By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Southborough/Northborough – On Thursday, March 7, students and their families in Southborough and Northborough will participate in “UNscheduled night.” ?Designed to encourage families to “step off the fast track and step towards each other,” UNscheduled is a night without homework, practices or town meetings, organizers said. Parents are encouraged to come home from work in time for a family dinner and to make this night special for the entire family.
Laurie Sugarman-Whittier, director of Southborough Youth and Family Services, explained the event's mission.
“We have been doing Southborough UNscheduled since 2004. I was approached by a school librarian in Northborough, who I think had gotten the idea from Needham Youth and Family Services,” she said. “The goal is really very simple – to give families a context in which to prioritize unscheduled time together.
“Between sports, clubs, music, scouts, Facebook, video games and all the many activities kids do (plus cell phones, email, twitter) which can keep parents engaged with work even when at home, it seems someone needs to be saying that family time together is a worthy goal in itself. It strengthens families and thus strengthens the community as well.?UNscheduled is a way of sending that message.”
As way to help parents think about fun ways to spend the evening bonding with their kids, Courtney Wambolt, a student intern for Southborough Youth and Family Services, created a website offering game, craft and recipe ideas.
“I began my research for the website by figuring out which activities, crafts and recipes would best facilitate family togetherness. I learned many ways to help build a tight-knit family. The most important ingredient being time spent together creating shared memories. This is my hope for the website – to give families a foundation of ideas to help them get started. Visitors to the site are more than welcome to tweak, alter or change any of my ideas to make them unique to their family,” she said.
Visit Southborough UNscheduled at http://courtneywambolt.wix.com/sborounscheduledday#!about/c10y3.
According to Sugarman-Whittier, family time does not have to be expensive or elaborate. Time spent at home enjoying a board game or doing a puzzle together contributes to family bonding and creates memories. It is an investment, she says, that is well worth making.