This article has been updated to reflect a change in plans for visits by The Therapy Dogs of Sandy Hook at Newtown Veterinary Specialists.
Most of Newtown’s houses of worship are offering special services this weekend so that residents may join together to remember those who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 (see separate story).
In addition, a number of groups and organizations have also planned special events that are meant to help people cope, come together and/or offer support for the weekend of December 13-15, in relation to the first anniversary of 12/14.
Following is a list of announcements that have been received:
Friday, December 13
Newtown Youth & Family Services (NYFS) will be operating on extended hours from December 13-15, and will also be open for walk-in support services for individuals and families in the community who have been impacted by the Sandy Hook tragedy.
The agency will be open Friday from 9 am to 8 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, and Sunday from noon to 6 pm. NYFS is at 15 Berkshire Road in Sandy Hook.
For almost a year, NYFS has been providing its walk-in support services to the community. These services are for both individuals and families to express their personal concerns and feelings related to the tragedy, meet with a staff therapist who can address these concerns, answer questions and provide referrals for ongoing services if needed. While no appointment is necessary, with walk-ins welcome during set times, community members are encouraged to call ahead if they wish to be seen at a specific time.
According to the NYFS website, the agency will also be open for its regular walk-in hours on Tuesday and Thursday, December 17 and 19, from 4 to 7 pm; and Wednesday, December 18, from 9 am until noon.
Anyone unable to visit during scheduled times is encouraged to call 203-426-8103 and request an appointment. Call 211 for immediate assistance.
For a complete and up-to-date listing of walk-in support hours, along with regular agency hours and information visit www.newtownyouthandfamilyservices.org.
Ben’s Bells Newtown will have special hours, with the studio, at 17 Church Hill Road, open from 1-9 pm.
A $5 donation is suggested. All ages are invited to create and/or paint clay beads, flowers and other pieces to be strung into works that are hung in public places, also paint Kindness Coins. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.Facebook.com/BensBellsNewtown for additional information.
Saturday, December 14
Governor Dannel P. Malloy is calling for houses of worship to mark the first anniversary of the Newtown school shooting by ringing their bells 26 times at 9:30 Saturday morning.
Ben’s Bells Newtown studio will also have extended hours on Saturday, with its doors open from 9 am to 9 pm (the studio is usually open from noon to 4 pm Saturdays; see additional details under Friday’s listings).
My Circles of Love is inviting Newtown residents to turn off the TV, unplug and join them for an uplifting morning of Hand Drums & Hula Hoops, indoors at Sticks & Stones Farm.
Janet and Michael Maurice will lead drumming and hooping; rhythm sticks and dancing ribbons will also be available. No experience is necessary.
The event is from 9:30 to 11:30 am, and is open to residents of all ages. Cider, coffee and morning snacks will be offered.
Those planning to attend are asked to consider bringing a non-perishable food item for the CT Food Bank. Also, a $5 donation is requested to help cover the cost of the facility rental.
Sticks & Stones Farm is at 201 Huntingtown Road in Newtown. For additional information call 203-270-8820 or visit MyCirclesOfLove.org.
The Resiliency Center of Newtown, at 152 South Main Street, will be open from 9 am to 4 pm, offering a safe place for people to gather and be together. Services provided will be peer support, arts and crafts for children, reflexology, reiki, and herbal remedies.
(Please note the center will remain open one hour later than had originally been planned and announced last week.)
The schedule for Saturday is as follows: 9 am to noon, reflexology and reiki; 10 am to noon, pet therapy with Zoe the dog; 10 am to 2 pm, herbal remedies and teas; noon to 2 pm, chair massages; 12:30 to 3:30 pm, music therapist playing calming sounds; noon to 4 pm, therapeutic open art studio for children, and adults can create their very own terrarium; and 1 to 4 pm, stress reduction and release work through stretching, meditation, and breathing. Peer support and therapeutic services will also be available.
NYA Sports & Fitness Center will be open to Newtown families for Family Open Play from 9 am until 8 pm. The sports and fitness center is at 4 Primrose Street, within the Fairfield Hills campus.
Unlike previous Open Plays NYA has hosted over the last year, Saturday’s family open play format is not a child drop off day. Instead, this day is about providing families a safe media free opportunity to play with neighbors, friends and each other.
Multiple games and activities will be provided to encourage this theme. All residents should feel welcome to attend and join in at any capacity they would like.
There is no registration, but waivers must be completed upon arrival. There will sporting equipment available for free game activity in any space not being used during the structured time line below:
*10 am-4 pm: Bounce house, slide and obstacle course, for ages 3-14, in the Field House Courtside Turf Area;
*10 am-1 pm: organized Family Soccer Games for all ages on the Turf Area;
*1-2 pm: Volleyball, all ages, in the Field House;
*2-4 pm: Basketball, for all ages, in the Field House;
*1-4 pm: Wiffle ball and kickball games, all ages, Field House Tennis Court; and
*4-8 pm: basketball games, ages 14 and up, Field House Tennis Court.
Updates regarding this event can be found at NYASportsFitness.com, or call 203-426-0088 for additional information.
NYFS will be open from 10 am to 6 pm (see details under Friday’s listings)
Newtown Veterinary Specialists, at 52 Church Hill Road, will host visiting hours with some of the canines who have become The Therapy Dogs of Sandy Hook. The dogs will be at NVS from 10 am to 5 pm. This will be a media-free zone.
Sandy Hook Promise announces that therapy dogs from Camp Bow Wow, based in Boulder, Colo., will be at C.H. Booth Library from 11 am to noon. Dogs from Camp Bow Wow visited Newtown previously, in August.
Children of all ages are welcome to visit with the dogs in the meeting room of the library, 25 Main Street. Registration is not required.
No media will be admitted.
CT Counselors, at 107 Church Hill Road in Sandy Hook, will open its doors for individuals to visit, sit quietly and reflect between the hours of 1 and 4 pm.
Counselors will be available on Saturday, maintaining a safe, quiet place for those who wish to join them. A group session called Reflections will also be offered, for those who would prefer to reflect in a group setting. Groups will begin at 2 pm and will be available first come, first served.
Coffee and tea will be available. The counselors respectfully request no media participation.
For additional information call 203-270-9888 extension 2 or send e-mail to info@CTCounselors.com.
Sunday, December 15
The second Newtown Veterinary Specialists session with The Therapy Dogs of Sandy Hook will be from 10 am until 5 pm (see details under Friday’s listing).
NYFS will be open from 12-6 pm (see details under Friday’s listings)
“Choosing Love,” a free public lecture, will take place at Newtown Meeting House, 31 Main Street, Sunday afternoon at 5. The speaker will be Fujiko Takai Signs of Tokyo, Japan, and Pleasant Gap, Penn.
The one-hour talk is being sponsored by First Church of Christ, Scientist, Southbury. The talk will explore the power of prayer to bring healing, the importance of having a childlike consciousness to experience more harmony, health, and practical spirituality and unity, and — perhaps most importantly — the power of divine Love to bring peace.
In her mid-thirties, Fujiko fell ill and sought healing through different treatments, but none of them gave her a lasting cure.
“One day, to my surprise, I found that the healing of Christ Jesus was possible now and learnable. I began reading about this system of healing in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, a respected American healer and religious leader, and I was relieved from various symptoms that had limited me before,” she said. “As I studied and learned more about Christian Science, I witnessed many healings within my family and circle of friends and eventually received requests to assist others with prayer.”
After becoming a Christian Science practitioner, she was asked to talk with doctors and nurses about patients with a desire to practice nontraditional medicine, including prayer and meditation. She also volunteered in a community coalition in hopes of encouraging and enhancing communication between different faith groups that sought well-being in the community.
All are welcome. For additional information, call 203-262-1944.