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Norene Bradshaw plays mahjongg several times a month with her friends at Barnes & Noble in Wilkes-Barre Township.

Aimee Dilger/ the times leader

Given her schedule, one would have to wonder if Norene Bradshaw of Hanover Township is not busier now than when she was working full time. • “I absolutely love retirement,” she says. “I do stay busy,” says Bradshaw, “but it is a different kind of busy, not the pressure when you worked.” • In 2007, Bradshaw retired after 35 years as the corporate director of human resources at InterMetro Industries. Always one to stay involved, she continued many of the community activities in which she’d participated while she was working, such as the United Way. She currently serves as the co-chair of the Allocations Committee of the United Way of Wyoming Valley. This committee is responsible for the decisions involving the United Way’s distribution of funds.

As a board member and past board president of Head Start, Bradshaw has maintained a strong commitment to the Head Start Program, continuing her involvement even after retirement. “I love Head Start, I feel I can be part of something, I believe in the work they do,” she says.

Following retirement from InterMetro, Bradshaw participated in the Masters Leadership Program of Leadership Wilkes-Barre. She subsequently became the part time program director of the Masters Program, which is designed for retired and semi-retired active men and women who are interested in an enriching learning experience, according to Bradshaw. It provides participants with the opportunity to learn about the local culture, recreation resources and revitalization efforts taking place in our community. It starts with a time line that shows our local events and historical facts. Bradshaw says participants enjoy reliving past events and meeting interesting people.

Meeting people and being aware of every opportunity around you is necessary for an enjoyable retirement, says Bradshaw. “You need the contacts, that is the benefit of the Masters Program, you are not aware of everything that is happening.”

Bradshaw is very excited about the “Stay Active Stay Involved” event, which the Masters Program is sponsoring this year. This program will be held at King’s College for participants in the Masters Program and will expose them to the numerous volunteer opportunities available to them. Bradshaw feels this “Volunteer Fair” would be a wonderful opportunity for anyone interested in volunteering, not just participants of the Masters Program.

“The whole thing with retirement is having an enriching life and continuing learning,” says Bradshaw. Also a member of the Plus 50 advisory board at Luzerne County Community College, Bradshaw participates in designing programs for people who have five or more decades under their belts. These enrichment programs provide a great opportunity for retired individuals to learn something new and meet people with similar interests. This program also targets individual older than 50 who have lost their jobs and are looking for retraining.

Bradshaw is very involved with church ministries at St Leo’s/ Holy Rosary Parish in Ashley and volunteers at the Ashley Food Pantry, experiences she finds very rewarding.

An avid reader, Bradshaw belongs to two book discussion groups, which she credits for introducing her to many interesting people. A neighbor introduced her to the game of mahjongg, a Chinese tile game. Now an ardent player, Bradshaw plays at Barnes & Noble in Wilkes-Barre Township several times a month with a group of friends. She has also enjoyed traveling with her friends visiting Ireland and Canada since retirement, with a trip to Greece on the upcoming agenda.

When asked her secret to a successful retirement, Bradshaw concluded, “I think you need to have a passion for something and you need to plan for it.”

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