Meet new people through education

June 18th, 2015 10:27 am

First Posted: 4/14/2015

The Abington Area Community Classroom has always been about meeting new people and learning and sharing new skills. We have been so fortunate to meet many people who have helped us along our journey as an organization. Many have been our instructors.

One of these people is Laurel Radzieski. Laurel came to us first as an instructor after some of our committee members attended her creative writing class at the Dietrich Theater. Laurel taught a class for us called Correspondence Gets Creative, and later she offered to be a grant writer for us.

Now, as an actor with the Dietrich Children’s Theatre, she has been instrumental in bringing live theater to the Gathering Place. Director Jennifer Jenkins and her team of actors, including Laurel, bring well-loved children’s stories complete with props, costumes, music and audience participation to the Gathering Place stage. It’s a little stage that encourages an intimate and interactive experience with the actors. We hope you will come out for the next three performances: “Balto: The True Story of the Bravest Dog in America” on April 18, Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So Stories” on April 25 and “Lon Po Po, A Red Riding Hood Tale from China” on May 9. All performances are held at 1 p.m. Saturdays, and are free thanks to a Lackawanna County Community Arts and Culture grant, a program of county commissioners Corey D. O’Brien, Jim Wancsacz, and Patick O’Malley.

We met Judy Rienzi as a student in the Italian class and I think she also attended some cooking classes. This semester she has offered to teach a class for us called Create a Healthy Lifestyle. As a registered nurse with a master’s degree she is well qualified to help you develop stronger health habits in this one-night class at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 7.

If you prefer a more in-depth approach, Kevin Creegan, Ph.D. will provide methods for reducing stress through rational thinking and will spend four Thursdays helping you to practice these strategies at 7 p.m. May 7-28. Kevin has been a supporter of the community classroom since it began.

Fiber Art Fun began on Friday, April 10, but you may still enjoy three more classes of needlefelting and other fiber techniques at 10 a.m. through May 1 in the lounge at Clarks Green Methodist Church.

Another instance of the great support we have had in the five years of the community classroom has been the aid of both Clarks Green United Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit, which have given us the use of their rooms, kitchens and parish halls. Because of their whole-hearted endorsement of what we are doing, we have been able to hold ballroom dance classes as well as cooking classes and everything in between. Both pastors, Bill Carter at First Presbyterian and Brent Stouffer at Clarks Green UMC, have been instructors for us also.

So the connections keep on growing and we keep growing and, hopefully, we will arrive at our own place (the Gathering Place) through the work of so many gracious people we have met along the way.

There is still time to join the Beekeeping for Beginners class at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23 and the two classes at the Keystone Observatory on the solar system on two Mondays, April 27 and May 11. There are a few openings left in A Walk in the Woods with Derry Bird on Saturday, May 2, which will meet at the Trolley Trail entrance by the Church of the Epiphany.

Register for these classes by going to our website at There you can get more details about the classes and download the registration form with instructions for mailing the form and check.

Hope to see you soon!