OLLI Secretary

Phyllis Baylor

I grew up on a farm near Dwight, Illinois. My education started in a one-room country school and I had the same teacher for all 8 grades. Next, I graduated from Dwight High School, and then trained as a Business Education teacher at ISNU, Normal, Illinois. My Masters is in Education from Concordia University. After being “RIF’d” (reduction in force) from teaching twice, I worked in the reservations department at United Airlines for 10 years, at which time I retired. My husband, Dick, and I have a combined family of four children and 11 grandchildren. 

After hearing from many friends about OLLI, I decided to give it a try several years ago and was “hooked” immediately. My first impression was how friendly everyone was, in addition to the many opportunities for learning. I was amazed at how patient all the staff is with us “seniors”— they make it so easy to be a participant in all events. At first, I was hesitant about joining study groups, but now I love them.  Also, I’m impressed with how quickly the staff learns the names of the members. They are all remarkable. 

I wish more of my friends would give OLLI a try; I keep telling them that they don’t have to attend all meetings of a class/study group if they join. When a friend asks about OLLI, I will strongly encourage her/him to come as a guest. If one likes to learn, they will love OLLI. Also, I have made many new friends over the years. Through traveling on three of the multi- day trips offered, Dick and I have made several new “couple friends,” as well. 

I have one friend, in particular, who is extremely jealous of our OLLI. She lives in the Chicago suburbs, and there is no comparable program for her. 

Michelle and Catherine have most influenced me to work with OLLI. I know they will be helpful with any questions I have. I think OLLI will continue to grow with the great leadership we have. Volunteering for OLLI is very easy in that there is always someone who can fill in if you have a conflict. The number of hard-working volunteers in OLLI is remarkable. Through OLLI trips, classes, study groups, etc., I have learned about and experienced Peoria like I never would have otherwise. 

When I’m not at OLLI, I’m reading, playing bridge, or “playing in the dirt,” weather permitting. If I had $10,000 to donate to OLLI, I would designate it for the amazing staff.