Older adults are living longer and want to keep engaged in various social and learning activities as part of their lifestyle. This thirst for knowledge, active participation, and social interaction is becoming the new standard. The concept of “Third Age Learning” has been around for many years. There are several organizations in Canada, United Kingdom, France, Australia and beyond that provide various forms of continuing education for older adults. It is widely recognized by researchers and various institutions that lifelong learning provides tremendous benefits to individuals’ well-being.

As the number of older adults in Niagara continues to rise, there is a growing desire to create more learning opportunities for this population. This is emphasized within the priorities of the “Recreation, Learning & Leisure” Action Group of the Age-Friendly Niagara Network (AFNN).

In affiliation with Niagara College, an independent non-profit organization is being formed to help with the organizing, planning, and launching of educational workshops on various topics that will inspire and challenge older adults. These workshops will be led by moderators, who are experts in the subject matter being presented. Moderators will engage participants in further discussion and learning following each presentation. Opportunities for socializing and making new friends will be another direct outcome of this program.

Modeled after some of the other third age learning organizations in Ontario (visit thirdagenetwork.ca to see a list of organizations) that currently offer similar forms of learning for older adults, we are seeking public interest in joining our Steering Committee of volunteers for this new organization. Areas of responsibility will include curriculum development, identifying and securing moderators for each program, course registration and various administrative duties to be identified by the committee. Workshops are planned to be held once a week during the daytime and over a four-week period at Niagara College’s Welland campus.

Interested individuals can contact Gaby Arato at garato@bell.net for further information.

Gaby Arato

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