Healthy Families gets $100,000 grant

Healthy Families Howard County, a program that offers educational and emotional support to first-time parents during their first five years as parents, has received its fifth consecutive grant of $100,000 from the Freddie Mac Foundation.


The foundation has helped start and fund 10 Healthy Families sites in the Washington area.

Healthy Families Howard County is administered by Howard County General Hospital in partnership with Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland. The program is also funded by grants from the Local Children's Board of Howard County, the Community Service Partnership and the Columbia Foundation.


Daylong classes at sports club

Karate and fitness expert Billy Blanks will lead classes during a daylong event tomorrow at the Columbia Association's Supreme Sports Club. The event will focus on Tae Bo and Billy's Boot Camp, two fitness workouts created by Blanks.

Sessions will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.; 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.; noon to 1:15 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Each session includes a motivational speech during the day and a meet-and-greet session.

Columbia Association membership rates apply.

The Supreme Sports Club is at 7080 Deepage Drive, Columbia.

Information: 410-381-5355.

YMCA is hosting open house tomorrow

The YMCA of Central Maryland, Howard County Family Branch, will hold an open house from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow at its facility at 4331 Montgomery Road, Ellicott City.


Those who attend can tour the facility, observe its programs and join without paying a joining fee (monthly or annual dues will still apply).

Information: Jessica Monaghan, 410-465-4334.

Gentle-yoga classes getting under way

The Yoga Center of Columbia will hold gentle yoga classes for seniors from noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursdays, next week through Feb. 15, at Slayton House in Wilde Lake Village Center.

The classes will emphasize yogic breathing and stress reduction, and will be adapted to the needs of the students. All levels of experience are welcome.

The cost for a six-week session is $78; $15 to drop in. Columbia Association lien payers can request a 10 percent discount.


Registration is required.

Information: 410-730-3987.

Classes, services

Flu vaccinations -- The Howard County Health Department says there is time to be vaccinated against the flu. The flu season runs from October through mid-March and has not peaked. Doses of vaccine are available. To schedule an appointment, call:

Columbia Health Center, 7178 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia (410-313-7500);

Ellicott City Health Center, 8492 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City (410-313-2333);


Southeastern Health Center, 9525 Durness Lane, North Laurel (410-880-5888). The cost is $20 for a flu shot. Medicare Part B is accepted. FluMist nasal flu vaccine is available only for children ages 5 to 11. There is no cost. 410-313-6503 or

Affordable care -- Chase Brexton Health Services Inc. has opened its third Maryland site at 5500 Knoll North Drive in Oakland Mills village. The center plans to provide insured, uninsured and underinsured children and adults with primary and preventive care, and mental health and case-management services. Fees are on a sliding scale, and help is available with state and federal assistance programs. Medicare and Medicaid patients are served. 410-884-7831, or

Aquatic fitness -- Aquatic fitness classes are offered by the Central Maryland Rehabilitation Center at the Howard Community College pool. Sessions are Monday and Friday afternoons. The cost is $5 a class. 410-312-9000.

Losing weight -- Individualized weight-loss counseling with a registered dietitian is offered by Howard County General Hospital between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the hospital. Appointments, which cost $25 for a half-hour visit, must be scheduled in advance. 410-740- 7601.

Tai Sophia classes -- Tai Sophia Institute, 7750 Montpelier Road, North Laurel, will offer free introductory classes, open to the community, during the week of Jan. 22. Classes will include Pilates, tai chi, Feldenkrais: Awareness through Movement, qi gong, chakra energy balance, and yoga and meditation. 410-888-9048, Ext. 6611, or The institute offers master's degrees in acupuncture, herbal medicine and applied healing arts.

Qi gong -- Wilde Lake Community Association will sponsor a 10-week session of qi gong classes, taught by Karl Ardo of Moving in Stillness LLC, at 9:30 a.m. Saturdays, Feb. 3 through March 10, at Slayton House in Wilde Lake Village Center. A free class will be offered Jan. 27. The movements of the discipline, which is believed to help maintain health, increase vitality and speed recovery from illness, are appropriate for all age groups and for the physically challenged. The cost is $150; $17 to drop in. Senior citizens pay $130. Columbia Association lien payers can request a 10 percent discount. 410-730-3987.



Volunteers sought -- Health professionals are needed to serve as volunteers in the Howard County Medical Reserve Corps. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists and others are being recruited. Mental health professionals, therapists and social workers are also needed. The volunteers are to support local emergency-response teams in the event of a disasters, such as spills of chemical or hazardous materials, flu or other epidemics, hurricanes and floods or acts of terrorism. Some volunteers can offer support by phone. Those who volunteer may receive training and earn continuing education credits. They will be prepared to help family, friends and neighbors. 240-426-2528, or

Terminally ill -- Howard County General Hospital has started a Compassionate Companion Program to help terminally ill patients and their families. Volunteers, who receive extensive training, stay with the patient when members of the family are not present. Volunteers must commit to a specified on-call time and come in to be at a work station each week. Barbra Swann, 410- 884-4580.

Caregiver support -- Winter Growth, a private nonprofit organization that offers assisted living, medical adult day care and a wellness program for senior citizens, offers a free caregiver support group for anyone in the community from 10:30 a.m. to noon the fourth Tuesday of each month. Registration is not required. Winter Growth is at 5460 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia. 410-964-9616.

NAMI -- NAMI Howard County is offering three free support groups.

A group for family and friends of adults with mental illness meets at 7:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month in the day room at Harmony Hall Retirement Community, 6336 Cedar Lane, Columbia. The next meeting will be on Tuesday.


A peer-based CARE group for people living with mental illness who work, go to school or regularly interact with the community meets from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the last Tuesday of each month at Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Road, Columbia. The next meeting will be on Jan. 30.

A support group for parents and caregivers of children and teenagers with serious emotional or behavioral problems meets from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the last Wednesday of each month at Faulkner Ridge Center, 10598 Marble Faun Lane, Columbia. The next meeting will be Jan. 31.

The groups are free and are open to non-NAMI members. 410-772- 9300. Or 410-772-9300.

Breast cancer -- The Center for Breast Care at Howard County General Hospital is to offer a new support program for women with breast cancer, called Survivors Offering Support. SOS matches volunteer breast cancer survivors with newly diagnosed women for support throughout each patient's treatment. The center is recruiting breast cancer survivors to serve as mentors. Tina Beerman, 410-884-4650, or Denise O'Neill, 410-884-4574.

Send health-related notices to or fax to 410-715-2816.