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News Roundup - Gift project gives again/Family time at IslandWood/A girls’ solstice revolution/Sing out for the holidays/Field’s End classes set

Gift project gives again

Halloween candy had barely been eaten when strains of Christmas carols and the pull to buy, buy, buy began drifting through the mall.

True, it’s a veritable holiday mill out there, but islanders seeking a way to rebuff the stuff this holiday can look to the Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church Alternative Gift Project Catalog to achieve, and offer, relief.

“The project was conceived as a way to give holiday shoppers an alternative to the usual stuff for people who already have too much stuff,” project chair Carolyn Kempkes said.

“Instead, people can give a gift that reflects their commitment to global stewardship by making a donation to an organization that is helping make a better life and environment for families around the world.”

Gifts from the 44-page catalog represent 15 non-profit organizations performing work in various disciplines locally and worldwide including the YWCA ALIVE shelter for survivors of domestic abuse; the Central Asia Institute’s community-based education and literacy program; the Circle of Friends program to help women and children in Nicaragua; Clear Path International’s aid for landmine survivors; and Helpline House.

Other participating area organizations include Literacy Council of Kitsap; West Sound Wildlife Shelter; the Bainbridge Rotary Club for its efforts to bring wells to Ugandan Villages; and the Bainbridge-Ometepe Sister Islands Association.

According to Kempkes, since its 2002 inception the project has raised more than $70,000 for some two dozen local, national and international nonprofit organizations.

“The consumerism of the coming holiday season leaves a lot of people feeling empty,” said Kempkes. “This may be an antidote. Instead of buying something nobody really needs, people can put food on the shelf of a local food bank, send a child to school in India or Afghanistan, or give the gift of mobility to a landmine survivor in Southeast Asia.”

Catalogs and order forms can also be downloaded from www.cedarsuuchurch.org. For more information about the Alternative Gift Project or to order a catalog, call the Cedars Unitarian church office at 206-780-0373.

Family time at IslandWood

IslandWood invites families to start the holidays in the spirit of culture and togetherness with its fourth annual Fall Family Afternoon this Saturday.

Music and dance of the spectator and participatory variety will infuse the event, as the Suquamish Dancers perform, followed by Cello Mania playing its mix of classical, folk and cello rock influenced by Gideon Freudmann, Rick Mooney and other contemporary cello song writers.

The island’s Community Singers will also lead a group sing-along by the fire.

Jo Walter will offer up her blend of storytelling and social justice work with a series of tales by the fireside.

Kathy Dickerson will also tell stories during the afternoon, as will Elaine Grinnell, a member of the Jamestown S’Kallam Tribe, who incorporates traditional baskets and drums into her performances.

The event being what it is, genealogy research will receive focus as members of the Bainbridge Island Genealogy Society demonstrate the use of the Internet to find out about family roots.

Families will even learn how to create a family tree using, fittingly, leaf rubbings.

Recent IslandWood film productions will offer islanders a glimpse into island families and cultures, with showings of “Port Blakely: Memories of a Mill Town,” “The Red Pines: Japanese Americans on Bainbridge Island” and “Teachings of the Tree People.”

Fall Family Afternoon runs from noon to 4 p.m. at IslandWood, 4450 Blakely Avenue. Suggested donation is $5. To register and see a complete roster of events, visit www.islandwood.org or call 855-4300.

A girls’ solstice revolution

This December will mark the sixth annual Solstice Run, with a new recipient for the proceeds: running non-profit Bainbridge GoRun!

The brainchild of island fitness enthusiasts Anne Howard Lindquist, Heidi Washenberger and Kay Jensen, the after-school running program is specifically targeted at fifth- and sixth-grade girls, who GoRun! co-director Lindquist thinks can particularly benefit from running.

“A lot of research around all sorts of different sports teams shows that girls who are involved in athletic teams overall do better, that their general health is better, physically, emotionally and socially,” she said.

“That probably has a lot to do with the friendships they form, and the emphasis that you’re a better athlete if you’re living a relatively healthy lifestyle.”

The Solstice Run, to be held Dec. 8, will accommodate all ages and abilities with a one-mile fun run/walk, a 5K race and kids’ dashes.

The one-mile race begins at 9 a.m.; 5K at 9:30 a.m.; and kids’ races at 10:30 a.m. All events start and finish in the town square just outside City Hall.

Awards will be given to top male and female finishers, age group winners and participants of the kids dash. Random drawings will also be held during the awards for all finishers.

Although running can be a solitary sport, GoRun! puts a strong emphasis on team-building, and Lindquist points out the lifelong benefits she herself gained as a girl, not just by way of her athletic activities themselves, but through the friendships and the sense of self-worth they generated.

“It’s this little arena in which you can focus on yourself, and how much you can do, and build a lot of self-confidence,” she said.

Registration forms for the sixth annual Solstice Run are available online at www.island-fitness.com. Or pick one up at Island Fitness, Poulsbo Running, Island Sports, and other local sports stores and fitness clubs.

Entrants can save $5 and guarantee a t-shirt by registering on or before Dec. 1. Day of race registration opens at 8 a.m.

For more information about GoRun!, contact Lindquist at 780-6923.

– Lindsay Latimore

Sing out for the holidays

Surely there’s no better time of year for the Bainbridge Island Community Singers to share their infectious love of song.

The group will host several November sing-alongs beginning at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 22, Thanksgiving Day, at the Island Health and Rehabilitation Center, 835 Madison Avenue.

They’ll next gather at 2 p.m. Nov. 24 at IslandWood as part of the Fall Family Afternoon, and again at 5 p.m. Nov. 29 in Town Square for the annual community tree lighting by Mayor Darlene Kordonowy.

All are welcome to join the singing; stay tuned for December dates. To join the chorus, contact Kay Watkins at 842-9790.

Field’s End classes set

Speaking, remembering and truth-telling capture this winter’s offering of Field’s End writing workshops.

Novelist, essayist and non-fiction witer Brenda Peterson, author of the novels “River of Light,” “Becoming the Enemy” and New York Times Notable Book of the year “Duck and Cover,” will offer “Memoir” on five Thursdays Jan. 17 through Feb. 14.

Peterson will home in on specific guidelines and individual exercises to help students find their true-life narrative voices.

In February comes “Dialogue” with actor, director, screenwriter and founder of Seattle’s Annex Theatre Garrett Bennett, who will explore the power of natural dialogue to reveal character, carry subtext and tension and propel plot and story forward.

Finally, as award-winning Northwest author Garth Stein puts it, just beause you’re writing fiction doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

Stein returns to Field’s End in February with “Truth or Consequences: Keeping Fiction True.”

Using in-class exercises and discussion, this course will explore story-mapping, structure, cause-and-effect, character voice, and thematic arcs, all of which are crucial in creating and maintaining dramatic truth.

Registration for these Field’s End classes begins Dec. 1. Classes are held at the Bainbridge Public Library.

Visit www.fieldsend.org for specific class dates, prices and registration forms. Contact registrar@fieldsend.org for additional information.

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