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Life-Long Learning and Living Through Adult Ed

Arabic for beginners. Astronomy for beginners. Spanish for travelers. Cooking Italian. Speaking Italian. Gardening, genealogy, guitar and piano. Feldenkrais (whatever that is), fencing, flamenco and floral design. Money management and photography. Crocheting, knitting and sewing. Drawing and painting in the art studio. Writing, woodworking and yoga.

The couch is no competition for the enticing personal enrichment choices for 2018 through Santa Clara Adult Education (SCAE), 1840 Benton St. Some classes, such as the creative writing workshop 94-year-old Rafael Jimenez is already enrolled in, begin on Jan. 22. Others begin in the upcoming weeks and months, with on-going registration for spring and summer classes.

The self-sustaining, fee-based classes are reasonably priced. They are open to adults 18 or older, and non-residents are more than welcome. SCAE class catalogues for 2018, mailed to City residents, can also be found at the libraries and the community center. Visit www.santaclaraadulted.org, call (408) 423-3500, or stop by SCAE for information and to register.

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Enrichment Program Supervisor Rachael Peterson is enthusiastic about the extensive A to Y listing of classes. And she is especially proud of the woodshop at 590 Washington St., on the Buchser Middle School campus.

“The woodshop is just wonderful. It was updated a couple years ago and is fully equipped. The teachers are really great,” said Peterson. “There are programs for all levels and self-directed woodshop. Lately we’ve been getting more women.”

Peterson tells the story of beginning woodworker Janette Peccarelli, who joined the woodshop in 2017.

“[Janette] was apprehensive, unsure of herself, and felt intimidated by the powerful machines she saw, as well as, the numerous smaller tools hanging on the wall,” wrote Peterson in an Adult Ed flier. “…She was able to gain confidence and overcome her fears by the gentle guidance and teaching skill of her instructor, Steve Zamora.”

“I get a lot of satisfaction with taking a novice and teaching them how to use the shop, how to think about their project and how to turn their vision, their dream, into a reality,” said Zamora, an experienced woodworker.

The woodworking dreams vary from, perhaps, making a cutting board or wine rack to designing and making a piece of furniture. To attend the woodshop open house on Feb. 2, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., RSVP to Peterson at (408) 423-3525.

Peterson encourages anyone with a skill to share or specialized knowledge to contact her about teaching a class. Also, contact her to suggest new classes for SCAE to offer.

“We’re really student focused,” said Peterson, pointing out that socializing with other students is an added benefit of taking classes.

“SCAE class offerings provide adults of all ages and abilities the opportunity to hone talents and skills in a secure and welcoming environment,” said SCAE Educational Options Director Dr. Brenda Carrillo. “…SCAE offers classes by expert teachers that promote wellness and personal growth.”

Carrillo highlighted personal fitness classes, saying that “SCAE is one of the few places that offers warm-water exercise classes, which are popular for those who are just beginning to work out or desire a soothing and safe exercise environment. For those who want a more strenuous routine, SCAE offers Muscles for Life: Weight Training…with an individualized strength training plan to promote health and wellness.”

Peterson quoted Dr. Paul Nussbaum, a clinical neuropsychologist and expert on brain health and aging: “Learning is a health-promoting entity not different than medication. Learning involves structural, chemical and functional changes in your brain that can be health promoting, contributing to longevity.”

That’s more than reason enough to get off the couch and learn through Santa Clara Adult Education.

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