Classes begin Jan. 24 at the Shepherd's Center of Sumter, but Executive Director Jeanette Roveri-Smith emphasizes that the Adventures in Learning are not the only enrichment activities sponsored by the center. In addition to the wide variety of classes held Thursdays at Trinity United Methodist Church, members can participate in others on "just about any weekday," she said.
Roveri-Smith said the classes and other activities are "designed for and by members. They decide what they want, and the classes are taught by volunteers, many of whom are members themselves. If something is not on the schedule, members can recommend classes. Many of our teachers are retired instructors."
During the winter session, members, who must be 50 years or older, can participate in such classes as crochet, Bible study, knitting, line dancing, calligraphy, quilting, various card and board games and more. Three new classes include Sit, Stand and Walking Exercises taught by Boo Hardee, Beginning Genealogy with Jackie Hughes and Tai Chi with certified instructor Joyce Nimmich. Tai Chi is a gentle exercise that is especially helpful for older adults and those with balance issues. Amanda Miller of Edward Jones Investments will offer a class called Financial Planning for Seniors.
Several special classes are taught on days other than Thursday, Roveri-Smith said. On the second Tuesday of each month, for example, "We're collaborating with the Sumter County Library for an adult crafting class. There is no charge, and all of the materials are provided by a grant. There will be a different craft each month. Each participant will make and leave with a craft. We look forward to collaborating on more projects with the library, for example, some computer classes. And it will all be free to participants."
Anita Kieslich arranges the popular day trips for the center, Roveri-Smith said. "During this session, members will visit the Statehouse, the tea plantation in Charleston, the (Darla) Moore Gardens in Lake City and tour historic Sumter, led by Sammy Way."
Growing in popularity, too, are the extended trips. Members have visited areas around the U.S. and Canada, as well as several other countries, among them Greece, Italy and Israel. Vermont, coastal Virginia, Williamsburg and Historic Norfolk; Vermont; Nashville; Montreal and Ottawa are coming up, Roveri-Smith said. There is a fee for these trips, and you must be a Shepherd's Center member to participate.
She said many friendships are made through the center's activities, and members have started outside opportunities to get together socially. A monthly "Lunch Bunch," open to all center members, meets monthly at a local restaurant, and a group of knitters, crochet and sewing enthusiasts meets weekly at the Sumter County Library.
For a small fee, AARP offers a "Smart Driver Course" for seniors. Upon successful completion of the course, seniors can present a certificate to their insurance company to reduce their auto insurance rates.
Joining the Shepherd's Center is easy, Roveri-Smith said.
Membership dues are $20 per year, and there is a class fee of $20 per session (some classes will require an extra fee for supplies). Meals, also served on Thursday class days, are $7.50 each. Members must be 50 years of age or older.
For complete information about class offerings, trips and activities, request a brochure from the center by calling (803) 840-3770 any time or (803) 773-1994 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Brochures can also be picked up on any weekday at the Shepherd's Center office in the Sumter County Recreation Center, 155 Haynsworth St., adjacent to Patriot Hall. Funding for the center comes from local churches, businesses, foundations and individuals, including memorials and honorariums.
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