The tenth Newtown Relay For Life is just two weeks away and community spirit around the landmark event is building to a fever pitch around town. The public event, which helps raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society (ACS), has taken its place alongside the Labor Day Parade, holiday tree lightings and Halloween on Main Street as one of the biggest community building events of the year. Returning to Newtown High School’s Blue & Gold Stadium after several years at Fairfield Hills, the free, 12-hour non-sporting relay is expected to draw thousands of residents during the overnight of May 31 to June 1, many of whom have faced cancer themselves, or who have supported loved ones, friends, and family members through the fight. Event Chairman Chris Farrington is reminding those who are already registered for the 2014 Relay that the last full committee meeting is set for 6 pm on Thursday, May 22, at Newtown Savings Bank.
CT-Moms Online, the only non-profit parenting forum in Fairfield County, has partnered with over a dozen parenting organizations around the area for the 7th Annual Diaper Drive. The drive continues through the end of May at all 17 area locations of Bright Horizons Early Education & Preschool, The Little Gym, Tumble Jungle (including the Newtown location at 224 South Main Street) and KidVille, covering spanning the area from Stamford to Newtown with the help of over 20 town coordinators. Started in 2007 by collecting diapers from 80 members in their private homes, this drive has grown from a few boxes of diapers to over 20,000 diapers in the month filling two storage units. This year's goal is to collect at least 30,000 diapers for ten local charities.
Six community organizations have come together to present “A Day of Shared Experience,” Saturday, May 31, from 9:15 am to 2:30 pm, at Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel. The Community Connections event is being organized by The Resiliency Center of Newtown, Sandy Hook Promise, Newtown/Sandy Hook Community Foundation, Inc, Walnut Hill Community Church, the Town of Newtown, and Newtown Public Schools as a means of helping people understand the trauma experienced 12/14, and developing understanding. It will also serve as a means to learn about coping skills that have worked for others who have experienced trauma similar to that of 12/14. Attendees will hear from keynote speaker Dr Kevin Becker, and will also have the opportunity to hear from survivors and relatives of tragedies that took place at Chardon High School, Columbine High School, the Nickel Mines Amish community, and Virginia Tech, among other speakers.
Newtown Youth & Family Services (NYFS), at 15 Berkshire Road in Sandy Hook, is developing a new curriculum for individuals and families who are looking for social recreational and educational programming for children with autism spectrum disorders. The agency is working closely with the autism resources and services of Connecticut, and has recently hired a full-time recreational therapist who will lead these programs. To continue developing its new curriculum, NYFS is requesting that Newtown families complete an anonymous 14-question survey concerning services that are currently available, suggestions for other services, and what roadblocks they are experiencing, among other topics.
There was such a tremendous response to her last visit, Suzanne Rossini is returning to The Resiliency Center (RCN) this week. Ms Rossini will offer a workshop on Friday, May 9, at 4:15 pm. Yoga is also returning to RCN. Adults are invited to take a 60-minute yoga staycation. Release and refresh the entire body and mind with simple, accessible yoga techniques taught in a safe, private, supportive environment. Classes will begin Tuesday, May 13, and will continue for six weeks.
Local Artist David Merrill stands beside a colorful heart he helped design for Families United in Newtown (FUN), which was founded by resident Linda Jones, right, in memory of her late son, Tyler. FUN will present a night of music, Friday, May 9, at 7 pm at Newtown Congregational Church, 14 West Street. Mr Merrill will be honored at the event during the unveiling of the “traveling heart” that was handmade by special needs students and painted by the accomplished artist. The heart will go on display at C.H. Booth Library following the concert, alerting patrons to the resources available at the library’s “Autism Nook.” Admission to the concert is free, but FUN will be collecting donations at the door for continued support of the program and autism awareness. Light refreshments will be served.
Renee Wilson, owner of Total Performance Sports and Fitness at 31 Peck’s Lane, is hosting a series of Bootcamp workouts to benefit Hawley School teacher Stephanie Dunshee, who is undergoing cancer treatment. Bootcamp sessions are ongoing through June 2. One-hour sessions will be offered Mondays and Wednesdays beginning at 9:30 am, and 4:30 and 6:30; Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning at 10:30 am and 6:30 pm. On the weekends, 75-minute classes will be offered. These will begin on Saturdays at 8 am and 1 pm; and Sundays at 2 pm. Sessions are $10 each ($5 for Total Fitness members), or $60 for a package of ten sessions ($30 members).
The American Cancer Society has selected Mary Ann Jacob to serve as honorary chair and Jim Zarifis as honorary caregiver for this year’s Relay For Life of Newtown. The tenth Newtown event will begin during the afternoon of Saturday, May 31, and continue during the overnight, into Sunday, June 1, at Newtown High School. Ms Jacob told The Newtown Bee that she has always been aware of Relays For Life, but especially in Newtown because of how huge the event has been and how many people participate. Jim Zarifis has lost a few relatives to cancer. But he never considered his son, James, who was 11 years old at the time, was suffering from anything beyond the aftereffects of a Lyme disease diagnosis, when the youngster started getting nauseous and throwing up every morning nearly 12 years ago.
The Newtown Public Schools Recovery Project has slated its next parent forums, which will be held at Sandy Hook Elementary School and Reed Intermediate School. Each forum will be presented twice, once during the school day and again in the evening, to allow for maximum participation. Programs last for one hour. The Sandy Hook program, "Summer Planning," has been rescheduled from last week; the Reed forum will describe different forms of bullying, and offer suggestions to help kids and parents manage such situations.
Unfortunately, the long, cold snowy winter actually has boosted the activities of developing ticks who thrived because of it, according to Newtown Health District Director Donna Culbert. She told The Newtown Bee this week that Dr Kirby Stafford, chief scientist and state entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station tells her snow cover can moderate temperatures where the ticks live, providing a lot of humidity. And the state entomologist believes that ticks were not hampered by what was considered to be a harsh winter. Ms Culbert is already sensing that tick season is arriving “with a vengeance.” So the Health District, along with its community partners, will be doing its best to get the word out about the risk of tick bites, tickborne disease, and how residents can better protect themselves.