‘Pumping up the community’
West Center’s fall brochure lists new, continuing classes, events

       Nine special events and seven new classes are among the offerings in the fall brochure for the West Center for Intergenerational Learning.
       The brochure is being mailed out to people who have taken center classes in the past; otherwise, it will be available for free at the center, 25 N. 20th St. (on the west side of West Middle School).
       If the fall brochure has any overriding theme, it is a reflection of Center Director E.D. Rucker's wish, as he put it, to “pump up the community aspect of things” in keeping with the center's intergenerational mission. One of his favorite examples of this is the writing project involving West students and local senior citizens. Falling under the “special events” category, the project seeks to match a middle school student with an older adult, with the goal to “record the adult's thoughts and recollections of their growing-up years and put it into book form,” the brochure states.
       This is the second year of the program. West English teacher Connie Graven will lead the effort. Volunteer adult participants are welcomed, according to the brochure.
       The brochure lists the following other special events:
       · “Fiesta Night” as part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Oct. 1 - a celebration of this year's nationwide Sept. 15-Oct. 15 theme of “Making a Difference in Our Communities and our Nation.”
       · “Colorado Springs Fire Department: Falls/Home Safety,” Oct. 6 - question/answer session with Melinda Pape of the Fire Department's Public Education Office. “Meadows Park Community Center Third Annual Carnival,” Oct. 13 - a bus trip to the Meadows Park facility. Activities will include carnival games, cakewalk and door prizes.
       Stress Reduction through Animal Therapy, Oct. 13 - a visit with the Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care trained pet therapy dog.
       · “Red Ribbon Week Celebration: I Have the Power,” Oct 22 - Teen Night and signing of Red Ribbon Week banner in support of a drug-free community. Red ribbons were first worn in memory of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who was murdered by drug dealers in 1985.
       · “Ask Your Neighborhood Police Officer,” Oct. 27 - a question-answer session with a city police officer at the center.
       · “Say 'Boo' to Drugs Carnival, Oct. 29 - co-hosted with the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN), to culminate Red Ribbon Week.
       · “Caring Conversations,” Nov. 10 - discussion about aging and what it means.
       The new classes include three that teach ju jitsu and other methods of self defense.
       Rucker said he hopes these classes will take off because he is impressed with instructor Norbert Grover and because women's self defense “is something that's really needed.”
       Other new classes are:
       · “Washington Elementary School Autumn Adventures” (ages 6-11), Oct 28-29 - a camp focusing on art, literacy, team- building and large-group activities.
       · “Candle Jewelry,” Dec. 4 - wirework techniques using silver, copper and/or brass wire and beads to dress up candles.
       · “Soap Making with All Natural Ingredients,” Sept. 30, Oct. 20 and Nov. 10 - lecture/demonstration and a bar of cured soap to each student.
       · “Secrets of Exercise Success,” Mondays, Oct. 25-Nov. 29 - comprehensive course to help people attain personal fitness goals.
       Continuing are the early childhood programs at Rock Ledge Ranch (registrations are being accepted now), teen programs (including the Friday “Teen Nights” at West, starting Sept. 10), intergenerational workshops (classes or trips for ages 11 to adult), and adult and senior programs (classes in the categories of arts and crafts, general interest, wellness and health and ongoing adult/senior activities and services), and adults 55+ excursions.
       The center, located on the Westside but open to anyone in the community, partners with School District 11 and the Pikes Peak Community Action Agency/ Billie Spielman Community Center, which provides emergency assistance and services.
       Primary funding for the West Center is provided through the city of Colorado Springs Parks Department.
       For more information, come to the center (8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays) or call 385-7920.

Westside Pioneer Article