To support life-long learning and personal development among older San Luis Valley residents, Adams State University is launching the new “Creating the Next Chapter for Your Next Fifty” program in January.

The new, one-year pilot program is funded with a $129,959 grant from NextFifty Initiative, a private Colorado-based foundation that supports projects benefitting people age 50 and older.

“Our goal is to transform the way we as a society view and experience aging, and that informs the types of unique ideas and projects we fund,” said Diana McFail, president and CEO of NextFifty Initiative. “We see Adams State’s work on aging issues and experiences as an embodiment of our efforts toward more positive and enlightened approaches to aging. We offer our support and congratulations.”

Through the “Creating the Next Chapter for Your Next Fifty” program, Adams State will offer 35 to 40 courses and workshops this year in the fields of health and wellness, planning for the future and regional and local heritage.

The courses and workshops, offered through Adams State’s Extended Studies Department, will span diverse topics such as computer and internet literacy, social media, software programs, fraud awareness, financial planning and retirement, local geology and memoir-writing.

These offerings are free of charge to residents age 50 and older. The University hopes to serve more than 175 older San Luis Valley residents in the program’s first year.

“Adams State seeks to bridge gaps and disparities in informal educational and personal development opportunities to residents age 50 and above by increasing availability and accessibility of services through new community education programs,” said Judy Phillips, executive director of the Adams State Extended Studies Department. “The intent of these offerings is to improve health, well-being and quality of life to adults in this age group.”

Adams State will create a community advisory committee and work in partnership with the Alamosa Senior Center, Alamosa Chamber of Commerce, Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce and Tri-County Seniors to gather feedback and meet the needs of area residents.

When it’s safe to host in-person gatherings again under coronavirus restrictions — likely in late spring or early summer — the University plans to offer support for transportation from these sites. The campus is also exploring live-streamed and recorded lectures to help remove additional barriers for participants.

The University’s Extended Studies Department has long offered a successful professional development program for teachers across the state and nationally. For years, the department’s staffers have discussed ways to offer more continuing education courses to students, alumni and community. The “Creating the Next Chapter for Your Next Fifty” program is the perfect kick-off to a wider variety of continuing education offerings at Adams State, Phillips said.

“We believe that it is important to foster relationships between the University, city and region,” Phillips said. “We are so excited about the diversity this population will offer to our campus community.”

Interested participants should contact the Extended Studies Department via phone or or 719-587-7671. The department would also like to hear from older San Luis Valley residents about particular topics they are interested in learning more about, as well as residents who have a particular expertise or topic to share with this population.

About Adams State University

Located in the city of Alamosa and the San Luis Valley region of south-central Colorado, Adams State University is dedicated to fostering Inclusive Excellence, recognizing that the University’s success depends on valuing, engaging and celebrating the rich diversity of its students, staff, faculty and administrators. Since its cornerstone was laid in 1921, Adams State University grew from a teachers’ college into a fine liberal arts university. Adams State is the first federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution in Colorado and is the Regional Education Provider for southern Colorado.

About NextFifty Initiative

NextFifty Initiative is a Colorado-based private foundation. The organization exists to create brighter, longer and healthier futures that unlock the potential of communities through an advanced funding approach. Through this work, communities are positioned to fully benefit from the wisdom and diverse experiences of a thriving aging population. Our approach applies a multitude of lenses in funding high-yield aging solutions that benefit people age 50 and older. NextFifty Initiative focuses on funding designed to support concepts, projects and innovations that will benefit generations for years to come.