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• The Monmouth County Retired Educators Association will hold its spring meeting on April 12 at Our House Restaurant, 420 Adelphia Road, Howell, at 11 a.m. Voting for the new slate of officers will take place. Guest speaker Meredith Oppenheim will introduce Vitality, a new program available to members. Members are asked to bring a non-perishable donation for the food bank. For luncheon reservations, contact [email protected] or call 732 995-7754. Reservations must be received before April 1. New members are always welcome.

• On April 12 at 2 p.m., in collaboration with Lehigh University, Ocean County College will present “An Afternoon with Natasha Trethewey,” a virtual reading and discussion with the award-winning poet who served two terms as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-14). Her poems combine the personal and the historical as she blends free verse and traditional forms to address themes of hope and resilience, racial justice and equality, the civil rights movement, Black history and motherhood. To register for this free virtual event that is open to members of the public, visit go.ocean.edu/poetry

• The historic village of Allentown will host its first Daffodil Days Festival held from March 26 through April 3. The festival includes family friendly events set among 3,000 daffodils.
A parade at noon on March 26 will kick off more than 30 activities (many free) and boutique shop specials. Master gardeners will answer questions and guests can meet Revolutionary War heroine Molly Pitcher. There will be a self-guided tour of the local scenic countryside. Guests may savor a chocolate creation of their own making and create daffodil-themed craft projects. Visit www.allentownvinj.org for a complete daily calendar of events. Daffodil Days comes to Allentown courtesy of The Allentown Village Initiative, whose focus is on local history education and historic preservation, natural resource protection, economic development, and the arts and culture.

• The Westlake Woman’s Club is offering five $500 scholarships for female residents of Jackson. The scholarships are offered to qualified individuals who have been accepted into a post-high school educational or training program and who meet any one of the following criteria: currently completing high school; currently working and planning to enroll in a program to enhance skills, make a career change or desiring further education; not currently working, but desiring job training skills or retraining; registered in either public school or vocational school in a continuing education program. Applications are available online at https://westlakeclubs.com/womens-club/womens-club-scholarship/. Applications are also available through the Jackson Library, guidance offices of Jackson Liberty and Jackson Memorial high schools, Ocean County Vo-Tech and the financial aid offices at Ocean County College and Georgian Court University. The deadline for submission is May 7.

• On March 26 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Howell Alliance for substance use
prevention and mental health awareness is hosting and partially sponsoring a Mental Health First Aid certification training at the Howell municipal building. This training gives people the tools to identify when an individual may be struggling with a mental health or substance use problem and to connect them with appropriate support and resources when necessary. Mental health first-aiders learn a five-step action plan that guides them through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support. To register, visit Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mental-health-first-aid-certificate-training-in-person-tickets-261861584047. Participants should bring their own face covering, and food and drinks for the day, if desired. Details: Christa Riddle, 732-938-4500, ext. 4012.

• New Jersey Blood Services, a division of New York Blood Center, will conduct blood drives which are open to the public. The following drives are scheduled: March 24, Howell Donor Center, 4068 Route 9 South, Howell, 1:30-8:30 p.m.; March 29, Howell Donor Center, 1:30-8:30 p.m.; March 30, Howell Donor Center, 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.; and March 31, Howell Donor Center, 1:30-8:30 p.m. To donate blood, call 1-800-933-2566 or visit www.nybloodcenter.org

• New Jersey Blood Services, a division of New York Blood Center, will conduct blood drives which are open to the public. The following drives are scheduled: April 5, Howell Donor Center, 4068 Route 9 South, Howell, 1:30-8:30 p.m.; April 6, Howell Donor Center, 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.; April 7, Howell Donor Center, 1:30-8:30 p.m.; April 12, Howell Donor Center, 1:30-8:30 p.m.; April 13, Howell Donor Center, 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.; April 14, Howell Donor Center, 1:30-8:30 p.m.; April 19, Howell Donor Center, 1:30-8:30 p.m.; April 20, Howell Donor Center, 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.; April 21, Howell Donor Center, 1:30-8:30 p.m.; April 26, Howell Donor Center, 1:30-8:30 p.m.; April 27, Howell Donor Center, 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.; April 28, Howell Donor Center, 1:30-8:30 p.m. To donate blood, call 1-800-933-2566 or visit www.nybloodcenter.org

• Join United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and DowntownFreehold.com for the United for Impact Food Truck Festival from noon to 6 p.m. April 24 along West Main Street, Freehold Borough. There will be food trucks, beer, live music, games and more in support of the United Way’s mission. Sponsorship opportunities and vendor tables are available. Register at uwmoc.org/food-truck-festival

• The Freehold Elks Motorcycle Committee will present the New Jersey State Elks Army of Hope Poker Run 2022, in memory of Chris Malvone and other fallen and severely wounded veterans, on April 30, rain or shine. All are welcome to register from 9-11 a.m. at Freehold Elks Lodge No. 1454, 73 E. Main St., Freehold Borough. The Poker Run starts and ends at the lodge. The cost is $20 per rider and $15 per passenger, and includes the poker run, a party at 1 p.m. food, beverages and DJ. Admission to the party only is $15. Details: Christine Reese, 347-739-6254, or Joe Pindilli, 908-635-4788.

• The Rutgers Master Gardeners will hold their Spring Garden Day Plant Sale on May 13-14 at the Cooperative Extension of Monmouth County, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, through Rutgers University, 4000 Kozloski Road, Freehold Township. Great plants and free garden talks by Rutgers Master Gardeners will be available both days.
Details: Visit https://monmouth.njaes.rutgers.edu/master-gardeners/

• Monmouth County officials have scheduled a paper shredding event so residents have the opportunity to dispose of old documents and confidential files safely. A shredding event will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 18 in Howell at the Memorial/Adelphia School, 485 Adelphia Road (Route 524). County residents may shred up to 100 pounds. Large binder clips must be removed from documents; staples and paper clips can remain. Details: See the recycling section of the county’s website, www.visitmonmouth.com, or call 732-683-8686, ext. 8967.

• The Monmouth County Library offers six classes available at any time and without any advance registration on virtual Yoga, highlighting breathing, movement, stretching and other activities. Each program is offered at https://ly/MonCoLibraryYoga. The programs are offered by Steven Russell of Becoming Sound. Interested individuals may choose their own path with movements from six of the most popular library video class series. Sessions are Yoga Breathing; Yoga Stretching; Yoga Movement; Yoga Stretching with Support; Yoga at Home on the Floor; and Yoga at Home Standing. Individuals should consult a physician before starting any exercise program.

• Jackson Township artists Sue Kolb and Robert Jenkin have returned to the Ocean County Library Jackson Branch to stage an exhibit that will remain on display through March. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Details: 732-928-4400 or visit www.theoceancountylibrary.org/events

• New Jersey Blood Services, a division of New York Blood Center, is looking for volunteers who will assist donors at area blood drives. No medical background necessary. Volunteers should be outgoing to provide friendly customer service, be able to perform tasks as needed and must provide proof of COVID vaccination prior to volunteering. Must have transportation. All training is provided, including precautions for the safety of the staff and blood donors. For additional information, call or text Sharon Zetts at 732-850-8906, Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To apply online as a blood drive volunteer, go to https://www.nybc.org/support-us/volunteer-nybc/volunteer-application/

• For individuals who are dealing with depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety, there is support available that is free, confidential and led by a trained facilitator. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance meets on Wednesdays from 12:30-2 p.m. at Brighter Days Community Wellness Center, 268 Bennetts Mills Road, Jackson. There are no physicians or therapists in the group, just individuals who live with a mental health condition. Members strive to support to each other and share their stories. Details: Valerie, 610-766-0658, or visit dbsalliance.org

• An online support and discussion group for women in the workplace is being offered by the Mental Health Association in New Jersey, which has an affiliate office in Ocean County. The focus is on women who have experienced emotional, physical or sexual intimidation or abuse on the job. The group, Life in Waves, is meeting online twice a month via Zoom. Through the group, members share resources and strategies to improve their mental health. Life in Waves meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month at 7 p.m. To receive a link, call 609-652-3800 or email [email protected]

• CentraState Medical Center has launched a new online grief support group led by licensed clinical social workers certified in grief counseling to assist individuals who have experienced the loss of a loved one. The group is open for adult members of the community who have experienced the loss of a loved one. The private groups provide a safe, non-judgmental space for participants to share their emotions and struggles. The group meets via Zoom on the first and third Thursdays of each month at 3 p.m. To register, call 732-303-5170 or email [email protected] or [email protected]

Items for the Datebook may be sent to [email protected] Please submit items at least two weeks prior to a scheduled event.

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