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Stretch Your Mind, Stretch Your Body...Take a Risk!

By Elizabeth Corbett, Programs & Membership Coordinator

Stretch Your Mind, Stretch Your Body…Take a Risk!

I used to tell my students all the time to take risks, to do something different–to invite someone new to sit at the lunch table, to join a club, or to write some sentences without Google Translate–anything to stretch their bodies and minds to make new neural connections, which are so important to brain growth. So, I ask you, what have you done lately that was a risk? What did you say “no” to because it was new and scary and uncomfortable? How about breaking out of that box of safety and saying “yes” to one of these following items:

It’s about time for a new round of Westside members and friends to grace the trifold bulletin board in the back of the sanctuary. Oh, how nice it would be if I didn’t have to ask YOU to write and share yourself with us! Take that risk and email me at to let me know you’d like to be a star on the board. I will give you a template to follow for your writing and ample time to complete this. Think of how pleased you’ll be for taking this risk…what’s holding you back?

Do you remember that book you read as a child or teenager that changed some of your thinking or your outlook on life? For me it was The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. The protagonist, Kit, is a young woman from Barbados who relocates to Connecticut and has a hard time adjusting to the Puritan lifestyle. Her wild ways don’t fit with the village’s mores, but eventually she figures out who’ll stand up for her and where she belongs. So that was my book, but can you give another child the opportunity to perhaps find THE book that speaks to him or her? The Bottom, the Black-centered organization we’re supporting in different ways, is seeking sponsors so children in its book program have $20 to spend each month to pick out books from The Bottom's bookstore. Can you sponsor a child for a year with a donation of $240? Or, if that’s way too risky, will you donate whatever stretches you a little less? We're hoping for a Meet and Greet and Read event in the fall to get acquainted with The Bottom's library and the children in the program. You can do this one thing! Write your check to WUUC with “The Bottom Book Program” on the memo line. To donate online, visit and choose “Other Gifts.” In the note box, write “The Bottom Book Program.”

And, one last way to stretch yourself is to provide a testimonial for Westside’s website. I am a member of the Marketing Committee, and we have been thinking about the image that Westside projects through social media. We’ve really been looking at Westside’s webpage and we want to include “testimonials” on that site (we will publish your first name only). Will you complete one of the following sentence starts and send it to Brad Kurtz at

● When I first walked into Westside.....

● After one of Rev. Carol's sermons....

● One of the best things about Westside is ...... because....

● Westside became my church home because....

● The people at Westside are..... and .... because....

Other members of the Marketing Committee include Brad Kurtz, Curtis Dush, Michele Neifing, and Alice Thornton. If you have suggestions or comments for us, please reach out to one of us. We’d love for your voice to be part of the website–c’mon, I know you can do this!

And if you’ve never made it to the end of one of my columns before, congratulations! You’ve done something new! Your brain is growing. Now, reach out and take a risk by acting on one of the above options!

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Hi Elizabeth! Greetings from CT. Though I'm no longer attending WUUC, I do continue to get the emails, etc. I know whenever I see anything you're connected with that it's in good hands. Just wanted to check that you all are registered with Dolly Parton's "Imagination Library." (I think that's the right name.) Any registered youngster from birth up through 5 (five) years of age can receive a free book every month. Stay well; I miss Westside; I do join the Thursday night discussion group sometimes. Cheers, Rita

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