With the April 3 launch of Carquinez Village, Benicia area seniors will have a new, significant organization offering members connection, support and inspiration. Extending the “village” movement that started fifteen years ago in Boston and spread across the country, Carquinez Village provides a way for seniors to connect with others and their community by receiving support when they need it, obtaining referrals and information, interacting socially, and taking educational courses. All these things will enable participating seniors to lead more positive and informed lives.

Through making a difference in individuals’ lives, the launch of Carquinez Village makes Benicia an “age-friendly” city, and is cause for citywide celebration! Many have contributed to our development over the last two years. The Benicia Public Library and Heritage Presbyterian Church have offered meeting space, and Hamann Real Estate is a sponsor.

Over thirty volunteers have worked hard, over fifty people have made contributions, and over fifty seniors have committed to becoming members. We’d like to not turn anyone away who wants to be a member of Carquinez Village, so if you’re a senior and can’t afford the membership cost, tell us that. We have some funds available to meet those needs.

Sometimes we hear, “I don’t need the Village services right now. I may in future.” This viewpoint supposes the village is a support system when one is sick or needs assistance. It is that, however, it is much more. Carquinez Village also exists to offer connection and inspiration to seniors. I’ve lived alone since my husband died at 57. I was 54. I needed stimulation and companionship. I wanted to be healthy and productive, to have fun, to learn and experience as much as possible. Now, I’m 78, still healthy and happy.

Having worked the last two years to help make Carquinez Village real, I’ve learned what resources are available in our community. I thought I knew quite a few people here before; I know more now, and they add to my quality of life. You’d be surprised how many seniors name “having fun” as a priority. Being involved, learning new things and getting to know new people is inspiring.

Certainly, age can bring illness or physical problems, but isolation and loneliness are issues for many seniors. Carquinez Village members won’t be alone. They’ll be surrounded by caring friends and volunteers.

The volunteers of Carquinez Village will provide rides, friendly phone calls, and help with using a smart phone among many other services. We will offer the help you need when you need it. For other needs, like a regular gardener or house cleaner, we will have information about what is available in the community and a list of preferred providers—local people whom we can recommend. Plus, we will offer a variety of programs from potlucks to parties to classes. There will be something for everyone; the more you participate, the richer your experience will be!

The public is invited to a launch party on Monday, April 3, 1:30-3pm at Carter’s Biz Cafés at the Commanding Officer’s Quarters, 1 Commandant Lane in Benicia. For more information, visit carquinezvillage.org or call 707.297.2472