Happy New Year, everyone. Are you making resolutions for 2014? Weight loss and exercise frequently top the list year after year, but there are other worthy goals that may have a better chance of accomplishment.

Do you already belong to a community service organization? Perhaps your organization could use added help from a less expected source. Atholton High's Academic Life Skills Classes for students with significant disabilities are developing skills you may need.

Students learn by doing and are quite adept at collating, folding and stuffing enveolpes. Labeling, applying stamps, assembling notebooks, hole punching, shredding, assembling packets and kits and filing are some of their other skills. They would love to practice these skills at no charge for your organization. To learn more, contact sharon_cantor@hcpss.org or call 410-313-7065 ext. 270.

Perhaps you'd like to learn more about nature and your environment. Wesley Earp, president of the Howard County Bird Club, shared a URL you can access to download a free copy of the club's January-February newsletter, The Goldfinch. Go to http://www.howardbirds.org/Goldfinch/140102_HCBC_newsletter.pdf.

You might choose to join many of your neighbors in supporting the 2014 Relay for Life of Western Howard County. The kick-off rally will be held at the Gary J. Arthur Community Center in Cooksville at 7 p.m. on Jan. 7 to begin planning for the June event. Relay is a non-competetive walk-a-thon benefitting the American Cancer Society. Almost every family has a friend or family member touched by cancer. Over the past two years, Western Howard County Relay has raised nearly $150,000.

All are invited to attend the kick-off to learn about volunteer opportunities to help plan and run activities. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information, go to http://www.relayforlife.org/westernhoward or call the Relay Committee at 570-332-2859 or email najia.hasan@cancer.org.

While most students enjoyed a homework-free holiday break, some Clarksville MIddle students may have been diligently drilling to prepare for the Geography Bee on Jan. 8. In case of snow, the bee will be held Jan.13. Give it your best shot. Good luck to all competitors.

Clearly, many Clarksville Middle students are not waiting for 2014 to reslove to excell. Andrew Zheng is one of the top chess players in the USA. Andrew qualified for the 2013 World Youth Chess Competition in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Congratulations and good luck.

Congratulations also to the Clarksville Middle PTA Reflections participants and winners who will advance to the next level of competition. Those advancing from CMS include Julianne Blackman, Naomi Farkas and Catalina Lennon for Music Composition. In Literature, Marisa Torre, Shwetha Rao and Caroline Tang will advance. Karen Feng and Shwethat Rao won for Visual Arts. Jack Minnick is the winner in Photography.

Many thanks go to Kathie Blackman and Renee Lennon, PTA Reflections co-chairwomen and supporting faculty and parents.

Every parent will want to resolve to be a better parent in 2014. If your child will be entering River Hill High, you will want to attend the Parent Orientation on Jan. 9 starting at 6 p.m.