Resident Spotlight: Givens Gerber Park and Resident College

Sue Humphries of Givens Gerber Park is a representative of the sub-committee of the “Resident College” that was started in 2022 by Givens Estates residents. The Resident College serves to further educate residents and offers classes on various subjects for 4-week sessions of 2 hours each week. The format is palatable, accessible, and in Ms. Humphries words, “A wonderful offering for Gerber Park Residents.”

Ms. Humphries’ has taken pleasure in her involvement on the sub-committee and hopes that interest and participation will continue to build. She has truly enjoyed being an active member of the sub-committee. Some of the responsibilities include notifying residents of upcoming sessions, recruiting residents to participate and collaborating with other sub-committee members on possible topics.

“We have been gifted with experts in their particular fields, and they certainly have the credentials to back up their expertise,” she says, “but the other thing we consider… which is just as important… is how they teach.” She joked that even if a professor is the most knowledgeable person in the world of a particular subject, that doesn’t mean that they still can’t bore you to death. A reminder that learning at any age is best when it’s fun.

Resident College Sub-Committee Members

Talking with Ms. Humphries, her passion for the Resident College was evident. She praised her colleagues on the sub-committee as “very interesting people who are thoughtful, creative planners. The leadership of Chair Marilyn Laken has been invaluable. We also hope for more Gerber residents to serve on the committee.”

The sub-committee tries to pick courses and lecturers that touch upon a wide range of topics, the most recent ones include:

  • Church and State in Early America
  • Root Causes for the Rise of Terrorism
  • Earthquakes and Volcanoes: Characteristics, Prediction, and Risk
  • Four Nobel Prize Winners for Literature
  • A Brief History of Ireland from 3000 BC Until Yesterday

Residents can also look forward to these topics in Fall 2024:

  • Topics on Aging
  • Ecology and Architecture
  • Astronomy
  • Other topics TBA

With the dedication of Sue Humphries and her colleagues in the sub-committee, Givens Gerber Park Residents have a unique opportunity to take a crash course in something that could ignite their curiosity. “I found that by attending all the programs since September 2023, my intellect was well stimulated and challenged. Learning something new is good for the brain and it stimulates social skills,” Ms. Humphries went on to say, “The connection between our two communities was a part of the reason I got involved. It benefits all of us to be included, and to feel connected.”

Ms. Humphries is hopeful that the program continues to grow and that more residents at Givens Gerber Park realize this program and opportunity is available to them. The program itself is new, and in just two years it has grown to enrollment of 154 people for some classes. The sub-committee has expanded its network by encouraging and inviting Givens Gerber Park residents to join. The College takes a sabbatical in the summer picking up with new lectures September 5, 2024. Ms. Humphries is particularly excited about a session with two “women cousins”, one black and one white, who will be speaking in the fall. One is from Asheville and one from Baltimore. They represent two slave/slave-holding sides of the Kilby family.

“The Resident College hits a lot of buttons that older adults generally need. Research shows if you keep learning new things you are fighting the prospect of cognitive decline that people our age often fear. The College also helps with the importance of making friends and keeping connections with one another.”

Whatever you are itching to learn, the Resident College offers classes at an affordable price ($25 per subject, 4 classes- and there are also scholarships available) that will leave you not only more knowledgeable, but also more connected and engaged with the community around you.

Any Resident with questions about involvement should not hesitate to reach out. It is apparent that Ms. Humphries and the Resident College sub-committee are eager to spread the word. The more representation from Givens Gerber Park, the better.