Residents encouraged to participate in Family Day

Gov. Robert Bentley signs a proclamation declaring Sept. 26 Family Day throughout the state. (Contributed)

Gov. Robert Bentley signs a proclamation declaring Sept. 26 Family Day throughout the state. (Contributed)

By BRIANA HARRIS / Staff Writer

PELHAM – In an effort to address teen substance use and abuse, the Alabama Family Rights Association and the Exchange Club of Shelby County are encouraging Shelby County residents to participate in Family Day on Monday, Sept. 26.

Family Day is a national effort that aims to address teen substance use and abuse by asking parents to become more engaged in their children’s lives.

According to the National Crime Prevention Council, research shows that the main reason kids don’t use alcohol, tobacco or drugs is because of their parents – because they felt it would disappoint them.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University consistently finds that the more often children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use illegal drugs.

In August, Gov. Robert Bentley signed a proclamation declaring Sept. 26 Family Day throughout the state. The proclamation states that “the cornerstone of an orderly society is the family, but Alabama’s families have grown progressively weaker and children are living in a world where TVs, cell phones and electronic devices have replaced playgrounds and conversation.”

The importance of children having two parents is diminishing, according to the proclamation. It states that 40,000 Alabama children a year are “victims of court ordered visitation with one parent for only two to six days a month.”

Kenneth Paschal, president of the Alabama Family Rights Association (ALFRA), said parents can choose a variety of activities to do with their children on Family Day, such as sitting down together to have a family dinner, having a family movie night, playing board games or organizing a block party in the community.

Parents are also encouraged to start conversations with their children. A list of conversation starters is provided by the ALFRA.

Paschal is working to get each city in Shelby County to sign a proclamation recognizing Family Day. Calera and Montevallo have already approved the proclamation. In the next week, Paschal has plans to ask the Alabaster, Harpersville, Helena and Pelham city councils to approve proclamation.

Paschal said the Pelham YMCA has agreed to invite students and parents in their after school and youth programs to dine together at the YMCA from 6-7 p.m.

“The first conversation topic is going to be about how their child is doing in the after school program,” he said.

Several restaurants throughout Shelby County have also agreed to place the ALFRA’s list of conversation starters on each table in their restaurants for families to reference.

Participating restaurants include Alabaster’s Chubbs and Sun & C’s Seafood Spot; Top It Off in Helena; and Bama Burgers, Chick-fil-A, Margarita Grill, Taqueria Garibaldi’s, and Nino’s Italian Restaurant in Pelham.

For families on the go Full-Moon Bar-B-Que in Alabaster will provide conversation starters to their drive-thru customers. Texas Roadhouse in Pelham will celebrate Family Day on Tuesday, Sept. 26, during their Kid’s Nights from 4-8 p.m. Kid’s Night includes art and crafts, a coloring contest, a eating contest and games.

To find a list of conversation starters, go to ALFRA.org.