SANFORD — Retirees and those nearing retirement age got a sample of fun and educational ways to spend some of their leisure time at Central Carolina Community College’s kickoff for its new Center for Creative Retirement.
Older community members gathered Wednesday at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center to hear about the college’s programs geared to mature adults and how the Center will offer them opportunities for life-long learning.
“What do you want to do?” college President Bud Marchant asked those attending. “That is what will make this Center what it will become.”
Marchant said that he was previously involved with centers for creative retirement in both Beaufort and Charleston, S.C. They thrived by responding to the interests and needs of older members of their communities.
The college’s Department of Continuing Education operates the Center for Creative Retirement. The department already offers vocational, educational and enrichment programs and classes for children, youth and adults.
The Center will focus on meeting the needs and interests of retirees and seniors in the college’s service area of Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties in collaboration with agencies that also serve this population. Currently, the Center is the programs and activities offered, but the goal is to establish a physical facility as its offerings and community involvement grow. In Lee County alone, the U.S. Census 2009 estimated population was about 60,500, with an estimated 14,000 ages 55 and older, providing a large pool of potential users.
“Sanford has a large and growing retirement community,” said Alice Beardsley, of Sanford, who attended the kickoff. “I’m really excited that the college is doing this.”
Ed and Carolyn Parry, of Carolina Trace, came to learn what the CCR is all about.
“We moved here from Maryland about a year ago, and we want to get involved in some programs,” Ed said.
At the kickoff, visitors heard a preview of upcoming seminars on Lee County History by local photographer and historian Jimmy Haire and financial literacy by certified financial planner Dargan Moore. Dawn and Dave Nestor, real estate broker, gave an overview of a tour of wineries planned for spring.
Keynote presenter for the kickoff was Cindy Horrell Ramsey, CCCC Lee County director of Continuing Education, who shared personal stories of some of the sailors’ featured in her book, “Boys of the Battleship North Carolina." Ramsey did extensive interviews with surviving crew members who served on the ship during World War II.
Singer Vonda Reives, a 2009 Lee County Idol competitor, provided entertainment for the event. Reives graduated from the college’s Associate Degree in Nursing program and went on to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Duke University. She serves as associate minister at Christian Provisions Ministries, in Sanford.
“My six-year-old son said to me recently, ‘Life is what you make it’,” Stelfanie Williams, the college’s vice president over the Economic & Community Development Division, told those in attendance. “The college wants to help improve the quality of life in our service area.”
She invited those present to help make the Center what it can be by telling their friends and neighbors about it.
For more information about Center programs, visit the college’s Web site: www.cccc.edu/ccr
or contact any of the offices of the Continuing Education Department: Chatham County, (919) 545-8025; Harnett County, (910) 814-8823; or Lee County, (919) 775-2122, ext. 7793.