ENCORE! Fayette expands outreach

Some will remember it as ENCORE! Fayette, the initiative that formed in 2009 and was Georgia’s first older-adult volunteer leadership program. Today the emphasis has expanded and the organization will begin holding classes in late January under a new name that expands its vision: ENCORE! Fayette — Center for Creative Involvement.

The organization’s expanded vision is set to include both those already retired and those not yet in the 55-year-old/retirement category.

As originally developed, ENCORE! Fayette, a program of the Fayette FACTOR organization, was a senior-specific acronym for Enriching and Nurturing Community by Offering their Resources and Experiences to improve the quality of life through civic participation. The idea behind the initiative was simple: to provide classes designed to educate and train seniors and foster their volunteer participation in a variety of venues across the community.

“The purpose of ENCORE! Fayette is to get people actively engaged in the community,” said the late Tom Hamall, co-founder of ENCORE! Fayette. “Boating, golfing and bridge get awfully old in a hurry. Sooner or later you say to yourself, is that all there is? The answer is no. I would rather be 70 years young than 45 years old.”

Three years later the organization’s vision has not changed. Rather, it has expanded. Then as now, class participants will continue to learn a wealth of details about local government and their community. One of the differences today is that the next session that begins in January targets those under retirement age, people wanting to participate in volunteer opportunities that add to the volunteer roles of local government and nonprofits.

And there is another difference this year.

“What’s different this time is that it’s alumni-driven,” said Fayette FACTOR director and ENCORE! Fayette co-founder Becky Smith. “The alumni put it together, chose the topics, contacted the speakers and are getting donations for scholarships.”

Classes beginning in late January will include the history/government of Fayette County, Fayetteville, Tyrone and Peachtree City, business and economic development, the judicial system and citizen involvement, the local healthcare system, family services and community resources, and education and lifelong learning.

The program will run from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Thursdays for eight weeks beginning Jan. 24 and ending on March 14. Tuition of the program is $100 and will include a continental breakfast and lunch at each session. Scholarships are expected to be available. Those interested are asked to contact Becky Smith at bsmith719@bellsouth.net since class sizes are limited and may fill quickly. Becky Smith can also be reached at 404-291-1602.

At a recent meeting of alumni, several stressed that the 8-week course is not just something a person attends and then goes home.

“It was like an encyclopedia of Fayette County,” said alumna Nan Woods. “Some members took what they learned to their churches, to help bolster awareness of the needs of the community.”

cats119
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ENCORE Classes

I think offering these classes to those below retirement age is good, but since most of us work days, an evening session would be an even better idea.