Angela Allen - Stay Curious!
The HAC Presenters Series 7
Angela Allen is the Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Cal State San Bernardino, California. Angela accepted this position - which she calls her “dream job” - at a time in her life when most people are retiring. “I get paid to do everything I would do if I was actually going to retire. What could be better?” she says.
To understand why Angela loves her job so much, you need to know a bit about Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, or OLLI as it’s called for short. Started by philanthropist Bernard Osher in 2001, the Bernard Osher Foundation has provided grants to launch OLLI programs at 125 universities and colleges throughout the United States. Some lifelong learning programs were preexisting and became Osher Institutes with support from the Osher Foundation; others were initiated with Osher funding.
The 125 OLLIs span all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The national Osher Lifelong Learning Institute network is not a franchise and does not have centralized operations or governance. Each Institute is unique and operates as an independent initiative of its host institution with offerings tailored to meet the needs and interests of its community. More than 170,000 people nationwide are members of OLLIs.
OLLI programs offer a wide variety of intellectually stimulating, university-level, non-credit courses and learning opportunities designed for people “50 and better.” Many offer lectures and educational travel opportunities as well as study groups and events that build a sense of community and camaraderie among their participants. There are no tests and no grades. It is learning solely for the joy of learning.
Angela’s work at OLLI her has allowed her to acquire and fine tune new skills while sharing her knowledge with the people and communities she serves. She believes there are four elements to healthy aging. “Staying active physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually, are key,” Angela says. When asked for specific examples, she lists five of her favorite activities:
Learning challenging new skills for work;
Taking classes that stimulate her mind and initiate conversations;
Being part of a faith community that includes prayer, study, and social commitments to others;
Volunteering for charities she supports; and
Spending time outdoors, gardening, hiking, and exploring new places.
“I enjoy everything I do, even things that push me or even make me a bit uncomfortable,” she adds.
The Power of Virtual Reality
Angela is an avid supporter of virtual learning (VL), which plays an important tole in her work. “We use the university’s Smart Classroom technology to connect remotely and record classes for distribution to seniors. This is how we reach those who are shut in, who are not available to come onto campus due to non-residence or for health reasons,” she explains. “It also provides some social engagement…Having to be at a class on time and participate keeps us accountable.”
Although Angela has not been involved in Second Life, she is curious about how it could be used to expand and enhance what she can offer seniors in OLLI. We are hoping to give Angela a taste of avatar life by having her log in as an avatar for her HAC presentation and answer questions from the audience. Below is the basic information about her presentation for the Healthful Aging Through Lifelong Learning Conference. - Jena Ball (Jenaia Morane)
Event Title: The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Model. Stay Curious!
Description: Continuing to learn in our retirement years has been shown to increasing longevity and well-being. All Osher Institutes offer a wide variety of intellectually stimulating, university-level, non-credit courses and learning opportunities designed for people “50 and better.” There are no tests and no grades. It is learning solely for the joy of learning. This presentation will give attendees a chance to experience what a typical Osher Institute program is like, offer guidelines on how to take advantage of OLLI online learning opportunities, free events, lectures, and travel excursions. Information on how to locate and contact individual OLLI programs will also be provided.
Date: Thursday, May 18th
Time: 2:00 pm (SLT)
5:00 pm (EDT)
9:00 pm (GMT)
Location: HAC Main Stage
Format: Pre-recorded video, with discussion afterwards
Voice: Yes (Enable ears)
Text Chat: Yes
Bio - Angela Allen
Angela Allen grew up in Southern California and moved to the Coachella Valley in 2001, starting her career in non-profit with the Palm Springs International Film Festival. In 2008 she went to work as the personal assistant to a well-known community philanthropist. In 2011, Angela continued her non-profit work for Olive Crest, a private non-profit providing life changing care for children in the Child Welfare System.
In August 2021, at the time in life when most people retire, she accepted her “dream job” as Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), at Cal State San Bernardino.
Post COVID Impact Panel (Video)
February 17, 2023 The Cal State San Bernardino, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute hosted a panel of distinguished academics who assembled to share their own observations, and comments regarding the impact of the COVID pandemic on our senior population.
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