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A fitting partnership

Riderwood, community college pair up on SAGE

Created date

February 21st, 2012

Riderwood and Prince George s Community College have partnered to present Seasoned Adults Growing Educationally (SAGE), a continuing education program geared toward adults 60-plus. The non-credit courses take place at Riderwood to offer lifelong learning to the vibrant people who live at the Erickson Living community in Silver Spring, Md. The name, chosen deliberately, honors the wisdom of the sages.

Why the partnership?

It s important for the classes to take place at Riderwood, says Karen Spicer, Riderwood s director of community resources. They provide social, physical, and mental/intellectual stimulation, as well as a routine. For the last 40 years, the SAGE program has provided classes targeted to seasoned learners. The college understands and respects the community nature of the community college, says Camille Crawford, SAGE program coordinator, by bringing the classes into retirement communities and other partner locations. Riderwood residents generate so much interest that the classes fill up and don t need to be opened to outsiders, making it a unique partner site for the college. Approximately 50 classes are offered every semester at Riderwood. The most popular classes at Riderwood are healthy living, followed by current issues, history, and art. The classes keep people engaged and are vital in all areas of a healthy person s life: physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional, Crawford says. Our top-notch resident instructors have a much better idea about where the senior students are coming from, especially if they re learning something for the first time, Spicer says, referring to SAGE instructors who actually live at Riderwood. Riderwood is populated with people with such vast knowledge and talent, it would be a shame to waste it, Crawford says. The program wants and attracts people who are passionate and have a depth of knowledge about the subject they wish to teach. Ann Dyer, a Riderwood resident teacher, likes to teach quirky classes, like her Polite to Political: Women in Washington and Washington Women. But she admits she can t pick a favorite class. Attending classes not only educates seniors at least that s what we hope but it keeps them mentally aware and less concentrated on what they can t do, she says. Ann taught in Riderwood s SAGE program before moving to campus in 2006, having chosen the community for its size and amenities. Donald White, another popular instructor, taught in the business department at Prince George s Community College for 18 years before moving to Riderwood. Now, he conveniently teaches a class called Whimsical Grammar just down the hall from his apartment home. I love to teach, Don says, so I ginned up my radio and grammar courses based on dinner conversations with residents who encouraged me. A resident student of his even called his course ear candy because of all the recordings he offers in the class. Both Ann and Don are scheduled to teach four different classes this spring.