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Girls Incorporated of Worcester has announced the return of dance classes and performing arts to their daily after-school drop-in program through a partnership with Jo Ann Warren Studio.  Classes will begin in mid-September and are FREE to all girls participating in drop-in and teen programs at Girls Inc. of Worcester.  They will be offered: Thursday, 3:30 to 4:30–Dance (tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop) for elementary school girls, 4:30 to 5:30–Musical Theater and Performing Arts for elementary school girls; Friday, 3:30 to 4:30–Dance (tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop) for middle and high school girls, 4:30 to 5:30–Musical Theater and Performing Arts for middle and high school girls.

Showcases highlighting the girls’ accomplishments will be held in December and June.  Jo Ann Warren Studio will also be using Girls Inc.’s space to offer her own studio classes to JAWS students on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Registration for the studio classes will take place at Jo Ann Warren Studio on Grafton Street.  Girls Inc. will happily work with families enrolling in these classes to co-register girls in our regular daily drop-in programs as a means of assisting with child care.

WHO IS GIRLS INC.?

As the oldest and only facility based, girl-centered organization in Central Massachusetts, Girls Incorporated of Worcester has been transforming girls’ views of themselves and creating opportunities for generations.

Girls Incorporated is the leading national expert on girls’ issues and houses the largest, most comprehensive research center on girls in the country at its National Resource Center (NRC) in Indianapolis.  Because our core programs are researched, developed, and piloted by the NRC, Girls Inc. provides the highest quality, cutting edge, and age-appropriate programming available to girls in the Greater Worcester area.

With local roots dating to 1916 and national status since 1945, Girls Inc. responds to the changing needs of girls and their communities through nationally-tested, research-based programs. The agency helps build girls’ sense of self and develop their confidence and leadership skills by offering opportunities to express themselves, be heard, and explore their world in a safe environment.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be entering into this exciting and new collaborative relationship with Jo Ann and her talented faculty!   The girls in our programs, their parents, and the staff here at Girls Inc. have asked us to incorporate a dance program into our daily offerings, and we are happy to honor their wishes by partnering with such a highly respected and nationally recognized studio.  It is a win/win venture for all of us – Jo Ann needed the ‘overflow’ studio space that we had available here at Girls Inc. and we needed a quality dance program for our girls!   The biggest winners are the girls who will benefit from the opportunity to receive performing arts classes!” says Deb Hopkins, CEO of Girls Inc. of Worcester.

WHO IS JO ANN WARREN STUDIO (JAWS)?

Jo Ann Warren Studio (JAWS) is the studio choice for many of today’s finest dancers. JAWS’ mission is to continually provide a broad spectrum of dance education for dancers of all ages and of all levels, all within a nurturing and professional environment.  Beginning with “Tiny Tots” and continuing through adults, JAWS offers a variety of classes and levels in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, acrobatics, musical theatre and hip-hop. JAWS boasts an impressive roster of dance educators. JAWS provides students with an opportunity to explore dance and enrich their appreciation for the various forms of the art.

Jo Ann Warren opened JAWS Worcester in September of 1979 at 321 Grafton Street. With over 100 students enrolled, Jo Ann began the journey…her dream was now a reality. Almost in­stantly, JAWS was a major contributor in the community. The JAWS performance group quickly became a staple at almost every local event…and so the “JAWS” Jr. Dance Company was born. The 14 members were hand-picked by Jo Ann and invited to the challenge of re­hearsing long hours, perfecting routines and sacrificing weekends to serve as studio represen­tatives, entertaining and sharing their talents throughout Worcester County. Two of the original members, Cybill Warren and Paula Hackett, were later awarded Keys to the City of Worcester by Mayor Jordan Levy for their contributions through dance to the less fortunate.

Jo Ann Warren, “All of us at Jo Ann Warren Studio are proud and excited to join creative forces with Girls Inc. of Worcester.  We look forward to a highly successful, long term partnership that will benefit the entire community.”

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This event may be of interest to you (well, it was to me!) Therefore, here I am, passing along information about a worthy event….

“Celebration of Sustainability”

Over 900 people from central New England are expected to attend the Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter, Inc. (NOFA/Mass) 24th Annual Winter Conference on Saturday, January 15, 2011, at the Worcester Technical High School on Skyline Drive.  The conference has doubled in size over the past five years, indicative of a growing interest in regional food systems. Everyone from beginning to advanced farmers, gardeners and anyone interested in sustainability can participate in seminars or workshops, a lively exhibit area, a delicious potluck lunch, and a children’s program.

Michael Phillips,of Heartsong Farm and Lost Nation Orchard, in Groveton, New Hampshire, will keynote the conference. Michael Phillips and his wife, Nancy, grow 65-80 varieties of organic apples in their orchard and direct-market their products to local consumers who can purchase apples on the farm or through an apple-share buying program. Nancy is a well-known herbalist and educator who manages the family farm’s production of medicinal herbs.  Michael will lead an all-day seminar on Organic Orcharding.  Nancy will lead an all-day seminar on Herbs for Family Health.  Participants can register for either of the all-day seminars or choose to attend any of 60 workshops.

For beginning gardeners there are workshops on soil fertility, gardening in small spaces, and seed saving.  Livestock workshops include raising cows, poultry, dairy goats and bees.  For more advanced farmers there are workshops covering weed management, cardboard mulch, draft animals and income taxes. For those interested in raising and preparing their own food there are workshops on food preservation, making condiments at home and making naturally fermented non-alcoholic drinks.

Somerville resident and Slow Money board member Eric Becker attended the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference in 2009.  After attending a workshop on beekeeping by Jean-Claude Bourrut of Natick Community Organic Farm, Eric fell in love with bees and installed a beehive on his front porch.  “Raising bees has been such a rewarding activity for me and my kids.  My kids have learned how to handle them and care for our hive. The NOFA conference was a turning point for my family. It’s definitely possible to live an urban lifestyle and raise your own food.”

Conference registration is $65 per person with discounts available for NOFA members, certified farmers, students, teens and children; seminar registration is $120.  Early-bird registration discounts available before January 1st. Beginning Farmer Scholarships are available for anyone who has been farming for less than 10 years. Complete conference information is available at http://www.nofamass.org <http://www.nofamass.org/> .

The conference is sponsored by Whole Foods Markets, Stonyfield, Farm Family, Greenleaf Foundation, Clements Law Office, Boston Organics, Green Fields Market, Suzanne’s Specialties, Nature’s Best Organic Feeds, Groton Wellness, Harris Seeds, Vermont Compost, Groundscapes Express, Fertrell, Bejo Organic, Lancaster Agricultural Products and Neighboring Food Coop.