The Inside Scoop - for Members Only
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Welcome to our fourth edition of 
The Inside Scoop , our electronic 
newsletter  f or members only. 
Please  enjoy this issue,  and  share 
your  f eedback by emailing 

Committee Spotlight: Volunteer

Have you ever stopped to think about how much Encore Learning depends on the energy, creativity and dedication of the many volunteers to help our organization thrive? Our board members, committee members, Class Aides and various others contribute in a variety of ways. 
For example, this summer a group of 20 volunteers led by Stephen Hopper helped distribute the printed catalogs to many locations throughout Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax County.

Volunteer Barbara Nash delivers Encore Learning catalogs to Chris Clarke, the Facility Manager of Madison Community Center. Photo courtesy of Barbara Nash.

When you register for courses each semester, you will have the opportunity to volunteer to be a Class Aide. We need approximately 70 Class Aides (two for each course) to support our instructors and provide guidance to our course participants. 
And while we are all focused on the Fall Semester, the Academic Programs and Publications committees are already preparing for next Spring. The Publications Committee is seeking some volunteers to prepare course catalog information for editing using Microsoft Word. If you are interested in helping with this effort, please contact the office and they will put you in touch with me learn more details about this opportunity.
-- Steve Shapiro, Volunteer Committee Chair

Get to Know Your Board of Directors

In each edition,  we f eature different members on our Board of Directors. Here's a Q&A with our Secretary, Joan Carter:

Joan with her husband Allan in Florence, Italy

1. How long have you been an Encore Learning Member?  

I joined Encore Learning several months after we moved back from Europe in January, 2011. I'd never heard of Encore (ALRI then) before, but when I met Sharon Bisdee and asked if she knew anyone who played Bridge, she said she played and that Encore had a social Bridge Club. Well, those were key words for me. So, after getting settled back in the US, I checked into Encore and decided it was the place for me to meet new people, to play some Bridge and to keep my brain active by taking some of the interesting classes.

2. What made you decide to join the Board?   

I like volunteering for things that mean a lot to me. I love Encore Learning, our mission, our classes and clubs, so wanted to do my part to keep it going. As a member of the Nominating Committee, I had recruited Sharon Bisdee to be the Secretary two years ago, so when it was time for her to step down, she decided that I should run for that position next. She and John Sprott gave me the rundown on what the job was like and I decided that it was something I would like to be a part of. 

3. What is your favorite thing about Encore Learning, so far?  

I love meeting new people when I take some of our interesting classes.  Class participants are usually very smart folks, and the instructors I've had are usually well prepared and knowledgeable about their topic. I also enjoy the Bridge Club which was my introduction to Encore Learning. 

4. Where did you grow up?  

I grew up in Boston, MA, but my parents moved to Alabama when I was in college. Hence, my last two years of undergraduate were at Auburn University. When I arrived at Auburn as a junior (in the mid-60's), most of the students I met had never known anyone from the northeast, let alone from Boston. People kept asking me to '"say something," as they'd not heard a Massachusetts accent before -- interesting experience, very hard to think of something to say when someone says, "Say something.".

5. What else do you do in your spare time, when you are not volunteering for Encore Learning?  

I'm a pretty busy person in "retirement," and enjoy a great many activities. I serve as a volunteer usher at four area theaters--Arena Stage, Signature Theater, Folger Library and Washington Stage Guild. I volunteer on the Activities Committee of Fairlington Villages Condo Association, and at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. I belong to two book clubs and a dinner group (we make reservations, not dinner). I'm a big exercise nut so I work out at my gym at least four or five times a week, do lots of walking and biking, and play Bridge and Scrabble. We also have a house on Cape Cod, so I have spent the last three summers there enjoying the salt air, fresh seafood and hosting several rounds of visitors each year. I also love to travel and this year did a three-week trip to Russia and Sweden with a friend in June.

6. What's your favorite food? 

I have lots of "favorite foods," mostly Thai and Indian dishes. I also love fried clams and steamed lobster when we're on Cape Cod.  

7. Share a favorite book, poem, or piece of music.  

As a member of two book clubs, I try to do lots of reading.  The best book I've read in awhile is  A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles.  

8. Who is your hero?  

I don't have anyone specific as a hero. I admire people who try to lead a "good life," who try to be honest, trustworthy and dependable, and who try to see the plus side of every situation.

9. Where is your favorite place in the world to be?

I've traveled to many places throughout the world and seen many cities and towns, and lots of countryside. But, my favorite place to be, still, is London, England. I just love the city as a whole, and the theater there, museums and historical sites cannot be beat. We lived for two years in Bury St. Edmonds, UK, so got to spend lots of time with English friends and in London. Actually, we weren't ready to move back to the US from England when the Air Force told us that our time overseas was up. Of course, I love my life in the Washington area too, and on Cape Cod in the summers.

Help Spread the Word!

We're often referred to as the "best kept secret in Arlington."  New members join mostly because they hear about Encore Learning from a friend. Do you have time to help spread the word about our wonderful organization?

No time for meetings? No problem! Help Beth share our news via social media - either Facebook or occasionally your neighborhood email group. Just email the office and let Beth know you're willing to help.

Refer a friend. When joining online, new members may enter a "Referred by" name. We look forward you to thanking you here in the newsletter - see below!

Bring friends to our "Meet the Speaker" series at Arlington Central Library. These events are open to the public and a great way for prospective members to learn more about us.

Anyone can do it! When you simply like our Facebook page or share our Facebook posts to your social network, it's a huge help!

Like us on Facebook

  • Volunteers are always needed. If you'd like to get more involved, please email
  • Check your email for registration confirmations and updates
Welcome New Members!

In August 2017, 17 new members joined Encore Learning. Please be sure to give these folks a warm welcome. 

Sheila Billingsley
Virginia Boncy
Mary Carlson
Donna Dana
Kathleen Desmond
Alison Dresser
Michael Harkin
Lilly Hastings
Walter Kamiat
Dorothy Labell
Stacie Marinelli
Janet McDonnell
Melanie Morton
Elaine Porter
Ronald Shoemaker
Barry Smoler
Thomas Stanley

Thank you to Susan CarlsonCóilín OwensDiane Stanley and Chris White for referring friends and family.

Please email the office with any corrections.

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Donations are Always Welcome

Encore Learning is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Any donation is a charitable contribution deductible from income tax to the full extent permitted by law. Members, friends and organizations wishing to support Encore Learning may direct contributions to our  General Fund  or to our  Arlington Youth Scholarship .

We hope you enjoyed this edition of  The Inside Scoop . If you would like to submit an article or share some photos of members participating in Encore Learning activities, please email Beth Dowd: .