SPECIAL DELIVERY: Mark Perry will appear as his alter ego, Post Mark the North Pole Postman, at Magic Beans toy shops in Wellesley and Cambridge next weekend to read from his new book, “ ‘Post’ Mark — Santa’s Misfit Postman.”
The story, which will be published next year, describes the adventures of a boy who is teased about his desire to travel the world before achieving his dream as Santa’s mailroom helper. At the Magic Beans locations, Perry will also assist children in writing free letters to Santa, with stationery and coloring pages provided.
Perry is in his fourth year of writing personalized replies to children’s letters to Santa that are postmarked from the North Pole; he charges $9.95 for the service, with $1 donated to charity. The idea evolved from visits to his nephew at the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Brighton a decade ago, and his continuing deliveries of gifts to the hospital’s pediatric patients every holiday season ever since then..
According to Perry, electronics most commonly top kids’ wish lists again this year. In his replies, Perry praises the children but also reminds them of areas for improvement (relayed by their parents). Examples have included completing their homework, eating vegetables, keeping their rooms clean, and not picking on siblings. In one case, he was asked to reassure a 5-year-old boy that he was still on Santa’s “nice” list despite accidentally knocking over the family’s Christmas tree.
“Now kids know Mom and Dad have those magical powers to communicate with Santa,” Perry said. “This is the kind of fun that makes the job worthwhile.”
Perry will visit Magic Beans at 200 Linden St. in Wellesley on Friday from 1 to 4 p.m., and Magic Beans at 361 Huron Ave. in Cambridge on Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.northpolepostman.com.
WALK IN THEIR SHOES: Triathlete Devon Kinkead of Holliston had just returned from an hourlong winter run 10 years ago when he thought sadly about how homeless people don’t always have the same luxury of coming inside from the cold. In an effort to extend that empathy to others, he founded the 2-mile Winter Walk.
The 10th annual event will leave from Boston Common at 1 p.m. next Sunday. Since its inception, the walk has raised more than $100,000 for Hearth Inc. and HomeStart Inc., Boston-based nonprofit organizations that work to end homelessness.
Kinkead said he is appreciative of the Holliston High School National Honor Society students who assist in the planning, promotion, and production of the event.
“The best way to bring people to this issue [is] to have them experience what it’s like to be out in the cold for an extended period of time, regardless of the temperature, snow, or sleet,” he said. “I want people to walk in the shoes of the homeless.”
For more information, visit www.winterwalk.org.
TOURING INDIA: Carlisle residents Deborah Abel, artistic director of the Deborah Abel Dance Company, and her husband, composer Lee Perlman, have long considered their work to be influenced by Indian philosophy and spirituality.
On Saturday, they will lead their 20-member American modern dance company on a two-week tour of India to perform “Calling to You: A Tale of Ancient Wisdom in the Modern World,” a piece loosely based on a traditional Indian parable that explores love and relationships through Western psychology and Eastern bhakti philosophy. In addition to Indian motifs within the dance and original music, the set and costumes are inspired by Indian design.
Invited by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, the dance company will visit Jaipur, Delhi, and Chennai. In addition, the group will partner with SEWA, an organization for underprivileged working women, to provide tickets and present movement workshops for them and their children.
“The tour has been two years in the making, but it’s really a culmination of our life’s work,” Perlman said. For the audience in India, he added, “it’s a chance to see their culture and traditions filtered back through American eyes.”
A campaign on Kickstarter.com is underway to raise $7,500 for the troupe’s travel costs, with Wednesday set as the deadline. As of midweek, the pledge total had reached $6,304 . Any extra funds would be used to pay a stipend to the artists, Abel said.
For additional details or to donate, visit www.kck.st/S11Wm6.
INTERNET PRIVACY: The founders of Needham-based Consumers Empowered Inc., Needham resident Cindy Matloff and Marie Taylor of Wellesley, will present “Safety Nets for Walking the Internet Tightrope” at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Wellesley Free Library, 530 Washington St.
They will discuss how scam artists operate on the Internet, and how to protect one’s identity and privacy while online. Also, information technology consultant Dick tenEyck of Wellesley will answer questions about viruses and other tech issues.
The free presentation is part of a new lecture series sponsored by the Wellesley Council on Aging in partnership with the Wellesley Free Library.
BRAIN INJURY AWARENESS: Newton resident Dr. Douglas Katz, director of the acquired brain injury program and medical education at Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital, will discuss pharmacological intervention in his keynote address at the Pediatric Brain Injury Conference on Thursday at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel in Marlborough.
The daylong event, which features a dozen workshops led by experts in research, treatment, and rehabilitation, is sponsored by the Westborough-based Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts. To register, call 508-475-0032 or visit www.biama.org.
INFLUENCING PUBLIC POLICY: Arlington resident Kevin Knobloch
(inset), president of the Cambridge-based Union of Concerned Scientists, will present “Making Evidence Matter: The Role of Science in US Policy” on Thursday, at 7:30 p.m. at Arlington High School, 869 Massachusetts Ave.
Presented by Arlington Community Education and the Arlington League of Women Voters, the discussion will also cover the advocacy organization’s new initiative, the Center for Science and Democracy, and its focus on supporting evidence-based knowledge and constructive debate concerning climate change, the spread of nuclear weapons, and clean energy.
Arlington resident David Whitford, editor at large at Fortune magazine, will be the moderator.
Admission is $5; for advance tickets, call 781-316-3568 or go online to www.arlingtoncommunityed.org.