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President's Corner

I’m writing this column from Addis Ababa, on my last day of a 23-day trip throughout Ethiopia. The country is complex—urban in parts, rural in others, with fairly isolated indigenous peoples, multiple languages, and a rich history. One fact that kept coming up is that Ethiopia is the only African nation that was never colonized.
As I head home, I’m thinking about OLLI and the importance it has in my daily life. I was fortunate to attend the OLLI national conference, where I learned from other OLLIs and from some exciting speakers. Perhaps the most important lessons came from the world of science—there are physiological reasons that OLLI can extend and enhance our lives. We all know that physical and mental exercise makes life longer and more fulfilling. But it’s also true that social interaction has a similar effect. Otto Ross gave us our motto: Learn More, Age Less. That motto is literally true.
OLLI at CSULB is strong and growing. Our membership increases every year, as does the range of courses and other experiences we offer. However, no organization can thrive without analyzing where it is and where it needs to go. Consequently, we are now engaged in developing a strategic plan to carry us for the next five years. Under the leadership of Len Jacobson, our vice president, the Governing Council has reviewed our progress toward achieving the goals of our last strategic plan and has elaborated on them and set out some new objectives. As we move forward, we may need to amend our bylaws. We will keep everyone informed as we go.
I’m looking forward to returning to Long Beach, not only because I miss the comforts of home, but also because I am excited about continuing to plan OLLI’s outreach and marketing work and to get back to classes. The long plane ride is no joy, but at the end, the rhythm of daily life has its own excitement.


From the Executive Director

By Dr. Barbara White

Having just returned from Africa I have seen ostriches who proverbally stick their heads in the sand, giraffes who stick their necks out, and zebras who are black and white with no grey areas. This brings to mind possible
reactions to the National Healthcare Decisions Day that is now an annual event to “inspire, educate, and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.” Across the country it will be celebrated on April 16. On the CSULB campus and around the Long Beach community there are events planned for the week of April 22-27. Our OLLI is pleased to be working with The Institute for Human Caring of Providence St. Joseph Health’s Hear Me Now – a partner of StoryCorps - on a program for OLLI members and families to discuss and ask questions about the important events that we will all experience as we prepare to say our farewells to this part of our life journey. It’s a healthy conversation to have with trusted family and/or friends – to explore and clarify our values, to express our preferences, and to preserve our autonomy. Please stick your neck out and join us on Saturday, April 27 for this discussion, as well as the other events on campus and about town. Schedules will be posted as the events draw near.
As a follow-on to this  important week OLLI will offer a six -to-eight week class later in the year to cover a broad spectrum of issues that revolve around these later-life concerns. The class grew out of an interest in the issue of “death with dignity.” Sandy Lamoureux and
Patti Worsham developed a comprehensive outline to address additional topics including documents, government and healthcare resources, family resources and caregiving, long term care, palliative care/hospice, and spirituality. We hope to engage several of our OLLI instructors with expertise in these areas as well as other community experts for this class.
Stay tuned! It is not all black and white, but an exciting discussion to engage in!