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All Life is Learning - September 2021

Director's Note and In this issue

Director's Note

Welcome to OLLI at WMU's Fall 2021 semester!

Hopefully you have already registered for one or more of our interesting fall courses! If you have not, take a look at the offerings and register as soon as possible. We know that many of you were waiting for the return to in-person courses; we are excited to announce that we will begin to offer face-to-face courses in September, in addition to our virtual offerings. As we continue to navigate the complexities of the pandemic, we want everyone to remain safe, so please remember to wear your mask anytime that you are on campus until further notice. This is Western Michigan University's official policy.

We have been virtual for about 19 months, but it seems like forever! During this time, we have not been able to connect and socialize the way we would like. However, as we begin a soft return to our new normal, I am asking you to join me in volunteering with OLLI in the following small ways:

  • We need volunteers who have fund raising experience. If that's you, please let us know. OLLI is partly sustained from the funds that are generously donated from our supporters and donors.
  • We are planning for our 10th anniversary – come join us to help plan this event! Sharing your event planning skills to help engage OLLI members and potential new members is an excellent way to get involved.
  • Do you like assessment and evaluation? We need your help evaluating the OLLI courses and events and occasionally surveying members to collect feedback. We always want to ensure that we offer great courses, events and programs, so please help us by sharing your assessment and evaluation experience!
  • We need volunteers to help the Membership and Marketing committee spread the word about OLLI and its value and importance to those over 50 at local community events and fairs. The amount of time need would average about 1 to 2 hours per event.

Simply put, WE NEED YOU! Tell us where you best see yourself supporting OLLI by contacting me directly via email at, and we can discuss how you can help strengthen our OLLI at WMU. Thank you for the gift of your time!


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

Membership and Marketing

OLLI will be at Art Hop on September 3 from 5 to 8 p.m.! Come and visit us in the Epic Center as we greet new and prospective members. Pick up some informational cards to distribute to your friends and neighbors. We look forward to seeing you soon!

One of the many advantages of becoming a member of OLLI at WMU is that you can register for courses at a 50% discounted rate. Visit the website to renew or become a member of OLLI today!

  • 50% discount for members

Curriculum Updates

Congratulations to our winners! Kaye Bennett was the winner of the Walnut & Park Cafe $25 gift certificate in August, and Patricia Dolan won the $25 gift certificate to ChocolaTea in July. There are two more OLLI Founders Series courses to come, so be sure to register!

Green Door Distilling Company

OLLI Founder's Series

Wednesday, September 8  ●  4 to 5:30 p.m.  ●  429 E North St, Kalamazoo

This course will be our first in-person event since COVID-19 began! Josh Cook, founder, will share the story of Green Door Distilling Company, Kalamazoo’s first distillery to open since 1858. Registrants will learn about Green Door’s commitment to sourcing local and sustainably produced ingredients, doing good in the community, and creating a culture that is collaborative and inspiring. Following his presentation, Josh will give us a tour and guide us through the tasting flight of their award-winning products. Thank you for your hospitality!

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.


Michigan OLLI Collaboration starts in September

The OLLI Michigan Collaborative was so successful last year that we are doing it again this year! Instead of cramming everything into one month, we have four different offerings that will be hosted on the first Wednesday of each month, starting September 8. The events are free, but you will have to register for each event. Please keep an eye open for more information, which will be sent to you via email. We are looking forward to you participating and supporting this collaboration!

Colors & Cocktails - Pop-up Paint Party

Join your OLLI friends at Colors & Cocktails, 240 S. Kalamazoo Mall, for an in-person pop up paint party on September 23 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. and enjoy an afternoon of fun and creativity. For $35 (all materials included), you can paint your favorite design or picture on a glass object of your choice.

Lauren Lassiter, the founder, owner, artist, and art teacher at Colors & Cocktails, will guide us through the process. The event is limited to 15 people so be sure to register early! The deadline for registration is September 20. Registration will not be on the OLLI website for this event. Contact Karen Sandoval at to secure your spot!

  • September 23 1:30 to 4 p.m.

  • OLLI Cares - Fill a Trunk October 23, 2021 - Get ready!

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

Health and Wellness

Tyler Norman, Ph.D.
Manager of Corporate Outreach
ACSM Exercise Physiologist
NCFI Corporate Fitness Specialist
West Hills Athletic Club, WMU

Your Next Party Trick

I've recently been working with a client that has been having some issues with balance. If we live long enough, we’ll all likely have issues with balance at some point. I’m hopeful that as you start to notice balance issues that you will fight back! This should be an easy buy-in considering that one in five retiree aged people will die within one year of a hip fracture. The best option is to minimize your likelihood of a fractured hip, which can be done through exercise. There are a variety of ways to work on balance and proprioceptive awareness (knowing where your body is in relativity to its surroundings). Of course, strength training will go a long way in improving balance. Improving strength will improve muscular stability, making us more agile and able to recover if we start to lose our balance. Yoga and Pilates are also beneficial because they recruit many auxiliary muscles that we don’t normally use, which will improve overall balance and stability. Functional Training (see September 2019 newsletter on the OLLI website) is another highly effective way to improve balance and stability. The principle goal of functional training is to incorporate day to day activities into forms of exercise, often by adding an element of instability, which will help improve balance and stability. Finally, here’s a simple exercise that you can do at home, and once mastered, will be your next party trick! Start next to a chair just in case, work up to 10 on each leg.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, keeping good posture. Dee Cole, 75-year old retired educator, demonstrates the move.

  • Slowly bend down on one leg and touch the floor with both hands, keeping a slight bend in the front knee without touching with your back foot. Slowly return to the starting point to finish.

  • Once you feel good about that move, add a knee raise at the end without touching your back foot, kind of like the Karate Kid. Then, show off to your friends with your impressive balance at your next party!

What is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute?

The program was initiated under the auspices of the WMU Emeriti Council and WMU's 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.