Creative Retirement Manitoba is being recognized as one of Canada 's most innovative organizations for its work in seniors' education.
The independent, non-profit seniors' education centre in Winnipeg is one of six recipients in adult learning across the country of the Sharing the Flame award, a national program of the Canadian Council on Learning and the Conference Board of Canada.
"Learning doesn't need to end when work ends. With the boom in the seniors' population and the trend for people to be more active past retirement, our programs really help older people stay engaged and fully participate in society. We know there is a demonstrated health and social impact when older adults participate in lifelong learning. Communities also benefit," said Marjorie Wood, executive director of CRM.
Creative Retirement Manitoba is the most diverse lifelong learning program in Canada , exclusively focused on the educational needs of older adults. It offers a variety of dynamic and affordable programs based on the foundation that continuous learning presents immense health and social benefits.
The award will be presented at a national conference in Ottawa June 12-13. Creative Retirement Manitoba representatives will have the opportunity to share its success story with leaders in Canadian education, government, business and other organizations.
About Creative Retirement Manitoba :
Creative Retirement Manitoba (CRM) is a community based, non-profit seniors' education centre established in 1981. CRM has grown from an initial offering of 20 courses with 300 registrations in 1981 to 345 courses with 5,772 registrations in 2006.
CRM's objectives are to enrich retirement years with educational programs and to support full and active participation in society in retirement. CRM promotes lifelong learning and leadership through its education programs, and provides opportunities for intergenerational community service through its Seniors and Students Together program. CRM also develops and delivers a variety of special projects and short term initiatives.
Three decades of innovation
Throughout its history CRM has been recognized for originality and innovation.
In 1988 the organization was the subject of a feature presentation on retirement on CBC TV's "The Nature of Things" with Dr. David Suzuki.
In the mid 90's CRM established the first seniors' website in Canada and was featured in a special issue of Educational Gerontology, a refereed international journal.
CRM was the first educational organization in Winnipeg to develop and deliver workshops for older adults on using ATM machines, telephone banking, computers and basic technology applications.
More recently CRM has developed and delivered computer education classes for Afghan refugees who could not access mainstream programs and for fourth age learners residing in personal care homes.
CRM is currently delivering computer education courses to senior EAL students. These programs address marginalized populations who are at risk of missing out on many opportunities most seniors take for granted in today's society.
In May 2007 CRM was invited to make a presentation to the Special Senate Commission on Aging as an expert witness in the area of active living.
Impact on the community
CRM directly serves the city of Winnipeg and outlying communities. The impact of its programs is much greater than simply learning skills. In 2006 more than 1,500 people participated in computer classes gaining skills that enabled them to stay current, to seek out interesting and challenging volunteer opportunities and increase their ability to communicate with distant children, grandchildren and friends. Several hundred people attended fitness programs that facilitated active living and promoted healthy lifestyles.
Cultural awareness programs that help to foster supportive social environments, current events courses that help nurture more informed citizens and personal development courses that challenge people to explore new ideas and activities were fully subscribed. The Afghan Seniors Outreach Project, EAL Project and the Refugee Support Project help immigrants and refugees integrate into Canadian society.
Benefits of lifelong learning
A 2005 survey of CRM students found that 61% of the respondents said educational opportunities in retirement were very important. Research shows that active involvement in lifelong learning programs can: