Iron County educator Andrea Newby responded to the needs of the aging population in Iron county by assembling a team of public and private leaders/stakeholders in the community and providing education to increase awareness of the population aging. After learning that Iron County had the highest median age in the state (51) and they used the Aging Friendly Community Characteristic survey to assess the community’s aging-readiness. The two greatest areas for action were:
- Lifelong learning/community connectedness
The group decided to focus on lifelong learning/community connectedness because, as Ken Carrigan from Osher Lifelong Leaning Institute said, “curiosity never retires” also because community connectedness helps people to feel that they belong, are included and have a part to play in society. People who feel socially connected also contribute towards building communities and society.
With that in mind, the group studied other educational models and developed Fe University (Iron University). Andrea wrote on her Iron county website, “the mission of Fe University is to provide quality, university level learning experiences for adults ages 50 and over through diverse short courses and lectures, and community initiatives. We provide opportunities for people to discover the joy of lifelong learning at its best without the pressure of tests, grades, or educational requirements. It is an inspiring educational program that will keep you living life learning longer.”
The first course was “Narrative and Knowledge.” The participants met two times per week for 4 weeks in a seminar setting The class members continue to meet monthly, inspiring each other to write and discuss their work. Here are summer 2015 offerings:
- Foundations of Investing
- Artful Nature Journals
- Botany and Art: In the Garden and Beyond
The value of Fe University as described in a recent presentation:
|For the Individual||For the Community|
Studies show that older adults who are engaged in meaningful programs experience better overall health and well-being and become significant contributors to their communities rather than passive recipients of services.
For more information about Fe University contact Andrea Newby in Iron County.