---- — Eight teens representing the Merrimack Valley YMCA are on their way home from the 2013 YMCA Europe Festival in Prague, Czech Republic. The teenagers from Lawrence and Andover took an eight-day trip to Prague to join 10,000 young people at the YMCA Europe Festival, the largest international gathering of YMCA youth.
While in Prague, the teens expanded their global perspective, strengthened cultural competencies and developed leadership skills while connecting with teens from around the world. They participated in challenging workshops on youth-focused topics, and celebrated the strength and diversity of the global Y family during performances and group activities. The Festival is intended to challenge young people to make sense of the world we live in locally, nationally and globally.
The U.S. delegation to Prague also included two local YMCA Change Agents, Jennifer Mejia and Amanda Nieman. The Change Agent Program is a worldwide effort coordinated by the World Alliance of YMCAs to develop a new generation of globally-minded young adult leaders. Two of only 30 U.S. YMCA Change Agents, Jennifer and Amanda, took part in the leadership track at the Festival. They will play a key role in bringing global strategies and best practices back home to our local communities.
“I look forward to the establishment and development of new skills, knowledge and experiences that will allow me to maximize my impact on the diverse and unique set of communities our organization serves every single day,” said Jennifer Mejia, Marketing Manager at the Merrimack Valley YMCA.
In 2012, the Merrimack Valley YMCA was one of 30 YMCAs, out of more than 900 YMCAs in the nation, named as a YMCA Global Center of Excellence, and in sending a youth delegation to Prague this summer and selecting two Change Agents to represent our YMCA and community, is supporting a comprehensive “Diversity and Inclusion” initiative.
In order to help fund this experience of a lifetime in Prague Czech Republic, all eight teens held several fundraising initiatives, including a car wash, Sweat for a Cause challenge, raffle calendar, penny wars and cookbooks sales. For more information or to donate to support future youth trips, please contact Kate Rozzi at 978-725-6681 ext. 130. You can also follow the teens’ experience in Prague on the Merrimack Valley YMCA facebook page: facebook.com/mvymca.
Lockhart returns to for NECC fundraiser
ANDOVER — There is still time to purchase tickets to see Keith Lockhart and Friends on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the Collins Center for the Performing Arts at Andover High School in Andover. This event is presented by the Northern Essex Community College Foundation Inc., the Women of NECC and the NECC Alumni Association. Proceeds from this NECC signature event will benefit NECC’s Endowment Fund.
Lockhart will present a talk on composer Igor Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale,” illustrated by periodic interludes of music performed by a group of seven musicians. The 1918 theatrical Russian parable meant to be “read, played and danced” tells the tale of a soldier who trades his fiddle to the devil for a book that predicts the future of the economy.
Lockhart became the 20th conductor of the Boston Pops in 1995, adding his artistic vision to the Pops tradition established by his predecessors John Williams and Arthur Fiedler.
This is a return visit to the Merrimack Valley for the 53-year-old New York native.
For tickets, which are $35 each, call the NECC Institutional Advancement events line at 978-556-3870 or visit www.mvarts.info.
For more information or to request communication access, visit www.necc.mass.edu/signature-event. Discounts are available for students and groups.
DiZoglio to meet with residents
HAVERHILL — State Rep. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) will host an outdoor ice-cream social and movie night on Thursday, Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. on the basketball court at Presidential Gardens in Bradford. “The Presidential Gardens Neighborhood Association is committed to bringing its residents together in a community fashion,” said Cheryl Capodilupo, Presidential Gardens budget coordinator. “We appreciate the generosity of Representative Diana DiZoglio in supporting our endeavors.”
“Creating opportunities for neighbors to meet in a positive environment stimulates healthy relationships that make for a safer and more close-knit community,” said DiZoglio. “I am really looking forward to meeting local residents at what is sure to be a fantastic night.”
The event will include a showing of the movie “Hotel Transylvania,” a 2012 fantasy-comedy animated film featuring the voices of Adam Sandler and Kevin James.
Concert includes crystal bowl sounds
HAVERHILL — The Bradford Common free Outdoor Music Series continues on Friday with a 7 p.m. performance of blues and rock by the Mike Fioretti Band. Opening act at 6 p.m. features Anonymous with Emma Gallo and Friends. At 6:45 p.m., special guest Sherryl Comeau of Energy Works Studio will present meditative sounds using crystal singing bowls. An open house is at 8:15 p.m. inside the church and offers coffee and snacks and an opportunity to meet sponsors of this series. The Aug. 23 show features an evening of jazz with opener Ed Felker followed by Mike Cesati & Company. In the event of rain, performances are inside the church.
Visitors are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and blankets. All performances are sponsored by the First Church of Christ and are free. More information is available from Paul Prue at 978-590-2119.
St. Gregory hosts Siroun Dance Ensemble
NORTH ANDOVER — A performance by the Siroun Dance Ensemble will highlight the list of festivities during a picnic sponsored by St. Gregory Church of the Merrimack Valley.
The festival will be held on Sept. 8 from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. on the church grounds at 158 Main St.
Also featured will be an Armenian band featuring Joe Kouyoumjian on oud, John Arzigian on accordion and vocals, Jason Naroian on dumbeg and vocals and Leon Janikian on clarinet. The Siroun dancers will be dressed in traditional Armenian costumes and hail from central Massachusetts, performing various folk tunes.
The menu will include shish, losh and chicken kebab dinners, rice pilaf, salad, vegetarian entrees and Armenian pastries. There will be games and activities for the entire family. The picnic will also present an opportunity to introduce the church’s new pastor, the Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, who recently transferred here from Granite City, Illinois.