Halloween for hunger
For the second year, students at C.T. Douglas Elementary School in Acton are asking the community to help them fill the Acton Food Pantry’s shelves as part of their participation in Free the Children’s Halloween for Hunger program.
The school’s 500 students in kindergarten through sixth grade collected nonperishable food items on Oct. 12 using paper grocery bags donated by Donelan’s and Roche Brothers supermarkets. The collection continues through Tuesday at the school, 21 Elm St., and at Acton Memorial Library, 486 Main St.
Principal Christopher Whitbeck, who lives in Acton, said the students hope to collect more than the 2,000 pounds of food they gathered last fall. Additionally, they raised $8,500 toward the construction of a school in their adopted village of Osenetoi in the Maasai region of Kenya. This year, the students are raising funds for drought relief in the village, and sustainable, drought-resistant means of income.
Whitbeck said he is proud of the students, who have raised money through a penny drive, bake sales, and yard sales. In addition to collecting canned goods, the students are seeking donations of paper products and other household staples.
“Our students know there are many less-fortunate people locally and globally, and they can do something about it,’’ he said. “They don’t have to wait until they grow up to affect change.’’
SPECIAL TOOLS AT PERKINS: As director of adaptive technology at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Gayle Yarnall knows the opportunities awaiting participants of its Vision Awareness Day on Wednesday. The free event will enable those who are blind or experiencing any vision loss to discover tools to help them with everyday activities.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., presentations, demonstrations, and free consultations on assistive-technology products available through Perkins will take place in the school’s Grousbeck Center for Students and Technology, at North Beacon Street and Beechwood Avenue.
Devices used in education, employment, and at home include Braille and tactile devices, electronic notetakers and PDAs, global positioning systems, hands-free computing solutions, scanning systems, screen reading and screen magnification software, video magnification devices, daily living aids, and toys and games.
While the event is designed for the blind and visually impaired, Yarnall said, she encourages employers to attend. The US unemployment rate is 9.1 percent, she said, but the jobless rate for people with impaired vision exceeds 70 percent.
“At the end of the day, after all the education, technology training, and mobility training, you need to find a job,’’ said Yarnall, an Amesbury resident who herself is blind. “And when you see this technology, you understand that you can hire blind people.
“Blind and visually impaired people are often raised and treated differently, with the goal just to survive,’’ she added. “On Nov. 2, we’ll show you the tools that allow you to compete.’’
HANDBOOK FOR PERFECTISTS: Arlington psychologist Jeff Szymanski (inset), executive director of the nonprofit International OCD Foundation, readily acknowledges there are situations in which perfectionism can be a positive attribute.
The trait becomes problematic, however, when self-doubt and fear of making a mistake prevent an individual from learning through new experiences, Szymanski says.
In his new book, “The Perfectionist’s Handbook: Take Risks, Invite Criticism, and Make the Most of Your Mistakes,’’ Szymanski helps readers determine when their perfectionist tendencies are so repetitive and narrowly focused that they interfere with day-to-day functioning.
A self-diagnosed perfectionist, Szymanski gives examples from his own life as well as his 15 years of clinical experience. He has worked with more than 1,000 individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder at the OCD Institute at McLean Hospital in Belmont, where he was director of psychologist services and ran a specialized therapy group.
The goal, Szymanski said, is to become more flexible without necessarily lowering the bar.
“The key is to separate your intention to excel, stand out, and be special from a strategy that’s not working,’’ he said. “If you look at history, people don’t become experts by giving a perfect performance, but by doing the best they can and getting feedback on their mistakes. They still put the time in, but they put it in a particular way that enables them to grow without getting caught up in self-criticism.’’
At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Szymanski will discuss his book as part of the Obsessive Compulsive & Related Disorders Les Grodberg Memorial Lecture Series, a free event being held in McLean Hospital’s De Marneffe Cafeteria Building, 115 Mill St. in Belmont.
His talk is sponsored by the Greater Boston affiliate of the International OCD Foundation.
DISCOVER WHAT’S NEXT: Television journalist and documentary filmmaker Liz Walker (inset below) will be the keynote speaker at the Newton-based Discovering What’s Next Encore Summit, taking place from 8:15 a.m. to noon Friday at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St. in Watertown.
The summit, titled “Discover What’s Next After 50,’’ is designed to transform the way people view their midlife and beyond. Rather than embracing retirement as a time of leisure, seniors are increasingly choosing to use their skills for paid work that offers meaning and social impact in an “encore’’ career.
In her address, Walker will reflect on her own transition to giving back.
Boston resident Phyllis Segal, vice president of a baby-boomer think tank, Civic Ventures, will discuss how seeking new ways to connect and contribute can benefit future generations.
Video remarks from University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman will present research supporting community engagement as key to health, well-being, and longevity.
Newton resident Carol Greenfield, founder of Discovering What’s Next, said the summit will provide information, inspiration, and connection to others who can help participants identify meaningful job opportunities.
“It is an opportunity to figure out where you are on this journey, learn about available resources to find encore work, and be part of the launch of a local encore movement,’’ she said.
The summit’s fee is $50; to register or for more information, call Discovering What’s Next at 617-467-5438 or visit www.discoveringwhatsnext.com.
Cindy Cantrell can be reached at email@example.com.