Families looking to break away from habitual use of electronics can find relief through the Family Service Center, Inc.’s Unplug and Get Connected program Thursday.
The event offers a night of activities focused on getting families away from their cellphones, tablets and gaming systems and back to spending quality time together.
Family Service Center Family Advocate Esmeralda Riojas said the event began after FSC employees noticed growing trend of families coming home, only to soon split up with each member going to his or her room with their preferred electronic device. In order to break that trend, FSC officials began formulating an event to show families activities that not only discourage use of electronics, but are also affordable.
“Families were disconnecting during family time,” Riojas said. “We thought, what event can we do where these families can reconnect with each other. Put your phone down and just have fun. It’s not something that has to cost money. It doesn’t have to be expensive to just spend time with your family. That was the big push. What can we do to get families back to interacting with each other.”
Riojas said the program initially started with families involved with programs through FSC, but soon it expanded to all families. As part of the Unplug and Get Connected event, FSC will offer attendees free hot dogs, drinks crafts, board games, music and more. Thursday’s event marks the fifth year of the program.
“Once we had our first one, we realized we had something here,” Riojas said. “We were able to bring our families back to the family services center and give back to our families, give them an evening they can enjoy, have fun and there is no pressure of having to fit it in their budget. Once we did it the first year, we realized we could to it every year for our families.”
Along with that night’s activities, the event will also give away board games and other prizes throughout the night and will have a photo booth available so families have a permanent reminder of what happens when they spend a few hours away from electronics. The event runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. inside the Family Service Center at 901 Avenue B in Brownwood.
“If people could, an RSVP would be wonderful, but we welcome everybody. We’re going to be prepared to have plenty to be able to give away,” FSC Parent Educator Katie Snyder said. “We’re going to have free food, board games, crafts and we’re also going to have a photo booth where families can take pictures together and making snacks together. Some other agencies will also be here to help support and volunteer to help families just come back and be able to spend time together. It’s free and they can find some ideas they can take home and instill at home as well.”
For more information or to RSVP, contact FSC at (325) 646-5939 or visit them their Facebook page.
“It helps so much with families and talking about feelings,” Snyder said. “It strengthens families not only to have a support systems and sometimes, we get into a routine or schedule that we need things to break that up a little bit.”