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4th Annual Village Shalom University Celebrates Learning At Every Age

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Village Shalom residents, families, staff and volunteers enjoyed the challenge and excitement of “summer school” this year in the fourth annual learning experience known as “Village Shalom University (VSU).” The award-winning weeklong event turned the retirement community into a virtual college campus, with 46 courses taught and attended by residents, employees and community members. A wide array of topics ranged from “Life Under the Bolsheviks” and “Financial Exploitation of Seniors” to “The Pleasure, Theory and History of Sailing” and “The Jewish Mafia.” 

Jill Craft, Director of Assisted Living (left), celebrates the culmination of Village Shalom University with resident Ruth Margolin.

It wasn’t all academics, however. One full day was devoted to Field Day activities, with residents and staff competing in events including bridge and Rummikub tournaments, Wheel of Fortune and Team Jeopardy. This year’s Field Day featured a rousing team triathlon for staff members, with residents enjoying the competition from the “spectator gallery.” 

A graduation party celebrated the accomplishments of the 158 students, 41 professors and dozens of teaching assistants and volunteers who made VSU a reality. The graduation’s keynote address was presented by Megan Nalamachu, 14, who has been a Village Shalom volunteer since September 2012. The Barstow School freshman offered to speak at the event when she learned that the originally scheduled speaker could not attend. Her talk about the importance of education at every age provided an inspiring conclusion to the VSU “semester.” 

Village Shalom University was established in 2011 in response to residents’ requests for more extensive opportunities for lifelong learning and personal growth. The program has been recognized with innovation awards from LeadingAge Kansas, an association of not-for-profit senior-care organizations across the state; RetirementHomes.com, a national directory of retirement communities across North America; and the Kansas Activity Directors Association.