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July 17, 2008
4 people found this review helpful

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July 17, 2008
4 people found this review helpful

One of the many beneficiaries of the Bernard Osher Foundation is the Osher Life Long Learning Institute at the University of California at Berkeley. This particular "OLLI" has provided me and my wife with classes in diverse and challenging areas of knowledge. These classes are designed for adults over 50 years of age, have no examinations or certificates, and foster the development of a community of peers who share the common experience of the continuing loss of friends and family with advancing age. From enthusiastic students, we have developed into volunteers, committee members, envelope stuffers, teaching assistants, and strongly opinionated quality-control watch dogs. The heart of this program is the talent, dedication, and ability of the instructors. We students make our opinions and preferences known and help to guide the continuing evolution of the program.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The quality and variety of the classes offered, the enthusiasm of the students, and the remarkable discussions and friendships that have grown from the class experiences.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Plan for steady expansion, provide a nucleus of dedicated and effective full time staff to relieve the pressure on the present excellent but overworked pair of administrators.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Going from classroom student to volunteer, supporter, and multi-level participant. The classes have been rewarding. Working to keep good classes coming makes that reward tangible - Something like the difference between studying personal health measures and maintaining a vigorous fitness program.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

The present full time staff members, Susan Hoffman and Aileen Kim, are exceptional. Any program would be better for their presence. The volunteers have learned to work together with surprising grace, submerging the inevitable rivalries and ego trips in the interest of the common good. Altogether, a formidable and delightful assemblage of individuals.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Maintain a core program on the income and free staff and volunteers to explore innovative and experimental program improvement.

Ways to make it better...

The Osher Foundation funds less than half of the needed operating budget. The program needs a reliable funding base, commitment from the University to provide better classroom space, enhanced participation by University faculty, and recognition as a valuable and needed expansion of the Universitiy's service to the community.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

The danger of burn-out for the existing staff and the need for a secure endowment sufficient to fund the core program without continuous fund raising efforts. Good teachers are available, recruiting them and rewarding their work is where diligence and vigilance will pay off.

One thing I'd also say is that...

The Osher Foundation has founded many OLLI's, diverse, interesting, and fascinating in their refusal to adhere to a single stereotype or model. Over the years to come, we will see the best flourish and the multitude grow to a maturity that reflects the maturity of their members. I expect OLLI@Berkeley to be an exemplary leader in this development.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

July 17, 2008
3 people found this review helpful

more

July 17, 2008
3 people found this review helpful

I have been involved with the Osher Lifelong Learning Instititute for the past 5 years, 4 years at OLLI@SFSU and 1 year at OLLI@UCBerkeley. I have been both a student and a volunteer. My life has been so enriched, participating in these classes and being a part of a most interesting and engaged group of older learners. The classes are thought provoking, stimulated as much by the class interaction as by the instructor. Such fun to really learn without the pressure of tests and grades.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The joy and comraderie among the peers

More feedback...

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Friendly, engaging and people I most likely would not have come across in my day to day life.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Reach out to many more venues to keep minds actively engaged, such that the quality of life as we age is an adventure

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

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