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Bringing Families back to the Dinner Table

Bringing Families back to the Dinner Table event The CIS Project L.I.F.T. team kicked off the New Year on January 19 with a family engagement event that received high marks from all participants. More than 40 families, whose children attend westside schools that are part of Project L.I.F.T., came together to get to know one another, find common ground and work on setting individualized “family goals” for the coming year. “New Beginnings: Bringing Families Back to the Table” was the evening’s theme, with an emphasis on the importance of eating together as a family and increasing the communication between students and their parents.

Families enjoyed a sit-down dinner, followed by a guided discussion at each table, led by their CIS Site Coordinator, to create a “Family Vision Agreement.” Questions such as “What do you like most about your family?”, “What is something you would like to change about your family?”, and “Name three things you would like to see your family accomplish together” were utilized in creating their Family Vision Agreement.

On the event evaluation forms, one parent stated, “This was a great chance to learn from my children and other families at the table. Please continue to do events like this.” A 6th grade student remarked on her evaluation, “I learned how to solve some of my home problems – I need to talk to my sister and brother more.”

The event was held at Discovery Place and the evening ended with a tour of the “Mummies of the World” exhibit. This accomplished another of the program’s goals, to expose families to the cultural arts in Charlotte. For many of the students and parents, this was their first visit to Discovery Place.

“The evening was a huge success,” said Shantiqua Neely, CIS Program Director for Project L.I.F.T. “We had about 140 in attendance, including five CMS teachers and 40 families, with all eight Project L.I.F.T. schools represented. Students and parents overwhelmingly rated the program, table discussion, dinner, and venue as ‘excellent.’ I moved from table to table, and heard genuine, engaged conversation. Our team is excited and hopeful that we can offer a similar program to more Project L.I.F.T. families in the near future."

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