Learn how to make a profound difference in someone's life in just two hours a week.

Using lecture, real life stories and small group exercises, participants will learn how to provide practical help and emotional support to those with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones.

At the end of this in-depth comprehensive eight-week training, participants will be certified as hospice volunteers.

Training will be held at Northern Essex Community College, Riverwalk Center, 360 Merrimack St., Lawrence. The sessions are led by professionals from Merrimack Valley Hospice.

The next session will run Mondays from March 7 to May 2, from 9 to 11 a.m. There will be no class April 18.

All Merrimack Valley Hospice volunteers must be 18 years old.

This class is offered free of charge. Registration is required, Please call 978-556-3700.

'Heart Smart 101' panel program Feb. 16

The YWCA Greater Newburyport will host a "Heart Smart 101" panel discussion Wednesday, Feb. 16, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at 13 Market St.

The program is part of a mother-daughter panel discussion series, presented by the YWCA.

The series will help participants understand heart health, learn healthy heart habits for every age and create mother/daughter dialogues about healthy hearts.

The panel will include: Ruth Kerr, Women Heart Champion/heart attack survivor; Ginny King, clinical in-patient registered dietician at Anna Jaques Hospital and YWCA Zumba instructor; MaryAnna Young, Cardiac Rehab Nurse, Anna Jaques Hospital. Following the program, there will be time for additional questions, as well as a mother/daughter Zumba class.

The free event is open for women and their daughters ages 12 and older. To register call 978-465-9922.

Weight-loss program open house today

The weight-loss program Tops (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is holding an Open House today, beginning at 9 a.m. at the First Congregational Church in Georgetown.

The weight-loss support and wellness education organization is open to men and women. The annual membership fee is $26.

For more information, call 978-352-6176.

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If you have an item for Health Beat, contact Katie Lovett at 978-462-6666 or klovett@newburyportnews.com.