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It’s a fad. Young people are creating and wearing stretchy bracelets made from colorful rubber bands.

Jackson Evans, 10, of Mechanicsville says that many kids at his school, Mechanicsville Elementary, wear the bracelets at school. But when he started making them, he chose to have the activity go beyond just wearing them to school.

He was aware of kids his age dealing with serious health problems, he said. His father had told him of a friend’s grandson who had leukemia. At his church, a child just a little older than himself had struggled with a brain tumor. So Jackson decided that he would sell his bracelets to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which treats children with those kinds of serious illnesses.

“I just liked making them, so I decided to make them for St. Jude’s,” Jackson said Monday afternoon.

Jackson has sold his creations to friends and family and at two events so far — one at Margaret Brent Middle School and the other at a Christmas bazaar at the Golden Beach firehouse. And he has already raised more than $150 from his efforts.

He now plans to sell a few weeks longer and has set his sights on maybe raising $200 altogether. “I don’t know, maybe until the end of the year? Cuz this is fun,” he said.

Jackson sells a thick bracelet for $2 and a thinner one for $1. He adds charms and beads to some.

If anyone wants to inquire about purchasing some bracelets, Jackson can be reached through his mother’s email account at mrssonik@gmail.com.

Jackson is the son of Karin and Steve Evans of Mechanicsville.

Funds sought for program’s scholarship fund

Bridges of St. Mary’s County is a nonprofit that operates an educational outreach center in downtown Leonardtown. It offers after-school homework help and a summer camp for children. Between 15 to 20 students attend regularly for the after-school homework help, which is provided by volunteers. The past two summers the program has hosted a summer camp for more than 15 children focusing on health and wellness and ensuring the children receive a healthy lunch each day.

Several students who have attended the educational outreach center through the past several years have completed high school (some for the first time in their families) and are now taking college courses or workforce connection training. Bridges helps support those students through scholarships and grants.

Members of the community who want to make a difference in a child’s life and help them become successful young adults are asked to consider donating to Bridges of St. Mary’s to help with the operational costs of its programs and toward the scholarship fund. This year, Bridges of St. Mary’s is part of the combined federal campaign, and donations can be made through DFAS MyPay to Bridges number 51935 through Jan. 11. For those who are not federal employees, donations can be made at www.bridgesofstmarys.org via Pay Pal or mailed to Bridges of St. Mary’s County, P.O. Box 95, Leonardtown, MD 20650.

This program relies on volunteers. Just an hour a week can make a difference to participating students. For those interested in volunteering with Bridges, there is a registration form on the group’s website. For additional information, contact Terry Bonnevier at bridgesofstmarys@verizon.net.

Essay contest announced

High school students in their freshman, sophomore, junior or senior year of study during the 2013-2014 school year are invited to enter into the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, George S. Stella M. Knight Essay Contest. This contest is sponsored by the Thomas Stone Chapter of the SAR and is open to students attending public, parochial, private or home school in Charles, St. Mary’s and Calvert counties.

The local winner will be eligible for the state contest, with the state winner being eligible for the national contest. A $2,000 prize, a medal, certificate of recognition and paid airfare and one-night stay for the winner and one chaperone at the annual national conference is awarded to the winner of the national contest. In addition, the winning essay will be submitted to the SAR magazine for publication. The Maryland winner will win an award of $250. In addition, the Thomas Stone Chapter provides a monetary award of $100.

The contest is for an original essay written in English. It should be a minimum of 800 words and not more that 1,200 words. The topic for the essay should deal with an event, person, philosophy or ideal associated with the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence or framing of the U.S. Constitution.

The contest entry deadline is Dec. 31. Rules and other information about the contest can be obtained by contacting Tim Dyson at 301-643-5932 or tdyson2465@aol.com.

Greenwell adds more horse camps for a day

The Greenwell Foundation has added more sessions of horse camp for a day for campers 7 to 14 years old. The camps are scheduled to coincide with days off from St. Mary’s County public schools. For these winter sessions, camp is based at the Knott Lodge. The day will be split between the lodge and the barn, in addition to riding.

Dates for the camp include Dec. 30 and 31 and Jan. 17 and 20 and Feb. 17, with the camp running from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (extended care is not available). Cost is $60 per camper and $50 for siblings.

More information and online registration is available at www.greenwellfoundation.org.

Irish tenor to perform

Irish tenor Anthony Kearns will perform live in concert at St. Mary’s Ryken in Leonardtown at the Romuald Hall Theater on Feb. 9. Called the “voice of the century,” Kearns is considered by some to be the best interpreter of Irish music alive today. The concert will be held Sunday, Feb. 9, at 4 p.m. All seating is general admission. Doors open at 3 p.m.

Tickets are available now for $59. A discounted rate of $49 is available to St. Francis Xavier Society members. A limited number of VIP tickets are on sale for $100 and include admission to the performance and to a wine and cheese reception with Kearns following the concert. To learn more about Kearns, visit www.anthonykearns.com.

Proceeds from the concert benefit the St. Mary’s Ryken Annual Fund. Some sponsorship opportunities are still available. For tickets and more information, contact the advancement office at 301-373-4182 or by email at advancement@smrhs.org.

Encore Chorale invites new singers

Encore Chorale, a choral program for singers age 55 and older, has announced the spring 2014 season for the Southern Maryland Encore Chorale and is inviting new singers. The spring season starts Wednesday, Jan. 15, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and will run for 15 weeks at Asbury Solomons Retirement Community, at 11100 Asbury Circle, Central Building Auditorium in Solomons.

Encore singers improve their voices, meet new friends and enjoy an adventure singing challenging music in four parts in preparation to join other Encore Chorales from Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., for community concerts. There are no auditions and singers may sit to rehearse and perform.

Singers will rehearse a spring repertoire that includes classical selections, as well as the music of Verdi, the Gershwins and Broadway, in preparation for local performances and with combined Encore chorales at the Pascal Center for Performing Arts in Arnold in May.

The value of choral singing in improving and sustaining the physical, mental and social health of older adults is documented. Encore offers the opportunity to explore a new artistic venture for those who have not sung in years, or to continue a lifelong passion for others. Singers learn vocal technique, proper breathing and posture.

The chorale is conducted by Krystal Rickard McCoy, who is also conductor of the St. Marie’s Musica, a select choir in Southern Maryland.

Tuition for 15 weeks of instruction, sheet music and performances is $140, paid at the first rehearsal. For more information, visit the Encore website at http://encorecreativity.org, call 301- 261-5747 or email info@encorecreativity.org.

Deadline extended to apply to guidebook

The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission has extended the deadline to apply to be in the 2014 Trails guidebook, Southern Maryland Trails: Earth, Art, Imagination. Those with a farm, art studio or other site in Southern Maryland that features handmade or homegrown products who would like to be included in the guidebook are asked to apply by Jan. 12. Full site criteria is listed on the website. Annual events can also be submitted for the calendar section of the Trails book or businesses can purchase an ad. Applications are available at www.somdtrails.com/join.html.

Cancer study includes St. Mary’s residents

One hundred years ago, the American Cancer Society began the fight against cancer. Now, more than 300,000 people from across the country, including 6,200 who enrolled in Maryland, have joined that fight by enrolling in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3). The American Cancer Society began a full-scale national enrollment for CPS-3 in 2010 and reached its goal for participants this month. Enrollment took place in Maryland in Baltimore and these 14 counties that reached all over the state — Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Washington and Wicomico.

“The American Cancer Society has a long history of saving lives through cancer research. CPS-3 will do so much to build on that legacy, helping us learn more about the causes of cancer so we can better prevent, detect, treat and help cure it, for generations to come. And what’s more, this study gives ordinary Americans the chance to be part of this extraordinary study, as together we save more lives from cancer,” said Dr. John Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society, in a statement.

“The findings from CPS-3 studies are not just scientific — they also provide the evidence we rely on to help shape health advice for the public, develop nutrition and physical activity guidelines and cancer prevention programs and contribute to our advocacy efforts to change policies,” said Dr. Alpa Patel, American Cancer Society strategic director of the CPS-3 study.

During the past 50 years, more than 2 million volunteer participants have joined American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Studies and have been making a difference simply by giving a little time to fill out surveys and share information about their behaviors, lifestyle, family and personal medical history. Today, a new generation has done the same by joining CPS-3.

Results from previous American Cancer Society long-term follow-up studies have demonstrated the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, the significant impact of being overweight or obese on risk of cancer occurrence and death and the relationship between of a wide range of other factors such as physical inactivity, alcohol, nutrition and medications like aspirin on cancer risk. More information on CPS-3 and previous study outcomes can be found at www.cancer.org/research/researchtopreventcancer/cancer-prevention-studies-save-lives.

scraton@somdnews.com