Louise Luring

CASP develops language-learning program for asylum seekers

Federal regulations have doubled the wait time for work permit eligibility, so the Community Asylum Seekers Project has designed a language-learning plan that takes advantage of that wait to better prepare asylum seekers to find work and keep it.

As it welcomes more participants into its program, CASP is facing the dilemma of how to integrate them into life in Windham County, including finding meaningful work that can be performed successfully by someone with limited English-language skills.

Seven asylum seekers in this area have been gainfully employed, yet a few have lost job opportunities because of barriers to the full understanding of directions.

Adaptable for all levels, from beginner to advanced, the language program focuses on language learning plus vocational and cultural skills.

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‘Secret Garden’ tells of nature’s healing powers

When the curtain rises Friday, Oct. 25, at the Bellows Falls Opera House on the Main Street Arts production of The Secret Garden, the audience will be invited to “dig into the magic of a little bit of earth.” Frances Hodgson Burnett likely couldn't have imagined that the children's...

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Labor of love

Keene State student interns at Our Place

From Southern California to Georgia to Woodstock, Lauren Dodge's studies have led her on a roundabout route toward her goal of becoming a sports nutritionist. Dodge recently spent time as an intern at Our Place Drop-in Center in Bellows Falls learning about the charitable food system and giving back...

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Christmas Stocking Bazaar celebrates 60 years

When the doors open at 9 a.m. and the crowd pours in for this year's Christmas Stocking Bazaar at Christ's Church on Saturday, Nov. 12, only a handful of attendees will remember the beginnings of this annual event 60 years ago. The story is that the bazaar began with an ice cream soda social at the former Congregational Church that now houses the historical society museum and moved to its present location when the Baptist and Congregational churches decided it...

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Main Street Arts names Stern as artistic director

David Stern of Westminster has been appointed artistic director of Main Street Arts community arts center. Stern directed MSA's recent productions of Les Misérables and The Pirates of Penzance. He is founding director of the New Ensemble Theater in Concord, Mass., and has run theater programs at Springfield High School, the Middlesex School, The Meeting School, and Kimball Union Academy. He has a master of fine arts in theatrical design from Rutgers University and has directed shows and created innovative...

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Greater Falls Warming Shelter still needs volunteers

On a recent single-digit 6:45 a.m., a friend of the Greater Falls Warming Shelter, setting out on his day's activities, swung by the shelter and dropped off warm socks for the guests. “I thought they could use them,” he later explained. His generosity is typical of the warmth that has been generated for the guests of the shelter as the public imagines what it must be like not to have a safe, warm place to go when the temperature drops...

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From the chorus to a starring role

Lindsey Soboleski returns to the Main Street Arts stage for its winter production of Gilbert and Sullivan's “The Pirates of Penzance,” this time in the lead role. Last time she was here, in MSA's 2004 production of the show, the then-13-year-old Rockingham native was cast as one of Major-General Stanley's daughters, a relatively minor role that introduced her to the grind of rehearsals, late nights, and backstage tensions. She had previously taken part in MSA's children's plays, but this was...

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Soup suppers seek soup makers

Wednesday soup suppers in Saxtons River continue attracting more community members as organizers enter their third month of offering a free meal to anyone looking for social and physical nourishment. “We're so glad folks have found us and each other,” said organizer Wanda Salter, surveying a group of some 40 neighbors gathered on a recent evening in the dining room of Christ's Church for the Blue Door Community Suppers. Each week, four volunteers make arrangements for that week's meal, find...

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