Weekly Feature

2011-09-14 / Lifestyles

Family dinner celebrating 10 years

I n 2001, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University launched the first Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children. The day is a national movement that informs parents that the engagement fostered during frequent family dinners is an effective tool to keep America’s kids substance-free. Teens who have infrequent family dinners are twice as likely to use tobacco or marijuana; more than one and a half times as likely to use alcohol; and twice as likely to expect to try drugs in the future.

To recognize this day, the Amherst Town Board declared Monday, Sept. 26, Family Day in Amherst. You are all encouraged to find a way to spend some time as a family on that day. Believe me, it will be worth the effort. We asked young people in the community what they like about having dinner with their family. Here are their responses:

Kyle, age 13: “I like spending time with my parents and just talking about the day with them.” Kaitlyn, age 14: “We are a very busy family, so getting to sit down at dinner and talk is nice. Every day, we say our good deeds and best parts of the day so we know a little about how our day went. It has become a huge part of my life, and I am thankful.”

Joe, age 14: “We talk about your day and how we feel about our life.”

Kate, age 14: “It gives us a way to spend time together. Having dinner brings us closer as a family.”

Tim, age 15: “I like having dinner because it is nice talking with my parents who I haven’t see all day.”

Camille, age 15: “When I have dinner with my family, we have fun and talk about my day with my sisters and parents.”

Thomas, age 15: “I get to see everyone because we are either working, in school or going to other places. It is nice to see everyone together.”

Rachel, age 16: “I enjoy being able to wind down and talk with my family about current issues in my life. Between a hot meal and connecting with my family, I would say dinner time is an integral part of establishing a solid family foundation. It is a safe and secure environment to just be able to release the day’s stress and reflect upon you.”

Marc, age 16: “Everyone in my family is so incredibly busy that we rarely have time to catch up with each other. The dinner table is a time from technology and chaos and a time for sharing and together.”

What would your family say? Sept. 26 is a great day to find out. For information on dinner activities, contact Sally at ECCPASA at 831-2298 or Sally@eccpasa.org.

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