Kaunas Region University of the Third Age

Kaunas Region University of the Third Age is an institution of non-formal adult education for senior citizens. It was established in 2012. At the beginning the organization operated as an integral part of an adult educational center. It was only in 2017 that it became an independent public body – a non-governmental organization. Currently the organization has 20 members –adult educators-practitioners – involved, who work in the field as unpaid staff. The members of the U3A are not professional andragogues, they are: librarians, teachers, community organizers, social workers, artists, etc. Every member of the organization starting with the director, the staff (adult educators working as coordinators) and ending with the lecturers, are volunteers, who donate their time, knowledge and competences to organize senior citizens’ learning and free time activities in Kaunas Region. The main areas of activity cover education and motivation of the retired members of the community. The organization’s activities are targeted at 650 seniors in 12 different locations around Kaunas region. The U3A does not own its own buildings, therefore classes and workshops are organized on the municipality premises: libraries, schools, leisure and cultural centers, etc. More than 250 events are organized every year. Although the majority of the events are classified as lectures/seminars and practical workshops, there are some common events, too, such as field trips, excursions, performances, sports competitions, brain battles, fairs, educational concerts, and song festivals. Seniors enjoy taking part in various initiatives organized under national or regional projects. They are eager to engage in organized volunteering activities, however, most of the participants lack the initiative and self-confidence in their knowledge and abilities, and thus they feel hesitant to look for volunteering opportunities themselves. Since the main topics of interest are health and well-being, the U3A has been running courses promoting healthy lifestyle, also computer literacy courses, cultural programs, etc.The members of the U3A network with other organizations of the same kind in the country. They also participate in national research and surveys on lifelong learning and older adult education.