Program to explore what midlife means for women


April 16, 2001|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TRADITIONALLY, middle age for women has been about menopause, hot flashes and hormones.

But Vickii Engel Thomas, a Westminster massage therapist and counselor, is hoping to move past those perceptions to an exploration of emotions and ideals in "The Journey of Midlife," a three-session program she's facilitating for Carroll County General Hospital.

"This is a time of looking at and reframing what is this middle transition," said Engel, adding that most middle-age women are experiencing a change in roles from caring for others to caring for themselves.

"They're looking at their life past and saying, `These are the rules of the game as I've lived it so far,' and asking, `Do I still agree with them?'" she said. "`Do my beliefs still serve me?'"

Middle age is better defined as a stage in life, rather than a specific age, Engel said.

She emphasized that although biological issues will be discussed, they will not be the focus of the presentations and sharing during the sessions.

"We want to look at it from a whole-life perspective," she said. "Our conversations will be around, `What does this mean for me?'"

Engel said she became interested in the topic while pursuing her master's degree in counseling at Western Maryland College. Her final paper, an examination of two practice clients and the issues they were dealing with, helped her realize that she was in midlife as well.

"I was suddenly relating to all these things, saying, `yes, yes, yes,'" Engel said. "I wanted to create a place where women could come together and look at their lives with other women."

Sessions will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays, starting today at the hospital's Women's Place, 291 Stoner Ave., Westminster. The cost is $50 for three sessions.

Information: 410-848-2244.

Reading brings rewards

Fourth-graders at Cranberry Station Elementary who have read for at least 2001 minutes the past month will have the opportunity to spend the night in the school media center this weekend.

Games, trivia questions and plenty of food are expected during the evening, the second annual event for the 2-year-old school.

"I'm hoping this will become a tradition," said school media specialist Allyson Lyga.

Twelve pupils had qualified by Tuesday and more were expected to be eligible, she said.

"The kids really love the idea of being at school in an evening setting and spending the night in the media center," she said.

So do the chaperons, Lyga said.

"I don't know who's having more fun, the kids or their parents," she said, laughing. "It's definitely not a night to get your beauty sleep. I always look forward to it."

Information: 410-386-4440.

Dancing for a cause

Take a two-step in the fight against cancer Saturday at Gamber Fire Hall at a dinner dance to benefit the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

Bob Plunkert and Real Country will provide entertainment for the evening, which will feature dinner at 6 p.m. and dancing at 8 p.m.

Plunkert's mother, Westminster resident Barbara Plunkert, is a member of Fired Up for a Cure, a local team participating in the relay May 18 and 19. The evening's festivities are expected to include a 50-/50 raffle and a cakewalk.

Tickets are $15. The fire hall is at 3838 Niner Road.

Information: 410-848-6823, 410-239-6402 or 410-848-3152.

Displaying the arts

Pupils at Sandymount Elementary are expected to display their artistic talents at 7 p.m. Wednesday during Media-Art Night.

Parents will join their youngsters for the evening, which is to include art exhibits in the media center, tours of the school's television studio, and demonstrations by Sandymount's art teacher.

Information: 751-3215.

Shooting the stars

Learn the skills necessary to photograph stellar bodies.

A new noncredit course on astrophotography at Carroll Community College begins tomorrow, and will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through April 24.

The cost is $70 and $32 for seniors.

Information: 410-386-8100.

Amy L. Miller's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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