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History

Helping Older Adults Thrive Through the Power of Human Connection

For more than 65 years, Vivalon has provided essential services for seniors living in Marin County, helping them thrive through the power of human connection. From the very beginning, our organization has served as a valuable resource and community builder for Marin’s older adults. 

Our services have expanded over the years, and currently include:  home delivered meals, Lifelong Learning and Healthy Aging classes and workshops, specialized transportation for older adults and people with disabilities, and so much more. In 2022, we will open our Healthy Aging Campus, combining wraparound healthcare services and vibrant programs with affordable housing for older adults.

Highly regarded in the community, Vivalon is the largest nonprofit serving older adults in Marin County. We are proud to be a place where seniors, their families and vulnerable members of the Marin community can count on receiving the day-to-day and ongoing support they need. Much of our funding comes from private donations, and many of our services are provided by volunteers. We welcome your involvement.

Vivalon members interact in Community Lounge1000
HIstoric Image Meal Delivery 1984
Whistlestops first car
historic image of Whistlestop Cafe 1975

Vivalon History – A Trailblazer in Providing Services for Marin’s Older Adults

In 1954, a grassroots community group in Marin County decided to band together to make sure that their elders were not forgotten. This was before the time of senior centers, considerations for people with disabilities, or specialized transportation. This grassroots group started the Marin Senior Coordinating Council (aka Vivalon), a charitable senior-focused organization. Their goal was to provide programming, advice and administrative services to organizations working to better the lives of older adults.

In 1968, the first volunteer-based ride service began with one vehicle, a stepping stool, and a commitment to help one another. This early simple act of kindness blossomed through the years, and now Vivalon provides nearly 300,000 rides annually, including shuttles and paratransit services for those who are not able to use public buses.

Today, Vivalon hosts a vibrant, Healthy Aging Center with a full schedule of services and activities. In addition to transportation services, Vivalon also provides Meals on Wheels, Vivalon Nourish, other forms of nutrition, classes and workshops, health and wellness information, and other social engagement opportunities. The organization is an invaluable resource for older adults, their children and vulnerable residents of Marin County.

Important Dates From Vivalon History:

1954

Marin Senior Coordinating Council, Inc. forms to address the growing needs of older adults

1963

First SUN newsletter printed (later renamed The Express, then Connections)

1968

First ride offered to aging resident

1971

The Council starts using the Whistlestop name

1971

Whistlestop opens formal activities and café as a senior center

1972

First paratransit ride offered in partnership with Marin Transit

1975

Information & Referrals program begins

1976

Nutrition Program begins

1977

First Annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

1979

First Whistlestop Resource Directory published (now called the Directory of Older Adult Services)

1996

Whistlestop begins contract with Golden Gate Regional Center to provide rides to individuals with developmental disabilities

2006

Remodeled Jackson Café opens

2012

Whistlestop Meals on Wheels partners with the County of Marin

2013

Brown Bag food pantry launches in partnership with SF/Marin Food Bank

2013

Healthy Aging Campus envisioned to combine affordable housing for older adults, healthy aging services and an integrated care clinic for Marin’s older adults

2014

Whistlestop Nourish program launches, bringing home delivered meals to those with chronic or life-threatening illness

2015

CarePool volunteer driver program launches

2017

Missed Appointment Reduction Service launches working with healthcare providers to provide transportation to reduce missed medical appointments for vulnerable populations

2018

Development agreement signed with BioMarin and Eden Housing for new Healthy Aging Campus

2019

Healthy Aging Program established

2020

Whistlestop expands its services to address growing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic

2020

Non-Emergency Medical Rides (NEMT) for Medi-Cal patients launched

2020

Whistlestop expands transportations services to San Francisco and Sonoma counties and opens a regional transportation center in Santa Rosa

2020

Marin Senior Coordinating Council changes its name to Vivalon

2022

Projected date for opening of Healthy Aging Campus

Vivalon is The Largest Nonprofit Serving Older Adults in Marin County.

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For more information
Email [email protected] or call us today at 415-456-9062.
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