Craven Community College’s (Craven CC) Adult Enrichment Program (AEP) is kicking off the fall semester with new classes and a new coordinator. With the addition of several new classes and partnerships with other organizations in the community, the AEP offers selections for people of all ages and interests.
Former AEP coordinator Susan Moffat-Thomas passed the baton over to Megan Johnson on May 1. Johnson, who has resided in Eastern North Carolina since 1988, brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the position. She hopes to bring fresh ideas and use her knowledge of the area to benefit the program and introduce exciting opportunities.
Johnson may be new to the position, but she is not new to Craven CC. Her first job in New Bern was working as a tutor for Craven CC’s Basic Skills department in the late 1990s. She later worked at the Havelock campus as a GED examiner. During that time, she assisted in opening up the National Testing Center at Cherry Point. The testing center offers various free testing services for active-duty military and their dependents.
An ECU graduate with a music therapy degree and a voice major, Johnson has been active in many local community and fundraising events. She is primarily known for singing during various fundraisers, funerals and community activities.
During her career, Johnson has worked in public and private education from preschool to college, as well as public and private healthcare with a focus on mental health. Most recently, she worked at St. Paul’s Catholic School in varying positions, including music director, music ministry coordinator, music teacher and fine arts director/coordinator. She was a member of the parish for 21 years.
Johnson plans to use her connections and experience with the community to improve the AEP. While she recognizes the program is a popular choice for the more mature population, she hopes to broaden it to encompass all ages.
“I would like to nurture the original demographic of our active and not-so-active retirees,” she said. “But I am also trying to increase options and allow access to an expanded demographic, making the program available to everyone.”
Johnson plans to keep adding classes to the AEP lineup, but also wants to expand on some of the popular classes by developing a “Master Classes” series.
“I envision creating a series of master classes, whether that be about film, music, literature, dance or travel—that’s in the development stage,” she said.
She also realizes that not everyone is able to attend classes during the week or for long stretches due to work, children and other responsibilities. That’s why she is working to offer classes during convenient times at affordable prices.
“As a working mother of two daughters, I could not commit to a six-week series, but I don’t mind signing up for a two-hour class for $40 and walking away with a craft I completed myself,” said Johnson. “It’s also something I can do with my teenage daughters.”
Johnson is also actively looking to collaborate with local businesses and organizations. Her goal is to offer a wider variety of options that fit all age groups, fitness and activity levels. She is currently developing a number of classes with the New Bern Historical Society, New Bern Civic Theatre and “everyBODY Pilates.”
On September 27, the AEP will host “Stop the Cravin’!” substance abuse symposium that will focus on education, prevention and intervention for a growing opioid epidemic in our county and surrounding areas. There will be several professionals on the panel to answer questions.
Tencil Coffee, who teaches iPhone and iPad training, will soon be adding Android training to her repertoire. Her goal is to eliminate people’s fear of devices by developing a support system for learning.
“It is rewarding to see a smile on the individual’s face or a gleam in their eyes when they discover something new and useful as we explore the capabilities of their devices,” said Coffee.
She said her favorite part about teaching is having the opportunity to assist the participants in developing the knowledge, skills and practices they need to use their devices.
Other upcoming classes include stand up paddleboard, Batik watercolor painting, Shibori dyeing, hoop weaving, digital photography, boating skills and safety, interior design, shag dancing, beekeeping and real estate.
Johnson is currently seeking new class ideas and encourages anyone who has a suggestion to contact her. With such a diverse community full of unique abilities, she is optimistic about receiving feedback.
“There is an incredible amount of talent in the New Bern area, and I am willing to listen to their ideas and create classes around those ideas,” she said. “I am also open to providing opportunities for the community to share their needs and see what I can do to fill those needs.”
Anyone with class suggestions is encouraged to contact Johnson at 252-638-7273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see a full list of AEP classes or to register for a class, visit www.cravencc.edu/AEP.