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President’s Blog — 10 Years of Learning

by President/CEO Larry Zook in conversation with Susan Stauffer, Director of the Pathways Institute for Lifelong Learning, as the program prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary .

The Fall Semester Kickoff & 10th Anniversary Celebration will be held on July 24 at 1:30 pm at Calvary Church.  See more info here.

How did Pathways at Landis Homes come to be?
In the winter of 2007-08 the Pathways program which began at Messiah Village (now Messiah Lifeways) in Mechanicsburg was developing well in its second year. Several persons from Lancaster County asked the Messiah Village CEO and President Emerson Lesher for a meeting to discuss the possibility of bringing a similar program to Lancaster County. Emerson invited me to be part of that original meeting where the discussion included the idea of me administering a Lancaster based satellite of the program perhaps at Landis Home. This group of persons, including a resident, met with Landis Homes leadership to advocate for the program. An agreement between Messiah Village and Landis Homes was developed in the spring of 2008 with a pilot term of five classes in the fall of 2008.

What has been your involvement in Pathways?
My original connection with Landis Homes was through my former role as the Deputy Director of the Lancaster County Office of Aging which is involved with the Adult Day Services program at Landis Homes. In 2008, I became the director of the Landis Homes Pathways Institute in addition to the original program in Mechanicsburg and I have had the privilege of researching, creating and developing the program in Lancaster.

Pathways depends on volunteers. What can you tell me about that?
Part of the mission of Pathways Institute is “to foster a quest for lifelong learning that enriches the mind and spirit” of participants, both instructors and students. Considering this mission, Pathways encourages older adults to engage and volunteer in ways that are most meaningful to them. Many individuals share their special talents through teaching, leading and guiding, while others serve as class hosts or lead service trips and projects. The focus is to encourage and empower older adults to continue learning and sharing their many unique talents and abilities. There are also many outstanding Advisory Board members who serve as volunteers.

What do you see as the best examples of collaboration in this program?
The relationship between Messiah Lifeways and Landis Homes has always been and continues to be a significant aspect of Pathways Institute as they share resources which benefit both locations. This allows Pathways to reach many more individuals throughout the South-Central PA area. In addition, many special cultural events and unique projects have been enjoyed over the years by Pathways members through collaborative relationships with other organizations.

What do you see happening in future years?
I have met so many people who wish to continue learning and finding enrichment through classes, field trips and other educational experiences. Enrollment has steadily increased over the years, and students continue to express strong interest in a variety of learning opportunities. Recently, there has been growing interest in enhancing wellness, both physically and mentally. It is also notable that many adults truly want to share their life legacies with others, whatever their interests and passions may be. It will be exciting to watch it grow over the next ten years!