Research on lifelong vitality for older adults has repeatedly emphasized four areas: keeping the mind active, healthy lifestyle habits, social interactions and volunteering or sharing with others. With that research in mind, the Encore program at San Juan College has emphasized learning, wellness, relationships and service for 10 years. This fall, Encore will offer 55 classes with opportunities in all four of these vital areas.

Learning is abundant in Encore offerings, with classroom lectures and hands-on opportunities. History buffs can explore topics such as the Vietnam War: 1956-1975, Native American Writers and Da Vinci: Scientist and Mathematician through classroom lectures and multimedia. Experience highly participatory learning in classes, including Joy of Photography and Hopi Harvest Festival, which includes a field trip.

Wellness options include physical education classes, such as Tap Dance for Seniors and martial art Bagua Qigong, as well as the opportunity to get outdoors in Backpacking Basics. In addition to classes that are physically active, learn more about wellness in Food Therapy According to Chinese Medicine, Happy Healthy Aging or Alzheimer's Disease: Inside and Out.

Friendships can develop and thrive in many different Encore classes. Art classes in particular offer the opportunity to communicate while learning in classes such as Encore Pottery: Hand Building and Evening Mixed Media Extravaganza, both offered at the Bloomfield Senior Center. Learning in a group — whatever the subject — can offer opportunities to learn from others and build social networks.

Service is the topic of the Encore class Getting to Know Your Community through Nonprofits. When people are hungry, homeless or in need after a disaster, nonprofit organizations step up and provide for the needs of communities. While many know how vital these organizations are, most citizens do not realize what it takes to make a nonprofit run or what organization are in their towns. This class offers the opportunity to discover the power of nonprofits first hand through guest lectures and field trips— and students can learn ways they can help out their neighbors.

All Encore classes are designed for adults 50 and older but are open to all students 18 and older. For more information on fall Encore classes, visit or call San Juan College's Community Learning Center at 505-566-3214.