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Sierra Vista classes fill void for adults eager to learn

Drawing, dancing all part of new schedule
By: Martha Garcia, Colfax Record Editor
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Another series of free Saturday Classes that address community wellness begins this month at the Sierra Vista Community Center.

The program of classes, which will run Jan. 26 through March 23, is again being funded through a Placer Community Foundation Wellness grant. Every week, free morning refreshments and lunch are also provided to participants, who may attend whatever classes they chose.

The featured class on Jan. 26 will be Mental Health Basics. It will give participants the opportunity to learn about the signs and symptoms of mental illness. Information on resources available to help friends and loved ones will also be given. The class will be taught by Madrigal Training Services, a firm co-owned by Colfax resident Art Madrigal.

Other classes to be offered on opening day are “Stress Reduction,” “Building Your Computer Skills,” “Beginning Color Pencil Drawing” and “Swing Dancing.” Classes start at 9 a.m. and continue through the afternoon. Different art classes by Sierra Vista Art Center artists will be offered weekly.

Cassandra Wahlstrom, a dance instructor with Sierra College, will teach traditional swing dancing for an hour beginning at 7 p.m., followed by swing dancing until 9 p.m. A soup and salad dinner will be served at 6 p.m., prior to the class; dinner tickets are $5 each.

Otis Wollan, SVCC board treasurer and Saturday Classes project manager, said neither Placer Adult School nor Sierra College serve the area with extension classes.

“Organizing our own classes in our own community is the way we can fill the vacuum,” said Wollan, who also teaches the stress reduction class that will be offered weekly during the series.

“Stress is a main cause for many of the diseases and mental discomfort people have,” he said. “If you learn the techniques on how to reduce stress you can live a happier life.”

Madrigal said his first contact with the Sierra Vista Saturday Classes was as a student when he took a computer class on “One Note,” a planning and note-taking application, which he’d noticed on his computer but had never used before. “It turned out it was immensely useful for me as a master student,” said Madrigal, who is taking an online masters course through California State University, East Bay. “Now it’s something that I find indispensable; I don’t use anything else to record my material from classes,” he said.

The class his firm will be teaching at the SVCC, Madrigal said, is an introduction to mental health, terminology and statistics. “It will provide some basic information that can be helpful to people to better understand mental health issues,” he said.

Madrigal is also a certified training for a nationwide program called Mental Health First Aid, which Wollan hopes to offer at the SVCC if funding can be obtained.

For more information about these and future class offerings, contact the SVCC at 346-8726.