Healing Newtown, no question, requires — among other things — a lot of heart and some juggling of events and various efforts among residents. On July 12, the painting of fired clay hearts used for helping others heal and actual juggling were forms of healing that took place for attendees at a HealingNewtown-hosted event.
There was dancing, eating, laughter, and healthy interaction between attendees of a Family Dance Party put on by HealingNewtown at its new home, Newtown Congregational Church, that Friday afternoon and evening. The event featured live music, a potluck dinner, juggling, and a Hearts of Hope station. HealingNewtown had been operating out of the former Ace Hardware storefront at 5 Queen Street, from February until mid-May.
The new location celebration included a three-person band, My Dad’s Truck — comprising Newtown Middle School teacher Susan Lang, as well as Leif Smith and Bill Wisnowski — performing on stage. Newtown Juggling and Circus Arts Club was on hand to allow children to test their hand-eye coordination with balls, flower sticks, and gymnastics ribbons.
Hearts of Hope representatives, including local chapter president Sue Shaw and Chrissy Hadgraft, worked with attendees to create colorful clay hearts that are used as a token of caring and compassion for communities and individuals recovering from a variety of tragedies and ailments.
Young parents assisted their children in decorating hearts, which will be used to help make others feel better. Past recipients of the hearts include New Jersey communities effected by Hurricane Sandy, Boston following the marathon bombing, Oklahoma following the tornados, and children battling cancer. Hearts of Hope holds monthly heart-making meetings open to the public, generally on the third Wednesday of every month, at Newtown United Methodist Church (5:30 to 8:30 pm). Newtown was introduced to Hearts of Hope in February, when dozens of volunteers hung a few hundred of the painted hearts around town just in time for Valentine's Day.
Attendees at the HealingNewtown event also created artwork for Urgent Care of Connecticut, which is slated to open an office in town in August.