English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

Staying relevant


Welcome to Adult Enrichment! We want to reflect the stories behind the program. We want to give you a closer look at what we have to offer. Who are our instructors? What are participants saying about our program? What’s new? With fall in sight, that means the start of a new season of learning adventures.

Every time I interview an instructor to schedule a new class, I feel energized by what I learn. Why? Because I know that you’re going to gain so much through their expertise. Each season is exciting as we prepare to introduce you to what we’ve been working on behind the scenes.

We also want to hear from YOU. This is a community-based program. Do you have a new class suggestion? Do you have a particular skill, interest, knowledge or hobby you would like to share with your neighbors? We are always looking for enthusiastic instructors. We don’t require a teaching license, only that you have a passion for what you are teaching and proven experience for communicating concepts in an organized and easy-to-understand manner.

This fall also marks the 25th aniversary of Gentle Saturday programming! We are planning to celebrate with a revamped name and vision. The event is now called Marketplace of Learning: Come Curious. Leave Brighter. I will give you more in our next issue which will be entirely dedicated to the event, but for now I want to tell you about the food samplings that we are gathering. For starters, our new Chinese Cooking instructor Li Sun is serving Bacon Fried Rice. Yes I said BACON FRIED RICE! Our new cake decorating instructor Diane Hirte will be creating delicious and cute mini cupcates. 

We also realized that inside our own Community Education Adult Education consortium program was a gold mine of talent! So we invited ELL (English Language Learners) to share their love of food and culture. Ethiopian coffee and Chinese dumpling samples will be available. Flavors from other countries are also in the works!

The theme for this issue is COOKING. One of our best instructors is featured here – Jan Grover. Jan has long been passionate about the power that good food has to unite us in community. She believes that simple, home-cooked food made with quality ingredients can be a joyful adventure. Recently I received a gift of a cookbook that has inspired me. It’s called “Share – The Cookbook that Celebrates our Common Humanity.” Women for Women International created this cookbook to help women in war-torn places.

Meryl Streep says in the opening pages, “Food builds our physical resilience, brings us joy, and strengthens our bonds with friends and family. It maintains our connection to the seasons … What we choose to eat and how we choose to prepare it reflect our ancestral traditions and cultural heritage, as well as our abundant creativity. Food unites us globally.”

So don’t miss this week’s first Q & A with cooking instructor Jan Zita Grover. Jan has cooked, catered, run a professional kitchen, and taught classes for 30 years. She is also a writer and historian by training. Jan loves teaching the basic techniques so people can improvise joyfully and skillfully on their own. PLUS, she has included a free recipe for you.

One other food-themed project I am excited to share with you is called the Family Mealtime Challenge. This effort is coming out of the Washington County Health & Wellness Collaborative and Woodbury Thrives. We have implemented this project, thanks to Allina Health, at six elementary schools. We are in the process of bringing the challenge to another 3 district schools plus one private school for 2018-2019. The goals of the challenge are simple: Encourage families to consider making family meals a priority related to quality time and quality food.

Want to get in on the fun? Begin with a jar full of conversation starters! 

You can cut the questions apart, put them in a container and have fun asking each other creative questions that are sure to bring added laughter and meaning to your family’s time together. There is also a BINGO board to help you set family healthy meal goals!

We’ll also share stories of people you may know who have taken an Adult Enrichment class. Carol Bromen is our Kids Club bookkeeper and someone who loves to learn. She shares highlights from two of the recent classes she took.

What inspires you? What would you love to know how to do? What changes are you wanting to make? Wherever you’re at … join us! We think you’ll find our program to be relevant to your life. That’s why we hire new instructors each season with fresh ideas and a passion to teach.

Thanks for taking a look. Contact me any time with your feedback or suggestions.

Gretchen CarlsonGcarlson@sowashco.org.

651-425-6605 – Community Education

South Washington County Schools