Understanding Asperger Syndrome

On Thursday, Jan. 13, a workshop for family and caregivers of individuals with Asperger Syndrome (AS) and Autism Spectrum Disorders will be held in the library conference room at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

“The workshop will focus on understanding the social and behavioral needs of an individual with AS by having the participants ‘feel’ what it is like to have AS,” according to a press release. “Specific interventions to use with children and teens will be demonstrated.”

Starting at 6:30 pm, the two-hour workshop will be led by Jean Stern, former director of Children’s Services for the Asperger’s Association of New England (AANE). The program is presented by AANE and Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS).

For more information, contact AANE at 617-393-3824 or refer to The contact at MVCS is Sharon Claus-Zanger, Director of Disability Services, who can be reached at 508-693-7900, ext. 206.

New minister

By vote of the First Baptist Church pulpit committee in November, Melvin Thornhill, chairman, the Rev. Ellen Tatreau of Weymouth is the interim minister at the First Baptist Church, Tisbury, and the Gay Head Community Baptist Church. She began her Island ministries on the first Sunday of Advent.

Ms. Tatreau is a graduate of Andover Newton Theological School.

Phyllis Vecchia offers Creative Drama

Through a theatre education program called Women in History, Phyllis Vecchia is teaching middle-school students at the Tisbury and Charter schools this winter.

The program has been funded by Mal Jones of West Tisbury and supported by Francie Desmone of Tisbury. Funding was obtained by Sheila Bracy, the former executive director of Women Empowered.

The program is offered as an enrichment program to all the sixth and eighth grade students at the Tisbury School. In the Charter School it will be a part of the Social Studies curriculum for the sixth grade.

The women chosen for study will be Marina Silva of Brazil, a rainforest advocate from the Amazon; the suffragists Amelia Bloomer, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony; Phillis Wheatley, the African-American poet; Eleanor Roosevelt, Marie Curie, and a Native-American woman.

For inquiries or information, contact Phyllis Vecchia at 508-696-8738.

Women Empowered turns to Elaine Pace

Elaine Pace of West Tisbury was named last month as the new executive director of Women Empowered, which offers support services to Islanders who need help developing life skills or adjusting to life changes.

In a press release, Women Empowered said, “[Ms. Pace’s] strong leadership skills and experience in a variety of fields will help Women Empowered to deliver high-quality programs to help Vineyarders who face challenging life management problems.”

Ms. Pace moved to the Island in 2001 to become principal of the West Tisbury School after serving as Superintendent of Schools in Morris County, N.J. Since retiring in 2004, she has published two books, “Island, a Memoir” (2005) and “Island Home: Why People Come to Martha’s Vineyard and Why They Stay” (2008). She has been a board member of the M.V. Chamber Music Society, program chairman of the M.V. Garden Club, and trustee of the West Tisbury Library.

For more information about Women Empowered, call 508-696-8880 between 9 am and 12 noon, Monday through Friday.