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Concordia Lifelong Learning Keeps Retirees Learning and Teaching

January 8, 2013

Henry L. Doherty was an American entrepreneur and engineer whose expertise was in the oil industry and business. His most famous remark, however, dealt with education:

"Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life."

Odds are Mr. Doherty would have been right at home at Concordia Haven Apartments, the independent living community in Cabot.

For several years now, Concordia, aided by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, has offered a continuing education program at its Cabot campus. The Concordia Institute for Lifelong Learning has piqued the interest of many Haven residents and community members.

Close to 33 percent of the Cabot independent living residents choose to register for classes each term. They find the classes intellectually stimulating, but also, many form new friendships, as they find common interests. Instructors come from local education institutions as well as from within the ranks at Concordia, employees AND residents.

Lifelong Learning? Lifelong Educating

Norma Laughner has lived at Concordia Haven Apartments since summer 2008, after her and her husband Carl (who passed away in 2010) became tired of yard work and snow removal. An English and Speech teacher for nearly 30 years, Norma always had an appreciation for the power of the pen.

"Writing gets to the heart of people" she said. "It allows you to find emotions you may have forgotten about and get it all out."

When the Concordia Institute was little more than a fledgling idea, Norma was asked to teach. Her classes have grown in size each semester. She's taught courses on poetry as well as "Creative Journal Writing" the latter of which produced a published literary work.

Who Says Seniors Can't be Tech Savvy?

Some of the most popular courses offered at the Institute are ironically the ones many people don't equate to an older audience: the computer classes.

1-D Beattie smileHaven resident Dolly Beattie took the "E-mail Basics" course a few terms ago. The structure of the class, paired with the patience of the instructor, gave her confidence to get over the apprehension of learning new technologies and the skills to embrace it. Today, she's surfing the Web like a pro... or at the very least, like someone who's comfortable in front of the monitor.

"I've already branched out from using the computer for just e-mail and Solitaire," she said with a smile.

There is still availability in some classes for the current term (see contact information below to call for the latest list). Some of the remaining classes for this semester include:

  • Series on World Religions (free course)
  • Survey of Hymnody Part II ($35 fee)
  • Opera Presentations Poor Butterfly! and Cinderella With a Twist (free course)
  • Cooking with Georgia ($5 per session fee)
  • Creative Writing ($35 fee)
  • Introduction to Waltz ($40 fee)
  • Knitting and Crocheting Basics (free course; must have own supplies)
  • Silver Sneakers Yoga Stretch and Silver Sneakers Muscular Strength/Range of Motion (both free if you have Highmark Freedom Blue, Security Blue insurance or HOP cardholder)

If you would like to be added to the Concordia Institute mailing list, are interested in teaching a course or want to register/inquire about course availability, contact Concordia Haven Event Coordinator Christina Savannah at 724.352.1571, ext. 8518 or by e-mail here.

Registration and payment should be sent to Christina Savannah, Concordia Lutheran Ministries, 160 Marwood Road, Cabot, PA16023. A completed registration form is required even if the course is complimentary. Check can be made payable to Concordia Haven. Call before sending registration or payment.

Much of this post was adapted from a story on lifelong learning, published in our February 2011 issue of Faith in Caring magazine. To be added to the mailing or e-mail distribution list, e-mail us here or call the Concordia Public Relations Department at 724.352.1571, ext. 8266.

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