< Back to News Page
Home > Read our April 2024 Newsletter

Read our April 2024 Newsletter

The Inside Scoop

Welcome to The Inside Scoop, our electronic newsletter. Please enjoy this issue and share your feedback by email. We always look forward to hearing from you. This is the April 2024 edition of The Inside Scoop.

Spring 2024 Semester

We are receiving wonderful feedback about our spring courses. Your course evaluations help us so much in planning what works and what doesn’t for our members. Please do fill out those survey forms, an email is sent to you on the last day of the class.

The spring semester will wrap up on May 16. We have been experimenting with hybrid courses, recording courses, offering classroom space to view virtual classes and whatever else we can reasonably do to make our Encore Learning courses accessible, convenient and enjoyable.

Dr. Carol Morland shared her knowledge about Japanese art in her course Japanese Woodblock Prints: Ukiyo-e and Beyond.

Encore Learning members explored the benefits and challenges of urban agriculture with David Sachs, an organic grain farmer and flour miller, in his course Urban Agriculture – Local Food Resiliency.

Ambassador Tibor Nagy presented Africa as it is – the positive and the negative – in his course Africa’s Role in the 21st Century.

National Volunteer Month

April is National Volunteer Month, a time to show our appreciation and respect for our multitude of volunteers. As a volunteer-run nonprofit, the role that each volunteer plays in the success and sustainability of Encore Learning couldn’t be more crucial. We are so grateful for the service of our volunteer instructors, class aides, committee members, club coordinators and board members. Encore Learning would not exist without our volunteers!

Photo: Volunteers putting together class aide folders

From Jane Nagy, our Volunteer Committee Chair:

Who Me?

April is National Volunteer Month, and, as Volunteer Coordinator, I want to thank each of you for what you are doing for Encore Learning. Yes, YOU!

If you tell a friend about a great class you are taking, or getting ready to take, that’s wonderful!

If you forward a Facebook post about upcoming special events, that is also great!

When you tell your neighbor about a wonderful chat you had at the last club meeting you attended, that is fantastic, too, especially because you’ve done it – voluntarily! And Encore Learning benefits from all of these personal person-to-person contacts.

There are many ways to help Encore Learning succeed and grow. If you’d like to get more involved, a little or a lot, please contact the office at info@encorelearning.net or (703) 228-2144, and I’ll be delighted to tell you about opportunities that fit your time, interests, and talents. You can also visit our Volunteer page on our website.

In the meantime, THANK YOU! We are delighted that you are a member, and Encore Learning appreciates you!

Classes Eclipsed

In-person class members and instructors were able to take a pause during class on Monday, April 8 to view the eclipse from the Mason Square Plaza. We appreciate the flexibility of our instructors to pause class and even pre-record content so students could be outside at the right moment.

Special Events

Smithsonian National Postal Museum

Encore Learning members participated in a private, docent-led tour of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum this month. The building itself is an impressive structure, constructed in 1914. It actively served as the Washington, D.C. post office until 1986.

While undoubtedly being of interest to avid stamp collectors, tour coordinator Deborah Brammer noted that “the focus of the tour was not strictly geared only to collectors; instead the exhibits highlighted the impact of mail and mail delivery throughout history as well as how stamps have been used to commemorate major historical events and people both domestic and foreign.”

Time constraints only allowed for highlights of the various comprehensive exhibits, inspiring further visits to to take in all the information reflecting the ingenuity and creativity of those entrusted with mail safety and delivery through times of peace and war, as well as weather and natural disasters.

–Deborah Brammer, Special Events Committee. Photos courtesy of Tom Underwood

Image upper left: Meeting with docent Joyce, a retired postal officer, in the historic lobby

The world’s first postage, the 1840 Penny Black with its profile of young Queen Victoria

One of the world’s most famous printing errors, the upside-down 1918 “Inverted Jenny”

Bring Your Questions to Encore Learning Presents on May 20

The Monday afternoon Encore Learning Presents (ELP) lecture next month will feature Canadian chemistry professor Dr. Joe Schwarcz. He has made it his lifelong mission to leverage his knowledge of chemistry to help people process and understand the many claims made of consumer products, particularly health and food products.

Here are some examples of questions he might answer.

  • Do any of the memory enhancing products really work as advertised?
  • Should I continue to get COVID boosters?
  • What GMO foods are healthy to eat?
  • Are vitamin supplements necessary?
  • How harmful are “forever chemicals”?

Our speaker has written more than 20 books, such as Quack, Quack: The Threat of Pseudoscience. His goal is to equip people with skills to detect science quackery. Come join us armed with your questions and allow Dr. Joe to apply science to demystify the promotional hype of a product or service.

-David Tate, Special Events Committee

Board Election

All current Encore Learning members will receive an emailed notice of election and link to the board election electronic ballot. Encore Learning must achieve a quorum of members to vote to have a valid election.

Please watch your email on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 for this important election of officers and board members ballot link. The Encore Learning Board of Directors is composed of Officers and Committee Chairs. You must be a current member to vote, check your membership status by logging into My Account and scrolling below your contact information to find your expiration date. If you do not receive an email on May 1 with the ballot, contact info@encorelearning.net to update your membership.

Join Us at Our Annual Meeting

Please plan on attending Encore Learning’s Annual Meeting, which will take place virtually on Thursday, May 16 at 10:00 AM.

Our annual meetings are very important to the future of Encore Learning, as we will announce the results of the Board of Directors election. You’ll also learn about the state of our community, as well as a look back at the highlights of last year and hear from our volunteer leadership and Lora Pollari-Welbes, our Executive Director.

Here is the Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84268052749

We hope to see you on Zoom!

Club News

Please email the Encore Learning office if you are interested in joining any of our clubs or would like more information. You can also visit our Clubs page on our website.

Tech Hobbyist

Special Lectures

The Tech Hobbyist Club had an excellent presentation on antibodies on April 1 (it was real, not April Fools). Barry Ginsberg shared a slide from the talk. Click on the image for a larger view.

On Monday, May 6 at 10:00 AM, join the club for a presentation with Alphonse Galdes who will awe us with a presentation on Modern Drug Development and Discovery. All are welcome!

Monday, June 3 at 10:00 AM learn about Robotics presented by Michael Shapiro.

Use this direct link for all of these lectures:


Or if you have Zoom open:

Meeting ID: 870 4526 5665 Passcode: tech

They should be interesting lectures on current topics! You do not need to be a member of the Tech Hobbyist Club to attend these special presentations.

Travel Club

The April Travel Club meeting had a last minute change of topic from Italy to Jordan. Charlie Hallahan discussed his trip, which started in Amman, and included visits to the well- preserved Roman city of Jerash, and the ancient city of Petra.

The next meeting will take place on Friday, May 17 at which Judy Ballard will report on her recent trip to Japan.

Chamber Music Club

The Encore Learning Chamber Music Club will meet for two concerts in May before taking a 4-month summer hiatus. We’ll re-convene in October when the Friday Morning Music Club begins its 2024-2025 chamber music season.

The May 3 concert will feature works by Reger, J.S. Bach, Beethoven and Scriabin; the May 10, works by Higdon, Podowski, Hahn, Debussy, Faure and Ravel. The concerts start at noon and are at St. George’s Church, 915 N. Oakland St., adjacent to the Virginia Square Metro.

The intimate setting is akin to being in a music lovers’ parlor, hearing the music as it was meant to be heard. And, like a parlor concert, the musicians stay afterwards to chat and answer questions.

At the last concert, a musician’s violin sounded exquisite even to my untrained ear. I wanted to know more. How had the instrument ended up in her hands? Her parents gave her the 200-year-old, French violin when she graduated from university in Japan.

If you want to join the chamber music club, send staff a note at info@encorelearning.net. You’ll receive concert announcements, including composers featured. You choose which performances to attend. They’re all delightful.

WARNING: If you come to one, I think you’ll be hooked. -Rhoda Ritzenberg

Image: Bonnie Cohen (left), who plays violin and viola, chats with Rhoda Ritzenberg

Nonfiction Book Club

The Encore Learning Nonfiction Book Club will meet next on May 13 at 1:30 PM in the Bluemont Room of the Arlington Central library. The book we’ll be discussing is: Code Name Blue Wren: The True Story of America’s Most Dangerous Female Spy – and the Sister She Betrayed (by Jim Popkin). 

We welcome new members. Let the office know of your interest, and we’ll add you to the mailing list. Please join us.  Ed Rader, Club co-Coordinator

Kayak Club

Season starts now!

We are already well into spring and summer will be here soon. For some of us that means getting out and paddling in a kayak. The Encore Learning Kayak Club joins together on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month to paddle for an hour or two. We meet at Fletcher’s Boathouse at 11:00 AM, weather permitting. Fletcher’s is part of the Boating in DC group – https://boatingindc.com/.

You don’t need your own kayak or equipment. We rent the boats, paddles, and PFD’s from Fletchers. And they have a sturdy dock with assistants to help steady you in and out of the kayak!

If you like to get out on the water, see some birds and turtles, and paddle around a little, you might enjoy giving us a try. We are planning our first outing on Wed. April 24. The season normally extends from late April until mid-October. The Club Coordinators are Janice Yeadon and Diana Warmann.

What’s Happening at Mason Square

This past month the new Mason Square plaza was celebrated with Mason Square Day on March 28, including a ribbon tying and recognition by County Board Chair Libby Garvey.

There are events at Mason Square every week day. If you are coming to Mason for class, check if there is a market or a concert also happening that day, or maybe play a game of ping pong with a classmate.

You can sign-up to receive emails about events at Mason Square here:


In the Community

On Wednesday, May 29 join Encore Learning and many of our friends and partners on National Senior Health and Fitness Day.

We will be at the Health Fair at Lubber Run Community Center from 10:00 AM – 12 Noon. You’ll find information as well as access free health screenings.

Kick off your summer with knowledge about your health.

You do not need to register to attend.

Staff Corner

April was a busy month with so many classes, clubs and events. Members even shared the eclipse together at Mason Square. This is also National Volunteer Month. With more than 150 volunteers every year we rely on the generosity of people like you to power our organization.

Volunteers may serve about 20-300 hours a year with Encore Learning. If we estimate just 20 hours of volunteer time for 150 people at an hourly rate of $50 an hour that would be worth $150,000 of donated time – each year! That’s why our membership and classes are so affordable and we can offer free clubs and special events. It also is represented by the high ratings in the many forms of evaluations we receive. Volunteers make new friends, some even become besties, and feel more invested in their learning and creating community.

Please get in touch with us if you would like more information about volunteering with Encore Learning; as your classes may be winding down, it is a great time to learn more about how you can contribute.

We look forward to seeing you online at our Annual Meeting on May 16 at 10:00 AM. Be sure to tune in on Zoom to learn about what we’ve done this year and plans for the future. Our board is having a special planning meeting the week before and we look forward to sharing upcoming goals and priorities.

Enjoy the spring and see you soon in class or at a special event.

~ Lora 

Lora Pollari-Welbes

Executive Director

Welcome To Our New Members

During March 2024, we welcomed the following new members:

  • Joanne Bowers
  • Janice Fair
  • Gerry Hendershot
  • Barbara Hodges
  • Fran Jackson
  • Jane Karpick
  • Teresa Kloster
  • Mary Anne Lecos
  • Kate Malliarakis
  • Naomi Morales
  • Stefanie Reponen
  • Dennis Shannon
  • Rita Siebenaler
  • Irene Szopo
  • Daniel VanBelleghem

Thank you to Fran Jackson, Pat Findikoglu, Tibor Nagy, Marilyn Schmidt, Tony Tambasco, Jill Volko, and Goodwin Living for referring friends who became members of Encore Learning! Spread the word and please refer friends and family to Encore Learning. If you’d like to bring Encore Learning into your community (residential building or neighborhood) to share information about membership, let us know.

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 to support our sustainability or to the Arthur W. Gosling Youth Scholarship Fund. If you wish to designate a charitable gift in someone’s honor or memory, please email us indicating how the gift should be recognized. If you would like to discuss tax benefits of charitable giving and charitable remainder trusts, please view our Donate page or contact the office.

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 us at info@encorelearning.net.

Share on social media. When you simply like our Facebook page or share our Facebook posts and events to your social network, it’s a huge help. Forward our emails to a friend use the link at the bottom of the email.

And please subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Lifelong Learning For Those Over 50