Virtual Family Nights provide group connection

Bristol Township School District  |  Posted on

Virtual story time with parent educator Marissa LeBlanc during a Family Night.

Now more than ever, family well-being is a top priority among parents. Held on the first Wednesday of each month, virtual Family Nights revolve around family well-being, and are hosted by the Family to Family Initiative, a cooperative program of Bristol Township, Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services, and Family Service Association of Bucks County.

After Bristol Township School District’s (BTSD) state and federal programs coordinator Audrey Flojo learned about Family Nights, which Family Service has been holding in school districts for over 25 years, she wanted to bring the events to BTSD. “I thought it would be a great opportunity to engage our families and bring them together in a supportive environment,” said Flojo.

Prior to COVID-19, each Family Night featured three components: an educational presentation, parent-child interaction such as an activity or game, and a focus on child development. Food was also provided for the convenience of parents attending right after work. Once COVID-19 hit, Family Nights moved to Facebook LIVE and adjusted the structure for a virtual format. These online sessions feature an interactive discussion with special guests, and viewers are encouraged to enter comments and questions in the chat.

Due to the challenges of the pandemic, BTSD requested a four-part summer series from Family Service to provide parents and guardians with extra support. Then starting in September, the monthly Family Nights began, which have featured themes that include managing stress and fatigue, and engaging children in activities. Upcoming sessions include self-defense and personal safety, and financial literacy.

“Our goal is to educate and provide relevant information to families while making them feel a part of group and know that they aren’t the only ones going through something,” said Kathleen Megahan, M.Ed., family strengthening program coordinator at Family Service. “Group connection is what these events are really designed to do.”