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Continued Special Offers And Gestures Of Kindness To Help Newtown Heal



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Scissors were snipping and clippers were buzzing at Fun Kuts in Sandy Hook center on December 22 as the salon and attached consignment business bustled with activity thanks to a benefit cut-a-thon hastily arranged by owner Marci Benitez and her staff.

Visitors waiting for a chair had an opportunity to offer prayers for the Sandy Hook School victims thanks to a table stationed out front adorned with cuddly stuffed animals and blank prayer cards, which were frequently restocked as the event continued. In the end the cut-a-thon netted more than $1,300 for the Sandy Hook School Support Fund established by the Newtown Savings Bank in partnership with United Way of Western Connecticut, according to Ms Benitez.

While that event was a special fundraiser, others are also doing what they can to offer special events to help residents of all ages begin or continue healing.

*Former Newtown resident Kathy Barnes, who attended Sandy Hook School (as did younger sister Susan) and is now director of Hill Farm Preschool, has organized a Winter Carnival for current residents. The special event will take place Saturday, December 29, from 10 am to 4 pm, in the gymnasium of Edmond Town Hall.

Ms Barnes and friends have been able to arrange for face painting, magicians, musicians, crafts, games and prizes, and family portraits to be created by a professional photographer, among other offerings during the free event.

Vazzy Osteria and Super Duper Weenie are donating all the food, and there will also be a cupcake truck providing treats.

“This event is only for Newtown residents and we would love to have many SHS families,” said Ms Barnes. It will be, she envisions, “a day where [kids] can be kids again and reunite with peers.

“I have fond memories [of Newtown] and have always felt strong ties to the community although I do not currently reside in town,” she said, adding that among her favorite memories were attending Lathrop School of Dance and then visiting what she called the “little red store” for a treat. “When I heard the news and I saw that many people were donating their talents I thought for a while about what I can do and then it hit me: my background is children so naturally I came up with an idea to provide the children with a special time to be kids again, to restore their innocence,” she said.

Just one hour after the winter carnival ends, Newtown kids will get the opportunity to have fun with a classic children’s activity: jump rope.

*There will be a jump rope/Double Dutch workshop open to all Newtown children ages 5 and up, including teens, on Saturday, December 29, from 5 to 7 pm, in the Edmond Town Hall gym, 45 Main Street. (Please note this is a change of date, time, and location from the original plan for this event).

Experienced athletes from Newtown’s former competitive jump rope team The Moon Jumpers will lead the workshop, along with some special guests who want to show their support for the town. Guest instructors will include jumpers from champion jump rope teams in Torrington and Rhode Island, plus a couple of master jumpers from South Africa.

During the workshop, kids will be grouped according to age and ability to learn single rope tricks, Double Dutch, and even some advanced jump rope group skills such as Chinese Wheel and Traveler.

The jump rope workshop is sponsored by Newtown Parks & Recreation, and there is no cost to attend. Newtown children only, please. Kids should arrive ready to jump, wearing sneakers and athletic clothing and with a water bottle.

For additional information contact Newtown Parks & Rec, 203-270-4340.

Out-Of-Town Offers & Specials

*In response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is offering free general admission to all residents of Newtown, as well as to Newtown educators and first responders and their families, from December 26 through December 31, 2013.

“We at The Maritime Aquarium are heartbroken by the events of December 14 and strongly feel the need to reach out,” said Jennifer Herring, the Aquarium’s president. “Ours is a small but heartfelt gesture that we hope will help the people of Newtown.”

Ms Herring emphasized the healing power of animals. Numerous studies show that interactions with animals can be especially relaxing and relieving in times of stress.

“Perhaps our offer will mean some nice ‘quality time’ for Newtown families,” she said. “However it may help, we would be honored.”

Here are the specifics: The offer for free Aquarium general admission is good from December 26, 2012, through December 31, 2013. Residents of Newtown should bring proof of residency, such as a driver’s license or utility bill.

The offer also is good for educators and first responders who are employed by the Town of Newtown, and their immediate families, with some form of work identification.

Please note the offer is not available for online tickets.

The Maritime Aquarium is at 10 N Water Street in Norwalk, about a 45-minute drive from Newtown. For more details, visit www.MaritimeAquarium.org or call 203-852-0700.

*The Bridgeport Sound Tigers announced on December 21 that all Newtown residents are invited to attend home games, free of charge, on Saturday, December 22; Wednesday, December 26; and Saturday, December 29.

“We hope to provide a welcome distraction for families and friends during this difficult time,” Sound Tigers President Howard Saffan said. “We want to support the Newtown community and facilitate the healing process.”

While the first two games will have taken place before this issue of The Bee goes to press, residents still have an opportunity to catch the third game, on December 29.

The Sound Tigers will host Manchester at 7 pm.

Newtown residents can go the Webster Bank Arena Click It Or Ticket Box Office during regular business hours to pick up tickets. Valid photo ID to prove residency will be required. The box office opens at 10 am and remains open one hour into the game on all game days. The box office will be closed December 23- 25.

The Sound Tigers play at Webster Bank Arena, 600 Main Street in Bridgeport. For more information, call the Sound Tigers at (203) 334-GOAL or email info@soundtigers.com.

*In an effort to help Newtown residents, The Stamford Museum & Nature Center will be providing Newtown families with free admission for the remainder of the year. The SM&NC is inviting Newtown residents to come and visit and take a stroll on the farm, hike through the woods, play on Nature’s Playground, or enjoy the current Lego trainscape and gingerbread exhibitions.

“We hope being surrounded by the beauty of the natural world and enjoying fun family exhibitions will provide some peace and comfort to our neighbors in Newtown,” a museum representative said via a press release.

Newtown residents should present their driver’s license for free admission. The museum and nature center is at 39 Scofieldtown Road, three-quarters of a mile north of Merritt Parkway Exit 35. It is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.

For more information call 203-322-1646 or visit www.stamfordmuseum.org.

*The Connecticut Society of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CSAOM.org), a nonprofit association of licensed acupuncturists, is providing free stress recovery treatments. All members of the community are welcome to receive treatment.

For the special care of children, nonneedle acupressure approaches are used that are as effective as needles in calming the nervous system. Many volunteers are also trained therapists, nurses, and counselors.

CSAOM members will be at 111 Church Hill Road in Sandy Hook (in the space that used to house Mr Turtle’s School), through at least the end of February.

“We have volunteers ready to staff until at least then,” said Regina Walsh, Lac, a member of CSAOM.

The acupuncture treatments are effective for helping people facing stress, anger, frustration, depression, fatigue, and other emotional and physical pain. These simple acupuncture treatments have a positive transformative effect without requiring the recipient to talk about their symptoms or emotions unless they would like to.

Treatments are provided in a communal setting with the recipient fully clothed and seated in a chair. Five thin, sterilized, disposable needles are applied gently to points on each ear.

“We create a safe, quiet space to allow the calming effects to heal,” said Ms Walsh.

The following weekend’s hours are Friday, December 28, 4 to 8 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, December 29- 30, 10 am to 6 pm. Appointments are not necessary.

Beyond that, said Ms Walsh, the schedule will be updated weekly. Check CSAOM.org regularly for an updated schedule.

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