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ElderCollege Going Strong

Since its inception a year ago, NWCC's ElderCollege has had over 230 senior participants enrolling in courses designed specifically for and by seniors. "ElderCollege has and continues to be a resounding success," explains Margo Van der Touw, Dean of Continuing and International Education at NWCC. "It enables members of the community to play an active role developing and supporting life long learning opportunities for themselves and others in a casual and supportive environment." ElderCollege began in 2005 in the Smithers and Hazelton campuses of NWCC. The concept of ElderCollege began in BC at Capilano College and operates on the principle of adults, aged 50 and older, designing and offering quality education activities to stimulate interests in learning and provide a forum for sharing ideas and knowledge with others. Volunteer committees design the curricula and events. Classes are held at the NWCC campus. "Not every college offers such a program for seniors," states Laurie Kallio, NWCC Continuing Education. "We are extremely fortunate to have this unique learning environment for our seniors in the Hazeltons and Bulkley Valley." "We had been trying to mount an ElderCollege program at NWCC for some years", says Stephanie Forsyth, President, NWCC. "ElderCollege's success is due to the adults who spearhead the programming. NWCC plays a key supporting role, but without champions from the community, ElderCollege would not be possible." In the future, NWCC hopes to have ElderCollege activities started up at other campuses. "We just need a strong show of support from the over 50 population in the form of volunteers," states Forsyth. Upcoming courses in Smithers include: Young at Heart, Health Tips for Seniors, Computer Essentials, Conversational Spanish and a current affairs discussion course called, What's News. Hazelton is offering courses ranging from Travel and Astronomy to Yoga and Bird Watching. Anyone interested in volunteering with the ElderCollege, or wanting to register or obtain a list of upcoming courses, can contact Laurie Kallio in Smithers at 847-4461or Leah Marshall in Hazelton at 842-5291.

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