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West Hartford Will 'Tune-In to Life' Next Week

The Bridge Family Center's program to encourage healthy and substance-free activities is in its 24th year.

Next week there will be something happening “About Town” designed to have a positive impact on nearly every West Hartford resident – from pre-schoolers through seniors.

For the 24th year in a row, is holding “Tune-In to Life” week. It’s officially called “a week of programs to promote healthy drug-free activities,” but the activities are also designed to promote overall health as well as to encourage intergenerational communication throughout the community.

“The program started 24 years ago by the Substance Abuse Commission working to combat underage drinking,” said Judy Bierly, Director of Community Services at The Bridge Family Center, who has been directing the program since 1993. She said that programming has been greatly expanded over time. “We’ve always tried to get kids involved, but now we include the seniors, too, with the ‘Trip Down Memory Lane’ musical event featuring the Hall High Jazz Band.” That event will take place on Tuesday, April 5, from 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m., in the auditorium.

New events this year include a “Family Hula Hoop” class provided by Karla Kress-Boyle, a licensed Betty Hoops Dance Therapy Instructor who is also founder of Rhythm for Life. The class on Thursday, April 7, from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. at the , is designed for people of all ages, and uses a weighted fitness hoop to promote core strengthening and cardiovascular health.

Another new event is “Teen Night,” which will be held on Friday, April 8, from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. at the Bridge’s Teen Center at . Community Action Research Team members, who are students at both and , will present interactive skits related to binge drinking.

“We always include educational pieces, and this year we have added a MADD program,” said Bierly. “Power of Parents, It’s Your Influence” will be held in the Hall High School cafeteria on Wednesday, April 6 at 7 pm. This program is designed for parents of kids in grades 5-12, and facilitator Lauren Iannucci from MADD Connecticut will provide educational information as well as resources for parents to engage their teens in a dialogue about underage drinking.

A family yoga class was introduced last year, and that popular event will return this year. Becca Pazdersky, an instructor from who specializes in kid’s programs, will lead a special class for parents and children ages 4-10 on Wednesday, April 6, from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. at the West Hartford Public Library.

Other activities include a discussion session about bullying facilitated by Marji Vitale of the Bridge, and a family fun swim hosted by therapist and swimming instructor Colleen Murphy, a concert at , and a Family Dance Party.

As always, fifth graders at all of West Hartford’s have been hard at work creating Tune-In to Life posters displaying something they love to do. All participants receive a Tune-In to Life t-shirt, which will be hand-delivered to them at school by a West Hartford firefighter. The posters will once again be displayed at , as well as and other locations throughout West Hartford.

WHC-TV’s programming will focus on youth and family issues throughout the week, and images of the posters will be aired in between shows. They will also feature a song that several students created and filmed about Tune-In to Life.

Tune-In to Life will be held from April 4-10. “Last year we had 1,400 people involved,” said Bierly. All activities are free of charge, although some require pre-registration. For more specific information, visit the website www.bridgefamilycenter.org or call 860-521-8035.

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