Successful Aging Institute Supports Our Community
By Chris Cunningham
Eager to stay fit, retiree Christine Krygier enrolled in an Exerstart class at River Road Park and Recreation. Like other mature adults, she is enthusiastic about the chance to improve her balance, flexibility and muscle strength.
But as chair of the advisory council for Lane's Successful Aging Institute, she is filled with a sense of pride as well, because she and the council had a hand in developing the Exerstart class—one of a dozen classes that SAI jointly offers with the park district.
Since its inception, the council has made sure that adults in Lane County have ample opportunities to fulfill their desire for lifelong learning and to receive training for encore careers.
"I'm passionate about learning and enrichment at all stages of life," says Krygier, who has volunteered her time to help craft other curricula for adults of all ages, through SAI courses.
Prior to her retirement in 2008, Krygier had served as associate state director for the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network. In this position, she administered federal and state grants and oversawthe work of 19 Small Business Development Centers throughout Oregon.
When LCC hired Barbara Susman as director to develop the new Successful Aging Institute five years ago, one of her early objectives was to create an advisory council to guide SAI's mission of enhancing learning and training opportunities for older people in Lane County.
Susman didn't hesitate before selecting Krygier to build a committee of local community leaders, who would offer advice to and provide direction for SAI. Krygier accepted the challenge and immediately set to work, volunteering her time as chair and primary behind-the-scenes organizer.
"I am pleased to be associated with SAI," says Krygier, an Oregon State University graduate who majored in adult education and minored in gerontology.
Using her well-honed executive savvy, Krygier plans and facilitates the council's quarterly meetings and convenes regularly with leaders of its four subcommittees.
Under Krygier's leadership, the council has helped SAI initiate and maintain partnerships with more than 40 local organizations and businesses that serve local seniors and other adults, including the Eugene Public Library, Willamette Oaks Retirement Community, Eugene Yoga and Senior & Disabled Services.
As a result, the council has been able to provide Susman and her staff with timely information they need to shape relevant curricula for 90 innovative classes each term.
Krygier's team also has been instrumental in expanding training programs for Personal Care
Aides (see back cover story), who work with older and disabled people in their private homes and assisted living communities, to help them remain as independent as possible.
And now that SAI administers the Senior Companion Program, the council has provided assistance and advocacy for the program (see page 30), which LCC has sponsored since 1977.
Krygier says the opportunity to "enrich the lives of mature adults and those who serve them," has been reward enough for the time and energy she has expended on SAI's behalf.