Worcester Weekly: Gingerbread, ‘Christmas Carol,’ St. Petersburg Men’s Ensemble, ‘Star Wars’ benefit + more, Dec. 10-16

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Saturday, Dec. 9 — “A Christmas Journey,” 10:30 a.m. to noon, EcoTarium, 222 Harrington Way Primed by a reading of the holiday tale “Polar Express,” young ones will happily follow this “journey” at the EcoTarium. Participants hear a classic tale, are whisked away to the North Pole via the museum’s excellent Planetarium, and experience the sugar spike of hot cocoa and cookies.

Santa will be there for the kiddies, and every child will receive a bell ornament to take home and savor until the family cat claims ownership. Times are 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. The popular program is also held Sunday, Dec. 10, which marks its final session this year. Tickets are $25 (includes museum admission), $10 for museum members, and must be purchased in advance.

Literacy Volunteers give the gift of language

All their adult lives they have attempted to live without the verbal survival skills the rest of us take for granted. Finally admitting their need for help, these native-born Americans, as well as our core adult student population of immigrants, come to us for help. What you, as a Literacy Volunteer, can offer will change their lives immeasurably.

Worcester Weekly: stART at the Station, two strolls, ‘Wonderful Life’ + more, Dec. 3-9

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Sunday, Dec. 3 — stART at the Station, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Grand Hall and Concourse, Union Station, Washington Square  This is the stop to get gift shopping stARTed and your holidays on track. Some 135 local artisans will be on hand with items that are beautiful, unusual, useful or whimsical. There will be a stART Lounge, too, with a lineup of local performers, offering a break from the crafts and/or crowds. Organizers promise wider aisles this year, but trust us, this thing is chaotic — in a merry sort of way.

Admission is free; early entry from 9 to 11 a.m. costs $10, which will support stART and could get you first dibs on some of the delights. Parking is $1 at the Union Station Garage at 225 Franklin St.

Inbox [Dec. 3-9]: News and notes from WCAC, YWCA, Worcester Center for Crafts, Straight Ahead Ministries and Worcester Public Library

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.

Chick-fil-A Foundation awards $50K grant to Straight Ahead Ministries

Straight Ahead Ministries, a local character-development program for juvenile offenders, has been named the recipient of a $50,000 grant through The Chick-fil-A Foundation’s fourth annual True Inspiration Awards. The awards honor organizations across the country that are working hard to make a lasting difference in the lives of children and youth in their communities.

Straight Ahead Ministries aims to provide ongoing support and resources for juvenile offenders through its faith-based programming. This intensive program includes job-readiness training, educational support and service opportunities. By connecting with youth during their sentence and continuing after their release, Straight Ahead Ministries helps adolescents become self-sufficient, productive members of their communities.

Inbox [Nov. 29]: News and notes from You Inc., UniBank, Worcester Public Library, Literacy Volunteers and WCAC

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.

You Inc. hosts support group for girls approaching adolescence

You Inc. will host a support group for girls ages 9-12 to help improve self-esteem, build healthy relationships, address trauma and successfully navigate their transition into adolescence.

Topics in the group, “Healthy Relationships 1” include understanding healthy development, navigating social media and building relationships that include safe boundaries and positive connections.

A Mother’s Journey: The tipping point

Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one. During her journey to establish and grow her nonprofit tutoring collaborative she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

In his debut book “The Tipping Point,” Malcolm Gladwell wrote: “In the late 1960s, a television producer named Joan Ganz Cooney set out to start an epidemic. Her target was three-, four-, and five-year-olds. Her agent of infection was television, and the ‘virus’ she wanted to spread was literacy. The show would last an hour and run five days a week, and the hope was that if that hour was contagious enough it could serve as an educational Tipping Point: giving children from disadvantaged homes a leg up once they began elementary school, spreading pro-learning values from watchers to non-watchers, infecting children and their parents, and lingering long enough to have an impact well after the children stopped watching the show. … She called her idea ‘Sesame Street.’ ”

Gladwell calls this the stickiness factor. In discovering that making “small but critical adjustments in how they presented ideas to preschoolers,” Malcolm wrote, “they could overcome television’s weakness as a teaching tool and make what they had to say memorable.”

In concept, I, too, look to produce such an epidemic of proportionate educational value that the children who attend The Learning Hub will generate a level of stickiness for us, so that we start to discuss more serious methods of how we teach our children in our public schools. We want them to have a leg up as they make their way through the winding paths of what is our current school system.

But as many parents like me believe, the current school system is not up to par, and with that void in the market, the Hub’s stickiness factor can be a bit more contagious.

Read Giselle’s previous chapter, The shape of the city, or scroll down to explore more of her story.

Inbox [Nov. 26-Dec. 2]: News and notes from Pernet Family Health, DA Early’s office, Worcester Public Library, WCAC, Worcester Public Schools, Bravehearts

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.

Pernet donates more than 300 holiday meals

For more than 60 years, Pernet Family Health Services has helped families in need celebrate Thanksgiving through its Holiday Giving Program.

Through donations from the community and local organizations, Pernet puts together baskets so low-income families are able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal they may not otherwise have been able to afford. Last week, through the Holiday Giving Program and generous donations from the community, Pernet delivered turkeys to more than 300 local families.

“This annual Holiday Giving Program helps us all to think about helping others, and make time to celebrate not only what we have, but who we are as a human family,” Pernet Director of Family and Community Development Emily Linhares said.