Suz Montgomery, Founder, Executive Director of Extended Learning Academy, who oversees the Extended Learning Academy says that, “Classes keep people engaged in living/learning, since education is a powerful vehicle.” She said that seniors are no longer invisible. “10,000 seniors (Baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964) are going into retirement a day.” (Baby Boomers Retire). “In 1930, 58 was the average age for men to live to, and 62 for women. In 1990, 72 was the average age for men, and 83 for women,” according to Montgomery. “The total number of Americans over the age of 65 will be 13 million in 2050, with a median age of 78.5 years” (U.S. Census by the numbers 2010-seniors.pdf).
“The Extended Learning Academy offers programs in many topics, including, art, culinary classes, exercises classes, including yoga, creative writing, and music,” according to Montgomery. “By providing community education for every one of all ages, we also have kid’s classes, grandparent / grandchildren cooking classes and senior / kids classes. Everyone has the opportunity of living and learning in order to have a full quality of life until the very end.”
Montgomery said that the Extended Learning Academy has credentialed teachers with many years of teaching experience. “This summer classes will be offered at the Ventura Avenue Center. In the Fall of this year, classes will also be offered at the Salvation Army, at St. Paul’s Church, and at the Buenaventura Mobil Home Estate.” She mentioned that since Ventura college stopped offering community classes through the Kalidescope about five years ago due to lack of funding for the state and city. Thus, “Nonprofits such as the Extended Learning Academy continue to expand upon their offerings.”
“My students teach me and I teach them. I’ve found my true calling. My passion,” Montgomery said. “The Extended Learning Academy will lead to improving the quality of our lives.” I’m watching a trend of “super seniors” (who are 90 and above), because research data proves that “we’re living longer than any time in history, because of exercise, better food, and medical technology. And seniors are the largest voting bloc, since seniors always vote.”
Montgomery added, “What happens to people after they retire?” She said that, “It’s important to stay engaged in living and learning since the brain is still active in people who retire. I never look at seniors as anyone other than my friend. There is a magical synergism. Seniors regain and maintain their memory by empowerment. I’m empowering people to be successful in learning and remembering.”
“We want to focus on community and senior programs and classes. The classes will be targeted to all ages and several dedicated to inter generation,” says Montgomery. “We will specifically have professional acting classes and cooking classes.”
May 14, 2014 Ventura BREEZE