• Notebook with a pen

    Power of Writing Practice Retreat

    April 29, 2024
    9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    Register now!

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  • Vegetable on green background

    OLLI Gardening Symposium

    May 8, 2024
    8:00 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.
    Registration opens on April 8, 2024

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  • OLLI Now Enrolling

    See what is offered at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

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  • For the love of learning. 20 years anniversary

    A Gift for ANY Occasion

    Give the Gift of Lifelong Learning

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    Get Involved! Volunteer at OLLI!  Call Team OLLI for details

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  • OLLI at UTMB

    Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
    Learner-Led, College-Level Program of Adult Education

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  • Link to Sealy Center on Aging Community Connection

    Sealy Center on Aging

    Community Connection
    Connect With Us!

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Special Programs

Vegetable on green background

OLLI Gardening Symposium

, 2024 - - The OLLI Building - 1200 Market Street, Galveston, TX 77555 USA

Join the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute for a day of gardening tips and insider information. This year’s program will provide information on a variety of topics, presented by some of the area’s most knowledgeable gardening authorities. The symposium brings together amateur backyard gardeners and gardening professionals for a day of insightful presentations and networking. Topics will focus on eco-friendly landscape gardening with special emphasis on the unique cultural requirements of our coastal environment.

Special Programs

  • Dean and Marilyn Callender Library for Dynamic Longevity

    Drop by the spacious and ever-expanding library for a selection of books on a wide variety of topics and titles by your favorite authors. No need to hurry to return the books you enjoy. Keep them or pass them on to a friend. Enjoy a selection of dozens of free jigsaw puzzles to work right in the library or take home to work with your family and friends.

  • Walk a mile no matter what the weather

    OLLI’s corridor welcomes you during open hours, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. Walk the hall 14 times and you’ve walked a mile.

  • Volunteer at OLLI


    Get involved! Volunteer at OLLI. Your talent, creativity, and energy can help make OLLI even better. Contact Team OLLI for details.

    • Recommend a new course and suggest an instructor to add variety to OLLI’s future semesters! We welcome your suggestions!
    • Are you an artist? Please consider sharing some of your finest work to hang permanently or temporarily in OLLI corridors or classrooms.
  • Lifestories

    For over a decade elders in Galveston/Houston, Texas, have been meeting to share lifestory vignettes in safe, caring groups utilizing distinctive protocols.

    About the workshop

    UTMB's lifestories workshops offer unique approaches to a rich tradition of life review, reminiscence, and writing groups. No prior writing skills are required for participants to share in the adventure of writing their own life stories. Each one brings openness to sharing ideas and improving skills through practice. Participants practice writing from the very first hour.

    All groups share the following protocols:

    • Groups meet for eight weeks in 2-hour sessions each week under the guidance of a trained facilitator, who does not share his or her stories
    • No less than 12 and no more than 16 participate in each group
    • Each person reads a story of about five minutes in length while other members of the group listen with intention
    • Group members and facilitator comment positively on shared stories
    • Groups establish a shared, almost sacred culture of core principles: confidentiality, "One Voice," no interruptions, participants
    • Comment on writing not writer's feelings, nor do they question content
    • Feedback is framed in a positive rather than critical manner-grammar, punctuation, syntax, and spelling are never discussed

    Shared expectations ensure group cohesiveness:

    • Confidentiality is essential. Everyone shares writing, but each person is free to "pass" at any time. Everyone is encouraged to participate equally, no one dominates.
    • Everyone listens with full and respectful attentiveness!
    • One person speaks at a time
    • Comments on others' writing begin, "What I liked about this piece was..."

    How Sessions Work

    At the first session, shared expectations are established with emphasis that this process is a workshop, not a class. The facilitator is not a teacher. The exercises suggested each week help participants build skills through practice. There is no emphasis on grammatical minutiae. Writing skills improve through practice, by receiving positive feedback on effective writing, and by learning from the positive feedback about writing of other participants. Newcomers to these groups often ask for criticism of shortcomings or poor writing.


    In 1996, Kate De Medeiros, a graduate student of Dr. Thomas Cole at UTMB created Share Your Life Story Workshops. Over the past twelve years, other protocols have emerged based on growing evidence of effectiveness and proven success when practiced in hundreds of groups. Research continues to mount health benefits of elders experiencing creative opportunities such as lifestory groups. Dr. Joe Verghese and his team at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York found that those 75 and older who played board games, read, or engaged in other cognitively stimulating activities, demonstrated reduced risk of dementias (Verghese, et. al. 2003). Cognitive activity across the life span was examined at Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center in Chicago (Wilson, et. al. 2003). Glass's team discovered that cognitive activities enhance survival. (Glass, et. al. 1999). Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, who wrote about stressful experiences, realized measurable health improvement (Smyth, et. al., 1999). One reviewer noted, "Were the authors to have provided similar outcome evidence about a new drug, it likely would be in widespread use within a short time" (Spiegel, 1999, p. 1328). In another study, writing about personal experiences for only 15 minutes a day for three days demonstrated improvements in both physical and mental health of study subjects (Pennebaker & Seagal, 1999). In that study, those who used more positive-emotion words gained most benefit. Whether writing about positive or negative experiences, there is increased well-being from participating in story writing and sharing. There are multitudes of formats for lifestory writing and sharing groups. Here we present techniques that have proven effective, but many others are equally effective.

The health and safety of our patients, their families, employees, and community are a priority to us. To help reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19, UTMB Health has revised its visitation policy.

See details on the latest revision of the visitation policy