Around five months after losing my wife, I was spending time at a senior center and my friend Dawn told me about OLLI. She said that I would really enjoy it, and she was absolutely right. I wasn’t so sure at first when she was telling me about it, but Dawn told me that I could sit in on a class or two. Once, I did, I realized this is really good. Someone suggested that I sit in on Fred Peters’ class on NASA, but I didn’t really think I would be interested in science. But guess what? After sitting in on the one, I haven’t missed his class since!
When I retired in 2017 and moved to Vegas to be near family, I didn’t know anyone. I started going to Meetup lunches and happened to meet someone who regularly attended OLLI. I had actually attended OLLI events through Cal State University Monterey Bay, so I was excited to find a program here at UNLV.
I heard about OLLI at UNLV from my friend Steve. He and his wife and I have been friends for years, and he was taking classes here at OLLI. He told me about it and I said, sure. I began taking a class he was teaching and I really liked it and I started taking other classes and I've enjoyed it. By 2017, I actually started teaching with Steve, and we team taught for a number of semesters. I just really enjoyed it. The class we taught was called Staying Young as Old as You Can, and it was about 4 or 5 different areas of the world where people are living longer than one might expect.
I discovered OLLI at a turning point in my life. After 3 years of caring for my husband of 50 years who passed away from ALS, I found myself with a lot of time and energy, and nothing to do with it. My daughter-in-law was familiar with OLLI at Northern Illinois University, and suggested I “give it a try.” The idea of staying mentally active, gaining knowledge, having fun and not having to take exams really appealed to me. Plus paying one flat fee for the number and variety of classes offered was the final selling point.
Upon moving to Las Vegas 14 years ago, I contemplated retiring but decided to return to work. After settling in, I received an email about OLLI and attended an open house. The classes I learned about during the event looked really interesting, but having just accepted a job, classes weren't a real option with my schedule. After retiring 3 years later, I went back to OLLI as it was important to me to get involved and to find a more diverse community and meet new friends.