Iris Hunter Richmond County Daily Journal
September 22, 2013
Would you say that you spend enough time with your family? What better time to start than on Family Day, a national movement that was launched in 2001 by CASAColumbia to celebrate parental engagement as an effective tool to help keep America’s kids substance free.
Monday, Sept. 23, is Family Day.
“Our focus is to raise awareness of this national holiday,” said Emily Nicholson, a substance abuse prevention consultant with Alcohol & Drug Services of Moore County, and a Member of Drug Free Moore County and Prevention Tasks Force.
“A day is set aside to come together to talk with one another about the current events that may be occurring in their lives,” she said.
Former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Joseph A. Califano Jr. founded CASA and the Family Day concept to encourage households to eat dinner on Sept. 23 and open up communication and support for their kids to be drug free, said Brenda David, substance abuse counselor with Alcohol & Drug Services in Rockingham.
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University just released a national survey on substance abuse, which revealed that teens who regularly use social networking sites are at increased risk for use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs, according to David.
It is critical that parents take the time to engage in activities with their children, especially during their adolescence period. According to the CASAColumbia website, nine out of 10 Americans who meet the medical criteria for addiction started smoking, drinking, or using other drugs before age 18.
The website also states that addiction is a disease that in most cases begins in adolescence, so preventing or delaying teens from using alcohol, tobacco or other drugs for as long as possible is crucial to their health and safety.
According to the organization, everyday can be Family Day and several great ways to stay engaged in your children’s lives include: opening the lines of communication and keeping them wide open, setting rules and expecting your children to follow them, monitoring your children’s whereabouts, incorporate religious and spiritual practices into family life and engaging the larger family of your children’s friends, teachers, classmates, neighbors, and community.
“Last year all of the members of the Girls Can Program wrote a letter and had it published in the paper that discussed what they did on their family night,” said David.
David said that the girls made up creative ways to spend time with their family, which included pizza night and preparing a meal for a family member.
“I adopted the idea of taco night from one of the members of Girls Can. Me and my family have taco night every Friday,” she said.
Hopefully, individuals will want to start spending more quality time with their family members after participating in Family Day.
“I encourage everyone to join in this practice on Family Day, enjoy the interaction, and commit to keeping drugs and alcohol away from young people. Parents are the first line of defense, with help from schools and the community,” David said.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has signed a proclamation declaring Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, as “Family Day.”
To view the Family Day Proclamation, visit http://www.governor.state.nc.us/sites/default/files/orders-and-proclamations/20130919/Family%20Day.pdf
If you would like to pledge to be a Family Day STAR, visit http://casafamilyday.org/familyday/get-active/.
CASAColumbia is a science-based, multidisciplinary organization focused on transforming society’s understanding of and response to the disease of addiction.
Founded in 1992 by Califano, CASAColumbia assembles the professional skills needed to research, prevent, treat and eliminate this disease.
For more information about CASAColumbia, visit www.casacolumbia.org.
— Staff Writer Iris Hunter can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org