Dear friends. Remember last week I promised you an invitation to a very fun event?

You may remember our discussion in a previous column about an organization that I am very proud to be a part of. We call ourselves the Napa County Alliance for Senior Education. We would like to invite you to our first community event at Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center.

Mark your calendar for April 29, 9 to 11:30 a.m. Our event is called “What’s Happening in my Brain?”

Let’s do a little rundown of what you can expect.

Registration is at 9 a.m., followed by introductions from Dr. William Weddington.

At 9:30 we’ll be viewing the film “Alive inside: A Story of Music and Memory,” which was the winner at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award. A Skype session follows with film director Michael Rossato-Bennett.

Next is a discussion of senior issues, education and college student connections.

From 11:05-11:30 there will be a reading of Ed Young’s “I, Doko.”

Because we don’t want you to miss any part of this, our first event, please make your reservations early as seating is limited. Call 707-251-8905 or email 707nca4se@gmail.com.

We look forward to welcoming you to the event and having the pleasure of meeting you, and also for you to get to know us and what our goals are.

We would also like for you to mark your calendar for the next event that Napa County Alliance for Senior Education will be presenting. We will be honoring the month of July as Elder Abuse Awareness Month with a symposium. Please save the date, July 16. More information will be coming closer to the event.

A few words about Dr. Weddington, chairman of the Napa County Alliance for Senior Education. Recently retired from teaching, after 32 years, at Napa Valley College, Bill enjoys working out at the college, taking Christy Kling’s adaptive physical education class.

I also enjoy taking Christy’s class. A few of us students were having a discussion one day about how, as we get older, our memories were playing tricks on us, as when we temporarily forget the name of a good friend, for instance; of course the name comes back to us later, but it’s quite embarrassing at the moment.

Dr. Weddington, being a psychologist, suggested that we should challenge our minds, as that is a vital component of mental health. He said that exercising the body and brain can produce positive results. “Staying mentally active by taking classes, working puzzles, reading, writing and listening to music will help improve our memories,” he said.

We gathered often to chat about taking care of our minds as well as our bodies as we get older. Dr. Weddington would often lead these discussions. Soon there were several of us who liked his refreshing ideas for possibly encouraging Napa Valley College to help get some workshops started, for not only the senior students at the college, but seniors from the community, as well.

We were eager to start meeting formally on a regular basis, which we were soon doing.

I think of Dr. Weddington as our Pied Piper. We happily followed along with his exciting and practical ideas because we agreed wholeheartedly with his whole concept. Being seniors and living longer than our ancestors, we feel very strongly that we want to stay strong both physically and mentally for as long as we possibly can.

After we had been meeting for a few weeks, I asked Dr. Weddington why he was so enthusiastic about doing this project of ours, and his short answer was: “Education lasts a lifetime, and is the key to longevity and health.” Don’t you think that that’s a great answer? I certainly did.

We meet weekly. Our attendance averages around 20 members, growing all the time, and all attendees are dedicated and enthusiastic, believing that we are in the process of helping build something very wonderful for the seniors in Napa County.

So, come and get a closer look at us, and learn more about this exciting venture we are on. For the most part, we are composed of a retired minister, several retirees from the teaching profession, a couple of dietitians, nurses, a member of the district attorney’s office, a retired assistant district attorney, a landscape architect, and several who are dedicated senior advocates still active in the community.

So, please come and see for yourself. Come and meet us, and we are eager to meet all of you.

I’ve come to believe that a busy mind is a happy mind. I’m wondering if the same that applies to our bodies also applies to our brains — that if you don’t use it, you lose it. Let’s not take that chance.

As we always advocate, life is what we decide to make it. Let’s keep growing, keep doing things we have a passion for, work hard at staying in good physical and mental shape. Let’s set a good example for those coming up behind us.

Let’s celebrate these years.

Sending love and joy to all.

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