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New program to help children cope with tragedy


RAINBOWS, an international organization dedicated to helping children who have been the victims of tragedies, now includes Mount Airy among its 5,000 program sites.

Children, in kindergarten through grade 12, who have experienced the trauma of death, divorce, separation or abandonment are invited to register for the program, which begins Nov. 6 at Calvary United Methodist Church in Mount Airy. The ecumenical program is open to children of all faiths.

The Rainbows' structured, 12-session program helps children "to heal their emotional hurts" by sharing their feelings and fears with peers, said site coordinator Eileen Starkey. Young people often don't realize that "things will get better tomorrow," she explained.

Storytelling, game-playing and simply "talking things out" are methods used to explore specific topics during weekly discussions, Mrs. Starkey said. The weekly one-hour meetings are guided by volunteer facilitators, who have taken a minimum of six hours of training.

"It is their job to keep things on target," she said. "The need for confidentiality is emphasized during facilitator training and peer group sessions."

The program will be conducted in two sections of group meetings. The first part will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. from Nov. 6 to Dec. 11 at Calvary Church. A "Celebrate Me" Day from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 17 will wrap up the first half of the program. The second half of group meetings will follow from Jan. 8 to Feb. 12, with the program finale scheduled from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 19.

Mrs. Starkey was inspired to start a local Rainbows' site about five years ago when she read an article about the program in Guideposts magazine. She said she was aware of the need for a program such as Rainbows during her 30-year career as a primary teacher. She said many of her students attended school with emotional burdens and often would "spill out their confusion and troubles in their writings."

Mrs. Starkey, who retired from teaching in 1992, received information about the program but delayed starting it because she needed financial sponsorship. Later, she said she was inspired by a sermon on divorce preached by the Rev. Carol Yocum, assistant pastor of Calvary United Methodist Church.

A Rainbows site in Mount Airy became a reality when Calvary's Prayer and Health Team agreed to sponsor the program.

Rainbows was founded in Chicago in 1983 by Suzy Yehl Marta, a mother of three who was dismayed by the lack of emotional support for her children during her divorce. The program has been recognized for excellence and features a network of 80,000 volunteers who help children in 5,000 sites in 48 states and in 10 foreign countries.

Registrations are being accepted for Mount Airy's Rainbows 1995-1996 program. A $10 fee is being requested to help defray the cost of course materials. Family rates and scholarships are available. "No child will be turned away," Mrs. Starkey said.

I= Information: (301) 831-7808. To register: (301) 829-0358.

Benefit horseshoes tourney

Horseshoes have brought 13 years of good luck to the Carroll County Special Olympics and the promise of continuing support through annual tournament fund-raisers.

This tradition will continue tomorrow when Rewster's Restaurant, Woodbine Recreation Council, and Eagle Snacks sponsor the 14th annual Horseshoe Tournament at the Winfield Carnival Grounds.

The best two-of-three, double-elimination tourney begins at 8 a.m. with registration of two-person teams. People of all ages and abilities are invited to participate in the friendly competition. A $10 entry fee will be charged.

"We stop taking registration forms at 9 a.m. sharp," said Doug Henley of Rewster's Restaurant.

Spectators are welcome with no admission fee and food will be sold.

+ Information: (410) 875-2555

Lions celebrate anniversary

Next week has been declared "Mount Airy Lions Week" by Mount Airy Mayor Gerald Johnson and members of the Town Council.

The local service club will celebrate the 55th anniversary of its charter during a dinner Tuesday at the Cozy Inn in Thurmont. The club was chartered Oct. 30, 1940.

The club welcomes inquiries about membership. Information: (301) 829-LION.

Frederick Volksmarch

The Piedmont Pacers invite walkers to enjoy an invigorating walk in the fall foliage at their Volksmarch this weekend at Cunningham Falls State Park near Thurmont.

The start time on both days is between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. with finish by 5 p.m.

0 Information, (410) 795-7855.

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