Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kurn Hattin in The Westfield News

Great story about Kurn Hattin's upcoming appearance in the WGBY Together In Song competition, courtesy of The Westfield News, along with some other features.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kurn Hattin Diversity Week in the Commons

The Commons, Brattleboro's non-profit newsweekly, profiled client Kurn Hattin's Diversity Week programs.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Client Kurn Hattin's Choir Accepted into "Together in Song" Music Competition on Public Television

DATELINE: January 27, 2013
Jaimie Scanlon
Rapt Creative
(W) 802-490-2164 (C) 802-579-8545

Mark G. Auerbach
Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations
(W) 413-733-7095 (C) 413-427-7352

Kurn Hattin Homes Choir First Vermont Musical Ensemble Accepted To
Compete in WGBY-TV Choral Competition Series, Together in Song

WESTMINSTER, VT.—The 40 young singers in the Kurn Hattin Homes for
Children’s Select Choir have been chosen to compete on the third
season of the public television series “Together in Song”, the choral
competition series produced and aired by Public Television member
station WGBY in Western New England. This children's group, under the
direction of Lisa Bianconi, has overcome various challenges to get to
this point, and is the first chorus from Vermont to be selected to
compete in the series, which highlights non-professional children’s
and adults' choirs in various musical genres.

Kurn Hattin Homes Co-Executive Director, Connie Sanderson, announced
the choir's acceptance at the school’s winter Family Day celebration
when the children’s parents were visiting campus. “They are in orbit,”
she said of the children's reaction, “And it’s even more special that
they got to share the excitement with their parents here.”

Music has played an essential role in life at Kurn Hattin Homes since
the school's beginnings in the late 1800s. Today, all 100 students
participate in one or more aspects of the music program, and all
students in grades 4-8 learn and perform on band instruments.
Bianconi, Kurn Hattin's music director since 1985, said, "This is
going to be an amazing adventure. The children have such talent and
poise and have demonstrated that they are ready for a competition. We
look forward to the first round."

Together in Song, hosted by Springfield Symphony Orchestra Maestro,
Kevin Rhodes, will air on WGBY on Saturday evenings at 8PM beginning
on March 23. The Kurn Hattin Homes choir will compete with 37 other
choral groups in ten categories according to age and musical genre.
Each week, a panel of judges as well as TV viewers vote for the best
group in each category. The competition culminates in a live final
performance at the historic Paramount Theater in Springfield, MA
airing Sunday, April 28, 2013 on WGBY. For information on Together in
Song and broadcast times, visit

WGBY, Public Television for Western New England is a
community-supported public broadcasting organization affiliated with
PBS. For information on WGBY’s programs and services:

A place of hope since 1894, Kurn Hattin Homes for Children provides a
safe home and quality education for boys and girls, ages 6-15, whose
families are experiencing a time of personal or financial need. Kurn
Hattin Homes is entirely funded by private donations. For more
information, visit


Notes to the media:
***Additional high-resolution photos of the Kurn Hattin Homes choir
and music director Lisa Bianconi are available at Kurn Hattin's online
press room.

***Interviews are available with Lisa Bianconi, Music Director at Kurn
Hattin Homes for Children.

Contact Jaimie Scanlon at Rapt Creative, (W) 802-490-2164 (C)
802-579-8545 or

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Kurn Hattin Blog

There are many stories about Kurn Hattin which inspire. This is one from the Kurn Hattin blog.
Kurn Hattin's children are survivors of abuse, homeless, and poverty. They're good kids who need some warmth and nurturing in order to thrive. My colleague Jaimie Scanlon at Rapt Creative blogs a variety of stories on Kurn Hattin's blog. Here's one which moved me this week.

Check back often for more stories from Kurn Hattin.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Suffield Academy Summer Academy in Southwick/Suffield News

One of the Turley Newsweeklies, Southwick-Suffield News, picked up the Suffield Academy Summer Academy Open House media releases. See page 7.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Victor Acquista MD in To Your Health

The winter issue of "To Your Health" one of the special imprints of Reminder Publications, features an article on The Collaborative for Community Health in Palmer, MA and its co-founder, Victor Acquista, MD. Feature begins on page 2.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Media Advisory: Diversity Week at Kurn Hattin

DATELINE: January 16, 2013
Jaimie Scanlon
Rapt Creative
(W) 802-490-2164 (C) 802-579-8545

Mark G. Auerbach
Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations
(W) 413-733-7095 (C) 413-427-7352
Kurn Hattin Homes for Children Celebrates Diversity Week
WESTMINSTER, VT--Kurn Hattin Homes' Diversity Week is an annual 4-day event on Kurn Hattin's campus. Featured activities include presentations, lectures, discussions, and workshops focused on diversity-related themes such as the impacts of stereotypes, prejudice, racism, discrimination, class and gender bias, the use of inclusive language, and restorative justice, as well as diversity in art, music, and poetry.
This year's event kicks off on Tuesday, January 22 with an assembly devoted to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. Throughout the week, award-winning New England Youth Theater founder Stephen Stearns will work with the Kurn Hattin children on an anti-bullying play to be performed at the final assembly on Friday.
Other guest presenters and performers include Dr. Dottie Morris, Chief Officer for Diversity and Multiculturalism at Keene State University, photographer and poetry teacher Dr. Robert Fay, musical artists Moonlight and Morning Star, Vermont Jazz Center founder Eugene Uman, percussionist Todd Roach, and the Brattleboro School District's Restorative Justice Coordinator, Mike Szostak.
Kurn Hattin School Principal, Scott Tabachnik, heads up the event's organization. Tabachnik is the former Diversity Coordinator of Brattleboro Union High School and is a recipient of the WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute Teacher Recognition Award, given by the Anti-defamation League New England Region.

Kurn Hattin's 2013 Diversity Week scheduled presentations and workshops are as follows. These events are not open to the public:

Tuesday, January 22
8:15 – Diversity Week Kick-off Assembly  Dr. King’s Legacy  
8:30-11:45 – Stephen Stearns – Anti-bullying Theater Workshop

9:15-10:55 – Dr. Dottie Morris – Topic TBD
                        Bill McHugh – Unity and Diversity 
10:05-1:40– Scott Tabachnick – What is Diversity?

12:50-2:45 – Nancy Clingan – Screening & Discussion of “Baseball in the time of Cholera” auditorium
 2:30-4:00 – Mike Szostak – Restorative Justice Training
Wednesday, January 238:00-11:45 – Stephen Stearns – Anti-bullying Theater Workshop
8:00-10:30 – Assembly – Screening & Discussion of “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Thursday, January 24
8:10 – Scott Tabachnick – Diversity in America 
8:30-10:05 – Corey Mitchell – Individuality: Reading and Discussion
8:30-11:45 – Stephen Stearns – Anti-bullying Theater Workshop
9:15-10:55 – WFC Presenter – Healthy Relationships 
                     Kristin McGee – Meditations
*12:50-1:40 – Moonlight & Morningstar with special guest Eugene Uman
2:30-4:00 – Mike Szostak – Restorative Justice Training
Friday, January 25

8:15 – Diversity Week Poetry and Art Awards Distributed 
8:30-1:00 – Stephen Stearns  Anti-bullying Theater Workshop
8:30-1:00 – Todd Roach – World Drumming Styles 
9:15-11:40 – Dr. Robert Fay – “The Harlem Renaissance”
*1:00-2:30 – Diversity Week Wrap-up Assembly – Drumming & Theater Performances

[* These events will be available for viewing via live online streaming at]

Events not open to the publicCredentialed media may visit Kurn Hattin to cover/photograph the events. Please call in advance and reserve a spot with 
Jaimie Scanlon, Rapt Creative, at or 802-490-2164.

A place of hope since 1894, Kurn Hattin Homes for Children provides a safe home and quality education for boys and girls, ages 6-15, whose families are experiencing a time of personal or financial need. Kurn Hattin transforms the lives of children and their families forever.

Monday, January 14, 2013

I'm Syndicated !

The Westfield News (MA) just ran this blog article in their Monday business section (1/14/13). It has a pay-wall, so you can read it here.

Thanks to Jeanne Yocum at Succeeding in Small Business for allowing me the rights to syndicate my articles for her blog.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Media Release: Suffield Academy Summer Programs

DATELINE: January 11, 2013

Maeve Ryan
Director of Marketing & Communications
Suffield Academy

Mark G. Auerbach
Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations
413-733-7095 or 413-427-7352


Suffield, Connecticut--Suffield Academy will hold its five-week Summer
Academy on its campus from June 30 through August 2, 2013. The Summer
Academy, open to 130 boys and girls ages 12 through 18, has spaces
available for both day students and boarding students. Application
materials are available online. There are limited spaces available,
and students are accepted on a first come first served basis.

According to Suffield Academy Summer Programs director Greg Lynch, the
intensive program offers academic programs in mathematics, languages,
computer science and sciences; workshops in study skills in leadership
and study skills, a full array of athletics, arts, and recreational
programs on the campus in Suffield, CT, plus weekend field trips to
New York City, Boston, and Newport, RI.

Suffield Academy has run a Summer Academy for 18 years.

"The Summer Academy has a large international clientele (usually
representing over 15 countries)," says Lynch, "so regional students
get an opportunity to meet fellow students from around the globe."

Lynch added that "Suffield’s Summer Academy is not 'remedial summer
school' but rather an academic enrichment program offering students an
opportunity to enhance their middle and high school experience".

“We’re here to provide students with a challenging academic
environment with top notch faculty," said Lynch, “to better prepare
students for high school, independent schools, and college

Suffield Academy will hold a Summer Academy Open House and Information
Session on Wednesday, February 6, at 7:30PM in Fuller Hall. The
information session will be hosted by Jeff Depelteau, Summer Academy
Director of Admissions. The event is free, but advance reservations
are required before Monday, February 4, 2013. To RSVP, contact Jeff
Depelteau at 860-386-4445 or

Suffield Academy Summer Academy information, course descriptions,
tuition and fees, and application materials are online at

For additional information on the Summer Program: contact Jeff
Depelteau, Summer Academy Director; telephone: 860-386-4445. Email:

Suffield Academy, founded in 1833, is an independent, co-educational
college preparatory school for boarding and day students in Suffield,
CT.  Suffield Academy has a tradition of academic excellence combined
with a strong work ethic and leadership building programs. For
information on Suffield Academy’s programs and services:



***Full color and black and white photos of Suffield Academy are
available from Maeve Ryan, Director of Marketing & Communications.
860-386-4466 or

***Both Summer Academy Director Greg Lynch and Admissions Director
Jeff Depelteau are available for media interviews. To arrange an
interview or for bios and/or photos of Lynch and/or Depelteau,
contact: Maeve Ryan, Director of Marketing & Communications.
860-386-4466 or

Calendar Listings: The Big Broadcast 2013

Folks, tickets are now on sale.

DATELINE: January 11, 2013

Mark G. Auerbach
Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations
413-733-7095 or 413-427-7352


Mark Gionfriddo
Director of Jazz Ensembles
Mount Holyoke College


Olivia Walsh
Mount Holyoke College

The Jazz Ensembles of Mount Holyoke College
present the 8th annual edition of


Sunday, March 10, 2013
2PM and 7PM
Chapin Auditorium
Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA 01075

The Jazz Ensembles of Mount Holyoke College's 8th annual recreation of a live 1940’s radio broadcast directed by Mark Gionfriddo with WWLP-TV meteorologist Brian Lapis as emcee. Under Gionfriddo’s direction, the Mount Holyoke Big Band, Vocal Jazz, and Chamber Jazz Ensembles perform well-known tunes from the swing era, including music
by Irving Berlin, the Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby, George Gershwin, Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa and Harry James, among others.

For a video trailer of The Big Broadcast: 

Sponsors to date include: Mount Holyoke College, Baystate Health, The Republican/Mass Live, New England Public Radio, WWLP-TV22, Loomis Communities.

Tickets are general admission. $20.00 premium front and center seating. $15.00 regular seating. $10.00 seniors and students. Tickets available at Odyssey Bookshop, Village Commons, and The Northampton Box-Office. For phone orders: 413-586-8686 or 1-800-THE TICK. For online orders:


Thursday, January 10, 2013

My January Blog Article for "Succeeding in Small Business"

My January blog article for "Succeeding in Small Business" helps folks get their word out by showcasing themselves as "the expert".

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Client Victor Acquista MD's Syndicated Article on Resilience

The following Health Wise column by client Victor Acquista MA ran in the 1/08/13 Westfield (MA) News. It also appears on their website with a paywall. If you're interested in running one of Dr. Acquista's syndicated columns, contact Mark G. Auerbach at

Health Wise
A health & wellness column by Victor Acquista, MD
Director Pathways Integral Health & Wellness, LLC; Author Pathways to
Health: An Integral Guidebook

Building Resilience to Improve Your Health

Life frequently presents us with challenging situations that can
impact our health. Here, I am particularly referring to challenges
such as loss of a job or loved one, divorce, illness or injury,
tragedy. All of these types of situations represent significant
stressors which most of us have to contend with at some points in our
lives. While short term stress management approaches are certainly
helpful (and I have written about these approaches in a previous
Health Wise column) long term success may be related more to
resilience which is something many of us understand intuitively, but
this topic needs further elaboration.

What is Resilience?

According to the American Psychological Association: “Resilience is
the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma,
tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress—such as family
and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and
financial stressors. It means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult

Wikipedia offers an alternative definition: “Resilience is an
individual’s ability to generate biological, psychological and social
factors to resist, adapt and strengthen itself, when faced with an
environment of risk, generating individual, social and moral success.”
Think of a rubber band. When an external stretching force is applied,
there is resistance opposing this stretch and there is a capacity to
return to original form after being stretched. In physics, the rubber
band has a certain amount of resiliency; a thick rubber band is more
resilient than a thin one. Too much stretching forces or repeated
episodes of stretching may exceed that rubber band’s resilience and it
may break or get over stretched and not return to its normal size and

Resilience applies not just to individuals but to society as a whole.
Our collective ability to both resist social threats such as
devastating storms, terrorist acts, mass shootings, etc. and “bounce
back” when they do occur is a measure of our society’s resilience. The
January 2013 edition of Wired magazine has a brief article on this
topic. It also applies to businesses which much constantly adapt and
deal with what can be a challenging and adverse business environment.
A resilient business is more likely to succeed or even thrive in the
face of adversity. The same is true of individuals.

Developing Resilience

As opposed to the rubber band which has a fixed amount of resiliency,
we can build, develop, and cultivate more resiliency in our lives. In
this sense, we can take positive steps to improve our health and
well-being as well as our ability to contend with the sorts of
challenges life presents.

Much of the work examining resiliency is part of the emerging field of
positive psychology. One of the pioneers in this field is Dr. Martin
Seligman, often referred to as the father of positive psychology. In
an interview with the Harvard Business Review, he talked about the
importance of optimism. While this may in part be a personality trait
of sorts, we can all work on being more optimistic. That means
focusing on the part of the glass that is full rather than empty. It
means having a positive attitude even when things are not going your
I can illustrate this by way of a recent personal example. My
brother’s home in the Rockaways was severely damaged in super storm
Sandy. When I spoke with him, he focused on how he had fared better
than some neighbors, how efficient the insurance company and FEMA had
been, and that he would likely be getting a new furnace. That kind of
optimism demonstrates his resilience in the face of this loss.

The American Psychological Association recommends the following 10
ways to build resilience:
        •       Make connections
        •       Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems
        •       Accept that change is a part of living
        •       Take decisive actions
        •       Look for opportunities for self-discovery
        •       Nurture a positive view of yourself
        •       Keep things in perspective
        •       Maintain a hopeful outlook
        •       Take care of yourself

An approach recommended by some counselors suggests using the
“self-help SSRI” model which focuses on Strategies, Strengths,
Resources, and Insights. Some specifics to consider under this model
are the importance of friends, family, and community. Studies have
shown that greater resilience is in part derived from “relationships
which provide care and support, create love and trust, and offer
encouragement, both within and outside the family. Additional factors
are also associated with resilience, like the capacity to make
realistic plans, having self-confidence and a positive self image,
developing communication skills, and the capacity to manage strong
feelings and impulses. “(Wikipedia)
Maintaining a sense of humor, especially in the face of adversity is
another good strategy. Developing and strengthening your faith and
your spirituality can also help build resilience.

Additional suggestions

I have briefly detailed some strategies to help you develop more
resilience. In some sense this is easier said than done. Because your
capacity for resilience is an important element of your long term
health and well-being, and because this is an area you can build and
develop you can get further help and guidance from the following

***Martin Seligman’s book--Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of
Happiness and Well-being
***The American Psychological Association’ web site resources:
***The Penn Resiliency Program:

Be healthy!

Victor Acquista MD is author of "Pathways To Health: An Integral
Guidebook" and a partner in Pathways Integral Health in Palmer. For
more information on Acquista's book, visit

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Victor Acquista MD's Article in PRIME, 1/2013

The following article appeared in the January 2013 issue of PRIME. It's not been posted online as of yet.

Health Wise

A health & wellness column by Victor Acquista, MD
Director Pathways Integral Health & Wellness, LLC; Author Pathways to
Health: An Integral Guidebook

Get Motivated, Stay Motivated

In a recent column on Lifestyle and Health, I commented that much of
chronic disease is related to lifestyle choices. Making decisions and
keeping them with respect to lifestyle choices that affect health
often comes down to motivation and sustaining that motivation-- which
is all about discipline. This column addresses some ideas and
suggestions about how to get motivated and stay motivated to be

Understanding Decisions

A good place for us to start is understanding how we go about making
decisions. In a very simplified way, we have two parts of our brain
informing us about what we should and should not do.

The emotional part of our brain is often decisive in controlling our
decision making. We have needs and desires; we make decisions to
satisfy those needs and desires. Some decisions make us happy, others
make us sad, or angry. The decisions leave us feeling satisfied or
not. This is all based on emotion and emotional fulfillment.

If I desire chocolate and eating chocolate is the only way to feel
better, then chances are I’ll go eat some chocolate regardless of the
long term consequences. Such a choice is based on short term emotional
decision making. This part of our brain can often be impulsive.

Contrast this to the other decision making center of our brain, i.e.
the rational brain. That’s the part of our brain that uses logic and
weighs out the pros and the cons of alternatives. Our rational self is
not concerned about emotions and remains cool, calm and collected when
figuring out the best choice. This part of our brain is much better at
weighing out the long and the short term consequences of our actions.

When the emotional part of our brain and the rational part of our
brain are both aligned then decision making is easy. It’s kind of a no
brainer to make a choice that is supported by both brain decision
centers as it represents a win-win situation.

But what happens when the emotional and rational parts of our brain
want different things? In the case above, what happens when emotional
you wants chocolate and rational you says that will cause weight gain
or be bad for my diabetes? This kind of conflict is common. Poets and
philosophers have referred to this as the war between passion and
reason. When it comes to health, how do you make healthy lifestyle
choices when part of you is “arguing” to do something which is
unhealthy. Eating a calorie rich dessert when you are trying to lose
weight because at the moment you are more concerned about enjoying
dessert than losing weight is a good example. Sitting down and
watching TV because you are tired and want to rest instead of heading
out to the gym or going for a walk is another good example. Here I
have illustrated the conflict around common health choices about diet
and exercise. I am sure you can relate to these examples.

Good news—there is a third part of the brain that helps to mediate
this conflict between the emotional and rational parts of our brains.
This is the volitional brain, the seat of our willpower. Think of the
volitional brain as a referee who helps you to decide what choice you
will make.

Understanding Motivation

We are all motivated by a set of internal and external factors. These
are individualized, but are best understood by examples. I may be
motivated to lose weight because I understand that my current weight
is unhealthy and puts me at risk for diabetes and high blood pressure
(a rational argument). Or, I may be motivated to lose weight because I
don’t like the way I look (an emotional argument). In both cases,
these are internal motivators.

You might be motivated to stop smoking for some very good internal
reasons such as its bad for my health or it costs a lot of money. But
you might also have some good external motivators such as, I promised
my spouse that I would quit and I don’t want to disappoint him/her.
Or, I want to set a good example for my children. In either case,
these represent external motivations. You might consider not wanting
to be late for work because I might get in trouble as a prototypic
example of an external motivator. How about, I want to stop drinking
because if I am caught operating a vehicle, I might lose my license
and land in jail. That represents pretty strong external motivation
not to drink!

I like to encourage people to think of motivators in terms of rewards
and punishments which both represent reinforcers. Things which reward
you represent a source of positive reinforcement, while things which
punish you represent types of negative reinforcement. These
reinforcers are the carrot and the stick which often underlie our

Bringing it all home

One very useful exercise is to sit down and list the health behaviors
you would like to adopt or change and then to detail the internal and
external motivators which support your decision making. Study the list
and see if you can develop some reinforcers to support you. Think in
terms of internal and external motivators as well as positive and
negative reinforcers. For example, if you want to lose weight, you can
reward yourself with a new outfit after losing 10 pounds. Or, if you
want to exercise more often, enroll a friend to be your gym buddy who
can encourage you when your motivation fails.

And your motivation will fail from time to time. No matter how
committed you are to a particular health choice, you may slip up from
time to time. Having a plan in advance on how to deal with temptation
is advisable. Have a health sponsor that you can call when you are
feeling weak. Put a picture of your children or loved ones in your
wallet and look at the picture when you are thinking of breaking a
health promise. Bring out the list you made and review it every day.
Post it on your refrigerator or on the mirror to look at when you are
washing, shaving, or brushing your teeth.

Having good intentions about your health is a good starting point, but
keeping them is all about sustained motivation and discipline.
Perseverance or stick-to-it-tiveness will be the challenge. That’s
where your volitional brain will ultimately decide your success.
As we approach the New Year, think of your New Year’s resolutions as
your good intentions. Understand the source of your motivation to
achieve your health goals. Follow through by being resolute and
maintaining your willpower. Like the Nike commercial says, “Just do

Be healthy

Victor Acquista MD is author of "Pathways To Health: An Integral
Guidebook" and a partner in Pathways Integral Health in Palmer. For
more information on Acquista's book, visit…