930 Tamalpais Ave
What do they offer?
Whistlestop promotes the independence, well-being and quality of life for older adults and people living with disabilities in Marin County. The Active Aging Center provides four areas of focus, including over 25 client-centered classes and programs, great meals in a social setting, multicultural gatherings and specialized transportation services with over 55 buses in operation throughout Marin County.
Who are they?
Decades prior, senior citizens and residents with disabilities had no access to transportation in Marin County. There were no centers for seniors, there was no American Disabilities Act. A small group of activists started the Marin Senior Coordinating Council, a charitable senior-focused organization in hopes of providing programming, advice and administrative services in order to better the lives of older adults.
In 1968 there was just one vehicle offering rides to seniors and now over 145,000 rides are provided annually, including city-based shuttles and wheelchair accessible services for those unable to use public transportation. The original idea behind Whistlestop has blossomed and now seniors are not forgotten at home, they can lead fulfilled, thriving lives, even if they are unable to drive.
How long have they been there?
The first volunteer operated transportation vehicle was offering rides in 1954.
Why are they in our business spotlight?
As Marketing and Development Director Yvonne Roberts states, “ It is a pleasure to work here, with these wonderful people.” A warm and friendly place, Whistlestop is headquarters for social networking, and keeps the elderly engaged in daily life.
Those using Whistlestop have access to referral information including retirement advice, tax assistance and home health services, to name a few. Classes offered run the gamut, from Arts & Crafts to Remembrance Writing and Mah Jongg. There are also healthy activities organized, such as Cardio/Yoga, Restore & Improve Your Balance and Tai Chi.
Whistlestop also has multicultural programs with weekly social gatherings, luncheons and picnics. Currently, German, Persian, Spanish and Vietnamese groups are meeting. Celebrations are organized for culturally specific holidays such as the Tet Festival (Vietnamese/Chinese New Year), Cinco de Mayo, and Nowruz (Persian New Year). These programs also offer assistance for U.S. citizenship applications, in-home support and more.
Did you know?
Another aspect of the Whistlestop organization is Jackson Cafe, located in the old train depot in downtown San Rafael. It is a great spot for seniors, or anyone, to eat healthy, nutritious meals. Anyone over 60 can eat for just $4.50! Jackson Cafe also plays host to meetings, seminars and catered events.