Public education takes on new meaning at many area stores and community centers. From decorative painting to dance instruction, there are many free classes and events in our neighborhoods. What's more, public libraries offer free fitness, cultural and literary classes at neighborhood branches.
Every month, Whole Foods Market, a national chain, provides free classes on home management, nutrition and health topics. The schedule in my area includes free cooking classes. And for athletes, I found a two-hour free course on the best foods to eat before and after a workout, with information about protein and healthy snacks. To find events near your home, go to www.wholefoodsmarket.com, type in your ZIP Code and review the store calendar.
Many home and decorative stores have a roster of free how-to clinics. Home Depot offers free in-store clinics on fire safety, floor and wall tiling projects and home energy efficiency. Throughout the year, the do-it-yourself, how-to clinics cover decorative painting, appliance installations and other topics. The free clinics are at different locations and the schedule includes craft classes for children. Go online at www.homedepot.com.
Everyone expects the public library to offer free literary programs featuring authors, poets and actors. But beyond those, they also offer a diverse lineup of free classes that include tai chi, flamenco, art and even computer assistance. Class information is online or at the front desk.
To get the most out of community classes, I recommend the following:
• Track down class and registration information at stores and community centers. Find out if you need to bring supplies and materials to class.
• Sign up early: I once tried, but failed to register my children for a free math and science enrichment program at the library. We had waited too long.
• Don't feel obligated to make a purchase: To attract customers, stores now offer a long list of classes on cosmetics, hardware tools and food preparation. But the lessons aren't a bargain if you leave with a shopping bag filled with impulse purchases.
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