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Counseling And Support For Newtowners

In light of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, several agencies are be offering open forums for parents, caregivers, nd educators on how to help children and their families. Other organizations will be offering special programs to help children and adults work though what they are thinking and feeling. Residents are reminded that all of Newtown’s clergy have opened their doors for those who are seeking spiritual guidance, whether or not one is a regular attendee of any house of worship.

Counseling services will continue to be available at Reed Intermediate School through Friday, December 21, from 4 to 8 pm each night.

Newtown Youth & Family Services will continue to offer counseling at their office, 15 Berkshire Road. Kids in Crisis, a crisis intervention team, provides free emotional and therapeutic support for parents, students, families, and school staff, all free of charge.

Numerous professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists and clinicians, are available from 9 am to 8 pm through Thursday, December 20; 9 am to 5 pm Friday, December 21; 9 am to noon on Saturday, December 22; 1 to 4 pm Sunday, December 23; 9 am until noon Monday, December 24; 11 am to 4 pm Tuesday, December 25; 9 am to 8 pm Wednesday and Thursday, December 26–27; and 9 am to 5 pm Friday, December 28.

NYFS Executive Director Candice Bohr said on December 20 that anyone affected by last week’s shooting is welcome to visit NYFS “any time we are open, no appointment necessary. We are still open as well for normal offerings for our regular clients.” For more information call 203-426-8103.

Lucy, the world’s smallest certified therapy dog, will be at Your Healthy Pet on Saturday, December 22, from 1 to 3:30 pm. Lucy is a Yorkshire terrier the size of a kitten. She was rescued by her Mom while on her way to the local shelter. Lucy goes into schools, hospitals, nursing homes, juvenile treatment centers, anywhere her affection is needed. She is hoping to bring comfort to the Newtown community.

“Please pass the word to anyone who needs a hug during this difficult time,” Mary-Kay Novak, who co-owns the store with husband Tom and son Ryan, said on Wednesday. Your Healthy Pet is at 224 South Main Street.

The Grassroots Fitness Project from New York City and The Gym from Southbury have joined together to create The Sandy Hook Healing Project. This is a nonprofit effort to bring healing of all kinds to the community. Massage therapists, reiki practitioners, acupuncturists, counselors, and others will all be available free of charge to anyone who needs some healing at 3 Simm Lane beginning Friday, December 21. All of the healing practitioners are offering their services for free to those in the area who are in need.

The Sandy Hook Healing Project hours of operation will be Friday, December 21, from 4 to 8 pm; Saturday and Sunday, December 22–23, 10 am to 6 pm; Monday, December 24, 9 am to 4 pm; Tuesday, December 25, noon to 4 pm; Wednesday through Friday, December 26–28, 1 to 8 pm; and Saturday, December 29, 10 am to 6 pm.

Adults and children are all welcome. Appointments are not necessary. Guests are asked to park in the upper parking lot.

The Christmas holiday is going to be difficult for so many in Newtown. The practitioners are hoping that by being available in the days leading up to, including and following Christmas Day, they will be able to help resident with counseling, reiki or healing massage.

For additional information contact Ann Glaser at 203-733-8903 or aglaser@thegym.com

Global health service company Cigna, which is headquartered in Bloomfield, is offering free telephonic consultations for two weeks to residents of Newtown and surrounding communities in Fairfield County who are coping with the shooting. Cigna’s behavioral health professionals are qualified clinicians who are skilled at helping people cope with traumatic events.

Residents who do not have health benefits or employee assistance program benefits with Cigna can call 866-912-1687 24 hours a day through December 28. Residents who have health benefits or employee assistance program benefits with Cigna should call the telephone number on their Cigna ID card.

The Family Study Center, 57 North Street (Suite 419) in Danbury, is providing art therapy groups for the students of Sandy Hook School who experienced the tragic shooting. These groups will be led by art therapists experienced in traumatic loss work with children and will be provided at no cost to the families.

For more information contact Ellie Nicol, ATR-BC, board certified art therapist at The Family Study Center, 203-778-2020 extension 12. Groups will start as soon as possible.

Healing Hearts Center for Grieving  Children and Families, 73 Stadley Rough Road, Danbury, a program managed by Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western Connecticut, is offering drop-in hours to help those impacted by the Sandy Hook tragedy, through this Friday, 11 am to 4 pm. They are also working with other agencies and school officials to provide resources and support in Newtown and to plan for long-term support for families who lost a loved one. Groups and program will be announced. Support and educational material is available. For more information, call 203-792-4422.

Members of the Yale-New Haven Hospital Crisis Intervention Team and crisis intervention counselors from Danbury Hospital, as well as mental health clinicians from the State of Connecticut, are available for counseling to residents of Newtown/Sandy Hook, of all ages, not directly affected by the shootings at Sandy Hook School. Alternate counseling has been arranged for victim’s families. Counselors will be at Edmond Town Hall as of Monday, according to a spokesperson in the office of the Newtown First Selectman.

Any Connecticut resident who needs assistance to get through this difficult time is urged to call 211. The 211 Infoline will be able to direct you to available resources. Assistance may include, but is not limited to, victim assistance agencies, counselors, religious or ministry services, dog therapy, transportation services, and any other type of support goods or services.

Meanwhile, anyone who has services to offer and who has not already done so is asked to call the state’s 211 Infoline to register their services.

Many parents may feel at a loss about how to approach the subject of school violence with their children. For information on helping your child cope, discussing issues of violence and hate, and keeping your school safe, visit PTA.org/schoolviolence.

(The Newtown Bee will continue to add information on special programs and services being offered to residents of Newtown and the region as we are made aware of them. Please find this story online at www.NewtownBee.com, where additions will be noted as they are brought to our attention.)

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