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Lifelong Learning Program to Begin Offering Courses

GREENWOOD, S.C. – A new educational program is about to make its debut in the Greenwood area, one that its creators say is designed for adults who are interested in opportunities to continue learning, to improve their personal growth and life skills and to share interests and experiences with other members.

The Lakelands Lifelong Learning Network (LLLN) has been in the planning stages for over a year, and it is scheduled to offer its first course in late January. Sponsors of the program are Lander University, Piedmont Technical College and Wesley Commons, in Greenwood.

LLLN was created by an advisory council whose members include representatives of the three sponsors and experts in adult education and business. It is patterned after lifelong learning programs that date back to the 1970s. Elderhostel’s Road Scholar, one of the earliest groups in the field, said lifelong learning began as a “learning in retirement” movement. Over the years, the movement has evolved in South Carolina and across the country into an impressive number of programs whose participants are mature adults, but not necessarily retirees.

Dave Lorenzatti, advisory council chair, described the Lakelands Lifelong Learning Network as a member-managed personal enrichment program that will offer courses in a relaxed, informal setting at locations in Greenwood and elsewhere. Courses will cover a variety of subjects and some will be held on location, at sites outside of classrooms.

He said courses could range from one-day presentations to classes that might stretch over a period of days or weeks depending on the topics. And LLLN members will be encouraged to recommend courses that they and others would enjoy.

LLLN has an annual membership fee of $30, which entitles members to enroll in an unlimited number of courses each year. Some will be available at no charge, while there will be reasonable fees for others. Courses and schedules will be published on a regular basis.

Kathy Porath, who chairs the council’s curriculum committee, said the first course, Financial Management and Estate Planning for Seniors, will begin on Monday, Jan. 27, at Wesley Commons. Other topics will include planning for important healthcare decisions; the art of photography; growing flowers and vegetables in small spaces; various aspects of fiction and nonfiction writing, and more.

Porath said there will also be a five-week session beginning Monday, March 3, called “Dementia Dialogues,” a presentation by experts from the Alzheimer’s Association in Greenville. Attendees will receive information about caring for individuals who exhibit signs and symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

Lorenzatti added that LLLN is also looking for individuals who would like to share their knowledge as facilitators and teach courses that would be of interest to members.

He encouraged residents who want more information about LLLN membership, a description of courses, registration and opportunities for teaching a course to call 864-388-8989, or to send an e-mail message to lakelandslln@lander.edu.