit $1.50 Beverages $1.00 Desserts $2.00

For a complete list of all classes, visit The Caboose, Computer Lab, Board Room and Jackson Café are all located at Whistlestop’s Active Aging Center – 930 Tamalpais Ave., San Rafael. 10

Whistlestop Express


b y R I C H A R D PAV E K Photos © richard pavek

The Bird's Side OF MARIN



rue or false: 1. A hummingbird is a tiny shimmering bird that lives on flower nectar and/or sugar water. 2. A hummingbird is too small to travel very far, as other birds often do. Neither statement is true. Yes. Hummers need copious amounts of flower nectar or sugar water to produce the huge amounts of energy needed to beat their wings so fast and for so long. But, just like all birds (and animals), they need protein to build muscle and bone and they can’t get protein from flower juice or sugar water. As to being local, very few are. Some hummers migrate all the way from the farms and woods

of Maryland to the forests of Columbia by way of Mexico and back, every year – to nest and to raise babies. Most of the Hummers we have around here are Anna’s Hummingbirds and they stay here year round. I was fortunate to spot this Allen’s Hummingbird hanging in the open sky outside of Petaluma, its tiny beak open, snatching at small insects on a humid day when the insects were swarming. It was pretty far away from me, but you can just make out some of the swarming insects. Every weekend I email a special bird photo to Express readers. If you’d like something nice to look at amidst the junk in your Inbox, ask me at F ‘Til next month, Richard 11

Multicultural News by Vicky Voicehowsky and Sandra Jimenez

Meaningful Experiences


he multicultural program at Whistlestop provides activities and services for older adults who are non-native English speakers. We make a difference in the lives of the people we serve and their families by connecting various cultural groups in Mar in County a nd bringing them together. Weekly social gatherings, special events, an ar t program, and language classes provide our participants an opportunity to be active community members. We also provide assisLolita Duarte enjoys art and creativity with her new friend, tance with U.S. citizenship, housing opportuniKaren Rodas.

ties, health education, in-home support, subsidized programs, referrals, and community resources. Presently, groups from the Hispanic, Persian, and German communities meet at Whistlestop’s Active Aging Center. We want to start an Italian and a Portuguese social group. Our language classes bring together more than 20 nationalities. In collaboration with other agencies, we are bringing children and older adults together. Socializing with children brings great happiness to our participants. Join us this month to celebrate the Independence Day of many Central American countries with a group of young Mariachis. See details on page 9. For many people, Whistlestop is their second home. Many have made new friendships, staying connected and caring for each other. The multicultural staff make every effort to end loneliness and isolation by providing meaningful experiences for our participants and their families. F Vicky Voicehowsky and Sandra Jimenez are Whistlestop's Multicultural Outreach Coordinators. This is the first of a new column they will co-write each month. To reach them: and

Whistlestop VOLUNTEERS

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Dr. Melanie Hahn 415.215.9722 415.927.8123


Whistlestop Express

Give the Gift of Health…

Whistlestop is proud of Marc Haberstroh, a former volunteer who worked his way up to a paratransit driver position with Whistlestop Wheels.

Did you know that daily yoga and meditation practice has been proven to reduce your risk of heart disease by 47% and your risk of cancer by 55%?

Easy Way to Donate Online

Therapeutic Yoga For Older Adults

Call for a Free demonstration today! SEPTEMBER 2012

Please donate today at to help keep Whistlestop doing all the good you’ve just read about!

Why I Think Whistlestop is Important By Debbie Mills


his month will mark the first anniversary of my husband’s sudden and unexpected death. There is much I could write about this loss—we had been married for 45 years. I have been asked, however, to tell you about the Challenge Grant that Whistlestop recently received from the Marin Community Foundation. Though the MCF has provided grant funding for 23 years to our agency, this year in order to receive the full $180,000, we must raise $50,000 in new donations by September 30. I, for one, believe we are ready for the challenge. While giving some thought to how I might appeal to you to help us raise $50,000, I also thought about why I think Whistlestop is ‘All of our so important to our programs community. I’m now serving my 9th year provide an as a volunteer on the alternative to Board of Directors, so I could list the over 50 loneliness.’ programs and services we offer. But when I drill down to the core, what draws me to Whistlestop the most is that all of our programs provide an alternative to loneliness. Until recently, I didn’t give much thought to the fact that one day I might need some of these services myself. The importance, to me, has always been that these resources need to be available for the 13,000+ older adults in Marin who are living alone. Look around your neighborhood, look at your parents and grandparents, your family and friends—how many older adults in your circle may be isolated, whose lives could be improved by helping them stay active and engaged? By doing so, they are more likely to stay healthy and independent, build friendships and relation-

ships, fight depression and illness and ultimately live longer and happier. It is vitally important to me to have activities on my calendar to look forward to. I treasure the friends and family who reach out to me and include me in their plans. I love my book club, my movie friends, my lunch dates at Whistlestop and elsewhere. Exercise is more important than ever for my physical health, but the classes I take help me meet and connect with new people. Please join me in helping Whistlestop meet this challenge grant. There is no other agency in Marin that offers this combination of services to older adults and people living with challenging disabilities. We serve the greatest number of older adults in Marin, connecting them to each other and offering a variety of activities and social opportunities. We need your help and appreciate your willingness to help us financially support these vital services. F Debbie Mills is a Whistlestop Board member.



Nancy Mack, RN, PHN, GCM


Marin Residents Find Big Rewards Helping Children Learn to Read B y S u s a n S h a rpe


ngineers and triathletes, artists and writers, grandmothers and grandfathers – all have one thing in common. They have discovered the rewards of being early literacy tutors with Experience Corps Marin. “I never imagined in a million years that I’d be doing this,” said Larry Wolff, a partially retired electrical engineer and 40-year resident of Mill Valley who tutors 5th graders. After interviewing with Experience Corps Marin in late 2008, Larry was matched with his first class at San Rafael’s Bahia Vista Elementary School for the 2009-2010 school year. “I watched the teacher and observed her techniques, and took my lead from her,” he explained. Larry helps students with both math and reading. “When a student is working through a math concept and struggling and I do or say something to help, and the student says, ‘Oh! Now I see!’– that alone is worth everything to me. It feels so great to motivate kids to learn and to see them get excited about what they are doing.” Penny Noble is another tutor at Bahia Vista who started in the 2009-2010 school year. After retiring in 2000 from a 30-year career as an auditor with the General Accounting Office and the State of California, Penny wanted to become involved in volunteer work. “My mother was a dedicated volunteer and I guess it’s in my blood,” she said. Penny, who turns 70 soon,

Want to Advertise in the Whistlestop FEBRUARY 2011


The Leading Information Resource for Marin's Active Aging Movement

Call: Linda Black 485-6700 x306

African-American History Month

Dominican Professor Reflects on Her Experience as One of the Little Rock Nine by JOHN BOWMAN

W for rates and deadlines 14

hen Melba Pattillo Beals walks the halls of Dominican University, a stirring chapter in American history walks with her. Dr. Beals, chair of Dominican’s Communications Department, where she teaches Whistlestop Express journalism, is a member of the Little Rock Nine, the group of African-American

US Supreme Court decision in Brown v Board of Education, which called for the desegregation of all public schools in the United States. The governor used the Arkansas National Guard to block black children from entering Central High School. President Eisenhower countered on Sept. 24, 1957, by ordering the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army to Little


Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals 1,000 screaming adults and children at the school, including men carrying ropes. One of

Penny Noble tutors student at Experience Corps Marin.

Larry Wolff tutors student at Experience Corps Marin. is also a veteran athlete, having participated in more than 50 triathlons over the last 40 years. In 2008, after running in The Marin Human Race, an annual event that raises funds for Marin nonprofits and schools, she chanced upon a booth for Experience Corps Marin. “I met program director Susan Kraemer that day, and I decided to become a tutor,” said Penny, who has made her home in Mill Valley for more than 40 years. ••••• AARP Experience Corps Marin invites adults 50 and older to become early literacy tutors in San Rafael elementary schools. Learn more at the Open House from 1-2pm on Thursday, Sept. 27 at the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership, 555 Northgate Drive, San Rafael. RSVP by Sept. 19 to, call 464-1767 or visit F

Annual Driftwood Fizz Sept. 21; Great Way to Support Whistlestop


riftwood’s Annual Fizz & Tour gives you a chance to view a luxury Tiburon home. It’s also a great way to support Whistlestop, Marin’s Active Aging Center. Bring a friend to enjoy breathtaking views, a women’s fashion show and delicious hors d’oeuvres on Friday, Sept. 21 from 10am to noon. Bid on fantastic silent auction items while supporting Whistlestop! Tickets are only $35. For ticket and address information, please contact Patty at F

Ask Presidential Candidates to State Positions on Disabilities


rganizers of the National Forum on Disability Issues are urging voters to invite Pres. Obama and Gov. Romney to attend a forum on Longterm Service and Support and Disability Issues, Sept. 28 and to state their positions. Where do the presidential candidates stand on long-term services and support and disability issues? Help the National Councel on Aging (NOCA) find out by inviting them to attend this forum in Ohio. NCOA is co-sponsoring this historic nonpartisan event to focus attention on the needs of individuals with disabilities, including older adults. To invite candidate go to or email: F

Photo Contest Winners Honored

Olympic Champion Bryan Brothers to Appear at Concert for Giving


ne of the bands at the Harbor Point Charitable Foundation’s “Concert for Giving” on Sept. 21 will feature Bob and Mike Bryan, who won gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London as men’s tennis doubles champions. Their winning of the gold came four years after collecting the bronze at the 2008 Olympics. By winning this year, the twins stepped into rare company, achieving the Golden Slam: winning four grand slam tournaments plus the Olympics. The Concert for Giving is set for 7 to 10:30 pm at the Marin Center Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium. Benefitting from the concert are four vital food programs in Marin County: Marin Food Bank, Meals of Marin, St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room, and Whistlestop’s Meals on Wheels. The featured bands are the popular Bryan Bros. Band and Pride and Joy. Tickets to the concert are available by calling the Marin Center Box Office, 415-473-6800. F


Mary Tsolakis took first place in the Marin People, Pets and Animals category for older adults in the Whistlestop-Pacific Sun Photo Contest. She poses here with Terry Scussel, one of the contest judges and vice president of the Whistlestop Board of Directors.

ixty people attended a reception honoring winners of the Whistlestop-Pacific Sun Photo Contest August 14 in the Caboose room at Whistlestop. Winning photographs in all seven categories were displayed. Linda Black, Advertising Director for the Pacific Sun, presented the winners with certificates. John Bowman, co-editor of the Whistlestop Express, was master of ceremonies. Joe O’Hehir, CEO of Whistlestop, welcomed the winners and their family members. He also thanked the photo contest sponsors: Seawood Photo, Marin Filmworks, Cheap Pete's and Arrivederci Restaurant. Gina Allen, publisher, and Jason Walsh, editor, of the Pacific Sun, also spoke briefly, as did two of the contest judges, Terry Scussel and Mark Lindsay. This was the fourth annual photo contest sponsored by Whistlestop. Winning photos are now on display at Arrivederci Restaurant. F 15


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