Hung With Care, This Family's Spectacular Christmas Display Brings the Community Together
The best thing about Christmas decorations is that they deliver equal amounts of joy to the decorators as they do to the observers. For Gene and Mary Halliwell, Connecticut natives and creators of the "Wonderland At Roseville," a love for holiday decorating turned into an annual event that lights up their whole community—figuratively and literally! After 7 years of gathering decorations, the Halliwells' Wonderland contains more than 800 pieces and shines with more than 350,000 lights.
"We like to have people see things that they don't see anywhere else," Mary says. But also, "we buy what we want."
That's the beauty of decoration displays like the Wonderland at Roseville: they are win-wins! Plus, the Halliwells found a way to create even more impact with their annual display. They gather donations from visitors to the Wonderland, and donate all proceeds to Shriners Children's Hospital, which provides free care for kids up to their 22nd birthday.
Gene and Mary's daughter Maryanne, Maryanne's husband Brian, and their family friend Billy all help create the Wonderland each year, prepping the house and yard for the premiere, which takes place at 5PM on Thanksgiving Day. The Halliwells hope that Maryanne will continue the tradition at her house in the future, wherever that might be. For the sake of her future community, we hope so as well!
"When you come here, you're just happy," says one visitor.
Have you ever felt blinded by the difficulties of life and couldn't figure out where to turn? Meet Lorraine Trapani of Ridgefield, CT. Lorraine's husband tragically lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. After he passed, Lorraine did the best she could to distract herself with work, gaining nearly 100 pounds in the process. In efforts to implement better structure in her life, she became a raiser for Guiding Eyes For the Blind, a non profit organization that uses volunteers to train dogs for the blind and visually impaired. As part of the 12-16 month long process of socializing her guide dog Merrick, Lorraine saw Merrick helping her become better socialized as well, attending guide dog meetings and eventually joining a weight loss program! Before she knew it, Merrick was ready to fulfill his career as a guide dog and she had lost weight and gained a knew lease on life.
What's more fun than watching a fashion show? How about a fashion show featuring incredibly cute dogs??
Jim Curtis is an award-winning health industry pioneer. But reaching the pinnacle of success, as he has today, was no cake-walk. Only after accepting the curveballs and challenges that life threw his way could Jim find happiness and thrive in his career.
Art classes allow young people to express themselves in important ways. Unfortunately, arts education is disappearing from schools in America; since 2008, 80% of school districts have cut funding for art programs. Simultaneously, student creativity scores have dropped. Fortunately, there are people and groups out there fighting to keep arts education present and vibrant in schools across the country.
Tennis is a popular and fun pastime, in that it requires mental focus and athletic ability. But due to the cost of equipment and court time, lots of kids never get the chance to try their hand at the sport. Leaders of the Junior Tennis Champion Center (JTCC) recognized this cost challenge, and decided to do something to change it. In 2009, JTCC launched a Community Outreach initiative, with the goal of introducing underserved kids in Prince George's County, MD, and Washington, DC to tennis. And the program has become an indisputable success.
The inaugural Universal FanCon (FanCon) is the first large-scale, 24-hour, inclusive event that celebrates the diversity of fans, the diversity of fandom, the true needs of those who love pop culture and a celebration of the differences that make us strong. Hosted at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, MD, April 27-29, 2018, FanCon's mission is to create a sense of belonging by providing authentic connections and experiences through fan-centric parties, programs, panels and partners.
BalletNext's search for innovation led the New York City-based company and its Artistic Director Michele Wiles to a first-of-its-kind production, a ballet called "Follin."
In a sun-filled church in Stamford, Connecticut, a small group of young students sit with their musical instruments. Among them are many instruments you'd expect to see in a classroom—like violins and guitars—and also several that you may have never seen before, like the South American Charango and a Caribbean steel drum. That would give you your first hint that you're not looking at a standard music class. This is an INTEMPO class.