Nonprofit organizations either save lives or change lives. OLLI the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Penn State changes lives. I know this from hearing the many stories
throughout my tenure with this wonderful organization.
OLLI offers more than 200 courses a year that have no requirements, exams or grades learning for pure joy.
Although OLLI promotes its offerings to retirees, anyone older than 18 can participate. Courses are based on a variety of topics including arts and architecture, music, dance, history, cooking, science, local interests, health, technology and gardening.
Several trips, including one-day excursions and an annual international trip, also are offered. Social activities round out the OLLI organization theater and dinner opportunities, an annual picnic, book clubs and a writers group.
How does OLLI change peoples lives? It brings them together where friendships are formed, just like the grade-school days. Newcomers to the area quickly form friendships
through OLLI; newly retired people who often feel disconnected reconnect
through OLLI; widows or widowers who are grieving and lonely build a new community through OLLI. OLLI has become like family to many, including myself.
Ive seen firsthand how OLLI has changed lives. Thanks to the courses, people discover new passions, keep up with technology and take trips together.
We are extremely fortunate to have a lifelong learning institute in our community, especially one that offers courses in Bellefonte, Penns Valley, Philipsburg, State College and in several retirement/adult communities.
Many of our summer term courses are still available. They include:
China Through Our Eyes by Carol and Steve Gentry, 9-10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.-noon Sunday
Appreciation and Interpretation of Early Music by Toby Carlson, 1- 2:30 p.m. July 12-Aug. 2
The Joy of Backyard Chickens by Blair and Diana Malcom, 1-2:30 p.m. July 17
Whos On First? A Unique Look at American Culture and History Through the Eyes of Baseball by Bob Lillie, 10 a.m. July 18-Aug. 1
How to Be a Responsible Vegetarian by Angie Wallace, 10:30 a.m.-noon July 11
Writing With Your Pants on Fire by Kieryn Ziegler, 10-11:30 a.m. July 9-Aug. 13
A Day in the Life of a County Judge by Judge Bradley P. Lunsford, 9- 11 a.m. Aug. 1
OLLI is an affordable membership organization. To learn more about OLLI or to receive a course and activity catalog, call 867-4278 or visit www.olli.psu.edu.
Sarah Benton is the executive director at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Penn State.