ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- The Abilene area Osher Lifelong learning Institute (OLLI) has been a part of the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center for many years now. They offer courses on several interests and skills to their due-paying members. The only catch: You must be 50 or older to join.

“One of our favorite former members, she hasn’t been here since the pandemic started, she will be 100 next year,” says Abilene area coordinator Misha Price.

As Price can attest, curiosity doesn’t stop as you get older, and that is the driving belief behind what OLLI does all over the nation. A $35 yearly membership fee and $10-$15 a class gets anyone 50 and older access to any online or in-person course they offer.

A sampling of courses from their Fall 2021 catalogue

From Civil War history and culinary arts, to genealogy and mathematics, Price says they cover a wide array of topics in a year.

“One of our instructors now who does Civil War classes for us is a former ACU professor. So if the person wants to learn it, we’ll find somebody to teach it,” Price says.

When she first joined in 2019, Price says the program had 35 members. That number grew to around 140 until the pandemic hit, restricting their ability to meet in person.

“Some of our members do not even own a computer, so hybrid classes were not an option for them,” says Price.

This brought them down to just 25 regular students, although they are hoping to build those numbers up again now that in-person learning is back on the table.

“If you’re 50 or over, come join us. They’re fun classes, there’s no pressure, no tests,” said Price.

She says the courses are a wonderful resource to any inquisitive minds, but the community that surrounds the group is just as much of a blessing, giving her something new to look forward to each day.

“It just makes this job worth while,” says Price.