Providing an important outlet for social and intellectual stimulation to more than 2,700 area seniors, the Academy for Lifelong Learning (ALL) is celebrating its five year anniversary.
Five years ago ALL started with just 71 members and six courses and today they're celebrating with 647 members and have offered more than 1,500 courses through the years.
"We're making a lot of senior adults really happy with our programs," says Pat Chandler, ALL Program Manager. "We have all kinds of exciting classes; computer, some in history, exercise, knitting, crocheting, and Spanish classes."
Nine months a year, ALL holds thirty to forty classes at the LSC-Kingwood's off-site location at the East Montgomery County Improvement District (EMCID) in New Caney. This location is ideal due to its convenient location, located on the feeder road of Highway 59 and because of its easy access for those who must use wheelchairs or walkers. ALL also has partnerships with R.B. Tullis Library, where ALL holds some exercise classes, and with Kingwood Senior Village Retirement Center, where cooking classes are held. No classes are held in June, July, or December.
"It has been a great experience with East Montgomery County Improvement District and Lone Star College in regards to additional educational opportunities in the area," says Frank McCrady, President and CEO of EMCID. "It provides an outlet, or resource, for a lot of our seniors in the area that previously never existed. It's a privilege to be associated with Lone Star College."
ALL is open to anyone over the age of 50 and charges a yearly membership fee of $10. Membership allows seniors to enjoy as many of the classes as they like. Most courses are free, except where consumable supplies are used, such as pottery, cooking, and crafts, then a small fee is charged. ALL members also get a free membership to the Fitness Center, located at the main LSC-Kingwood campus.
All courses are taught by LSC-Kingwood employee volunteers and community resident volunteers. Courses offered include everything from computer basics, internet know-how, gardening, crafts, history lectures, seminars on art, music and much more. Additionally, ALL has a monthly book club where members take turns choosing the book and leading the discussion. Every Friday is game day with hands of Canasta and time for fellowship. Classes change monthly and the catalog is available online at Kingwood.LoneStar.edu/ALL or by calling 281-312-1750 or 281-312-1660.
Two ALL members share what keeps them coming back. Ernie Silva says, "Personally, I come down here to keep my mind occupied and to grow as much as I can." Lee Cage says she loves the classes and the friendships she has developed with classmates. "It's very enriching to my life. I love the classes taught by professional people, it's like going to a real college."
Each month ALL sponsors two trips for members. An area of interest in Texas is chosen for one of the trips and the transportation is provided by a Harris County Precinct 4 bus. In February, seniors visited Reliant Park. On the other trip, seniors 65 and over have the opportunity to ride METRO to the downtown METRO Ride Store to purchase METRO Senior ID Cards. These cards enable members to travel on METRO and the METRORail free or at a reduced fare.
For general information about Lone Star College-Kingwood, call 281-312-1600 or visit our Web site at Kingwood.LoneStar.edu.
Lone Star College System consists of five colleges, including Cy-Fair, Kingwood, Montgomery, North Harris, and Tomball, six centers and the Lone Star College-University Center. With 49,250 students, it is the largest college system in the Houston area, and third largest community college district in Texas. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.