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OVA Board: New Program Will Target Loneliness, Isolation

Al Haggerty

The Oakmont Village Association board of directors has endorsed a program to combat loneliness and isolation among residents by pairing those looking for companionship with those willing to provide it.

Steve Spanier, board president, reported at the Jan. 15 board meeting that Anne Marie Siu Yuan is leading the effort to start an Oakmont chapter of Social Call, a program run by Covia, which matches fully vetted, trained volunteers with people over the age of 60 in need of companionship support. For Oakmont, people over the age of 55 will be eligible. SiuYuan was scheduled to meet with Covia reps just a few days after the board meeting.

All volunteers must pass a background check and attend an initial two-hour training program, which Covia offers regularly. Volunteers commit for six months and spend between one and two hours a week doing things like playing cards, going out for coffee or just conversing with the person with whom they’re paired.

Covia, with more than 50 years as a non-profit, public benefit organization, believes in helping individuals fortify their own well-being by building strong and engaging communities, connecting people with the services and relationships they need to thrive and providing compassionate support. Spring Lake Village in Santa Rosa is one of six Covia Life Plan Communities in the Bay area.

“All of us are so grateul to Anne Marie for getting this started,” Spanier said. “This is yet another example of dedicated, talented volunteers taking time out of their schedules to make our community better.”


            Shuffleboard enthusiasts got some good news when the board approved spending $3,265 for the purchase and delivery of two portable shuffleboard courts, two scoreboards and transition trim. The poly plastic courts will be installed on top of the existing and badly deteriorated shuffleboard courts adjacent to the Petanque court behind Berger Center.

Jon Kline, a member of the recently recognized Oakmont Shuffleboard Club, said members are willing to help the OVA maintenance staff install the courts. He said the courts are all-weather and are perforated for quick drainage. He said courts from the same supplier will be used at the World Championships to be held in October in Vienna, Austria.

Kline said the old courts are not used and also pose a tripping hazard. He said shuffleboard is still popular, is a low-impact strategy sport ideal for seniors and is both challenging and social. The transition trim for the new courts will eliminate the tripping hazard.

           ERC LOAN

            Tom Kendrick, board vice president, said OVA will begin drawing on a $1.6 million construction loan in the next few months to pay for the East Rec Center project as it’s completed. He said the loan will allow OVA to keep reserve balances at a reasonable level and spread the project costs over the next several years.

He said the member dues for 2019 include $8 which will be used to repay the loan. “Taking the loan at this time,” he explained, “has allowed us to avoid increasing dues by the much larger amount that would have been required to fund the entire project cost in a single year.”

The board approved by a 6-1 vote spending up to $29,600 on renovating the landscaping in front of the Central Activities Center. Carolyn Bettencourt voted no.

The proposal by True North of Santa Rosa, OVA’s current landscape vendor, calls for removing all the festuca grass and replacing it with a wide variety of decorative plants. The four olive trees along the sidewalk entrance to the CAC will remain.

(For more on Covia, go to

            (Watch a video of the board meeting at