Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Southern Maine in Portland are taking part in two formal Service Learning Classes.

ESL – Intensive Language Program
The Need: Students in USM’s Intensive English Language Program need to converse with native English speakers to improve their English conversational skills.

The Project: OLLI students will engage in oral activities with ESL students, interacting in ways that effectively build speaking fluency in the ESL students.

The Learning: OLLI students will first meet with ESL instructors, to learn effective techniques for assisting ESL students in speaking. Then, for three weeks, OLLI students, guided by ESL instructors, will engage in one-on-one conversations with ESL students two afternoons a week. Oral and written reflection is an integral part of the course.

Riding to the Top: Therapeutic Riding
The Need: Riders with disabilities can improve muscle tone, social skills and self-esteem through therapeutic riding. Trained volunteers are needed to assist the rider throughout his/her lesson. The OLLI volunteers will be walking, not riding, the horses.

The Project: OLLI students will learn how to assist a rider while walking along side to help riders reach their goals in the therapeutic lessons. They will learn how to work with good-natured horses and apply the knowledge they have gained.

The Learning: OLLI students will attend a two-hour class on therapeutic riding and rider disabilities the first week and a two--hour training session for volunteering in the lesson program the second week. Following the initial orientation classes, participation hours will be flexible based on Riding to the Top’s schedule. Based on ability and availability, students are assigned to a rider for the duration of the 8-week session and will apply their learning by leading a horse or walking alongside the rider.




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