My parents were champions of the "unfortunate," which meant that my 11 siblings and I were also involved. Fundraisers, suppers, bake sales, Christmas morning package deliveries. You name it. Our little army was out in force to serve the many people in our small Southern Tier community who suddenly found themselves without a job, homeless, injured, or just in need of a friend.
When I was 16, my father died. All of a sudden, without the family breadwinner, the tables were turned and our family became the "unfortunate." It was then that I first realized the power of caring. But more than that, I discovered the power of networking --- connecting people, resources, and services.
In recent years thousands of breadwinners in our region have found themselves without a job. While I don't have a homegrown brigade to carry out my parents' manner of lending a helping hand, I can tell you about the Job Information Center (JIC) at the Central Library.
Located on the fourth floor of the building, its staff members can help patrons find employment listings from local sources (JIC does not receive job postings from for-profit companies), civil service postings, the Internet for both local and national sites, and job search periodicals.
The department also provides hundreds of study books for different types of tests, including armed forces, civil service, professional licensing, and college entrance exams. Resources for career exploration, resumes and cover letter preparation, and educational planning are also available on a self-help basis. The JIC --- a true family value.
--- Carolyn Schuler
City Summer Kids Club Mon-Fri through Sept 3. For ages 6-10, various recreation centers, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. $50 per week. 428-6767, www.cityofrochester.gov
Discover Music Saturdays in September. For kids ages 4-7, First Baptist Church of Rochester, 119 W Elm St. Register by Aug 25. $55. 429-6754
Farm Sanctuary Open House Mon, Sept 6. Tours, meet the animals, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 607-583-2225, www.farmsanctuary.org
Interfaith Forum Essay Contest Deadline: Oct 29. Theme: Building community, bridging our differences, grades 9-12. Info: www.ggw.org/buildingcommunity
RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium 657 East Ave. Pink Floyd Laser: 9 p.m. Sat; A Trip to Saturn and Pluto: Wed-Sun, Sept 1-4, 1 p.m.; Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey: Wed-Fri, Sept 1-3, 11 a.m., 2, 3, 4 p.m.; Sat, Sept 4, 1, 2, 3, 4 p.m.; Sun, Sept 5, 1, 2, 3, 4 p.m.; I See the Sky: Sat 9:30 a.m.; The Sky Tonight: Sat 10:30 a.m.; Tix: $4-$7. 271-1880
Rochester Museum and Science Center 657 East Ave. Surprise! It's Science, through May 2005. | Rochester's Frederick Douglass, through January 2006. | Live Science! demos and theater, Wed-Fri 3:30 p.m.; Sat 2, 3, 4 p.m.; Sun 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 p.m. Sat 3 p.m. show sign-interpreted. | Ongoing exhibits include: AdventureZone, Carlson Inquiry Room, At the Western Door. | Hours: Mon-Sat 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. Tix: $5-$7. 271-1880, www.rmsc.org.
Seneca Park Zoo 2222 St Paul St. Hours: daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tix: $5, $4 seniors, $2 kids. 467-9453, www.senecazoo.org.
Strong Museum 1 Manhattan Square. Long-term exhibits include National Toy Hall of Fame, Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street? and Super Kids Market. Hours: Mon-Thurs 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. Tix: $7; $6 seniors, students; $5 children. 263-2700
When our children asked to join their friends' swim team, my wife and I were at best indifferent: wasn't there something vaguely cultish about the whole aquatic scene? Besides, swimming interfered with longstanding plans to train --- sorry, that's encourage --- our kids as future basketball stars.
A year later we are unabashed champions of the Rochester Rapids Swim Team, which has practiced for more than 30 years in the Corn Hill neighborhood. It is the most affordable competitive swim team in the area and, thanks to a grant from the Rochester Parks & Recreation Department, available to all city kids regardless of income. Under the guidance of coaches Amy Battaglia and Seth Reining, children improve their stroke technique and stay in great shape throughout Rochester's frigid winters; involvement in meets is encouraged through a supportive, team-first outlook.
From a parent's perspective, there's something poignant, even archetypal about a column of scrawny kids lining up to ascend starting blocks, more or less diving into the pool, and thrashing their way toward who knows where. Over the space of just a few months, my son's shark-attack stroke gave way to newfound accomplishments as a swimmer; my daughter now can see herself becoming one of those graceful older girls on the team who knife through sapphire waters. Basketball will have to wait.
During the months of September and October, RRST offers a free 30-day trial period for prospective swimmers and their families. For more information, contact the Adams Street Pool (428-7456) or Chris Fitzstevens (473-6679).
--- Ken Cooper