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.

Click to view/print Summersession 2019 catalog (PDF).

Full course descriptions are available below.

Mah Jongg (AM) - CANCELLED
All That's Jazz: Ragtime, Blues, Swing, Bebop & More (AM)
Current Decisions (PM)

Rediscovering the Magic of Children's Literature (AM)
Outlander, Book 2 (PM)
Scrabble Social Club (PM)

Plein Air Art Gathering (AM)
See It and Say It in Spanish (AM)
Mah Jongg Drop-In (PM)

Space Camp – Exploring the Solar System
O.Henry Prize Stories 2018
, Section 1 (AM)
O.Henry Prize Stories 2018, Section 2 (PM)
Fiction Writing Critique Group (PM)

Monday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
5 weeks
Jun 10-Jul 15 (No class Jul 1; Note earlier start time)
Fee: $30
Class size limit: 40

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

Listen and learn – what could be easier and more fun? This is the next installment of LLC’s very popular class on the story of American jazz. This year you will hear more stories of great jazz musicians, plus new recordings. You will continue to learn about inspiring performers and composers as well as younger players who are influencing jazz today.

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

Expenses: There are no expenses.

Coordinators: Clay Nordhill, a Rhode Island based jazz guitarist and composer, will lead the course. 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 has coordinated this class several times.

Monday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
7 weeks
Jun 17-Aug 5 (No class Jul 1)
Fee: $35
Class size limit: 23

Current Decisions
Coordinators: Dennis Flavin, David Hansen

Join us in our annual examination of a variety of current domestic issues, programs, and policies. As always, there are more topics than we can cover in seven weeks, but healthcare, immigration, climate change, the environment and education are certain to be on the list for analysis and discussion. Not to mention the state of the presidency.

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: Dennis and Dave have coordinated many similar courses in the past and love nothing better than a good juicy discussion!

Tuesday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
4 weeks
Jun 18 & 25, Jul 9 & 16
Fee: $20
Class size limit: 20

Rediscovering the Magic of Children’s Literature (plus a walking tour!)
Coordinators: Barbara Barnes, Beverly Pettine

Poet David McCord says:

Books fall open,
you fall in,
delighted where
you’ve never been…

Join us as we “fall in” to some extraordinary children’s books for everyone to share with the children in their lives. We’ll take a look at books for all ages – from the very young to those in their teens. Whether serious or light-hearted, the stories draw us in. Enhancing the words in some books are the illustrations, some so extraordinary that they are a child’s first introduction to the world of fine art. Come to discover how this combination of writing and art contributes to a booming business for children’s books today. A bonus: How long has it been since a story has been read to you? If you long for that childhood pleasure, then you’ll look forward to the last ten minutes of class each week.

Format: Members are asked to read the historic fiction novel, Something Upstairs, set in 18th, 19th, and 20th century Providence. In collaboration with the coordinators, class members will contribute to presentations about the illustrators of the book, the author Avi and share responsibility for a discussion that delves into the wide – ranging themes of this story. These themes will be the basis for a walking tour in week four, following in the footsteps of the author along Benefit Street.

Resources/Expenses: Something Upstairs by Avi can be found in local libraries or purchased for $5 or less on No other expense is anticipated. Coordinators will supply handouts, and other resources weekly.

Coordinators: An elementary school teacher for 30 years, Beverly Pettine has given presentations about children’s books throughout New England. Barbara Barnes is a member of the LLC Cultural Committee and was a Coordinator of a class about Rhode Island museums in 2018.

Tuesday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
8 weeks
Jun 18-Aug 13 (No class Jul 2)
Fee: $40
Class size limit: 20

Outlander, Book 2
Coordinator: Deborah Chorney

Outlander was voted by PBS viewers as American’s #2 best loved novel in The Great American Read. This course is a continuation of the successful LLC course that covered Book 1. The series encompasses adventure, fantasy, time travel, romance, history and of course, sex. We will not be watching the TV series. The aim is to study the history of the time, the author’s language and writing style. Join Jamie and Claire as they go to France to try to change history and prevent the Jacobite Rising. Meet Princes and Kings as the Fraser’s wine and dine their way through the French elite. Join fellow Sassenachs as we continue Diana Gabaldon’s epic stories of 18th century time travel. This course will be fun, informative and thought-provoking. Je suis prest. (Reading book 1 before class begins is encouraged.)

Format: Class members will be expected to read Book 2, choose a topic that will be provided in the syllabus, join in the discussions and present a 30-40 minute presentation.

Resources/Expenses: The book is available on Amazon with prices ranging from $3.99 to $9.99, as well as on Kindle.

Coordinator: Deborah Chorney has been a member of LLC since 2011. She has coordinated the Outlander, Book 1, and the Memoir Group for four semesters. Who better to lead a class on Outlander than someone who has four T-shirts, 3 hoodies, 3 calendars, 2 bears and 2 coffee cups besides having read the 8 published books of the Outlander series seven times, all the Lord John series at least once and all the “books in between” at least once. Outlander has renewed her faith in love.

Tuesday late afternoons
Temple Beth-El
3:15-5:00 PM
8 weeks
Jun 18-Aug 13 (No class Jul 2)
There is no fee for this course, but you must be a member of LLC.
Registration is not required.  Just drop in and play.

Scrabble Social Club
Coordinators: Catherine Hurst, Sheila Zompa

Do drop in any Tuesday by 3:15 for a friendly game or two of Scrabble. We need the time from 3:15-3:30 to set up the boards and players so that we can start playing right at 3:30. All levels welcome – no fee, no registration. 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.

Wednesday mornings
Hanley Farms, Warren (address to be provided once enrolled)
9:30 AM-12:00 PM
8 weeks
Jun 26*-Aug 14
Fee: $30
Class size limit: 30

Plein Air Art Gathering
Coordinators: Roberta Segal, Mary Snowden, Kathy Webster

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.

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 19) covering a lesson on drawing, perspective and aesthetic presentation at no additional charge.

Resources: 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. Kathy Webster has been a plein air painting student since 2010. They have coordinated many classes for LLC.

Wednesday mornings
Temple Beth-El
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
6 weeks
Jun 19-Jul 31 (No class Jul 3)
Fee: $20
Class size limit: 13

See It and Say It in Spanish
Coordinator: Marcia T. Rosenzweig

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.

Wednesday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
6 weeks
Jun 19-Jul 31 (No class Jul 3)
There is no fee for this course, but you must be a member of LLC.
Registration is not required.
Just drop in and play.

Mah Jongg Drop-In
Coordinator: Sheela Percelay

This is intended for people who know how to play and want some new people to play with! There is no fee, and registration is not required, but please contact Sheela Percelay at 401-726-5863 for details.

Thursday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
6 weeks
Jun 20-Aug 1 (No class Jul 4)
Fee: $30
Class size limit: 20

Space Camp – Exploring the Solar System
Coordinator: Murray Gintis

The Solar System is not just eight planets (OK, maybe nine). It behaves more like a living being than a bunch of rocks and gas clouds floating around a star. We will look at planets, moons and asteroids of our solar system. The center of our discussion will be their formation, how they affect each other and the way we explore them. We will supplement our exploration with guest speakers and experts visiting us live and via SKYPE. By the end of this course, we will have a better understanding of the worlds around us.

Format: Members of the class will be asked to prepare presentations on a planet or other celestial body. The use of videos, Power Point or any other medium is encouraged. Some NASA handouts will be available. The presentations should be kept to 45 minutes. Videos which are not easily available to the public will be shown in class.

Resources/Expenses: The coordinator will supply links to various videos prior to the first meeting. There are no expenses anticipated.

Coordinator: Murray Gintis is a NASA/JPL Solar System and OSIRIS-Rex Ambassador. He spends summers in Massachusetts and winters in Tucson, AZ.

Thursday mornings & afternoons
Temple Beth-El
Section 1: 10:00 AM-12:00 PM
Section 2: 1:00-3:00 PM
8 weeks
Jun 20-Aug 15 (No class Jul 4)
Fee: $40
Class size limit: 20

O. Henry Prize Stories 2018
Section 1 (AM) Coordinators: Lenore Bunting, Margaret Lawrence
Section 2 (PM) Coordinators: Jane Adler, Mary Ball Howkins

Join us as we delve into this year’s provocative reads among the prize-winning O. Henry Award stories. They have been carefully selected as narratives diverse in story, scope, and theme. Explore Jo Ann Beard’s The Tomb of Wrestling, about a woman fending off an attacker, or Brad Felver’s Queen Elizabeth, about a couple’s grief and love. Or read Thomas Bolt’s Inversions of Marcia to survey the mind of a teenager who feels outside herself and her world. The grouping promises a mix of established and new voices, with stories joining individuality with an overarching unity in tone and character.

Format: Participants will read selected stories and lead discussions of their chosen stories. Active class participation is expected and it is suggested that class members sign up for their story choices as early as possible. Stories will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. The story discussion leader for each upcoming class will be expected to submit a series of discussion questions for class distribution a few days before her or his presentation date.

Resources/Expenses: The O. Henry Prize Stories 2018 is available at bookstores and through Amazon (paperback $12.29 or less, used).

Section 1 Coordinators: Lenore Piper Bunting is a retired attorney, who upon retirement, two and a half years ago, began taking LLC classes. She has been a co-coordinator for three classes. O.Henry Prize Stories will be her fourth LLC short stories class; it is the first for which she is co-coordinator. Margaret Lawrence is a retired management consultant and has had a long career writing and editing for business publications. Since retiring, she has pursued her life-long interest in literature and history by participating in a variety of courses offered by area continuing education programs.

Section 2 Coordinators: Mary Ball Howkins has coordinated many LLC courses and is an active writer of fiction. Jane Adler is also a fiction writer and a semi-retired newspaper columnist.

Thursday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
3:15-5:00 PM
8 weeks
Jun 20-Aug 15 (No class Jul 4)
Fee: $20
Class size limit: 10

Fiction Writing Critique Group
Coordinator: Mary Ball Howkins

Join a group of fiction writers. We’ll help you turn some of your life experiences into fiction! Gather with writers who conjure tales of far away and nearby, who love telling stories and have many to tell. In an intimate and supportive group, learn how to hone your writing, explode it into something brand new, or extract it sentence by sentence from your imagination with cheers and encouragement from others. No judgments allowed – only constructive assessment to urge you on to finding and asserting your writer’s voice.

Format: Participants will submit a story or chapter online to class members by the Monday before the Thursday class meeting date. Class members will print or email the material with comments, suggestions, and editing corrections by that Thursday. The writer will be expected to ask for specific feedback when submitting the story or chapter to others so that the class will have some direction while reading and commenting.

Expenses: No expenses are anticipated.

Coordinator: Mary Ball Howkins has coordinated many LLC courses and is an active writer of fiction, an international wildlife volunteer, and art historian.