Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at California State University, Dominguez Hills had a busy week of special events recently as part of its summer program that runs through August.
In commemoration of Juneteenth marking the end of slavery, OLLI’s seniors—the institute is open to those 50 and older interested in continued educational enrichment—gathered on June 19 for an afternoon of history, traditional food, and song. Then on Friday, June 22, they had the opportunity to get properly fitted to their cars and learned a few driver safety tips during Car Fit, a demonstration put on by the American Society for Aging, the American Automobile Association (AAA), and the American Occupational Therapy Association.
OLLI is a community-based institute through the College of Extended and International Education that is open to those 50 years and older interested in continued education and enrichment. Courses, fieldtrips, lecture series and special events are presented in fall, spring and summer sessions, with OLLI members taking an active role in determining how each session takes shape.
It was OLLI curriculum committee member Eula Slater who proposed and coordinated the Juneteenth and CarFit events.
“I thought this was unique occasion for us to share part of our heritage with OLLI members,” she said of Juneteenth.
Slater initially planned a short program, but when she asked fellow Carson resident and CSU Dominguez Hills alumna LaVerne M. McCoy (Class of ’11, second B.A., music) to sing at the event, McCoy wanted to contribute a little bit more and developed a program of songs and readings for the event.
In addition, special guests included poet and author Dr. Betty Knight, and Mary Anne O’Neal, former Carson City Councilwoman and presiding queen mother of the CSU Dominguez Hills Fannie Lou Hamer Queen Mother Society, who discussed the history of Juneteenth, which commemorates June 19, 1865, the date that federal forces took possession of Texas and called for that state’s enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation, two years after it was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.
“I believe this is the first Juneteenth on this campus,” said Margaret Gordon, dean of College of Extended and International Education.
The CarFit event was also a first. The morning provided an opportunity for OLLI members to learn proper driving form to ensure driver safety. Volunteers from the American Society for Aging, AAA and the American Occupational Therapy Association were on hand to show participants the best fit for them and their car, from adjusting seats and mirrors to good foot position on the gas and brake pedals.
“We like to offer a wide array of educational and cultural activities that are topical and relevant,” OLLI director Jim Bouchard. “Juneteenth and CarFit were perfect examples of both.”
OLLI’s summer program began in early June and continues through August. Among the remaining courses and events is the continuation of its “My Favorite Movie” series, a class on “How to Negotiate Anything” on August 14, “Introduction to Digital Photography,” Wednesdays in July, “Multi-generational Facebook” boot camp, Fridays in July.
OLLI membership is $30 annually, with courses, lectures, field trips and special events either free or for a nominal fee.
For more information, visit www.csudh.edu/OLLI/.
-Laura Perdew contributed to this article.