PLEASANT VALLEY – Marion County Lifelong Learners back in full swing after COVID-19 pandemic
On Thursday afternoon, guests participated in an open house where new and returning members could sign up for the year and talk about courses they could take in the fall semester.
Founded in 1996, Lifelong Learners is an independent organization that runs weekly lessons on a variety of subjects for members aged 50 and over. The cost of registration for the year is $60 for a single member and $100 for a couple. There are 200 members.
“Having this in Marion County, for such a reasonable expense, and providing all the learning opportunities is so worth it,” said Pepper Hedden, president of Marion County Lifelong Learners.
During the pandemic, their instructors tried to host classes on Zoom, and last spring they opened classes to everyone in the community. Hedden said she’s excited to get back to her regular routine this semester.
The fall semester runs from September to mid-November and the spring semester from March to June. Classes are taught by volunteers, sometimes professors from Fairmont State University or West Virginia University, and cover topics such as watercolor or acrylic painting, Tai Chi, reading or bird watching and special interest clubs. There are also four events scheduled throughout the year and day trips around the state and to Pittsburgh.
Class coordinator Juanita Edge gets class ideas from members, the newspaper, or people she meets. Then she contacts people to do classes and arranges when they will teach. She said many teachers love teaching lifelong learners because they ask questions and engage with the course content.
“Everything is voluntary, that’s what I like. Everyone loves what they do and are passionate about what they do, so we have some great classes,” Edge said.
For the first time this semester, they will be offering an open class discussion. The group will meet and choose a topic to discuss once a week. There will also be a course on misinformation and misinformation and how to spot it and another on medical ethics.
Sue Haddix has been a member for about 20 years and has taught classes while taking them. She said she was looking forward to planning the classes she would take.
“It’s just a chance to learn new things and meet new people, which I really appreciate,” Haddix said.
Edge agreed and added what she loves about being the class coordinator.
“I love people and I love creating the schedule and organizing it – it keeps me on my toes. It’s just a wonderful group of people and we have such a variety of classes,” Edge said.
For anyone interested in participating, you can print out a registration form or contact Lifelong Learners on their website. Registration and payment will be accepted until September 1st.