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OLLI Award Winner Finds Her Calling Helping Others

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Before becoming a Titan, Susan Cane discovered the pleasures of helping others strive for serenity and live in the moment.

“After learning meditation and the study of mindfulness, I began teaching classes and enjoyed helping others find greater peace in their lives,” said Cane, the recipient of the 2016 Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) Betty Robertson Award. “I then began volunteering in several areas, including helping victims of child abuse by becoming a parent teacher for the families.”

She received training through Orange County Social Services and volunteered at the California Institution for Women in Chino for three years.

“I taught classes on meditation and learning anger management through mindfulness practices,” said Cane. “When I saw how this work benefited so many people, I realized my passion was to help others help themselves. I decided to obtain my college education in psychology and the theories and practices of therapy.”

This spring, Susan Cane graduated cum laude with a B.S. in psychology. A member of Phi Theta Kappa and Phi Chi international honor societies, Cane was a peer mentor for the CSUF University Outreach Transfer Center, helping students make their transfer process easier. In 2013, the Laguna Woods resident received the Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship Award. 

The Elizabeth “Betty” Robertson Award is named for one of OLLI’s founders, who was the former director of community and in-house programs in University Extended Education. In 1979, Robertson secured a grant to create an on-campus, self-supporting educational program that eventually became OLLI. The award named after her recognizes the achievements of an older graduate who values and represents lifelong learning. 

This fall, Cane plans to begin work on a master’s degree in counseling at Cal State Fullerton, with the ultimate goal of becoming a marriage and family therapist.

“Returning to college at an older age was at first very intimidating,” said Cane. “However, my professors, fellow students and the school system provided an environment of acceptance and encouragement. Learning has become more exciting with each class I take, and the opportunity to continue to achieve my goals is a privilege. It is an honor to be recognized with this award.”