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Burnaby seniors' classes coming back in January

The Community Centred College for the Retired will welcome students in person for the first time since March 2020

No, you shouldn’t respond to the email from a Nigerian prince promising the sun, moon and the stars.

But yes, you can learn to play the piano. Or dip into a game of chess. Or become so computer literate that you’ll simply scoff at the next scam email you receive.

These are the central themes that will be at play beginning in early January 2022, when Burnaby’s Community Centred College for the Retired (CCCR) resumes in-person classes for those over 50.

Offered each weekday at the Alan Emmott Centre, the courses cover everything from music to computer literacy and language courses.

“Our closure has impacted a lot of seniors because they haven’t been able to get out and if they’ve been in intermediate care homes, they’ve been locked down,” said CCCR president Helen Vegh. “So, we’re hoping a lot of them will come back.”

The upcoming classes will be offered for the first time since March 17, 2020, when municipalities and countries the world over began grasping the severity of COVID-19.  Vegh was at the Alan Emmott Centre that day and received a phone call telling her that classes were to end immediately.

“It was scary,” Vegh said. “We knew this was coming, but we didn’t think it was going to happen like this – instantly, we had to leave.”

In the before times, the CCCR helped numerous people over 50 navigate through classes that will once again be offered: art and creativity; Languages (Spanish and French); music (ukulele and piano); computer classes covering Windows 10, iPad and iPhone; social media; photo-handling (Proshow and Photo book); reading and writing classes and games such as bridge and chess.

The subjects cover all levels, from beginners to advanced, while all the volunteer teachers are seniors too.

Outside of learning the tangible skills necessary to tickle the ivories or strum chords, participants also leave with other things not necessarily listed in a brochure or online.

“If [participants] don’t come with a friend, they make friends,” Vegh said. “They have somebody there that they can talk to. They’re joining a community inside our building.”

Vegh stresses that all sanitary precautions are taken before and after each class and that all teachers are vaccinated. Prospective participants will need to provide proof of vaccination upon arrival, and masks must be worn at all times.

In-person registration and orientation runs Jan. 4 to 7, from 9:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., while the courses kick off the following week. You can find information around prices, dates and times at the CCCR website.