Love INC hosts self-improvement classes

By DANIEL RAMEY

neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

The sixth semester of the Living Large for Real practical living courses, presented by Love in the Name of Christ, will begin on Sept. 16.

The classes start at 6:15 p.m. each Wednesday night at Calvary Baptist Church, 606 Ridgeway Ave.

The program offers a mix of classes focused on healthy living, healthy relationships and spirituality.

Each week the classes will begin with a session discussing topics such as job searches and landlord and tenant issues, according to a brochure for the program. More sessions focused on spiritual development will follow, beginning at 7:15 p.m. each week.

The program also features Cross Current classes each week that help attendees “heal wounds from past broken relationships,” according to Jane Williams, program director for the Columbia branch of Love INC. These classes start at 6:15 p.m.

Attendees can come to all of the classes or just certain portions of them, Williams said.

The classes offered during different semesters vary so Love INC can tailor them to the community.

“Every semester we try something different,” Williams said. “We try to gear the classes around the clusters of needs that pop up.”

One new addition to this semester’s offering will be agriculture classes taught by the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture.

The classes will instruct attendees on urban food production practices such as gardening, raising urban chickens and managing fruit trees and fruit vines as well as integrating those practices into everyday life, according to Adam Saunders, co-founder and board president of the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture.

Verna Harris-Laboy, a volunteer for the program, noted that the classes have helped quite a few people improve and move on with their lives.

“People believe in their ability to make a change for themselves,” she said.

Williams and other volunteers also feel that the one of the most important aspects of the program is the sense of community it provides.

“It makes them know that they’re not alone,” said Harris-Laboy.

“It’s a way to come and make friends,” added Williams. “Many people don’t have a support system in the community.”

Childcare and transportation are offered to those who would not be able to attend the classes without them, Williams said.

For more information on the program, contact Love INC at 573-256-7662 or visit http://www.columbialoveinc.org/living-large-fall-2010.html.

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