Continued Education in the Golden Years
Fellowship Square and its staff supports learning at any age and understands the importance of ongoing education as a form of therapy and growth for residents of the senior living communities. In fact, Fellowship Square’s Historic Mesa facility now offers residents the Fellowship University program encompassing four five-week classes — completely free of charge. Each course is taught by professionals in their fields and encourages residents to thrive and continue their love of learning, with a certification of completion given to each “student” at the end of the class.
Fellowship Square Historic Mesa’s Life Enrichment Director Trisha Dreher, who teaches art and history painting, says of the courses, “We strive to choose subjects that are useful and interesting to our different residents.” This spring Fellowship University is featuring the following courses:
Intro to Creative Writing — covering journal keeping, poetry, and short story authoring
Intro to American Sign Language
Tech for Seniors — which offers a guide and personal lessons towards cell phone use and mobile devices
Art History and Painting — A very basic class that covers the points of fine art painting, removing the “fancy and complicated” rules for art, Dreher leads students in her own self-taught method she calls “painting by the rules of the Universe,” which uses humor, simplistic terms and fun tricks to help students recreate the works of the greats
Each course is geared toward residents’ interests while also providing a valuable skill that they can put into use and benefit from in a multitude of ways. For example, the through the Tech for Seniors, Dreher says, “We are helping our residents with their technology challenges and [the course] aims to help residents improve relations between families and friends by connecting them through the world of tech and social media.”
With the Dreher’s Art History and Painting course, she introduces techniques to new artists ranging from their early 70s to 94 years old that are fresh to the world of art. She says, “I have used art my entire life to be able to relate to the world around me. At an early age, I found I could allow my drawings, paintings, and illustrations to talk for me. When I started working at Fellowship Square Historic Mesa, I just found myself teaching that feeling of what art can do for people. Residents seem to come alive and look forward to the classes and then step back from a painting and say, ‘Wow, I did that!’” Dreher also gets to witness the feeling of pride these new artists experience when they show off their pieces to friends and family. She adds, “Their paintings connect them to the world in a way they may have lost as they aged or transitioned into late life.”
Fellowship Square Historic Mesa is proud to help their residents continue their love of education while also helping them learn new skills through the Fellowship Square University. And course sign-ups are proof that the residents are responding with enthusiasm to the program — currently nearly 100 residents are enrolled!