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Independent Datebook, Nov. 23

• The Monmouth County Park System will host Under the Winter Stars on Dec. 1 from 7-8 p.m. at the Sunnyside Equestrian Center, Lincroft. Meet in the Sunnyside Road parking lot. Look for key objects and constellations in the night sky with a park system naturalist.  Bring a camp chair and a flashlight. Program may be cancelled due to overcast skies or inclement weather. Open to all ages; under 18 with adult. Free. Details: 732-842-4000.

• The Monmouth County Park System will host the Creative Arts Center Exhibit and Sale on Dec. 3 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Dec. 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Thompson Park Creative Arts Center, Lincroft. Celebrate the original artwork of the center’s students and instructors during this exhibit and sale. Admission and parking are free. Details: 732-842-4000.

• The Monmouth County Park System will host 19th Century Christmas Ballads on Dec. 3 and Dec. 10 from 1-3 p.m. at Historic Longstreet Farm, Longstreet Road, Holmdel. Enjoy 19th century Christmas ballads played on the piano. Free. Details: 732-842-4000.

• The Monmouth County Park System will host the Casual Birder on Dec. 20 at 9 a.m.
at Thompson Park, Lincroft, meet by Marlu Lake. Join a park system naturalist for a laid-back morning bird walk. Free. Details: 732-842-4000.

• The Monmouth County Park System will host Wondrous Winter Walks on Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. at the Huber Woods Environmental Center, Middletown, meet in the courtyard. Join a park system naturalist and explore a park in the wintertime. Sturdy footwear recommended as trails may have inclines or tree roots to step over. Open to all ages; under 18 with adult.  Free. Details: 732-842-4000.

• The Monmouth County Park System will host the Sounds of Christmas on Dec. 11 from 1-3 p.m. at Historic Longstreet Farm, Longstreet Road, Holmdel. Celebrate the holidays by enjoying wistful music as Larry Moser and Mary Nagin play Christmas carols on the hammered dulcimer and fiddle. Free. Details: 732-842-4000.

• The Monmouth County Park System will host a Nature Lecture Series: Snowy Owls of Monmouth County on Dec. 15 from 7-8 p.m. at the Bayshore Waterfront Park Activity Center, Middletown. Find out where these owls come from, where they go, what they eat and why they are so mysterious. Free. Details: 732-842-4000.

• The Monmouth County Park System will sponsor a bus trip to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in New York City on Dec. 9. The bus will leave from Thompson Park, Lincroft, at 1 p.m. and return at approximately 10 p.m. The cost is $175 per person and includes orchestra seating, bus transportation and a park system leader. Pre-registration is required. To register, visit www.MonmouthCountyParks.com or call 732-842-4000, ext. 1.

• The Monmouth County Retired Educators Association will celebrate the holidays on Dec. 13 at 11 a.m. at the Molly Pitcher Inn, 88 Riverside Ave., Red Bank. Members are encouraged to bring a non-perishable donation for the food bank. The association is also collecting unwrapped children’s toys, books or gift cards for Bridges At The Shore. For luncheon reservations, contact sueshrott@gmail.com or call 732 995-7754. Reservations and a check for $30 must be received before Dec. 2. Check the association’s website or Facebook page for additional information. New members are always welcome.

• New Jersey Blood Services, a division of New York Blood Center, will conduct blood drives which are open to the public. The following drives are scheduled: Nov. 29, Lincroft Bible Church, 790 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, 1-7 p.m. To donate blood or for information on how to organize a blood drive, call 1-800-933-2566 or visit www.nybloodcenter.org

• New Jersey Blood Services, a division of New York Blood Center, will conduct the following blood drives which are open to the public: Dec. 15, Most Holy Redeemer, 133 Amboy Road, Matawan, 1-7 p.m.; Dec. 19, North Centerville Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1, 372 Middle Road, Hazlet, 1-7 p.m.; Dec. 27, Lincroft Bible Church, 790 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, 1-7 p.m.; and Dec. 30, St. Dorothea Church, 240 Broad St., Eatontown, 12:30-6:30 p.m. To donate blood or for information about how to organize a blood drive, call toll free, 1-800-933-2566, or visit www.nybloodcenter.org

• The Monmouth County Park System will present an Awesome Autumn Amble on Nov. 30 from 10-11:30 a.m. at Freneau Woods Park, Aberdeen Township, meet in the Visitor Center parking lot. Explore the trails with a park system naturalist and discuss all manners of plant and animal phenomenon. Open to all ages; under 18 with adult. Free. Details: 732-842-4000.

• The Holiday Made in Monmouth event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 10 in the Robert J. Collins Arena on the campus of Brookdale Community College, Route 520, Lincroft.

• Dove Hospice Services of New Jersey is seeking volunteers who are willing to make a difference with individuals who are experiencing the challenge of end-of-life. Volunteers dedicate a small amount of time each month to provide companionship-friendly visits; play cards; sewing, knitting or craft projects; music enrichment; pet therapy; and office or administrative assistance. Dove Hospice Services is also seeking veterans who are interested in providing compassion, support and outreach to fellow veterans and their families. Visits can be made to individuals living in facilities or private homes. Ongoing training is provided. Volunteers must be 18 or older and a COVID vaccine is required. Details: Michelle Rutigliano, 732-405-3035.

• Women of Color discussion group is an online meeting held once a month (third Tuesday at 5:30 pm) to discuss issues, coping strategies and resources relevant to women of color. Offered by the Mental Health Association in New Jersey. Upcoming meeting dates are Dec. 20.  Email kreynolds@mhanj.org to receive a link.

• “A Gathering of Womyn of Color” is an online group that meets once a month for all LGBTQ womyn of color in the Black, Indigenous, People of Color community. The group is an open discussion of multiple topics. The group meets on the first Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. Upcoming dates are Dec. 1. Offered by the Mental Health Association in New Jersey, the agency’s PEWS program and the Emotional Support for Families of Color Initiative. To receive a link, email kreynolds@mhanj.org.

Items for the Datebook may be sent to news@njexaminer.com. Please send items at least two weeks prior to a scheduled event.

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