Not everyone enjoys the holidays. Perhaps they are lonely, depressed, recently lost a loved one, or just aren't at a great place in their life. All the pressure to be merry can get to anyone. Several organizations are offering people to come together and enjoy community without the frantic need to be "holly and jolly".
Sunday, December 1
When Christmas Hurts
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 35 N. Ninth Street, Ashland at 3 pm
A service of remembrance and healing for all.
Sunday, December 8
Blue Christmas Service
Trinity Lutheran Church, Arch Street, Pottsville at 6:30 pm
Join us for comfort when you're dealing with death, sickness, divorce or other loss.
Have you dug out The Polar Express for your annual family viewing? Started planning your model train layout? If you or a family member is a train enthusiast consider taking a ride on the local Santa Trains for the holidays. On the 70-80 minute ride there will be holiday music, a visit from Santa and a candy treat. Please arrive early.
Tickets will be available on the day of the ride however the tickets go FAST so think about purchasing an advance ticket. You can purchase tickets by calling 610-562-2102 or 570-544-8300. Tickets can also be purchased at the Minersville Borough office building Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 4:30 pm and Friday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. Tickets are $15 per adult, $9 for ages 3 to 12 and FREE for those 2 and under (but they need to be issued a FREE ticket).
Trains depart at 10:30 am, 1 pm and 3:30 pm from the following stations:
Minersville Station on November 30 and December 1 (Please take note that parking is at Schuylkill IU 29 and a free shuttle will bring you to the station. See map)
Schuylkill Haven Station on December 7 and 8
Tunkhannock Station on December 14 and 15
Pottsville Union Station on December 21 and 22
You can find some unique gifts for the rail buff at Minersville's Project 113 store here.
More updates to Holiday Happenings for the upcoming weeks. Check out the post with some new events added here.
Walking through downtown Pottsville, it's always fun to see the yellow "Also Known As" signs pinpointing various buildings, businesses and streets that are found in the works of John O"Hara under another name. Seems John is celebrating his 115th birthday in 2020 and so is the County! I'll keep you updated on further events but for now I have to give you a heads up on one special event: the John O'Hara Creativity Contest.
There are contests for three age groups but for some you might need to brush up on the works of O'Hara before the deadline: December 14. All entries are due at the Pottsville Library on that day.
John O'Hara wrote about his community. Design a bookmark that highlights something in your community.
Pulling a John O'Hara
John O'Hara wrote about his community - Schuylkill County - but he changed them names. He only changed them a little bit, keeping enough that insiders (people from Schuylkill County) could figure out which places he was writing about. For instance, Pottsville became Gibbsville and Schuylkill Haven became Swedish Haven. Write a short story (up to 1000 words) about your community using the same technique of name changing.
Ages 15 and up
John O'Hara Fan Fiction
Write a one shot short story (up to 2000 words) based on a John O'Hara work. It could be a prequel, sequel, alternate universe, what if this character had done that....anything based on a work or character by John O'Hara.
I've been a busy gal updating the Holiday Happenings for the upcoming weeks. Check out the post with some new events added here
We all know stress! Stress comes in many shapes and sizes. Some allows us to grow, learn, adapt, and change for the better; things like hunger, thirst, curiosity, even pain are stresses that encourage us to grow.
So, what happens when we can’t adapt and grow with the stress of our life? Sometimes distress overwhelms our ability to respond. Sometimes hunger, thirst, curiosity, and pain can slow us down and make living difficult, which may require that we ask for help from friends, family or even strangers. Sometimes this distress lasts longer than we can handle, or is so overwhelming that we try to escape or numb ourselves- that’s toxic stress. That’s the type of stress that causes risky behaviors, health issues and makes life difficult.
Did you know that your early life experiences set us up for how much stress we can tolerate? Early bonding to parents and those who care for us, and later to extended family, friends, school and community build resilience and allow us to ‘surf the wave’ rather than being ‘pulled under the rip current’ of distress and toxic stress. Our brains and bodies grow differently when they are safe and nurtured, which gives us the ‘muscle’ to stay on top of ‘the wave’.
“Adverse Childhood Experiences” or ACEs are categories of abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction that make a child’s home unsafe and unpredictable. The following video, by a leading expert in ACEs, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, describes the surprising effects of early adversity and the health outcomes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95ovIJ3dsNk . Unsafe schools, neighborhoods and communities can also be sources of stress for those who live there.
There are ways build personal, family and community strength to balance the negative effects of stress that we all face. In the end that strength comes from connection- living and growing in trusted, nurturing families, and being connected to safe schools, neighborhoods and communities. We can handle distress and toxic stress when we have someone we trust to turn to for love and support. Humans are meant to be connected; relationships help us feel safe enough to be curious, learn, explore, and trust the world and others.
The Schuylkill Resiliency Project’s Families Grow Together is an opportunity for any family to strengthen their bonds, build their ability to surf the stress that life throws at us. Located at the Pottsville YMCA, Families Grow Together, meets on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 – 7:00 to explore healthy relationships. On Saturday mornings (10 – 12) the families gather to do fun, family activities such as drumming circles, art projects, and yoga all designed for parents and kids to share time together. This program is FREE, runs in 6-week blocks, and is open to any family in Schuylkill County. It is FREE because of the generosity of PA Taxpayers through a grant from the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency. Thank you.
Please contact Tracy at 570-728-3476 or email@example.com for more information and to register for the next group. Remember, Relationships = Resilience
In our country,a high school diploma seems a given. Everyone has one, right? But not everyone does - due to circumstances, tragedies or just poor choices. Not having a high school diploma can severely restrict a person's options and ability to create a successful life. Most jobs, colleges and trade schools and the military require a diploma or High School Equivalency. If you know someone who wants to take their High School Equivalency Exam (GED or HISET) they can take a FREE prep class in Pottsville, Mahanoy City or Tamaqua. To learn more about the classes call the Lifelong Learning Center at 570-628-5761.
To keep you apprised of all the fun events (many are FREE) you can attend to get in the holiday mood, we'll have Holiday Happenings posts on November 18, December 2 and December 16. Keep checking back on these three posts because they'll be updated as new events are promoted.
Friday, November 22
NEW! Greens Sale
Deadline to order fresh wreaths, swags, cemetery crosses and more from the Pottsville Free Public Library. Delivery is December 6. Call the library to order at 570-874-3382.
Sunday, November 24
Thanksgiving Worship Service
Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church at 4 pm
Several local musicians, including choirs, a brass quartet, hand bell choirs and a flutist will perform at the service.
FREE event. Non-perishable food donations and monetary donations for the Schuylkill Haven Area Food Pantry are welcome.
Thursday, November 28
Thanksgiving Community Service
At Zion United Methodist Church, Route 895 (Keim and School Streets) at 8 a.m.
Santa Claus Parade
Girardville at 5 pm
The parade will end at Girard Hose Company, East Main Street where children can meet Santa and receive treats.
Friday, November 29
NEW! Skydiving Santa
At Shenandoah Valley Veterans Memorial Stadium at 10:30 am
Santa will skydive into the stadium (weather permitting) and then participate in a parade through town. The first 200 children under 12 will receive a free gift.
Friday, November 29 - Saturday, November 30
NEW! Lighting of the Vineyard
At Benigna's Creek Vineyard & Winery, Klingerstown from 4 pm to 9 pm
Two acres of lights, bonfires, FREE event. ID required at this 21+ event.
Friday, November 29 to Sunday, December 1
The Nutcracker by Schuylkill Ballet
A dance full of fairies, life-size nutcrackers, armies of mice and more followed by a meet and greet with all the talented dancers.
Tickets: at the door tickets $12, advance tickets adults $10, seniors/students $8, children ages 3-10 $6. Call 570-617-5616
Saturday, November 30
Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt
Start at Mud & Maker, Pottsville from 9 am to 3 pm
Scavenger Hunt for all ages to win prizes and visit local businesses. Dress for the weather!
NEW! Christmas Tree Lighting
At downtown Mahanoy City from 5 pm to 8 pm
Entertainment begins at 5 pm, parade on Centre Street from Elks building to Christmas tree starts at 6 pm, after tree lighting children can meet Santa at Humane Fire Company.
NEW! Sounds of Christmas
At St. Cecilia Hall, Catawissa Street, Mahanoy City from 6 pm to 7:30 pm
Enjoy carols and a live Nativity scene (and more) where you can interact with shepherds, angels and other characters from the Christmas story. There will also be musical entertainment, homemade food for sale and the Mahanoy City tree lighting.
FREE event but free will offerings are accepted. The host ACTION (Active Christian Teens In Our Neighborhood) is also requesting individuals and businesses willing to help sponsor the event for $25 sponsorships.
NEW! Thanksgiving Dance
At Elks Lodge 1533, 307 S. Third Street, Frackville from 8 pm to 11 pm. Featuring the Mudflaps, light snacks and a cash bar.
Tickets: Advance tickets only. Contact 570-874-2500
Sunday, December 1
NEW! Photos with Santa and Pet
At Char-Will Kennels Training Center, 2 E. Railroad Avenue, New Ringgold from noon to 3 pm. Along with photos there will also be a bake sale and other activities.
NEW! Wreath Making Class
At Ashland Public Library at 3 pm
Make your own fresh wreath. All needed material (reusable wire form, assortment of greens, ribbons and decorations). If you have a special decoration or ribbon you'd like to use feel free to bring it to the class.
Cost: $35. Pre-registration and payment required. Call 570-875-3175
Holiday Concert with the Majestic Singers
Majestic Theater at 3 pm
Classic, gospel and contemporary holiday hits and refreshments.
Tickets: $8 adults, $5 students and seniors
NEW! Advent Workshop
At Salem United Methodist Church, 133 S. Liberty Street, Orwigsburg from 4 pm to 6 pm
Family event includes buffet supper and craft making. For more info call 570-449-6533
NEW! Winter Wonderland
At Yuengling Park, Pottsville from 4 pm to 7:30 pm
There will be a beautifully decorated park (come prepared to snap some pics), live reindeer, carriage rides ($5 per person), kids' crafts, singers, dancers, refreshments and wine.
NEW! Tree Lighting
At Tower City Town Square, 400 block of Grand Avenue at 4:30 pm
The day actually will start at Trinity United Church of Christ for refreshments, a Christmas movie and visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
NEW! Tree Lighting
At Barry Community Center, 868 Deep Creek Road, Gordon from 6 pm to 8 pm
The FREE event includes food, gifts and a visit from Santa. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Grandparenting is the best! You get to enjoy playing with toys, receiving sloppy kisses and laughing at knock knock jokes and then, when they get grumpy, dirty or tired you can send them back to their parents....except when you can't. Research has found that over 3 million grandparents are raising their grandchildren because their parents are unable to for various reasons. Parenting is tough the first time around and comes with a whole new set of challenges if you find yourself parenting a second generation.
The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Group will be hosting a special workshop on Wednesday, November 20 at the Schuylkill Intermediate IU #29, 17 Maple Avenue, Marlin at 6 pm. This valuable workshop comes complete with child care and refreshments. Guest speakers include District Attorney Mike O'Pake, Tia-Maria Smith, Kinship Navigator and local grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. This is a FREE event but please call to reserve a space: 570-622-3103.
The same day - November 20 - there will be a Veterans Financial Forum at the Schuylkill County VA Clinic, 1410 Laurel Blvd., Suite 2, Pottsville from 11 am to 2:30 pm. If you're baffled by the red tape of Veterans Affairs reserve a seat at this FREE workshop by calling 570-622-1995 by November 15 (TODAY!).