On Monday afternoon, Robert Ackerson hosted his weekly poetry class at Riverdale Senior Services.
“We’re trying to utilize our abilities in practice and in writing, and especially in poetry,” he said. “We’re trying to evolve and utilize poetry in a positive way to rethink our lives and share them with others in a positive way.”
Mr. Ackerson typically has more than a dozen participants, but the snowy morning reduced Monday’s group to six. Inclement weather aside, the discussion was lively and ranged from original poems to the habits of hummingbirds.
Joyce Dutka shared a piece she had written about memory. It recounted a moment from a trip to a remote part of China.
“This class has been so inspiring to me that I’m in the midst of writing my memoirs in poetry,” she said.
“It’s a very nice group,” said regular attendee Charlotte Sherr. “In general, the people who meet in the groups [at RSS] are very bright.”
The poetry group is one of many continuing education opportunities available at RSS, explained Education Services Director Andria Cassidy. She considers all the classes, from creative writing to yoga, to be important to members’ overall well being.
“It’s preventative... even something like poetry, even something like [the Chinese tile game] mahjong. It’s not only a fun activity; it really stimulates the mind,” she said.
Continuing education in the northwest Bronx isn’t just for the senior population. Just down the hill at the Kingsbridge Library, Senior Adult Librarian Rabecca McDonald makes sure she has a full slate of activities and workshops for adults.
“The number-one most popular program for adults is the writing workshops,” she said. “People like to learn new skills and get together with other people who share a love for learning.”
The librarian said people especially like the “Memoir and Storytelling” class, which is for adults 50 and up.
“I usually have a waiting list for this,” she added.
Another top choice is the library’s offering of computer classes.
“Some people have never touched a computer. A lot more people are coming to update their skills and get back into the job market,” she said. “People have said [the classes] really helped them in applying for jobs.”