Author: juliekirst

New Roads High School Spectrum Program offers fresh approach to youths with learning disabilities

Using drama, film, music, movement and other methods, the Spectrum Program at New Roads High School in Santa Monica offers a high school program for students with social-cognitive learning disabilities, such as autism. Social cognition relates to social and emotional processing, such as perception, memory and judgment. Those with autism and other social-cognitive learning disabilities have difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication and with day-to-day social interaction, according to Nancy London, Spectrum program coordinator. A lawyer by profession, London started the program out of desperation as she looked for a high school for her daughter, who was diagnosed at an early age with autism spectrum disorder. London wanted her daughter to continue having positive experiences with typical kids, but she had concerns about sending her to a regular high school where the focus was more academic than social. “Many parents are just trying to get their children through school, but the bigger picture is that school is about helping students learn to lead productive lives,” London says. “For these students, it’s not about learning chemistry but about how to make a friend,” she says. She adds that it’s also about how to get these youths to take the social skills they’ve mastered in school and use them in situations in the real world. Begun in September, the program started with six youths and two full-time teachers who have extensive...

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Twilight Dance Series poster design contest

In celebration of the 21st Annual Twilight Dance Series in Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation is holding its third annual poster contest. The winning design will be used on posters, flyers, banners and advertisements for the dance series. The contest is open to amateur and professional designers and students. The graphic design entries are due Friday, April 1st, with contest rules, entry forms and design guidelines available at in the “What’s Happening” link. The winner will receive $750 and a VIP package for the summer series, including backstage passes, according to Rachel Hoover, Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation marketing manager. Members of the community can vote for their favorite design via an Internet poll during April. The top vote-getter will be announced at the Santa Monica Festival on Saturday, May 14th, at Clover Park, 2600 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica. Twilight Dance Series free concerts take place once a week on the Santa Monica Pier, June through September for ten weeks each summer. The series has featured such acts as Sha Na Na, Tito Puente and the Jefferson Starship. The series began as a way to bring people back to the pier after severe storms in 1981 and 1983 destroyed part of the pier, according to Hoover. Rebuilding of the pier was under way and the free dance series was designed to let the community...

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Two collection sites for waste, but public needs to bring proper items to correct collection site

There are two separate local sites for citizens who wish to dump their household wastes. One site is on the south side of Los Angeles International Airport at 7660 Imperial Highway, Playa del Rey, and the other site is in the Marina at 13483 Fiji Way. The problem is that many people are dropping their household waste at the wrong site. Residents, businesses and boaters face stiff fines for dumping household hazardous waste at Fiji Way center in the Marina, which is a motor oil recycling center. Increasing amounts of hazardous waste materials, such as automobile and household batteries, are incorrectly being dumped at the recently renovated Marina del Rey Used Motor Oil Recycling Center on Fiji Way, west of Admiralty Way. County officials warn that leaving behind any toxic waste at the used oil center, except used motor oil and oil filters, is illegal and can result in a fine of up to $5,000 and/or a six-month jail sentence. Instead, household wastes should be taken to the Hyperion S.A.F.E. Collection Center at 7660 Imperial Highway, a collection site for all household hazardous waste other than used motor oil and oil filters. Residents can use both facilities free of charge. They just need to make sure they bring the right materials to the right collection site. The Marina Used Oil Center on Fiji Way offers boaters and residents a...

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Santa Monica Library has monthly free programs with LA Opera themes

The Santa Monica Library is continuing its free monthly “Saturday Afternoons with Los Angeles Opera” themes. The monthly gatherings highlight operas in the Los Angeles Opera current season. The interactive programs consist of multimedia talks, culminating with a concert by Los Angeles Opera artists. Verdi’s Falstaff will be the theme Saturday, March 19th. A “Behind the Scenes” look at opera is planned Saturday, April 9th. Highlights of Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, are scheduled Saturday, May 14th. A grand finale concert is planned Saturday, June 11th. Each of the monthly events will be between 2 and 3:30 p.m. at the Senior Recreation Center, 1450 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica. Organizers welcome all ages, and seating is on a first arrival basis. The program originated in March 2002, when the Los Angeles Opera approached the Santa Monica city librarian about working together to present an opera series for the community that would be educational and entertaining. The opera-theme program was developed and coordinated in Santa Monica by public services librarian Judith S. Graham, who coordinates the library’s community outreach programs for families and adults. “Santa Monica was one of five test libraries,” Graham says. “Now, over 20 libraries participate in the opera program in the greater L.A. area.” Benefiting both organizations, the program exposes a new generation to opera and the library has the opportunity to showcase its free resources, such as its...

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Youngsters, seniors team up for talent show in Santa Monica

Seniors and youths will come together for “Talent Extravaganza,” an intergenerational talent showcase set for 11 a.m., Saturday, February 26th, at the Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica. Admission is free. Miles Playhouse is located within Christine Reed Park. “For about the last five years there has been a senior talent show,” says Jaime Nack, Santa Monica’s volunteer program supervisor. “The intergenerational show came about from talks with the leadership at the Police Activities League (PAL) about having kids volunteer to help at the senior show in some way. “We thought this would be a great opportunity for seniors and youths to interact with each other and spawn more activities in the future.” She adds that since Miles Memorial Playhouse is dedicated to youth programming it was a natural fit to combine a youth show with this year’s senior talent show. “We try to make it as professional as possible and give them the feel of actually doing a show,” says Michael Brooke, community services specialist with Santa Monica’s Senior Recreation Center and organizer of the event. Keeping it on a professional level Brooke holds auditions, a dress rehearsal the day before the show and Joe Traina, who has a production company, volunteers his time as stage manager of the show. The Police Activities League, which provides educational, cultural, social and recreational programs for Santa Monica youths...

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