Success Stories Family Fun DayCollaborative & Creative
Quality family time may seem like a simple concept, but it’s certainly not a given for all of New York City’s children.
And, when lacking, the longing for quality time with family members can be at the root of many children’s social, emotional and academic struggles, particularly those who live in temporary housing.
CIS utilizes collaborative, creative approaches to help children thrive in not only a school setting but also at home and in the community. So when we learned about the needs of a second-grader who lived at a city shelter for homeless families, we reached out with a helping hand.
This student had been involved in a number of fights at her school, PS 46. Through family counseling, the root cause was identified—which was the young girl’s desire to spend time with her mother in the relaxed manner they had enjoyed before their housing troubles began.
With this knowledge in mind, CIS counselors decided to put together a Family Fun Day and invite the families of eighteen students they were working with at PS 46, most of who also lived in a city shelter. For those children whose parents were not able to attend, siblings, friends and community members were invited in to show their support.
The families engaged in a variety of bonding activities and games, from bingo and puzzles to relay races and arts and crafts. Children were asked to draw pictures of what family means to them, and the adults were asked to create “Chests of Hope” – small boxes that contained slips of paper with inspirational notes, including memories, dreams and bits of wisdom for their children to hold onto forever.
Throughout the event, CIS counselors heard parents reflect not only on the joys of the day but also on their desire to spend this kind of quality time with their children. The success of this transformative occasion was truly inspiring; from one child’s courageous voice to a compassionate counselor’s ability to listen, an experience was created that gave support to a larger community. Parents and children were given the opportunity to see each other outside the demands of school, work, and housing. Consequently, children and their parents were enabled to settle into the trust and understanding that will get them through current and future challenges.
Hope, purpose and determination can flourish.
Together, let’s work toward a bright, resilient future for New York City’s children, families and schools.