Providing Lifelong Learning for over 30 years

Lifelong Learning Collaborative (LLC, formerly BCLIR) was established in 1984 as the Brown Community of Learning in Retirement, and has been an active educational model for lifelong learning for over three decades.  In May of 2008, we became an independent non-profit organization, an umbrella for continuing lifelong learning education in the Providence area. Most of our classes meet at Temple Beth-El.



All That’s Jazz: Ragtime, Blues, Swing, Bebop & More
Coordinator: Sam Shamoon
Presented by Clay Nordhill

Monday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM, 5 weeks, Jun 25-Jul 30 (No class Jul 23), Fee: $30, Class size limit: 40.

This is the next installment of LLC’s very popular class on the history of American jazz. Hear historic recordings, learn about inspiring performers and composers as well as younger players who are influencing jazz today.

Format: Listening, lecture and discussion (no presentations required).

Resources/Expenses: There are no additional expenses or resources required.

Coordinators: Clay Nordhill, a Rhode Island based jazz guitarist and composer, will lead the course, as he did last year. Clay is a graduate of URI with a focus on Jazz Performance. He has performed at the Newport Jazz Festival as well as at venues throughout the Northeast. Sam Shamoon, the former City Planner for the city of Providence, is now president of LLC. He has coordinated this class several times.

See It and Say It in Spanish
Coordinator: Marcia Rosenzweig

Monday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 11:00-12:00 PM, 6 weeks, Jun 18-Jul 23, Fee: $20, Class size limit: 15.Note: This is a six week program with one hour a week sessions.

The approach to this beginning level class is conversational while using the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. With this progressive approach, from the very beginning the student is on familiar ground and will be able to relate to ordinary, everyday situations in Spanish. The student can, with confidence, proceed to more complex sentences. Each class participant will add to vocabulary and develop verbal facility such as ordering paella in a restaurant. The portable text will facilitate use of Spanish language here and abroad.

Format: No student presentations are required and the approach is hands-on and conversational.

Resources/Expenses: Coordinator will provide the book, See It and Say It in Spanish by Margarita Madrigal, for the first class session at a cost of approximately $7.50 per student. This fee will be collected at the first class.

Coordinator: Marcia Rosenzweig is a Certified Teacher of Spanish with 25 years of experience teaching Spanish to adult learners.

Current Decisions
Coordinators: Dennis Flavin, David Hansen

Monday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00-3:00 PM, 8 weeks, Jun 18-Aug 6, Fee: $40, Class size limit: 25.

In contrast to the Great Decisions course each Winter which focuses on global issues prepared by the Foreign Policy Association, the focus of this long-running Summer course is on domestic issues, programs, policies and political trends. There has never been a lack of interesting, complicated and controversial topics to analyze and discuss. This year, given the continuing turmoil and political upheaval as well as the impending 2018 mid-term elections, is no exception. Join us as we examine healthcare, immigration, energy, the environment and infrastructure spending among so many important topics with profound long-term implications for all Americans. Don’t forget to bring your polling instincts and expertise when we strive to forecast the November election results.

Format: Our goal is to discuss one or two issues each week. Individual or team presentations are encouraged.

Resources: There are no assigned texts nor readings. Presenters, however, may suggest materials for class members to review on their chosen topics.

Coordinators: Dave Hansen and Dennis Flavin have coordinated this course for several summers as well as a number of other courses. They stress open, animated discussions/debates, but do discourage physical confrontations.

Sit and Knit
Coordinator: Doris Briggs

Monday late afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 3:15-5:00 PM, 8 weeks, Jun 18-Aug 6. There is no fee for this course, but you must be a member of LLC. Registration is not required.

Do you like to knit? Come knit with us. Enjoy knitting with like-minded folks; sit, knit, socialize, and talk about the joys and trials of knitting or who knows what. Any level knitter is welcome.

Format: There is no formal instruction in this “class”. Bring your own supplies, patterns etc. There may be some knitting advice available though!

Coordinator: Doris Briggs is a happily retired Registered Nurse who has been knitting for many years. Her interests include knitting samples for a yarn shop, spinning fiber, weaving, wine making, volunteering with Waterfire as a boat captain and learning new things. Doris coordinated an LLC knitting class in the winter.


Prize-Winning Writers Inspired by Edward Hopper’s Paintings, Sections 1 & 2
Section 1 Coordinators: Celene Healy, Nondas Hurst Voll, Mary Welch
Section 2 Coordinators: Mary Ball Howkins, Sheila K Lawrence

Tuesday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM, 6 weeks, Jun 19-Jul 31 (No class Jul 3), Fee: $30, Class size limit: 20.

The text, In Sunlight or in Shadow, gathers 17 superbly crafted short stories by contributors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Lee Child, Stephen King and others. Author and editor Lawrence Block put together an A-list of writers with whom Hopper’s paintings deeply resonate. The resultant stories are in various genres but share individual excellence. Each is introduced by a copy of the specific painting as well as a description of the author.

Format: Participants will read selected stories and lead, if interested, a discussion of their chosen story. Presentations are not required, although encouraged along with active participation in class discussions.

Resource/Expenses: In Sunlight or in Shadow edited by Lawrence Block, available in hardcover at your local library, book store or at Amazon for approximately $15.

Section 1 Coordinators: Celene Healy, a retired Middle School English teacher, has coordinated several courses in short stories and museums. Nondas Hurst Voll, also a former English teacher, has coordinated classes in theatre, criminal justice, museums, and short stories and is a sustaining docent at the RISD Museum. Mary Welch, a long-time RISD Museum docent, spent many years in the public relations field before retiring. Her first LLC class was the short story class facilitated by Celene and Nondas, and she’s not looked back. Art, theater, gardening and reading are among her favorite things.

Section 2 Coordinators: Mary Ball Howkins, an art historian, wildlife volunteer, and writer, has coordinated several LLC courses in the past.  Sheila K Lawrence is a former journalist and author of A Leap of Faith - A History of Sophia Academy – 2001-2013. She has coordinated several LLC classes, including the on-going memoir writing workshop.

Mah Jongg
Coordinator: Carol Desforges

Tuesday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00-3:00 PM, 10 weeks, Jun 19-Aug 21, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 8.

Enjoy playing a challenging game and forming a social group? Learn how to play Mah Jongg, a tile game formerly played only by Chinese royalty, which may have originated with Confucius about 500 BC. The American version has a set of 152 tiles marked with Chinese symbols. Though the game is played worldwide, it did not become popular in the U.S. until the 1920’s. At that time, it was the most popular board game in the U.S. exceeding even Monopoly.

Format: In order to play the game, you must learn the symbols on the tiles, the patterns of hands on a score card, the many rules of the game, and the protocols of play. It is a challenging game to learn but we will guide you through it. Once you master it, Mah Jongg is addicting and you will not want to stop playing it.

Resource/Expenses: There are no additional expenses or resources required.

Coordinator: Carol Desforges is a retired high school science teacher who loves to play and teach Mah Jongg. She has been teaching Mah Jongg at senior centers, with social organizations, and in private homes since 2007.

Scrabble Social Club
Coordinators: Pete DuPont, Bob Goodwin

Tuesday late afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 3:30-5:00 PM, 10 weeks, Jun 19-Aug 21. There is no fee for this course, but you must be a member of LLC. Registration is not required. Just drop in and play.

Do drop in any Tuesday by 3:30 for a friendly game or two of Scrabble. All levels welcome, including any who have never played before. No fee, no sign up, just show up. Hopefully, you’ll become a regular. We generally have three to five games in play and there is room for more. Cathy will be on hand for documentation and rule clarification. Sheila will create our groups of threes and twos each week and we shall see if Pete will continue to hold onto his distinction as our Scrabble Icon. Then join us afterwards, if you wish, for supper at a local restaurant. We may touch on many interesting topics or just relax and unwind in a convivial group. Game boards provided.

Coordinators: Bob Goodwin is a long-time LLC coordinator who relishes bringing people together informally. Pete DuPont is a more recent member of LLC. He and Bob have also collaborated on group hikes with LLC friends and others.


Plein Air Art Gathering
Coordinators: Roberta Segal, Mary Snowden

Wednesday mornings, Location: Pending, 9:30 AM-12:00 PM, 8 weeks, Jun 27*-Aug 22 (No class Jul 4), Fee: $30, Class size limit: 40.

Special consideration will be given to Providence Art Club members who may participate with their PAC membership waiving LLC membership and paying only the $30 class fee.

Note:  Sadly, our friend, Bunny Fain died on Friday May 4, but we will hold this class, per his wishes, as planned.

Once again, LLC will be offering a Plein Air art group for this summer. This gives both newcomers as well as the experienced an opportunity to spend Wednesday mornings exploring the inner artist in all of us. The class will include both painting (in any medium), pastels, and drawing with coordinators. If you have never held a paintbrush, you are welcome to give it a try. And, if you are a working artist, just creating with others in an outdoor setting is an inspiration.

*One additional class will be included (June 20) covering a lesson on drawing, perspective and aesthetic presentation at no additional charge. Use your own art supplies; once enrolled specific details will be provided.

Coordinators: Roberta Segal and Mary Snowden are both lifelong artists with great creative gifts and an impressive ability to teach and help students learn. They have coordinated many classes for LLC.

Grateful Dead 101: An Introduction and Listening Guide
Coordinator: Bob Trudeau

Wednesday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM, 7 weeks, Jun 20-Aug 8 (No class Jul 4), Fee: $35, Class size limit: 25.

You may have heard of the Grateful Dead, but never paid much attention. Or you might already be a Deadhead who simply wants to hear some music and talk about it. This course will introduce you to the phenomenon that is/was the Grateful Dead, with an emphasis on how to listen to their music and lyrics. Each of the seven classes will focus on a different style of music the Dead played, from folk to jazz, from blues to rock and roll, from country rock music to love songs, and more.

Format: Presentations are not required but active class participation will be. There will be lots of opportunities for conversation and listening.

Resource/Expenses: There are no additional expenses or resources required.

Coordinator: Bob Trudeau is Professor (emeritus) of Political Science at Providence College, where he was on the faculty from 1970 to 2010, and where he specialized in the politics of Central America. Bob is co-author (with Barry Barnes) of The Grateful Dead’s 100 Essential Songs: The Music Never Stops, forthcoming. He has been an avid listener of Grateful Dead music since 1971.

What’s NASA Up To?
Coordinator: Murray Gintis

Wednesday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00-3:00 PM, 5 weeks, Jun 20-Jul 25 (No class Jul 4), Fee: $25, Class size limit: 20.

Let’s explore the solar system together. The class will study NASA’s missions, past, present and future. We will develop an understanding of the asteroids’ and planets’ characteristics and learn the science and engineering of the spacecraft that visit them. One session will be on near Earth orbit projects i.e. the Hubble and James Webb Telescopes and the International Space Station. The remaining classes with be on planetary (and Pluto) missions. At the end of the course, we may all have a better understanding of NASA’s history, goals and objectives.

Format: Participants will be asked to prepare discussions of a spacecraft mission, either scientific or engineering aspects or both. Two or three missions will be presented each week by participants. We will also have expert outside speakers or webcast presentations when possible.

Resources: There will be no required readings for the class. A list of YouTube videos and webinars will be sent to participants before and during the course.

Coordinator: Murray Gintis is a volunteer Solar System Ambassador for NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory.