Community Bulletin Board

Free course for families affected by mental illness

The National Alliance on Mental Illness in New Jersey (NAMI New Jersey) is offering a free, 12-week education course for the families and caregivers of people with mental illness, which will cover the clinical treatment of various illnesses and impart the knowledge and skills that family members need in order to cope more effectively as caregivers. The Middlesex County class begins March 13 and will be held from 7-9:30 p.m. at NAMI New Jersey’s New Brunswick office, 1562 Route 130. The curriculum focuses on schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and mood disorders. Registration is required. Call Marilyn Goldstein at (908) 806-3475 or Cynthia at (732) 940-0991.

NAMI New Jersey is a grass-roots, nonprofit organization that offers support and advocacy to consumers of mental health services, families and friends of people with several mental illnesses.

Camp open house set for March 5 at MCC

A Camp Middlesex Open House will be held from 1-4 p.m. on March 5 in the Technical Services Center at Middlesex County College (MCC), Edison.

Youngsters ages 6 to 18, along with their families, are invited to sample some of the programs and activities that will be offered as part of the summer recreation program at the college. There will be a raffle for a $100 reduction on camp tuition.

The event also will feature face-painting, balloons for children and opportunities to decorate pretzels with chocolate. Excerpts from theater camp presentations will be offered. Donuts, popcorn and juice will be served, respecting the dietary traditions followed by campers. Staff and administration will be on hand to answer questions. Several programs will be demonstrated.

On-site registration will be available. Parents must bring their child’s immunization records in order to complete the process. Reservations for the fair are not required.

For more information or to request a camp brochure, call (732) 906-2556.

Library’s annual film festival kicks off March 6

The Metuchen Public Library’s annual spring film festival, the Edna Newby International Film Series will begin March 6 at the library at 480 Middlesex Avenue.

The festival will feature three films, shown at approximately one month intervals. Each film will be shown twice, at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Admission is free to all. Each film is shown in its original language with English subtitles.

The series begins with the Afghani film “Osama” (2004). Living in an all-female household in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan is tantamount to a sentence of death by starvation, since women are not permitted to leave the house without a male escort or to earn a living. In desperation, a preadolescent girl disguises herself as a boy, changes her name to Osama and goes to work for a shopkeeper. Will she be found out and punished? Director Siddik Barmak, whose mentor was the Iranian director of Kandahar, made this movie, the first to be filmed in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban, on a shoestring budget and recruited a cast of nonprofessional actors from the streets of Kabul. This film won the Golden Globe Award as Best Foreign Film.

April 3 will feature the Danish film “Italian for Beginners” (2000). This romantic comedy has the distinction of being the first of its kind to be shot in the Dogma-95 style: hand-held video, natural light and no extraneous music. Several lonely hearts in a semi-provincial suburb in Denmark use a beginner’s course in Italian as the platform to meet the romance of their lives. Serious themes such as mental illness and euthanasia are touched on as a widowed pastor, an Italian waitress, a bakery clerk, an impotent hotelier, a restaurant manager and a hairdresser tread the bumpy road to love. The film won multiple prizes at the Berlin film festival.

The festival concludes on May 1, with the Israeli film “Broken Wings” (2002). When a family member dies suddenly, the entire dynamic of the survivors is forever changed. An Israeli mother struggles with her own grief and that of her four children while working two jobs to keep the family together after the death of her husband. Still traumatized by their father’s death, the children begin to act out. This tale of how five people connected by both blood and grief begin to assemble the shards of their lives and move forward won awards at Israeli, German and Japanese film festivals.

The Edna Newby International Film Series is sponsored by the Friends of the Metuchen Public Library and the Metuchen Public Library Board of Trustees Endowment Fund. Call John McBride (732-632-8526), adult services librarian.

Woman’s Club to meet March 8 at St. Luke’s

The Metuchen-Edison Woman’s Club, an organization of women volunteers who work together to provide service in the community and raise funds to purchase essential items for local charities, will hold its monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. March 8 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church hall, 17 Oak Ave. (corner of Oak Avenue and Route 27), Metuchen. The program will feature Middlesex County Surrogate Kevin J. Hoagland, who will provide information on wills and estates, and attorney Gary J. Hoagland, who will speak about last will and testaments, trusts, living wills, advance directives and power of attorney.

Guests and new members are welcome. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information, call Diana at (732) 548-0925.

African American

history event planned

The Metuchen-Edison Historical Society will present oral histories from African-American residents of Metuchen at 1:30 p.m. on March 5 in the community room of the Metuchen Public Library at 480 Middlesex Ave.

Visitors can listen to keynote speakers and audio tapes for local history excerpts, share attendees’ stories and look at display material from the society’s archives.

Refreshments will be served. Gift ideas and society publications will also be available. For directions or more information, call Steve Reuter at (732) 452-1381 or Bob Takash at (732) 985-5821.

Edison Garden Club to meet at library March 13

The Edison Garden Club will hold its next monthly meeting at 7 p.m. on March 13. Guest speaker will be Leslie Dempsey, master gardener and plant consultant. Light refreshments will be served. The club meets at 7 p.m. the second Monday of every month in the conference room of the Edison Main Library, 340 Plainfield Ave.

Funeral home providing free bereavement support

The Costello-Runyon Funeral Home, 568 Middlesex Ave., Metuchen, continues to offer a bereavement support group. Ongoing sessions are held every Wednesday and Thursday morning from 10:30 a.m. to noon, as well as Wednesday evening from 7-8:30 p.m. The program, which is free of charge, takes place at the funeral home. Carol Burner, a certified grief recovery specialist, facilitates the program. A professional with a master’s degree in counseling from Seton Hall University, South Orange, she has spent the past eight years offering individual and group counseling to clients suffering from significant and tragic losses.Call the funeral home at (732) 548-0149 or Carol Burner at (732) 562-8565.

AAUW scholarship to be given to woman over 25

The Mid-Jersey Branch of the American Association of University Women is offering a one-time scholarship of $1,000 to a woman over 25 who is pursuing her first bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university.

Application requests must be received by March 27, 2006, and completed registrations must be received by the scholarship committee by April 1.

To request an application, write to: Mid-Jersey AAUW Scholarship Committee, c/o 21 O’Hara St., Edison 08837.

Applicants may also e-mail their name and address to singerlac@aol.com.

The American Association of University Women promotes equity for all women and girls, lifelong education and positive societal change.

BIL Scholarship Card Party set for March 16

The Borough Improvement League (BIL) will hold its annual Scholarship Card Party at 1:30 p.m. March 16 at the Old Franklin Schoolhouse, 491 Middlesex Ave., Metuchen. Refreshments will be served.

Guests need not be BIL members to participate.

A $15 donation will go toward the scholarship fund. For reservations, call Phyllis Boeddinghaus at (732) 548-1391 or Louise DeCourcey at (732) 549-4919.

Police department needs more crossing guards

The Metuchen Police Department is looking for residents who are interested in becoming crossing guards. Substitute positions are available. The starting salary is $9.50 an hour. For more information, call Capt. Robert Rentenberg at (732) 632-8548 or call the main line at (732) 632-8500 for applications. Applicants must have their own transportation.