POTOMAC — Vermilion County teachers last week heard Elizabeth Smart, an author, activist for child safety and victim of kidnapping, speak at their professional development seminar in Bismarck.

Smart, a sheltered 14-year-old with a loving, supportive family, was kidnapped and held captive for nine months by Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee.

She told her story to educators, with the knowledge that they are often the first ones to know when a child is troubled.

Clarenda McCarty, Potomac kindergarten teacher, was among the teachers in attendance.

“My biggest takeaway was that everyone has a story, every single day. It takes a lot of courage to share that story, and sometimes our classrooms are the safest place for their day,” McCarty said. “If we remember everyone’s story and work together to provide a safe and caring environment, all can flourish, even the teacher.”

— Homework Club will be conducted at the Potomac Public Library from 3:15-5:30 p.m. Oct. 21, 23, and 24.

The adult activity, at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, will be Share Your Hobby. Adults are invited to share their hobby or talent with others.

Later that day, at 7 p.m., the book club will meet to discuss “Educated” by Tara Westover.

A pumpkin-designing activity will be offered to children at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24. To participate, sign up by Monday, Oct. 21 so sufficient materials will be available. This will be for children 5-10 years of age.

— Linda Chesnut of Potomac is offering free piano or organ lessons for children and adults. Children 6 years and older are invited. She plans to offer weekly lessons for children, with adults needing less-frequent instruction. For further information, she may be contacted at 217-987-6443.

— A flu shot clinic will be set up from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Potomac Community Building, located at 310 W. State St. Those with Health Alliance, Medicaid and Medicare, as well as most other plans, will have a zero co-pay. Cash price will be $30  for a regular dose, and $60 for a high dose, recommended for those over 65 years old. Immunizations are provided by Hudson Drug Store of Paxton. The shots are for ages 10 and up.

— Thought for the week: “Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” — Lauren DeStefano

Angie Walsh of Potomac writes a weekly column about Potomac area happenings. Information may be mailed to her at jawalsh76@yahoo.com