Coming this Fall to SIB: Lunch and Learn about the SIB Learning Annex

As we all know Sunny Isles Beach has a very young senior population. Many of our residents are retired professionals. They are educated, active and engaged. They want to be challenged. They want to experience new things. They want to continue to grow intellectually. Our goal, so often stated, is to meet the quality of life demands of our residents. And this is what the SIB Learning Annex is all about. It’s about providing an enrichment series to our active senior adult population, and it’s so much more.

The SIB Learning Annex program will kick-off with a “Lunch and Learn” Program in October 2015 at Pelican Community Center free of charge! There, FIU panelists will introduce the SIB Learning Annex 2015-2016 program line-up in conjunction with the FIU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).

OLLI is a nationally accredited continuing educational program for interested adults ages 50 and over. Locally, OLLI’s lecture series are held at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus and courses typically range from 6 – 8 week sessions. They have successfully launched a satellite program in Miami Shores and we plan to model our program after theirs.

We have learned that approximately one hundred and twenty-three (123) Sunny Isles Beach residents are currently enrolled as members of

OLLI. So instead of having to travel to FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus, our City’s OLLI members can now conveniently attend class here at Government Center (free parking, of course). By the same token, our City’s residents who decide to enroll in OLLI will have lectures to choose from here in Government Center and also at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus, along with numerous other member benefits.

Since we first introduced this concept in May 2015 we have also incorporated the SIB Learning Annex into the City’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2015-2016, which will allow us to subsidize [**partially defray**] the cost of these lectures.

We anticipate starting the SIB Learning Annex’s Foreign Film Series with the ever popular Shelly Isaacs. Knowing how much our educated, retired and “hungry to learn more” women have enjoyed his classes, I knew that Shelly would be a good fit for our demographic. Shelly Isaacs is a well sought after instructor. His Foreign Film Series “packs the house” at the neighboring Aventura Arts & Cultural Center. My mom Renee has attended his classes for years and even joined his Cinematheque at Sea film-appreciation series on a recent Caribbean cruise. So I immediately put in a request to hire him as an instructor. Given the scarcity of movie theaters and foreign film offerings nearby, it’s a win-win for our city.

Here’s a sample of OLLI’s popular courses offered by Shelly Isaacs:
• Contemporary India: Not Just Bollywood Anymore
• Ciao Cinema! A Celebration of Italian Films
• Viva Cinema, a South American Sampler
• Hitting the Road: A Genre of Journeys
• The Russians are Here, the Russians are Here

We have also identified a long-time popular OLLI instructor, dynamic presenter and best-selling author, Dr. Kurt F. Stone for the Winter 2016 line-up. Dr. Stone is described on FIU’s Faculty Spotlight website as someone who wears many hats: those of writer, lecturer, political activist, actor, medical ethicist, ordained rabbi, and self professed “world-class news junky.”

Among the courses offered by Dr. Stone include:
• All Politics, All the Time
• Israel on the Potomac: Jewish Contributions to American Politics
• News That’s Making News
• Famous People: Short on Mortality, Long on Accomplishment
• World Great Decisions

With our residents’ and OLLI Members’ support we can make Shelly Isaacs, Dr. Kurt Stone and other quality college professors a permanent fixture in Sunny Isles Beach.

As always, I welcome your feedback on the new SIB Learning Annex and other important quality of life issues. Please contact me at 305-792-1700 or

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