The Carbon County Healthy Families Coalition is excited to be celebrating their 5th annual Family Night with author Richard Paul Evans. The event will be held at Carbon High School on Sept. 29, 2009 starting with a spaghetti and meatball dinner. Dinner will begin at 5 p.m. and is free to the public. Mr. Evans will begin his message at 6:15 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Free day care will be provided by volunteers for children ages one to 11 years old.
Over five years ago, the community met with the goal of creating a community needs assessment. One of the things which became apparent was the glaring issue of substance abuse in the community. Members of the coalition were noticing that drugs were affecting many aspects of family's lives including school, domestic violence, and the actual stability of children. The group got together and thought they would work on the drug issues in Carbon County. However, after working on this for awhile, the group noticed that in order for then to make a difference in the lives of children and families, we needed to work on more than just the drug problems. This was often a symptom of other issues facing families. The group wanted to concentrate on prevention efforts as well. Added to the efforts were mental health issues, domestic violence, how to keep kids safe, and to teach kids how to stay safe. The group felt like using a more comprehensive approach would have longer lasting effects. Presently the group is working hard on keeping children and families together by intervening earlier and having the families be full acting partners in the efforts in making and identifying what will work for their families. They presently work on community issues such as domestic violence, and prevention. They are working very closely and effectively with the community. A visiting agency came to the community to see how agencies work together here.
"We have never seen a community rally around their families like you do," stated that agency. The visitors were surprised that the turf issues which plague communities and agencies do not seem to exist here in Carbon County. They were impressed by the way our Carbon County Local Interagency Council functions and the work they have accomplished.
The CCHFC also puts on two events a year in the county with the support of the County Commissioners. The first event is the Fourth of July event at the fairgrounds each year. The coalition provides family entertainment and activities that promote family interaction and fun at no cost to families. These activities are meant to stimulate ideas and discussions for family time togetherness to try at home. The message is that spending quality time with your family regularly does not have to cost money to be rewarding. Simple things like decorating cupcakes together can lead to discussions and laughter thus bonding families as a unit.
The other event is the annual Family Night. From the beginning the group has been able to provide dinner on this night so that families can fit the evening into their busy schedules without providing additional stress. The first few years the coalition provided break out sessions with various experts on many subjects that affect families today. Those that attended these classes came away with updated information on trends that threaten our families and children such as drug abuse, domestic violence, parenting issues, and money issues. Parents were taught about the importance of reading to their children, and spending quality time with their children.
The last couple of years we have brought in some excellent speakers to help teach and motivate individuals and families to better themselves. Last years 'The Chalk Guy' presented a message which has had a lasting affect on our youth of the area regarding making the most of what you have been given. He donated his Chalk Art to five local schools. This year we are just as excited to have Richard Paul Evans, New York Times Best Selling Author and speaker come to Carbon County to once again bring families together to enjoy the evening learning and laughing. His message will be one of hope, and learning from our mistakes. It is about how when one door closes another one opens. Our hope is that Mr. Evans message will precipitate family discussion for a long time about setting goals and believing you can accomplish anything, no matter what your age, or what your family looks like.
As we rally to strengthen our families we strengthen our community family. We as coalition members understand first hand how hard it is to raise families with all the issues facing us today. We hope that the information that is provided has helped our families become stronger, and healthier. We understand that some families have already been assaulted with addiction, abuse, domestic violence, job loss, and other things that damage family relationships. We bring out our community resources for our annual Family Night to provide an opportunity for our families to see where they can get the help they need to help themselves and their families.
We can strengthen our own families, extended families and neighborhoods by improving the quality of the time we spend with each other. By having open communication about what is important to us, learning together and setting goals for the future with our families makes us stronger. There is not a magic fix for any of us but spending time playing and talking to our families about what is important to us is a start to better understanding and communication which in turn improves our relationships within our families which ultimately strengthens our community.
As a coalition we would like to know what you need to improve your family or any suggestions that you might have for next year's event. There will be surveys at the end of the evening that will help us plan for next year. Take time to fill it out and share your thought or concerns with us.