My wife, Ronnie, and I moved to Arizona in May 2018 after retiring from work life and desiring to leave Southern California.
After the move, several people recommended that we take a short drive to the White Tank Mountain Library, which is part of the Maricopa County Library system. They all said, “You won’t believe the views from inside the library.”
So one day, we drove up, went inside and wow, there is a 180-degree view of the White Tank Mountain range, multiple Saguaro cactus and other local fauna. We looked around the library and as we were leaving, we saw a table with information about the local area, and a stack of RISE catalogs. We picked one up and brought it home to look at. We were surprised at the variety of classes offered and found out that once the nominal yearly fee is paid, a member can sign up for an unlimited amount of classes over the year.
We both signed up for classes and have continued taking classes over the past 2.5 years. We often hand out catalogs to friends and encourage them to join as well. When the COVID-19 pandemic eliminated in-person classes, RISE switched over to classes via Zoom video last summer and many members have supported that change.
I decided to get involved as a volunteer and joined the RISE Public Relations Committee in the summer of 2019. The purpose of the committee is to inform the public of the life-long learning opportunities offered by RISE. In March of 2020, I accepted the position of committee chairman.
We deliver RISE catalogs to libraries, 55-plus communities, senior centers and visitor centers, as well as attend community events and hand out information about RISE. Additionally, after an opening arose on the RISE Governing Council in 2020, I took on that seat and have helped with setting strategic goals for RISE and helping to plan activities for RISE 25th Anniversary Celebration, which we hope will take place in September of 2021.
I have learned so much from the courses I have taken, met nice people, and developed friendships with committee and board members. Volunteering is my way of giving back to RISE and hoping to help other seniors become aware of RISE, so they too can discover the joys of stimulating their minds and finding fellowship.
For more information on RISE, please visit riselearning.org, or contact RISE Coordinator Cathy Sheredy at email@example.com
Editor’s Note: Mike Levine is the first vice president for the RISE Governing Council.