In the Spotlight

By Meagan Smith, Heller MPP Candidate, class of 2017

This week’s interview was with Avi Bernstein-Nahar, Director of BOLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Brandeis University. BOLLI is a vibrant year-round community of intellectually curious adults who enjoy exploring a wide ranging curriculum, including art, current events, drama, economics, film, history and government, language, literature, music, science, and social issues. We hope you enjoy reading more about BOLLI below!

Avi Bernstein-Nahar

Avi Bernstein-Nahar

Why did BOLLI want to join in this initiative with Healthy Waltham to promote an age-friendly community? How do you see Waltham continuing to grow as an age-friendly city in the years to come?

Waltham Connections has a positive mission to link older adults to one another in efforts to enrich lives through community activities and critical health related services. BOLLI is all about learning and friendship for seniors, helping to combat social isolation. Seniors possess a great deal of talent, ambition, and social capital and need opportunities to exercise their skills. Universities, like Brandeis, have a mission to the broad public to support education. To continue growing as an age-friendly city, Waltham needs activists, people of good will and talent to collaborate together. The population in Waltham is shifting and diversifying, with many people deciding to retire here.

What are BOLLI’s current goals, projects, and events, particularly in regards to healthy aging efforts in Waltham?

Waltham’s BOLLI’s engage has seen a great response from community members, showing a pent-up demand for programs such as this. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute has endowed 119 lifelong learning institutions across the country and continually pushes to maximize public accessibility to programs.

In partnership with Healthy Waltham, BOLLI is hoping to create a Waltham Connections event this summer! The event would be open to Waltham seniors interested in food and fun. Stay tuned as more details are to come.

What healthy aging successes has your agency achieved thus far?

BOLLI sees success in three realms: social, intellectual, and physical. Participants learn something new every day and enjoy being a part of the community by making new friendships. BOLLI offers a targeted gym class as well as a discounted gym membership to Brandeis University’s Gosman Sports and Convention Center. We run 100 seminars per year and have a strong volunteer base with great member leadership.

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about your organization?

We care about the community and want to be a program that is well-known and well-utilized by Waltham seniors. We welcome and affirm all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, or gender. Diversity is our strength. We also want to be accessible to everyone, regardless of income; we have confidential financial aid programs to assist individuals who want to participate in BOLLI. If you would like more information about BOLLI, please call (781) 736-2992 and check out our website here.

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