THE VOICE OF U3A BRIMBANK
No. 13 – Term 3 / 2021
EDITOR: TOMAS WEISZ
NEWSLETTER CORRESPONDENCE TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE: email@example.com
PHONE: 9249 4570
Painting by Rosie Dinh (French tutor)
Becoming President of U3A Brimbank was unexpected. I accepted the position because I knew I had the support of people committed to our organisation’s success.
I have inherited the role of president of a unique organisation that provides a vital service for senior citizens.
I did not want U3A Brimbank to fold due to a lack of leadership. Our former president, Karin Saliba, did a fantastic job keeping us united. We owe her a debt of gratitude. It was time for her to have a break. Fortunately, she is still on the committee.
Neil Head prepared a submission to the Brimbank City Council Draft Budget 2021-22 on our behalf. We have heard that the Brimbank Council has treated us favourably.
Helen O’Flaherty attended Building Effective Partnerships as part of her BAS role. Helen builds relationships with other groups within Brimbank and informs us about what is happening within the Brimbank community.
I want to thank Silvia and Tomas for their support. I received information promptly and suggestions on how to communicate with people meaningfully.
A special thanks to our secretary Glenda Kueng for the support she provides.
We held our first committee meeting on Zoom early in June. It is a pleasure to work with you all.
Welcome to our new committee member Silvia Tejedor. Your offer to join us is appreciated. Your experience and enthusiasm are U3A Brimbank’s good fortune.
Before lockdown, I managed to visit several classes to meet the tutors and members. I saw a lot of enthusiasm in them. I will continue to do this when I am able.
Our latest lockdown has disappointed people, but the welfare of our members has been paramount and remains so. Please communicate with a committee member or me if you have any concerns, as we are committed to the welfare of all U3A Brimbank members.
We wait now for the lockdown to end and to continue to build U3A Brimbank. In my opinion, it truly offers Brimbank seniors the opportunity to learn, teach, share and give mutual support and friendship to one another as stated in our Mission Statement.
Thank you to those who responded to the questionnaire about the programs and possible programs we could provide. If anyone has an idea for a class, please let the committee know. We have a few ideas in the pipeline and look forward to implementing them when covid restrictions end.
As we emerge from COVID lockdown, we need to reset our procedures and open our communication channels to allow members to communicate with us. We must be sure about venues for classes. Then we can focus on recruiting new members and tutors to present more opportunities for our membership.
We can then seize the opportunity to reach out to other groups within the Brimbank community and make our presence felt.
People are most supportive as I find my feet. Thank you, everyone.
U3A Brimbank News
Annual General Meeting
Our new president, Marilyn Martyn, delivering her address to the meeting.
We had a very well attended Annual General Meeting on the 21st of April. The following members were elected to steer our U3A in these challenging times:
Marilyn Martyn – President
Glenda Kueng – Vice-President and Secretary
Val Watson – Treasurer and Memberships
Neil Head – Minutes Secretary
Karin Saliba – Tutor Coordinator
Helen O’Flaherty – Office Coordinator and Brimbank Active Seniors Rep
Pat MacDonald – Events Coordinator
Jan McDonald – General Member
Raie-Cherie Bird – General Member
Noreen Findling – General Member
Silvia Tejedor – General Member
The contributions of Lucy Kolendowski and Silvia Weisz were acknowledged and thanked as they retired from the committee after serving for many years.
As expressed in our previous newsletter Karin Saliba retired as president but will continue to serve as Tutor Coordinator. She was also thanked for everything she’s done and will continue doing for our U3A.
We wish to welcome the new members of the committee: Noreen Findling and Silvia Tejedor. Noreen was elected at the AGM and Silvia volunteered at a later
Marilyn Martyn, Ferdi Saliba and Karin Saliba, our outgoing president.
Introducing Our New Committee Members
I have accepted a position on the U3A Committee and would like to introduce myself to members. My name is Noreen Findling and I live in Keilor with my husband Ted and our adorable cat, Raphy. I retired in 2017 from my position in Administration in Department of Education. In my early career I worked in the Commonwealth Government as a Clerk, and after having my family I worked mainly in Special Education settings in Early Intervention and the Primary School setting.
I joined U3A Brimbank in July 2018 attending the Yang Style Tai Chi Beginners class which I thoroughly enjoyed. My husband and I moved to Keilor in 2013 so it was a great opportunity to meet new people in the area. Since that time, I have attended the following courses – Cooking class with Marlene (monthly), Calligraphy for Beginners, Photo Shop (Beginners). Presently I attend Yang Style Tai Chi Intermediate Class and the monthly Book Group.
Joining U3A has introduced me to many new friends. Both of my present groups are very social and. welcoming. The friendliness and acceptance of all the groups I have joined over the past three and a half years has been amazing. I have also become familiar with new areas in our Brimbank district which I might otherwise not have discovered.
Now that I have joined the U3A committee of management I hope I will eventually prove to be a trusted and competent member. I probably have loads to learn as it has been quite some time since I have taken on any activity of this nature. I am very much looking forward to the challenge of working with the U3A committee and hope to continue to enjoy the many benefits of membership of U3A.
I was born in Argentina and migrated to Melbourne in 1975. I did high school and University in Melbourne. I became a technical officer in electronics a similar position to that of an engineer with more hands-on work experience. I have two children and four grandchildren. I have been involved in volunteer work since the birth of my eldest child, i.e., 35 years ago. I have been involved as a volunteer throughout the years with the Spanish School, the Boy Scouts, Channel 31, Multiple Sclerosis, the Unions, and many other activities.
I retired in 2016. The one thing I wanted to make sure was that I would not sit all day and watch TV. So, I looked for U3As in my area to keep a social life, even though I do have a bunch of friends and family to keep me occupied, but I always like to learn something new and to challenge myself.
I started with Italian, Line Dancing and Zumba. Unfortunately, the Italian class had to stop because there weren’t enough students attending. I still do Zumba, Thai-Chi, and walking. I have found in these groups wonderful teachers, volunteers, and students.
I think it is very important to find other people that are in the same or similar situation as you. I found that most people in U3A Brimbank are wonderful, friendly, and easy going.
I guess as a new committee member, I need to feel my way around it. I am quite happy to fulfil any position that is necessary to run the group in a stress free and efficient manner.
Our tutors are the lifeblood of our organisation.
We are introducing the Tutor Spotlight, where we highlight one of our tutors.
In his own words:
Michael Sammut – Computer Tutor
I started off after year 12 with an apprenticeship as a scientific instrument maker repairing factory instrumentation such as pressure gauges, binoculars and steam boiler controllers and recorders.
After 10 years in this field, I gained an associate diploma in Communications Engineering and embarked on a career with Telstra as a telephone exchange maintenance officer for 10 years.
After that, I learned about websites and maintained a document website for another 8 years still with Telstra.
I always wanted to be a teacher, so I went to university and got a diploma in Technology Education and found a teaching job for another 11 years.
I taught woodwork and STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Maths) at secondary level teaching, electronics, coding, or programming. I assisted students in building and programming computer-controlled cars and other mechanical programmable models. I also dabble in electronic car systems and restore cars as a hobby.
Thank you, Michael, for your contribution to U3A Brimbank.
Introducing Our Facebook Page and Facebook Group
Social media is here to stay, and we are proud to announce U3A Brimbank has a Facebook Page and Facebook Group.
We now join other Victorian U3As who use their page as a point of contact and their Facebook Group to communicate with their members.
Our Facebook Page is where we tell the world about our organisation.
It provides our contact information and a link to our website. People can learn about our activities and be inspired to join U3A Brimbank. The page contains current information about our activities.
To find us on Facebook, type U3A Brimbank in the search bar.
The Facebook Group is for U3A Brimbank members. It is a private page, and only members can see and add to the posts. There are conditions for being admitted to the page, and the moderator is the person who gives you access. Your privacy is secure.
To find our group, type U3A Brimbank Group in the Facebook search bar.
Michael Sammut, our computer tutor, has set up the pages on Facebook and will be the moderator.
By Silvia Weisz
Our website is a wonderful source of information, that maybe not everybody is aware of. If you spend some time exploring it, you may find things that you did not know, and could be of importance to you.
If you click on the different drop-down menus, you can find our Policies, which include our Code of Conduct, that informs you about your rights and responsibilities as a member. Monthly activities can make you aware of some social gatherings that happen once a month and give you the opportunity to meet other members that are not in your regular classes. Under Latest News you can find current information about how the pandemic is affecting our activities. Under Courses and Activities, you can look at the list of different classes on offer, and if you click on the name of a particular class you can find general information about that class, and if there are vacancies. If there are not, interested people can go on a waiting list until vacancies occur.
And these are only a few of the things that you can find there. This is an invitation for you to have a look at all the things that you may find useful.
Rights and Responsibilities
From U3A Brimbank Code of Conduct
The U3A movement in Victoria is dedicated to providing a competent and ethical service to Third Age members of the community and undertakes to provide its members with a trustworthy, fair, honest environment based upon equal opportunity to participate in U3A programs and activities.
Every member of U3A Brimbank has the right to:
- feel safe and respected
- a supportive and positive learning environment
- participate in learning, social, and recreational opportunities
- receive services fully compliant with U3A norms
- make a complaint and receive prompt and fair resolution thereof *
- have access to guidelines, policies and procedures adopted by U3A Brimbank
Every member of U3A Brimbank has the responsibility to:
- respect the beliefs, needs and background of others
- act and speak respectfully
- understand and follow the organisation’s guidelines, policies, and procedures
- carry out all activities in an appropriate manner
- work cooperatively for the benefit of all members
- maintain positive relationships
- care for the property and possessions of the organisation and members
- help create an inclusive environment
- report actual or potentially unsafe situations or conduct *
- wear a name badge to assist in the governance of the organisation.
* If you wish to make a complaint or report some safety matter, please approach a member of the committee, or ring our number, 9249 4570 and a complaint form will be sent to you. Positive feedback is also welcome.
If you wish to read the whole of the Code of Conduct, as well as, all other policies, they are available in our website. Just click on the “About us” drop down menu, and then on “Policies”.
By Neil Head
Secretary, U3A Network Victoria
Asst. Secretary U3A Brimbank
U3A Brimbank has the capacity to offer a range of classes and programs, though impacted by current COVID restrictions.
In an endeavour to widen the course offerings available to members, U3A Brimbank has secured some COVID-recovery and innovation funding from Brimbank City Council. Half of the funding of $2,000, will be utilized for the purchase of equipment to help U3A Brimank operate in a hybrid and online way, during Covid.
A second tranche of $1,000 is available to help individual members to participate in classes at other U3As, for example online. The U3A Movement in Victoria, as represented by U3A Network Victoria, has some 38,000 members in 104 branches, spread right across the State. Many of these branches have capacity to take enrolments from other U3As. One popular way of doing this is via Associate Membership of the large and substantial U3A Melbourne, who have a multitude of classes and courses, some of them with spare vacancy/capacity, primarily on-line.
U3A Brimbank members who wish to take Term 3 or 4 classes at other U3As, via this Associate Membership route, and utilizing the Brimbank City Council funding, should contact the U3A Brimbank Committee, to discuss their proposal.
It is great when U3As collaborate across the State… leading towards our State Conference Bendigo, next year.
Vale Rod Boban
Recently, Pina Spalato, our Photoshop tutor, informed us of the sad news of the passing of Rod Boban.
Rod was one of the original members of the Photoshop class and we are very sorry to hear about his passing. Our condolences to his family and friends.
History of the U3A Movement
By Tomas Weisz
(Information obtained from Wikipedia and other websites)
It is an international movement that aims to further the education and to stimulate, mainly retired members of the community, those in their “third age” of life.
There is no universally accepted model for U3As. It started in France at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Toulouse in 1973. In France, each U3A is mostly associated with a local university. This model is used in many other countries, particularly in continental Europe.
In the early 1980s, the concept reached the United Kingdom, where the French model was significantly modified, recognising that most people of retirement age have something to contribute and the emphasis has been on sharing, without formal educational links.
U3A walking group on a scenic walk in Cornwall, UK
The British model has been followed by many English-speaking countries, among them Australia.
For historical reasons, in the United States, they are called “Lifelong Learning Institutes”.
Australia’s first U3A began in Melbourne in 1984 and currently there are more than 200 U3As around the country associated in State based networks and a nation-wide alliance.
The Changing Face of Education
“Not all classrooms have four walls” – Anonymous
By Tomas Weisz
In the pre-history, when I was a little boy in primary school, I loved when they used to take the class to the basement of the school, to the projection room. Sometimes, it was to show us a documentary about production lines (Coca-Cola ad) or one about dental care (toothpaste ad) or even to project still pictures with the epidiascope (also called opaque projector, or, affectionately, even “book cooker”, due to its very powerful lamp).
Time passed, but perhaps, that was the origin of my love for the projected image, which eventually led me back to school, to RMIT, to study Audio-Visual technology and then, to 20 years working as an audio-visual technician in tertiary education.
The job entailed audio-visual support for the teaching programs, and I saw many changes during those years. At the beginning, for instance, I used to show 16mm films and to produce slides to be shown in class.
Eventually the ubiquitous computers started to take over and before retiring, we were involved with on-line delivery of programs.
I was curious to see what has happened in the 16 years since retirement, and more than that; what is going to be the future of education? Therefore, I googled the title of this piece and I found very interesting articles.
I quote from an article by Lakshmi Annapurna Chintaluri:
“Change is the order of life. It is the new constant in this changing world. Change is something that will be experienced in every sphere of life ranging from communication to the way we live. In the field of education, changes can be seen in every aspect ranging from teaching to learning and administration. The advent of technology, identifying the needs and requirements of the students to enable them to face the challenges of their tomorrow is providing opportunities for innovative methods in teaching and learning.”
She continues her analysis, imagining education in the future and concludes:
“In conclusion, it is only a matter of time before we see classrooms with nature and other elements embedded as its ambiance to enable students to progress in a positive learning environment and grow into happy and proficient adults. So, the questions to be asked of the schools are, how much time do they need, to first realize the need for change and then adapt to it adeptly and secondly, do they have a choice?”
How does all of the above relate to the U3A movement and in particular to life with the pandemic and hopefully after it?
I believe that the challenges arising from the pandemic will be with us for a long time. Therefore, we’ll have to embrace change, and not to be afraid of it. We all should be learning how to use the technology to our advantage. The face-to-face interaction is irreplaceable, but when it is not possible, we shouldn’t be afraid of joining a Zoom activity or a hybrid one, when they become available. Or, better still, start a new one. Or, join the U3A Online for only $30 per annum. It has a lot of very interesting courses.
The History of a Song: Strange Fruit
Extract of an article by Aida Amoako which appeared in bbc.com
On 20 April 1939, the jazz singer Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan in 1915) stepped into a studio with an eight-piece band to record Strange Fruit. This jarring song about the horrors of lynching was not only Holiday’s biggest hit, but it would become one of the most influential protest songs of the 20th Century – continuing to speak to us about racial violence today.
It was named “the song of the century” by Time magazine in 1999, and the story of Strange Fruit’s conception has entered legend. Originally a poem called Bitter Fruit, it was written by the Jewish school teacher Abel Meeropol under the pseudonym Lewis Allen in response to lynching in US southern states. “I wrote Strange Fruit because I hate lynching, and I hate injustice, and I hate the people who perpetuate it,” Meeropol said in 1971.
Soon after publication, Meeropol set the song to music. It was performed at union meetings and even at Madison Square Garden by the jazz singer Laura Duncan.
Meeropol was invited to play it for Holiday by the founder of the Café Society jazz club, Barney Josephson.
Holiday, her accompanist Sonny White and arranger Danny Mendelsohn, worked solidly for three weeks before debuting the revamped Strange Fruit at Café Society. In his 2001 book Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song, the writer David Margolick suggests the club, with its policy of complete integration, was “probably the only place in America where Strange Fruit could have been sung”.
Holiday and Josephson created specific conditions for the performances. It would be the last song in the set, there would be absolute silence, no bar service and the lights would be dimmed save for a single spotlight on Holiday’s face. As Josephson said, “People had to remember Strange Fruit, get their insides burned with it.”
“The first time I sang it I thought it was a mistake … there wasn’t even a patter of applause when I finished. Then a lone person began to clap nervously. Then suddenly everyone was clapping,” said Holiday in her autobiography. To hear Holiday sing of “the sudden smell of burning flesh” minutes after her jazz ballads was disquieting. Meeropol wrote: “She gave a startling, most dramatic and effective interpretation, which could jolt an audience out of its complacency anywheres [sic].”
“There’s something that’s still very radioactive about the song.” says Margolick. “It’s still relevant because race is still relevant. It’s on the front pages of our newspapers every day. The impulses that [Meeropol] was talking about are still very much with us.”
If you are interested in reading the whole article, you’ll find it in bbc.com
“Strange Fruit” Lyrics
Southern trees bearing strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the roots
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant south
Them big bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolia, clean and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the leaves to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop
Words of Wisdom
Sent by Rosie Dinh
Novelist Sinclair Lewis was supposed to deliver an hour – long lecture to a group of college students who planned to be writers.
Lewis opened his talk with a question:
” How many of you really intend to be writers?”
All hands went up.
” In this case,” said Lewis, ” My advice to you is to go home and write.”
With that, he left.
A word to the wise is sufficient. A word to the unwise is resented.
We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.
The mother of the American statesman Bernard Baruch used to motivate him by telling him: ”No one is better than you, but you are no better than anyone else until you do something to prove it.”
Doing things by halves is worthless because it may be the other half that counts.
God gave every bird its food, but he did not throw it in the nest.
An ounce of practice is worth a pound of theory.
Keep Busy; It’s Good for You
By Allan Tham
I currently find George Bernard Shaw was right about keeping our mind active and our body healthy. He summed it all up when he said: “The secret of being miserable is to have the leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not.”
So, don’t bother to think about it. Spit on your hands and get busy. Your blood will start circulating; your mind will start ticking, and pretty soon this whole positive upsurge of life in your body will drive worry from your mind. GET BUSY. KEEP BUSY. It’s the cheapest kind of medicine there is on this earth… and one of the best.
To break the worry habit, here is RULE 1:
KEEP BUSY. THE WORRIED PERSON MUST LOSE HIMSELF IN ACTION, LEST HE WITHER IN DESPAIR.
I’m Fine (not)
By Tomas Weisz
(With thanks to @lizandmollie Instagram account)
How many times you suppressed your response when you were asked how you were doing? It’s a normal reaction; you don’t want to trouble other people with your worries.
May be the person that tells you that he/she is OK is doing exactly that.
“Here are a couple of questions that signal you’re actually interested in hearing how things are going, make it easier to give a meaningful answer, and better set you up to offer that person support.
+ What’s one thing I can do to better support you?
+ What’s something that’s been bringing you energy or joy?
+ What have you been thinking about a lot today?”
Answers to Last Quiz
Here they are:
- St. Christopher
- Galapagos Islands
If you didn’t keep our previous issue and you want to look at the questions, you can find all previous issues of the newsletter in this website.
One for Petrol Heads
The names of vehicles have been inspired by ideas, adjectives, philosophies, and objects, and of course, animals. Let’s test your knowledge. Can you guess the names of vehicles named after animals?
This classic muscle car was named after a fish.
This economy car was named after a bug.
This heavy-duty truck is named after an animal that used to roam the plains in the United States until hunting nearly wiped them out.
This car was named after a bird.
- Red Robin
This Sport Utility Vehicle was named after a horse.
This Australian racing car is named after a very fast cat.
This sports car was named after a snake.
- Coral Snake
- King Snake
This American made car was named after a cat.
- Mountain Lion
- Bengal Tiger
This economy car was named after an insect that stings and makes something sweet.
- Bumble Bee
This car was named after an African animal.
Free Smiles and Laughs
Two Wrights do not make a wrong 😊, but they did make a pretty good airplane. (Sent by Rosie Dinh)
Why did the Mexican guy put wife on edge of roof????
Tequila. (Sent by Josephine Vella)
(Cartoons sent by Helen O’Flaherty)