The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 16, 2011

Life improvement classes on tap at UPJ


— Personal enrichment classes on a Saturday can bring new life to a winter weekend.

Chase the Chill Winter Weekends will be held Feb. 26 and March 5, 12, 19 and 26 at Pitt-Johnstown, Richland Township, and Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center, 411 Third Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

Jeanne Susko, director of community education and outreach at Pitt-Johnstown, said the classes are offered once a year.

“They’re a great way to get rid of cabin fever and have fun getting out of the house,” she said.

From children to adults, everyone can choose a subject that interests them.

Except for the children’s mystery class Get a Clue, all the classes offered in Saturday Cartoon Alternatives for Kids are new.

They are The Wonderful World of Magnets, Watercolor Magic, Art in the Garden: Learn to Plant and Grow, Breakfast Blast, Spectacular Seascapes, Candy Concoctions, Amazing Animal Designs, Body Beautiful, Spring Bird Bonanza and Sunny Days Are Here Again.

“This is exciting,” Susko said.

“When parents bring their kids, they end up taking a class, too.

“The age range is 6 and up. At that age, they’re not as involved in sports. They’re looking for something to do, and when they leave, they have it done.”

The Family Series for children ages 9 and older will offer instruction in mother-daughter and father-son relationships, baby-sitting training and teen questions and answers – all taught by a registered nurse.

“The baby-sitting training is hugely popular,” Susko said. “It’s an opportunity for preteens and teens to get ready for summer. Some of the interest comes through Memorial Medical Center.”

The teen question-and-answer session was added because of public response.

“This is something that was asked for,” Susko said. “The teens needed a place to come.”

Under the Purposeful Pastimes for Grown-ups category, classes in digital photography and oil painting remain popular.

Two new classes involve making a eucalyptus swag and gentle gardening without the use of chemicals and pesticides.

“We will be getting into spring with the gardening, and as aroma therapy, the swag has a calming effect,” Susko said.

She said the most popular series offered is Mind and Body.

“It’s what they’re looking for,” she said. “They don’t want a high-stress computer class. They want to relax with yoga and meditation. They can come one time to try out something they’ve never done before and see what it’s about, then take more classes later.”

Other classes in the series are Tai Chi and Chi Gong, belly dancing and adult CPR.

Susko said the grant-writing classes are more professional development than personal enrichment, but she likes to include them because people are looking for this type of instruction that can be completed in one day.

Hands-on cooking classes at Bottle Works will be limited to 10 students.

Popular classes on pysanky egg decorating, nut rolls and pierogi prepare cooks for the Easter holiday.

Serbian cooking classes on making sweet treats and a sausage dish will be taught by a mother-daughter team, while classes on Croatian and Slovenian soups and Slovak apricot roll will be taught by a husband-wife team.

The new classes come from suggestions of past participants.

Brochures are available and registrations can be made at the Community Education and Outreach office in Blackington Hall, Pitt-Johnstown.

The brochure also can be viewed online at under Current Opportunities.

Information: 269-2099 or e-mail


What: Chase the Chill Winter Weekends.

Where: Pitt-Johnstown, Richland Township, and Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center, 411 Third Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

When: Feb. 26 and March 5, 12, 19 and 26.

Cost: Varies by class.

Information: 269-2099 or e-mail