Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lifelong Learning Thursday

Nancy Merz Nordstrom, author of Learning Later, Living Greater: The Secret of Making the Most of Your After 50 Years will share the benefits of Lifelong Learning on Thursdays.

The Secret for Making the Most of Your After-50 Years.

…a Health Club for Your Mind. Body and Spirit!

Now let’s look at another way to give back and help yourself at the same time…

School Volunteers.

Although school volunteers are similar to mentors, the educational tasks they undertake with their young charges can be quite varied. We used to think that “school volunteers” automatically meant parents, and mothers in particular, since they were the ones usually at home during the day.

Not anymore. Today, school volunteers come from all levels of society, be it stay-at-home mothers or fathers, staff from large corporations and especially older adults who no longer work full-time. Although there is more variety in who becomes a school volunteer, the numbers of actual participants has dropped due to more people being employed full-time. Consequently, schools are beginning to look more and more toward the experience, knowledge and wisdom that can be found right in their own communities among the older adult populations.

School volunteering is the perfect venue for the experience, knowledge and wisdom that older adults have amassed over a lifetime. Today, the United States is fortunate to have the World’s largest number of healthy, well-educated retired adults. And, as we mentioned earlier, by 2030 there will be about 65 million older persons-20% of the population. What an incredible resource!

To say that this resource of older adults can make a major difference to school districts caught in budget crunches, teacher shortages and increasing enrollments, is an understatement. School volunteers can help ease teacher stress and make up the shortfall when classroom aides and specialists are cut from tightened budgets.

All across the country, teachers are utilizing older volunteers in their classrooms and winning support for school district activities among mature adults. The Agelink Project, an intergenerational child-care program for school-age children provides after-school services linking children with volunteer older adults in North Carolina.

The Senior Motivators in Learning and Educational Services (SMILES) program in Salt Lake City recruits and trains older adults and places them in district schools to help with such activities as story reading, field trips, tutoring, arts and crafts, and sports. Many SMILES volunteers work in resource rooms with special education students.

Older volunteers perk up the class day for students by offering new and unique viewpoints. Experts in a wide variety of skills and talents, they share their perspectives on many different topics. The volunteers also find that they too benefit-the intergenerational contact is priceless.

With the decline in the extended family, intergenerational programs become even more valuable as older adults are often called on to be surrogate grandparents. In addition, intergenerational programs can help dispel some of the negative stereotypes each generation has about the other.


After years of volunteer work, I’ve found something new where I can make a real contribution for the benefit of others, while deriving a great deal of joy for myself. How wonderful that one lifelong learner has found such a resource later in life.

For more information on Learning Later, Living Greater visit You can purchase Learning Later, Living Greater at

Till Next Time…

1 comment:

...You May Say I'm A Dreamer said...

Wonderful post! Thank you for the suggestions and I will get the boook...sounds interesting! Have a great weekend