Sariah Archibeque-Vasquez giggled as her older sister told an elaborate story about being born in France before migrating to Denver to a dinner table guest during the Family Day celebration at Barnum Recreation Center, which was sponsored by the Denver Resource for Awareness and Prevention (Denver RAP) and Strengthening Families. The girls’ grandma smiled and quickly explained that her granddaughter had a big imagination.
Laughter filled the room as many other families spoke to each other about their day and challenged one another to answer questions like “If I had three wishes, I would wish for”, “The hardest part about going to school is”, and “My favorite family tradition is”.
“Friday nights were family night at my house when I was growing up,” Penny May, manager of Denver Human Services conveyed to families. “My brother and I could choose the menu, and we talked about anything that was on our mind or bothering us. Dinner usually ended with a lot of laughter and that is one of my favorite memories.”
Before eating a delicious meal provided by Jason’s Deli, families bonded by partaking in arts and crafts activities. Sariah gazed at the tiny colorful beads that twinkled in the light as she spun around her handcrafted kaleidoscope. Next to her, her sister, Alize Archibeque, carefully cut string and strung beads on it to create a colorful bracelet that she proudly wore throughout the night. Kendra Binsol stuck stickers on a calendar to remember birthdays for family members and friends.
The premise behind Family Day is to encourage families to eat dinner together. Frequent family dinners are an effective tool to help keep kids substance free, according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
“Family Day serves as a great reminder that parents who spend time with their children can influence their kids’ choices simply by talking to them about their friends, their interests and the risks of drinking and using other drugs,” Vanessa Fenley, Denver Resource for Awareness and Prevention Director said.
Research indicates that
kids whose parents talk to them about abstaining from drugs and alcohol are up to 50 percent less likely to use than those kids whose parents do not talk to them about it.
“Time spent with your families is meaningful and important, especially for kids,” Fenley said. “Denver RAP encourages families to eat meals together and talk about how to handle difficult situations like what to do when your child’s friends offers them alcohol or drugs.”
Many more families throughout Denver celebrated Family Day by sitting at the dinner table and eating together. Wendy’s Restaurants also supported Family Day by rewarding families with a free Dave’s Hot N’ Juicy Single with the purchase of combo meal or salad when they presented a Family Day coupon.
To learn how to get the conversation started with your child, download a free
Parent Toolkit: How to Talk to Your Kids About Alcohol