Community and health care professionals are cordially invited to attend a Hospice and Palliative Care Fair at Masonicare at Newtown on Wednesday, October 16, from 2 to 6 pm. The event, sponsored by Masonicare Home Health & Hospice, will feature experts who will explain that hospice is not a place, but a philosophy of care with a holistic approach designed to encompass mind, body, and spirit. It will explore the many benefits hospice and palliative care can bring to patients and their families who may be dealing with a serious or life-limiting illness. Several information booths will feature health care experts who will outline the myriad services Masonicare’s hospice program provides, including bereavement support and spiritual care, home health services, social workers and volunteer opportunities, the “Reflections” program for patients with dementia, and more. Attendees will receive a raffle ticket at each booth visited to be entered into a drawing for a free door prize, complimentary chair massages will be available, and refreshments will be served.
Those wishing to attend should RSVP to the Masonicare HelpLine at 888-679-9997 by Monday, October 14.
Two members of Newtown Christian Church recently became certified CPR instructors, and have decided to share their knowledge with the community. Jamie Tanner and Kevin Kuzma will lead Adult & Infant CPR, AED & First Aid classes on Saturdays, October 19, November 2 and December 7. Each five-hour class will run from 9 am until 2 pm. For those who want to take the class without certification, there is no charge. To receive Red Cross Certification, there is a $27 fee.
Kim Weber, Booth Library young adult librarian, Kim Killoy, Drug Free Communities grant coordinator, and Judy Blanchard, district health coordinator and co-chair of the Newtown Prevention Council, recently met at The Parent Corner of the C.H. Booth Library to plan the group’s Parent Speaker series. This year the library and NPC will present Anthony Wolf, PhD, an author of many booksincluding "A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager." His lecture, titled “Parenting Teens in a Difficult Time,” will take place at the library, on October 23 at 7 pm. With The Newtown Bee among its community partners, the council boasts upwards of 45 members and meets five times each year at the library. All meetings are open to the public. Ms Blanchard has been a part of the council since 1991 and serves as co-chair with Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe.
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.
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.
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.
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.