"Our aging bodies need good food and exercise to flourish -- and so do our brains."
George Cowie and his wife Karen took this idea seriously when they retired in the Brainerd area a couple years ago and became actively involved in the Evergreen Reading Project and started Elder Reading Circles in Brainerd.
Cowie will discuss this program from noon to 1 p.m. Monday at a brown bag lunch in the Brainerd Public Library's large meeting room. Originated by the Minnesota Humanities Commission, the event is sponsored by Friends of the Library. It is free and open to the public.
This program is designed for older adults living in long-term settings and/or for those who take part in senior events. In the Brainerd area volunteer readers hold weekly sessions at Brainerd's Senior Center, Woodland Acres and Brainerd Manor. Regular volunteer readers include Doris Anderson, LaVonne Danzl, Paul Grussing, Grace Johnson, Sandy Reuther and the Cowies.
These Evergreen readers attempt to provide an enjoyable experience through stories, poems and non-fiction. They use the "Evergreen Reader," a compilation of selections from well known authors and poets, as well as more recent regional works recalling older ways of life, holidays, childhood memories, farming, small town life, the Great Depression and World War II. They do not use material that will offend -- nothing religious or political. Discussion is encouraged following the presentation, but allows those who do not wish to speak to sit quietly with their own thoughts.
State coordinator Jane Cunningham said the program "stimulates thinking, enriches memories and helps people connect with each other." Programs are currently under way in the Twin Cities area, Winona, Rochester, Morris, Fargo/Moorhead, Brainerd and other areas around the state.
Anyone with questions about the program or interested in becoming an Evergreen reader is encouraged to attend Monday's brown bag lunch or call George Cowie at (218) 829-6591.
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