HANCEVILLE – About 100 Cullman area residents gathered on the 12th floor of the James C. Bailey Center at Wallace State Community College to be formally introduced to WaLLi, a new program for local citizens 50 and older.
WaLLi is the Wallace State Lifelong Learning Institute and is a revamped version of the Continuing Education department’s Lifelong Learning program, which offers classes, lectures, travel and social activities for the older generations. The program also offers access to the Wallace State Wellness Center and Wallace State services provided by numerous programs on campus.
“I’m thrilled with the turnout,” said Melinda Edwards, dean of Institutional Outreach and WaLLi program coordinator. “I knew that there would be a big need for what we’re trying to do here.”
Edwards said one of the goals of WaLLi is to give people in the community an opportunity to give back by sharing their professional expertise and life experiences with others.
“There’s a vast group of people who are 50 and over who have skills they’d like to learn, they have lots they still want to do in life,” she said. “We have a lot of talented people who have knowledge; they’ve worked all their life in certain fields who can teach for us and we have a lot of people would want to come and take advantage of that.”
In the previous incarnation of the Lifelong Learning program, classes were offered on an individual basis for a fee of around $30 each and access to the Wellness Center is $34. In the new program, access to the Wellness Center is still $34 a semester, but for an additional $6 a semester, those joining the WaLLi program will have unlimited access to the Lifelong Learning courses.
“Our idea is to expand our offerings, but for one price you can take all the Lifelong Learning courses that you want, you still have your Wellness membership, plus a lot more benefits,” Edwards said. “This is something that helps you stay active with your body and your mind, and there are no grades, no tests, no papers to write, it’s all just for fun.”
Along with unlimited access to Lifelong Learning courses, Edwards outlined other benefits of the WaLLi program, including:
- Field trips to places of interest through WaLLi Trips. Transportation is provided free of charge
- WSCC Library card privileges (a $25 value)
- Access to Wallace State Services
- Access to Wallace State entertainment and cultural events
- Bonus presentations on an unlimited number of topics
- Book discussions through WaLLi Reads
- WaLLi Walking Club and WaLLi Volleyball
- Social interaction through WaLLi Eats Out (Dutch treat meals at area restaurants) and WaLLi Luncheons (pot luck meals on campus)
Trips planned for the Fall 2016 semester include a Sept. 30 trip to tour the Bryant Museum and Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa; an Oct. 14 trip for thrift shopping around North Alabama; and a Dec. 2 trip to Nashville to view holiday decorations at Opryland Hotel and shopping at Opry Mills.
Dates for WaLLi Eats Out are Sept. 9, Oct. 7, Nov. 11, and Dec. 8, at 11 a.m. The first meal is planned for Cracker Barrel, with the group to decide on locations for the following month.
WaLLi Luncheons are planned for Aug. 25 celebrating the beginning of the fall semester, Oct. 27 celebrating Halloween, Nov. 17 celebrating Thanksgiving, and Dec. 8 celebrating Christmas.
Wallace State Services that are available include haircuts from the Salon and Spa Management program for $5, 30-minute massages from Therapeutic Massage program for $10, and from the Dental programs, teeth cleaning for $15 and dental X-rays for $2 to $12.
Traditional courses offered through Lifelong Learning include classes on computers and smartphones and tablets, Spanish, photography, genealogy, cake decorating and ballroom dance. Courses in development are classes on how to use social media, cooking for two, healthy recipes, bucket gardening, art, yoga and Bargainomics.
Loyal and Sandy Stricklin of Bremen each signed up to join WaLLi for the Fall 2016 semester. “We’ve been going to the Wellness Center for five years, so it’s not unfamiliar to us,” Loyal Stricklin said. “We thought it was a good bargain. We’ll probably try to make some courses, we’re not real sure which, maybe Spanish.” He said he was also interested in some of the photography, computer and smartphone courses.
Individuals interested in joining the WaLLi program can do so at any time of the year, though at the beginning of a semester is suggested in order to take advantage of all of the classes, events and activities offered. The membership fee is $40 per semester or $99 for the year, covering fall, spring and summer semesters.
For more information, contact Mandi Perkins at 256-352-7826 or email@example.com or visit www.wallacestate.edu/ce.