Working to empower individuals with disabilities to live life to the fullest, Futures, Inc. provides social-skills training, tutoring, independent-living training, and other support services to students and adults with disabilities. At the Futures School—Connecticut’s first community-based special-education school to be approved by the Department of Education—students aged 14–21 receive customized, one-on-one special education in their home communities. These education services include real-world work experience, transportation services, sessions with a full-time counselor, and typically lead to a high-school diploma from Futures School.
Hartford Symphony Orchestra's St. Patrick's Day Celebration regales ears with classic Celtic tunes commemorating the feast of Ireland's patron saint. Visiting from his usual perch at the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, conductor Gerald Steichen leads an army of instruments as it elevates the shimmering tenor of veteran singer Robert White, who has been nourishing auditory synapses since his radio debut in 1948. White fills listeners with Irish pride until they burst with clover leaves by belting out such distinctly Hibernian tunes as "Danny Boy," a slow, anthemic composition that resonates in the hearts of Irish emigrants. Renowned Irish fiddler Jeanne Freeman also fuels high-octane jigs with skills gleaned from County Donegal native P.V. O'Donnell.
North Central Regional Mental Health Board strives to ensure that citizens take part in monitoring the state’s mental-health services. The organization works directly with people who have mental-health or substance-abuse issues through a variety of programs and advocates on their behalf through legislative and fundraising events. One of the many services available, the Day in the Life project, observed the lives of people who receive behavioral-health services through the state to determine how best to help them in the future. In addition, the annual Celebrating Recovery dinner invites individuals in recovery to share their stories as a way of reaffirming that recovery is always possible.
When Maggie Carchrie voyaged to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, she hardly expected to discover a passion that would win her the U.S. Mòd Women's Championship in Gaelic Singing two years later. She was immediately enchanted by the traditional music of the region, planning her future travels around the areas of Cape Breton and Scotland and diving headfirst into the Celtic culture. With a college degree in music therapy and a resume that boasts subsequent studies at the Ceòlas Music School, she built a foundation for a life filled with award-winning Celtic performance and education. She lays claim to two albums, books several East Coast showcases throughout the year, and furthers the reach of Celtic stylings through the concerts and CDs of Mermaid Productions. Maggie draws from all of these experiences to act as director of the Callanish School of Celtic Arts. There, she instructs students of all ages in music, dance, and lyrical language, managing a non-competitive venue for guests to experiment with age-old harmonies and master a brogue without having to install a second tongue. From the high-stepping choreography of Scottish Highland Dance to the signature keening of the bagpipe, she outlines several levels of melodic techniques, all of which are steeped in rich history.
In Connecticut’s northwest hills, summer blooms alongside the white-and-pink blossoms of its state flower, the mountain laurel. Cyclists in The Village Ride may just catch its faint fragrance as they churn along the country roads that slice through Litchfield County.
The three custom course routes vary by length to accommodate riders of any age and ability. No matter their route, cyclists wind past scenic towns and natural wonders such as lakes, rivers, and state forests. Elevation changes, which lie in wait at most every hill, offer an added heart-friendly challenge. The 25K route nears 700 feet, and the 100K route peaks at about 1,700 feet. After crossing the finish line at Ski Sundown, participants grab a catered lunch (available 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m.) or some brews from event sponsor Thomas Hooker Brewing Company while soaking in live entertainment.
Ride proceeds benefit The Village for Families & Children, a child-safety and family-resource organization. In 1809, The Village began its mission “to build a community of strong, healthy families who protect and nurture children.” Now, more than 200 years later and helping some 7,000 children each year, the organization maintains that goal through foster services, academic and socialization care, parental-skills programs, and family-crisis prevention and management services.
Open seven days a week, the Springfield JCC Health and Fitness Center revs up bodies with a plethora of popular classes on land and in its Olympic-sized pool. Upgrade your physique with a BodyPump class, which teaches the original barbell-based full-body weightlifting regimen created by the Olympian Les Mills. Or sway your way toward lean muscle tone with a Zumba class, which fuses Latin and international rhythms to create a fat-exhausting South American fitness-and-dance party. The aquatically inclined may perform water aerobics in the pool to receive the cardiovascular benefits of aerobic exercise without stressing tender joints. Opt for enrollment in the masters swim program, and gain access to classes for beginners, advanced swimmers, aspiring triathletes, and those who are tired of swimming in seas of ambiguity.