The website has been spotty, but Access Health CT, the state’s new health insurance marketplace created by the federal health reform law, enrolled its first member shortly before 9:30 Tuesday morning.
CEO Kevin Counihan was an in-studio guest on WNPR’s Where We Live when the Access Health site was slated to launch. After hearing reports that people had been unable to access it, Counihan got a text message and scribbled “We’re live” on a piece of paper.
In addition to the first enrollee, he said shortly before 9:30, 764 people had active applications.
“For a site that’s been up for 25 minutes, it’s not bad,” he said.
Access Health is the state’s health insurance exchange, a key piece of the law commonly known as Obamacare. It is intended to offer customers a chance to comparison-shop for health plans offered by private insurers, and many of the shoppers are expected to qualify for federal subsidies that could make their premiums significantly cheaper.
Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. (NYFS) will hold an American Red Cross CPR Certification class on Wednesday, October 16, from 6 to 9 pm. “The class which will cover cardiopulmonary resuscitation for infants, children and adults, is a great class for all caregivers and anyone interested in being certified” said agency Executive Director and CPR Instructor Candice Bohr. Registration is required for the class; the fee is $55 per person. The class will be held in a casual setting at NYFS, 15 Berkshire Road in Sandy Hook.
Shortly after the events of 12/14, The Rotary Club of Newtown, United Way of Western Connecticut (UWWC) and the Office of Victim Services (OVS) worked together to develop the Immediate Needs Fund. The purpose of the fund was two-fold. First, it helped to meet the short-term (3-6 months) financial needs of Sandy Hook families, teachers and first responders experiencing temporary loss of income due to the tragedy by helping cover basic household expenses. Second, it helped cover the cost of seeking counseling and mental health services by those impacted by the tragedy. Since then, UWWC and Newtown Rotary have spent more than $540,000 to help cover everything from heating oil, electricity, mortgages and car payments to counseling bills for over 130 households. The Newtown Memorial Fund, Inc. now joins this effort as a new partner. The process remains the same for individuals seeking assistance, but now increases the dollars available to the community to ensure support will last longer.
A free workshop, “Chill & Spill: Powerful/Powerless,” will be offered on Sunday, October 6, from 2 to 4 pm, at Newtown Congregational Church. Presented by Art with Heart and geared for tweens and teens, participants will be encouraged to express what is in their heart through collage art. Pizza will be served. The first 50 young adults who register will also be given a Chill & Spill journal to take home. Chill & Spill is a therapeutic guided journal designed to help youth ages 10 and up articulate and transform difficult issues with which they are dealing. It offers a combination of 20 creative writing and artistic expression activities with enough blank pages to explore both head and heart and to talk, yell, cry, boast, dream, and evolve.
Tucked away on the Newtown Health District website is a raft of information on mental health services and issues being made available to the community by Director Donna Culbert. The Newtown Health District recently added a Mental Health referral page under the Additional Links on its webpage. The district’s mental health site provides a list of local providers of mental health support, with a variety of services and training, for those in the community who are looking for help.
Chill & Spill is a therapeutic curriculum and hands-on approach developed by Seattle-based Art with Heart that teaches creative expression as a tool to reach reluctant youth, as well as to engage groups. The program also helps youth increase self-awareness and manage difficult emotions; encouraged coping skills, as well as social and emotional learning (SEL); and provides a “heal the healer” opportunity for youth care professionals. Adults who directly deal with teens and would like to be trained in this creative way to aid in their mental health are invited to participate in a workshop being offered at Newtown Congregational Church. Sessions are planned for Friday, October 4, from 3 to 7 pm, and Saturday, October 5, from 8:30 until 5:30 pm.
Aimee Tabor is among the many Sandy Hook parents making new connections and friendships since 12/14. She is among a group of roughly a dozen women in town who have formed The Sandy Hook Sole Sisters team, combining efforts with New York residents to do the October two-day, 39-mile Avon Breast Cancer walk and fundraising event in New York City. The story began in May, when friendships with a group of mothers in Rye, N.Y., began with an invitation to a day of healing. Rye resident Sandy Samberg, founder of Sole Ryeders, and Sandy Hook resident Adrian Dandrea, who was undergoing treatment for breast cancer, and her friend Kat Young “came up with the idea to join forces” and do the 39-mile Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in New York City, October 19–20, as one team Two communities are now working together to support a cause that has impacted both communities, and many others.
The Resiliency Center of Newtown has been created to provide long-term support and healing assistance to anyone impacted by the events that occurred on December 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The Resiliency Center of Newtown was founded by Sandy Hook resident Stephanie N. Cinque, MSW, and Connecticut state certified school social worker, along with the help of many dedicated volunteers. Resiliency Center of Newtown offers a variety of programs, services, and events designed to empower the residents of Newtown and surrounding areas. Programs focus on building resiliency in individuals, families, and within the community. The organization provides discreet and confidential services, educational seminars, mentorship programs, and outreach events of various kinds. These wellness-based services are distinguished and differentiated to meet a broad range of individual needs.
For the second consecutive year, Amie Meleshkewich of Flow To Fit Yoga helped Light The Night Team “AHH…Always Have Hope!” raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) through a Yoga For A Cure fundraiser, held Friday, September 13. A donation of $25 was requested for each participant, with all proceeds to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Each participant also received a Light The Night gift bag and bottle of water. Ivy Pearson, captain of Team “AHH… Always Have Hope!,” said this year’s Yoga For A Cure event had more participants than last year’s. By the start of the evening’s yoga session, 15 people were seated on yoga mats at The Graceful Planet in Sandy Hook. Before Ms Meleshkewich began the session, Ms Pearson thanked Ms Meleshkewich and everyone coming for their help in raising funds for the LLS.
For those who want to live a more engaged and balanced life, there is a way of being and doing that allows one to live life more fully through the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a human quality, a way of learning to pay wise attention to what is happening in the present moment, with non-judgmental awareness. Sound (Center for Music, Creative Arts & Mindfulness), a renovated historic chapel at 31 Hawleyville Road, will host a free “Introduction to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)” program on Monday, September 23, at 6:30 pm.