A community of learners over 50

November, 2023 | Vol 4, No. 1


So Much To Be Grateful For!

As the vibrant hues of autumn surround us, we welcome November with open arms, embracing the spirit of change and growth that this season brings. It's a time when our program buzzes with the energy of students pursuing knowledge, faculty guiding them, and staff supporting every step of the journey.

This month, we have a lot to be grateful for, from the continued dedication of our community to exciting events that foster personal and academic development.

I'm thrilled to have attended the USF Homecoming Parade with Operations Manager Cath Mason, and it was spectacular. I've just returned from my first ever OLLI National Conference with our awesome Advisory Board Chairperson, Linda Feeney (see our photo) and can conclusively declare that OLLI-USF Rocks!!!!! 

November promises to be a month of discovery, exploration, and unity as is customary for our organization. We encourage all our new members and instructors to engage in the diverse array of academic and extracurricular activities that await you. Be it insightful lectures, creative workshops, or collaborative projects, there's something for everyone to be a part of.

We look forward to witnessing the collective growth and achievements that this month will surely bring. Stay connected, stay inspired, and let's make November an unforgettable month. I'm eternally thankful for each and every one of you - individually and collectively!


Nov. 3 - Volunteer information session

Nov. 7 -Circle Three meeting

Nov. 9 - Newcomers Brunch

Nov. 16 - OLLI Superstar lecture;

Free briefing on upcoming guided tour to the Badlands

Jan. 31, 2024 - Membership Drive Competition ends.

See articles below for more information about the above activities.


On Line From Ukraine: He’s A Saturday Social Regular

It’s Saturday morning, and the crowd of 40-plus mostly OLLI members have gathered on Zoom for the weekly Saturday Social. Led by Rich Kennedy, they’re there for friendly conversation as well as in-depth discussions of politics and events of the week.

Many are locals, but they also come from as far away as New York, California, and other distant locales.

But for distance, no one can beat Roman Adamchuk, who tunes in every week from Ukraine, nearly 6,000 miles and seven time zones away from Florida.

Roman is a 37-year-old plant manager living in Kamienec-Podilskiy, a city in western Ukraine. It’s been largely peaceful in this once bustling tourist city, but the threat of war is a constant, with occasional blackouts to remind residents of the possible peril they face.

Nevertheless, Roman’s life is pretty normal. He’s married, has lots of family in the area, and he looks forward to moving up in his career. For that, he sees the ability to speak English fluently as an important tool.

That’s how he met Rich Kennedy and joined the Saturday Social.

They met over the Internet in July after both signed up with ENGin, a not-for-profit global organization that pairs young Ukrainians with English speakers. The goal is to give the students a chance to develop their English language skills and to provide cross cultural connections.

“It was a match made in heaven,” Rich says. “We have so much in common, and we talk for hours at a time. We spend a great deal of time talking about economics and politics."

Rich learned about ENGin from Pat Mackenzie, a Saturday Social participant from upstate New York. Pat, who joined ENGin in June and was paired with a young Ukrainian woman, told Rich about the organization and the benefits she enjoyed.

“Victoriia and I get together once a week and talk about our daily lives,” Pat says. “It’s been a wonderful opportunity for me to expand my world. I have a friend in Ukraine. It helps me understand the world better.”

“I was intrigued,” Rich says. “I had been wrestling with the question of how we could make a difference. Behind all the stories about Ukraine are human beings. I might be able to help someone.”

Weekly Conversations

As a young boy, Roman had learned English in school, but his ability to converse was definitely lacking. So in weekly conversations over the Internet, Rich and Roman work on refining his knowledge and pronunciation of the language.

Roman's participation in the Saturday Social further enhances his English-speaking abilities. He gets to hear and speak with a variety of English speakers. And there is the cross-cultural element: Saturday Social participants get to hear a European point of view on the issues, while Roman is gaining insight into American society.

"I know about U.S. history in general, but what I gain is the most current situation, the feelings of the people, their country and the current issues,” Roman says.

“I see people that have different views on some questions, but they can completely and freely say what they think. It’s very positive. It’s one of the reasons why the U.S. is such a rich and developed country, because each member of society believes they can make a difference.”

Both Roman and Rich have high hopes for a positive ending to the war in Ukraine. And when it does, there are things they’d like to do.

Roman’s hope is that, once the war is over, he’ll be able to visit America. He’d also like to replicate something like the Saturday Social in his hometown, to show his countrymen that their voices matter.

For Rich, the goal is even more personal. His wife, Janet, has established a friendship with Roman’s wife, Anastasia, and regularly meets one-to-one with her over the Internet.

“We now feel like we have two more children to worry about,” Rich says. “It’s one of our real hopes that sometime in the near future, we will be able to travel to Ukraine and meet each other in person.”

--Sandy Buckley


Very Appetizing

Linda Stanaland, teacher of Italian Cooking: Basics You Need To Know, holds a tray of tasty appetizers prepared during the first session of the four-week course held in October at the Italian Club in Ybor City.

By the course's end, students had learned to prepare mushroom risotto, chicken piccata and other pasta and meat dishes as well as some yummy Italian desserts.

Pretty As A Picture

OLLI members and staff of the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts gathered on Oct. 9 for a tour of the museum and to view its special exhibits, "Creative Aging" and "Icons of Black and White." That tour was followed by a visit to several working artists' studios in the building next door.

Featured in the photo above is the museum's membership manager Simone Leal (left), its executive curator, Robin O'Dell (second from right), and the class's instructor, Sara Cohen (third from right).

Dining At The Cottage

The charming White Oak Cottage in Lithia was the setting for 16 members of the Lunch Bunch to dine together on Oct. 5.

The Cottage is a boutique and bistro, with a restaurant offering a large menu of tempting dishes and a gift shop filled to the brim with unusual and eye-appealing home and office decor items. The Lunch Bunch is an activity of the Food! Glorious Food! SIG.

Something Fishy!

Kitty Wallace, of the Tampa Heights Community Garden (second from left) points out the tilapia tank to members of Food! Glorious Food!, during a tour of the garden on Oct. 23.

Housed in the garden's reverse greenhouse, the tank holds 47 tilapia whose water is used to nourish the garden's soil. The garden holds 75 plots that grow a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers in addition to a children's garden and a fairy garden. It's one of 27 community gardens in Hillsborough County.

A Yummy Good Lunch

A group of 17 from Conviviality and Celebrations met recently for quiet conversation and a leisurely lunch at Yummy House China Bistro on East Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa for their October luncheon. Luncheon fare included sweet and sour chicken, vegetable lo mein, and a wide variety of other Chinese specialties.


This group of OLLI members and guests meets the fourth Wednesday of each month to celebrate and recognize birthdays and other special occasions.


The next meeting is scheduled for Wed., Nov. 15, at Cazador Grill, 10918 N. 56 St., Temple Terrace.


All OLLI members and guests are invited to join in the fun. Contact Kat Hanscom for more information.


Volunteering with OLLI Lets You Follow Your Passion!


Attend a free, no-obligation volunteer information session to learn more about how your knowledge, skills or experience can help OLLI!


The next session will be held Friday, Nov. 3, at 1 p.m. Click here to register.


Have a question? As Us Anything about volunteering by emailing the Ask Team.


--Diane Russell


Have You Met A Famous Person?

Famous people fall into many categories, such as actors/actresses, presidents of the United States, authors, scientists, dancers, athletes and the list could on and on. Perhaps there was a time you recognized a famous person strolling past you, but never actually got to meet them. This “just for fun” poll below is asking if you ever had the opportunity to actually meet a famous person. Perhaps you got an autograph from him/her, or actually had a period of time to talk to them.

Have you ever meet a famous person? Please click on one of the options below.
Yes, a famous actor/actress!
Yes, a popular athlete!
Yes, a brilliant-minded person everyone knows about!
Yes, another kind of famous person!
No, I've never met anyone very famous.

If you had the pleasure of meeting a famous person, would you like to share it with our OLLI members? If so, please send an email to the editors of OLLILife and let them know who you got to meet and all that transpired (send a photo also, if possible). We will share it in our next OLLILife issue along with the results of the poll.


Upcoming Events For This Month

Circle Three Gatherings - Lutz-Odessa    Zip codes 33548,33549,33556, 33559, 33558 


Help discover ways to grow OLLI in your neighborhood. We’re keen

to bring classes back to your area but need buy-in from local OLLI members

to do this. What classes interest you? Are there any potential teachers in

your midst?

If you're curious and want to know more, join me, Pam Tyler, on Tues., Nov. 7, 8:30 a.m. at the Breakfast Nook. 1532 Land of Lakes Blvd., which is located in a small strip center directly to the east of the Super Walmart.

Let me know you’re coming by texting or leaving a message at 575-779-1382. 

Newcomer Brunch:


If you’re new to OLLI within the last six months and missed a Newcomer’s gathering, please join us for a separate check lunch at Brunchies on Thurs., Nov. 9, 12:30 p.m., 14366 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. RSVP by Nov. 7, by texting or leaving a message at 575-779-1382.

OLLI North Special Event:

Thurs., Nov. 16, 4-6 p.m. 

BayCare Hospital Wesley Chapel, 4501 Bruce B. Downs Blvd, Wesley Chapel

Bring a friend to this OLLI Superstar free lecture as soon as possible as space is limited. Please RSVP to Charise at 813-974-5848

--Pam Tyler

The Membership Committee has an article each month introducing a new OLLI member. Congratulations and welcome to OLLI’s newest members.   

Introducing Jane Nemke

Jane grew up in Marathon County in North Central Wisconsin, where there are more cows than people. She had four brothers who didn’t cut her any slack, so she quickly learned how to stand up for herself. She started the 4-H Club in her area.

Throughout her life, she has lived in Columbus, Ohio, Minneapolis, and Seattle, before returning to Wisconsin to live in Madison. She came to Tampa as a snowbird before moving here full-time in August.

Jane worked in a variety of manufacturing environments, contracting, and architecture. She was the general manager overseeing 50 men in an anodizing plant, turning it around to a profitable operation. Her last career move made her the director of a nonprofit working to prevent child abuse.

Jane continues to stay active despite a diagnosis of muscular dystrophy at age 26. Three years ago, the disease confined her to a wheelchair and brought her to a new cause. She is now active in universal design, working to create spaces that are inclusive to all and allow people to age in place. Her goal is to have people thrive, not just survive, as explained in her website, designstothrive.com.

With her involvement in contracting and architecture, Jane became a member of the International Association of Color Consultants/Designers in 1997. She has studied both the art and science of how people respond to color. She will teach an OLLI class in May on the Impact of Thoughtful Use of Color at Allegro-Hyde Park where she makes her home.

Jane discovered OLLI before moving to Tampa, and specifically looked at senior living facilities where OLLI classes are taught. She has taken a few classes at Allegro, attended a New Member lunch, and participated in Rich Kennedy’s Saturday Social. Jane is determined to stay active and engaged in life.

--Shirley Herring

--Photo by Jane Nemke


Get A Great Deal On The Badlands!

The OLLI Travelers are headed West, with a spectacular seven-day guided tour of the Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands of South Dakota in September 2024.

Don’t miss the free trip briefing on Mon., Nov. 16, at 10 a.m. on Zoom. Call OLLI’s Charise Dixie at (813)-974-4848 to register (registration is required).

Join your OLLI-USF friends for everything you want in a trip — spectacular scenery, awe-inspiring national monuments, historic train excursions, and a one-hotel base of operations for the full week. Unpack once and re-pack once!

You can review the trip before the briefing to compile your questions about the tour by clicking here.


The Many Options For OLLI Members

When members join OLLI, they find many options to choose from. There are opportunities for volunteering, becoming part of a Shared Interest Group (SIG), or learning new subjects. Whether you choose one or more, the bottom line is that you are enriching yourself and helping to keep OLLI rolling.

Last month's issue of OLLILife explored the subject of volunteering, while this issue involves the area of SIGs. We will wind up The Many Options for OLLI Members with the topic of learning and friendship next month.

Have You Ever Wondered What SIGs Are?

SIG stands for Shared Interest Groups. These are member-driven groups that provide an opportunity to explore common interests. Some sessions are in person, while others are via Zoom.

SIG for languages

There are language SIGs for German, French and Spanish speakers that provide an opportunity to practice your language of interest.  In addition to languages, the groups explore the culture and history of their areas.

Food SIG

The Food, Glorious Food! SIG explores Tampa’s food world and all that it represents. Recently it has expanded to include two new sub-groups – the ABC Cooking Club and the Lunch Bunch. 

The OLLI Outdoors SIG

This SIG has something for everyone to enjoy the outdoors - hiking, biking, walking and kayaking. They also have monthly Zoom meetings to explore related programs.

SIGs for writers and poets

The Community of Readers and Writers and Write Time for Poets SIGs provide support for aspiring writers and poets. 

Other SIGs

Other existing SIGs include Shutterbugs for photography enthusiasts (photos to the right were taken by Shutterbugs member Sylvia Fernandez), Operatunity for people interested in expanding their appreciation of opera, two Games SIGs (board games and online games), Talking Movies for members interested in viewing and discussing movies, and a Politics SIG (a forum for discussion and informal debate on U.S domestic and foreign policy). The list of SIGS keeps growing. Within the last few months, we have two new SIGs - Self-Hypnotherapy and Think Tank.

How do I join a SIG?

The OLLI website has a SIG section. Simply reach out to the SIG contact listed there. Also, every month OLLILife lists helpful information on the SIGS.

Being able to participate in SIG activities is a free benefit of being an OLLI member. 

Want to form a new SIG?

Contact SIG Liaison Nancy Baily-Williamson. I can walk you through the process and share the requirements. You will need at least 12 interested people and an identified SIG leader.

--Nancy Baily Williamson

Speaking Of SIGs – Here’s A New One In The Works

New Outreach Shared Interest Group

What is your ikigai?


First, you want to know what that means. Ikigai is a Japanese term that means something that gives your life a sense of purpose. It can also refer to something that brings pleasure or fulfillment.


For many of us, volunteering is part of our ikigai.


What if OLLI members banded together to do some group volunteer work in the Tampa Bay area? We could work as a team in the Feeding Tampa Bay warehouse or adopt an elementary school to help wherever they need it.


Whatever we decide to do would be stamped with OLLI’s name, creating more presence in the community.


Do you have ideas you would like to share on how we could help in the community? 


If you’re interested in helping start this Outreach Shared Interest Group, contact Linda Schatz.

--Linda Schatz


The Volunteer Recognition Awards honor volunteers who have made significant contributions to the mission and values of OLLI-USF. In May, the awards were presented to four individuals and two teams. Over the past few months, OLLILife has been highlighting these award winners. We're taking a break this month, but watch this space in December to learn about the award-winning OLLI Catalog Team.


Nancy Baily-Williamson, SIG Liaison

For more information on OLLI SIGs, see the full list here. Several of the SIGs meet on Zoom; others are meeting in person and are organizing group outings and events. To visit a SIG, email the contact(s) below.

Community of Readers and Writers

Free offer by OLLI's Readers and Writers SIG. Gather three good friends to form a writing support pod. Work as a group on Zoom learning how to draft, edit, and revise your writing to make it the best it can be. Develop the writing at home and over three online sessions. Each member of the support pod will create a 500-word vivid piece of writing based on a treasured photo, artwork, or memory. Consider inviting guests who might enjoy this type of teamwork and become eager to join OLLI. Contact: readersandwriters.too@gmail.com.

China SIG

Our next China SIG meeting will be a joint event with the Food Glorious Food SIG on Nov. 28. It will include lunch at Hawkers, featuring Asian street food, and a visit to the James Museum in St. Petersburg. At the museum, Kun Shi will take us through the special exhibition, From East to West: The Chinese American Frontier. If interested and for more information, email Nancy Stuart or Kathy Palmer. For more information about the China SIG, email Nancy Stuart.

Food, Glorious Food!

Tuesday, Nov. 28, FGF is joining with members of the China SIG for lunch and a visit to the James Museum. See the China SIG information above for details. For more information about the event, contact Kathy Palmer. To learn more about FGF or to join our group, please send a note to Sandy Buckley.

Hablemos! Spanish Conversation SIG

Zoom Meeting: Tues., Nov. 7, 3-4:30 p.m. All levels of Spanish speakers welcome. Email olli.hablemos@gmail.com for more information.

Games SIG

Online Games:

We are taking a two-month hiatus during November and December for the holidays. We will resume playing Scattergories in January. Email Kathy Palmer for more information.

Board Games:

Thurs., Nov. 16, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., at Jimmie B. Keel

Regional Library, 2902 W. Bearss Ave., Tampa. There will not be a meeting in December due to the holidays. Please email Robyn Cheung or call her at 215-880-9212 to RSVP.

German Conversation

Tues., Nov. 14, and 28, at 1 p.m. For more information, contact Christine Basch.

Ici on parle français!

Mon., Nov. 6 and 20, at 1 p.m. For an invitation, contact Theresa Sokol.

Self-Hypnotherapy SIG

Wed., Nov. 15, at 10 a.m. Email Anne Haywood for more information.

OLLI Outdoors

The Outdoors SIG has something for everyone! Email Donna and Diane at OLLIOutdoors@gmail.com for the details about these events and how to join.

Sat., Nov. 4 - Hiking spree kick off

Mon., Nov. 6 - Biking in Dunedin

Thurs., Nov. 9 - Hike at Colt Creek State Park

Fri., Nov. 17 - Online program. Flowers we see along the trail with Master Gardener Virginia Overstreet


Mon., Nov. 27, at 10 a.m., at Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa (UUCT). Topics will include Catan's Florencia en El Amazonas and Verdi's Nabucco. Operatunity meets the fourth Monday of each month at UUCT. All OLLI members are welcome to attend. For details and more information about this SIG, contact Kathryn Alyson.

Politics SIG

The Politics SIG provides a forum for discussion and informal debate on topics related to U.S. domestic and foreign policy. The P-SIG complements and promotes OLLI-USF classes on political science and history and is an adjunct to our weekly Saturday Social which covers current events of political interest. The next P-SIG meeting is scheduled for Wed., Nov. 8, 1-3 p.m., at Compton Park in Tampa Palms in a hybrid setting (in person and via Zoom). For more information and to be included on our mailing list, please contact Rich Kennedy.


Join us on Tues., Nov. 14, for a tour of the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Ybor City photo shoots, and lunch. Please email Rich Edwards or Jean Nixon for more information.

Write Time for Poets

Thurs., Nov. 9, at 2 p.m. For more information about this SIG, email Cath Mason.

Talking Movies

Fri., Nov. 17, at 1:30 p.m. Watch Woman in Gold, streaming on Amazon Prime, and then get together on Zoom to talk about it. For more information, contact Arlene Zimney.

**New** Think Tank SIG

The new OLLI Think Tank SIG has launched and has begun to share project information. All OLLI members are invited to attend our Zoom meetings. Our next meeting is Tues., Nov. 7, at 8 pm. This is an Eclectic Think Tank. SIG members could be into whatever is of interest to them. We currently have 14 members and 14-plus items of interest. Email Neil Cosentino for more information.

Carolyn Clark is our Goodwill Ambassador, sending notes of support, congratulations and comfort on our behalf. If you or another OLLI member have a significant personal event, please let Carolyn know.

Send Us Your News

OLLILife wants to share topics of interest that pertain to OLLI-USF and other OLLIs in the country.

Send your article to ollinewsusf@gmail.com to reach your editors Sandy Buckley, Pat Dodge, Veronica Maxwell, and Kathy Palmer. If possible, please send a picture along with the article as pictures help tell the story.

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