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All Life is Learning - October 2021

Director's Note and In this issue

Director's Note

Happy Fall!

The OLLI fall semester is underway and we have resumed some face-to-face courses. We are excited and look forward to a fun-filled semester with opportunities to continue learning and connecting with new and former friends!

A big thank you to everyone who have renewed their memberships and registered for courses. As we start the fall semester, our instructors are excited to share their energy and excitement about their various topics. However, it is important to note that there may not be a class liaison for your course. While we were so fortunate to have them before the pandemic, at this time we don’t have liaisons in place for many of the courses. Therefore, we request your patience and understanding if things do not go exactly as planned.

If you are interested in volunteering to become a class liaison, please let us know.

What do we need liaisons to do?

  • Welcome everyone to the course
  • Take attendance
  • If the course meets more than once, remind everyone about the following week’s course
  • Remind everyone to complete the course evaluation

Email me directly if you are willing to become a volunteer liaison or volunteer for OLLI volunteer in any capacity.

Also, be mindful that if you arrive early to the course, the room will probably be locked. Fortunately, we are working with WMU staff (in the designated buildings), who will open the door very close to the start of class. Unfortunately, for security purposes, classrooms will not be unlocked and unattended. Just a forewarning that you might wait a few minutes before class starts. Again, thank you for your patience and happy fall!

Toni Woolfork-Barnes, Ed.D.
Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU

PS – don’t forget to wear your mask when you come to campus.

In this issue:

Curriculum Updates

Fresh Coast Kombucha

OLLI Founder's Series

Wednesday, October 12  ●  4 to 5:30 p.m.  ●  Online via Webex

Delicious and healthy with every sip! Kombucha is not a new kind of salsa dance - it is a refreshing drink that has become very popular with people of all ages. We have a wonderful kombucha company right here in Kalamazoo, Fresh Coast Kombucha, and we will be featuring them in our Founders Series! OLLI registrants will sample different flavors while they learn how kombucha is made and what the health benefits are. You will receive four flavors of Fresh Coast Kombucha. The event is limited to 48 participants, and you must register by September 28. Your kombucha needs to be picked up at 2725 E. Milham Rd. on October 6 from 5 to 8 p.m. or on October 11 from 4 to 7 p.m. There will be a drawing for a 6-pack of Fresh Coast Kombucha at the end of the event.

  Registration Full

Courses beginning in October with openings still available:

  • Don't Take Your Ears for Granted: Give them the Love and Credit they Deserve – Kim Kragt, Mon. 10/4, 6 to 7:30 p.m., online via webex
  • Handcuffs to Wholeness – Honorable William G. Schma, Honorable Paul J. Bridenstine and Sara Green, Tues. 10/5, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., online via Webex
  • Aging Roadmap IV - Planning for the Unexpected – K. Lynn McFarlen, Kimberly Middleton, Sarah Cagney, Wed. 10/6, 10 a.m. to noon, College of Health and Human Services, Room #1057
  • The Cemeteries of Kalamazoo County – Lynn Houghton, Thurs. 10/7, 10 a.m. to noon, Zhang Legacy Collections Center
  • Blooming Beautiful – Monika Trahe, Patti Pittman and Linda Whitlock, Fri. 10/8, 10 a.m. to noon, online via Webex
  • American Labor Organizations During the First Gilded Age, 1870 - 1914 – Thomas Dietz, Mon. 10/11, 10/18 and 10/25, 9 to 11 a.m., College of Health and Human Services, Room #1035
  • Making Poems: The Craft of Contemporary Poetry – Kali Lightfoot, Fri. 10/15 and 10/22, 9 to 11 a.m., online via Webex
  • Considering Iran: Persia from Cyrus to the Ayatollahs – Mark Donovan, Thurs. 10/21 and 10/28, 10 a.m. to noon, College of Health and Human Services, Room #1057

Register on the website or by phone at (269) 387-4157.



Michigan OLLI Collaboration

Free, but registration is required

Watch these exciting events highlighting the fine arts in different regions of Michigan right from your living room. Sign up for the remaining offerings on the course registration page of the website under SIGs and Special Offerings. Remaining programs are the second Wednesday of October, November, and December at 10 a.m. A Zoom link will be sent to those registered.

  • October 13 Wednesday, 10 a.m.

Detroit's Black Bottom and Paradise Valley Neighborhoods: The Settings for Alice Randall's Black Bottom Saints.

OLLI at the University of Michigan

Panelists include Jamon Jordan, educator, historian and founder of Black Scroll Network & Tours in Detroit; Lars Bjorn, retired Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan–Dearborn and co-author of Before Motown: The History of Jazz in Detroit, 1920-1960; and Jim Gallert, producer and host of jazz programs on WEMU-FM and WDET-FM for 25 years as well as co-author of Before Motown, which gives details on clubs such as The Flame Show Bar that appear in Randall's Book. OLLI UM's Craig Ramsay will introduce this program and moderate a discussion afterward incorporating questions from the audience.

  • November 10 Wednesday, 10 a.m.

Unveiling American Genius

OLLI at Western Michigan University

A reimagining of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Museum’s permanent collection, illuminating the ingenuity that springs from all corners of American society. Honoring KIA’s ongoing commitment to an ever more diverse and inclusive representation of American artists in its holdings, it features key stories that women, African Americans, Latinx, and other artists have told about our culture, our art, and our history. The presentation shows abstract and contemporary works as well as traditional genres of painting such as landscapes, still life, and portraits. The KIA opened in 1924 as a nonprofit organization and now owns nearly 5,000 fine artworks. It includes 10 galleries, the Kirk Newman Art School, and the KIA Gallery Shop.

  • December 8 Wednesday, 10 a.m.

The Story of Boy Rocker Frankie Lymon

OLLI at Saginaw Valley State University

Complete the programming with Dr. J of the Michigan Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Dr. J will delve into the twisted life, career, and death of boy rocker Frankie Lymon, the lead singer of the Teenagers (1954-Present), America’s first all-teenage rock and roll group. Lymon’s soprano voice made audiences swoon. He sang the Teenagers’ first and biggest hit, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” at just 13 years of age. It reached number six on Billboard’s Pop Singles Chart and was later covered by The Beach Boys, Diana Ross, and many more. Dr. J leads the way through the dramatic twists and turns of Lymon’s life after this smash hit, into a failed solo career, heroin addiction, three wives and one unmarked grave.

OLLI Founders' Series Updates

Congratulations to Susan Boele, winner of the $25 Green Door Distillery gift certificate! The event was a great experience for those attending. Molly Williams, chair, Assessment and Evaluation Committee, was our presenting Founder and told us how OLLI uses the surveys we ask you to complete after each event, course, and trip. Then, Josh Cook, owner of Green Door Distillery, took everyone on a tour of the distillery. In addition to explaining how the spirits are made, members got to taste each of them! We have one more virtual event/course for this year – Fresh Coast Kombucha on October 12.

OLLI Cares - Fill a Trunk

  • October 23 Saturday, 1 - 3 p.m.

OLLI Cares – Fill a Trunk

1 to 3 p.m.   ●   corner of Westnedge Ave and Kilgore Rd

OLLI volunteers and our community organizations will be lined up on east side of the parking lot along Kilgore Road in front of Ollie’s (the store) and the former Big Lots. Please bring your donations so we can make this community outreach event an even bigger success than last year! The list of recipient organizations is below – please note the addition of the WMU Seita Scholars.

Kalamazoo Drop-In Child Care Center

The Kalamazoo Drop-In Child Care Center (KDCCC) provides free, part-time child care for income eligible families with children ages six weeks through five years old. The objective of our service is to enable parents with young children to more rapidly negotiate the maze of appointments and services often required to obtain employment, permanent housing, register for school or attend classes, and attain eventual self-sufficiency. We also give parents a "healthy" break from the demands of parenting. Our center is a warm, safe, and supportive environment for children and their families.

Needs list:

    • Boxes of size large vinyl gloves
    • 100% apple juice
    • Grape or strawberry jelly
    • Foaming hand soap refills
    • Paper towels
    • Disinfectant wipes
    • Wet Wipes (sensitive skin preferred)
    • Financial donations

YWCA Kalamazoo

YWCA Kalamazoo, the oldest and largest YWCA in Michigan, is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families and strengthen communities. Each year YWCA serves thousands of women, men, and children through four program areas: improving the lives of children, promoting maternal and child health, caring for victims of abuse and advocacy and systems change. Our YWCA Kalamazoo responds to the needs of our community in essential ways.

Needs list:

    • Diapers (larger sizes 5 and 6)
    • Wipes
    • Full size personal care products (shampoo, conditioner, body wash)
    • New towel sets
    • Meijer gift cards ($25 each)

Housing Resources, Inc.

HRI, as the Housing Assistance Resource Agency for Kalamazoo County, continues to provide a comprehensive menu of homeless assistance, homeless prevention and emergency services to help people facing a housing crisis or homelessness.

During the last year, Housing Resources, Inc. received over 13,000 (duplicated count) requests for service and information from Kalamazoo County residents, providing an array of emergency, transitional, and permanent housing solutions all with the aim of lifting these residents out of poverty, into permanent housing and onto self-sufficiency. On any given day, our staff will:

  • Respond to a frantic housing emergency call and direct people to emergency shelter.
  • Help provide back rent to a landlord, so a family can keep their housing.
  • Offer housing rental support to an unemployed middle-aged woman with three children, thereby enabling her to find employment, and eventually move to permanent housing.

Needs list:

    • Gas cards
    • Grocery cards
    • Laundry supplies

Seita Scholars Program

Without intervention, less than five per cent of youth who have experienced foster care complete college. The Seita Scholars Program partners with youth who have experienced foster care to build the skills necessary to achieve their educational and professional goals. Students receive a scholarship and additional financial support for emergent needs, as well as skills-based coaching, access to campus and community resources, and a supportive community of peers. The Seita Scholars Program is the largest program of its kind in the state of Michigan and is a national leader in the development of models that help students change the paradigm of their experience.

Needs list:

    • laundry detergent
    • dryer sheets
    • toilet paper (multipacks)
    • shaving cream or gel
    • body wash
    • shampoo and conditioner
    • feminine hygiene products
    • deodorant
    • lotion
    • razors

Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries

Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries serves the community of southwest Michigan, offering radical hospitality in Jesus’ name to people who are dealing with hunger, homelessness, abuse, addiction, and anyone in need.

We help guests move from emergency services into programming, which is a sober environment where the work begins.

  • Guests are assigned an Advocate that walks with them, each step of the way providing counseling, case management, and a supportive relationship.
  • If guests have an addiction we will connect them with the necessary partners to get them the help you need to regenerate.
  • If guests have employment, housing, or relational obstacles, we will connect them with internal and external partners to achieve their goals.

Needs list:

    • Pack and Plays
    • Study bibles
    • Educational activities and games
    • Sippy cups, bottles, diapers
    • Paint books (water)
    • Socks (adult and children)
    • Underwear (adult and children)
    • Shampoo, lotions, deodorant
    • Diapers 3,4,5,6
    • Adult diapers
    • Pull-Ups
    • Diaper wipes
    • Thermometers
    • Cough drops
    • Sulfate-Free shampoo and relaxer
    • Bus passes, tokens, gas cards
    • Tylenol and Motrin
    • Blankets and sheets (twin size)
    • Locks for lockers with keys
    • Towels

Ministry with Community

Ministry with Community is a day shelter and resource center for those experiencing homelessness, poverty, and other challenges. We help people overcome obstacles on every step of their path through poverty, including immediate needs (such as day shelter, meals, and private showers), medium-term needs (such as a mailing address, state IDs, and transportation assistance), and long-term challenges (such as housing, employment, and more). We are open every day of the year.

Needs list:

We kindly ask for new and unused clothing and hygiene items, please!

    • Travel-size hygiene items (e.g. shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, etc.)
    • Men's boxers and boxer briefs
    • Winter gloves
    • Winter hats
    • T-shirts
    • Sweatpants/scrubs
    • Washcloths
    • Rain ponchos

Kalamazoo Literacy Council

The Kalamazoo Literacy Council (KLC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit volunteer tutor organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of adults who struggle to read. The KLC offers free virtual and in-person one-on-one programs designed to develop reading, writing and spelling skills to native English speakers and English language learners. Programs include ESL, Health Literacy, Parent Literacy, JOBS, and Citizenship. Our goal is to also educate the public about the crisis of low literacy and bring together a community with a common goal of making Kalamazoo County 100 percent literate. The KLC is the only organization in Kalamazoo County exclusively providing free basic literacy instruction to adults. The KLC enhances the lives of adults by improving their reading, writing, spelling, and comprehension skills, and empowering them to reach their full potential.

Needs list:

    • Notebooks/notepads
    • Writing journals/lined writing paper
    • Pencils and erasers
    • Bubble wrap
    • Shipping boxes
    • Laptop bags (for 16" laptops)
    • Playdough
    • Crayons Cleaning wipes
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Clipboards
    • Two-pocket folders
    • Flash Drives
    • Manila file folders
    • Hanging file folders
    • Packing supplies
    • Laptop computer
    • Digital video camera
    • Flat computer monitor

Health and Wellness

Andres Ballines, B.S.
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
ACE Orthopedic Exercise Specialist
West Hills Athletic Club, WMU

In my field of work, I meet clients on a regular basis. They all want to make a change, which is awesome! If I had to pick one or two things that most of us are motivated by, including many of my clients, is losing weight or being stronger. Those are both great goals to strive for! But we should all strive to be as balanced possible when it comes to the five components of fitness, which are:

  1. Muscular strength
  2. Muscular endurance
  3. Cardiovascular endurance
  4. Body composition
  5. Flexibility

The first four on here are usually easy for people to work on. People either love to lift weights or love to do cardio, but they typically do a bit of both. In a perfect world, if we have a healthy balance of strength training (three times a week), and cardiovascular exercise (five days a week), and if we eat like responsible human beings, the fourth category (body composition) will in a way take care of itself.

The tough one here, and the one I want to give you some guidance with, is number five: flexibility. Flexibility is described as the ability to move a joint through its complete range of motion. Most people neglect this area, which will hold us back on how we move during our exercise routine, our athletic endeavors, and just life in general. The more loose your muscles are, the more room your joints will have to "breathe." If your muscles are tight, they will prevent that particular joint from moving through its full range of motion. If this happens, you will compensate and adjust the use of other muscles that you are not supposed to. As a result of compensatory movements, injuries and or muscular imbalance will happen.

If you don't go to the gym, being tight will cause other issues. For example, sitting a lot will result in forward rounded shoulders and bad posture. If we don't ELONGATE those muscles, this will indeed cause lower back issues amongst other problems.

One of my favorite approaches to flexibility work is to do a little bit of it but do it OFTEN. What this means is, instead of thinking you have to become Gumby overnight, start by adding 5 to 10 minutes of stretching or foam rolling at a time. If you work at your desk all day, set an alarm every couple hours at minimum to get up and do 5-10 minutes of stretching.

If you're an avid gym goer and you don't do any stretching, it's only going to hold you back in the long run. Before you hit those big weight squats, a little foam rolling or mobility work will do magic. Before you start to stretch a cold muscle, I recommend doing some foam rolling or a light intensity warm up (like a bicycle if you are at the gym).

The most common tight areas are the chest muscles, hamstrings, shoulders, hip flexors, and glute muscles. What I usually tell my clients is to pick one stretch for each of those areas/muscles. Hold that stretch for one entire minute WHILE relaxing, then move on to another major muscle group. If you do 1-2 stretches for each big muscle group and do it every day, you will feel a huge difference. This will only take you 10 minutes max. The biggest key to flexibility work is not HOW FAR you can stretch but it's finding the point where you feel the stretch then relaxing, breathing, and then trying to go a bit further! There are many trustworthy resources online for stretch variations or ask your trusted health coach. I hope this helps!


Membership CTA

  • Become an OLLI at WMU member today! Become an OLLI member today and invite a friend to join with you! We offer exciting courses, fun-filled events and access to One Day University. Visit the link below for more information.

What is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute?

The program was initiated under the auspices of the WMU Emeriti Council and WMUx. OLLI offers intellectually lively and culturally appealing learning experiences. We accomplish this by focusing on intellectual stimulation, personal growth, social engagement and enrichment.  Read more


What do we do?

We offer short courses for one to four weeks. Sessions are usually two hours long. Travel programs are also a part of our offerings. There are no tests and no required homework, just exploring lots of interesting topics.

In the near future we will offer courses in different formats -- noon hour discussions, several sessions in one week, and more evening courses. OLLI courses and activities are developed and produced by its members with the support of the staff of WMUx.

We need your ideas for course topics and instructors. Let us know your suggestions. Call the OLLI office at (269) 387-4157 or send an email. The curriculum committee will review all suggestions.