Families First : Parenting in the Digital Age – A fundraising event that inspired, entertained and educated…then over to The Local for a bite to eat.

Last week (yes, the same day I resisted chocolates from Fancy Nancy – only to succumb another day), I went to a fundraiser for Families First , a great organization that offers parenting workshops in the Greater Boston area.  It was held at the Boston College Club in downtown Boston (on the 36th floor of what I call the pregnant building or, really, the Bank of America building). Great views, a  nice glass of white wine, some killer appetizers and a great group of people…now we were all in the mood for…more wine?  Nope, a parenting talk. Fortunately, and as is customary for Families First, we were in for a treat…not just a parenting talk but a truly inspiring parenting talk.

The first speaker was La Verne Saunders, a wonderfully enthusiastic, funny and knowledgeable parent educator from Families First.  She did a fantastic job of engaging the audience (of mostly tired parents) and showing how a parenting class would be run. We laughed, nodded and smiled at each other as we all made connections to her presentation of how the principles and values in our lives affect our parenting decisions and how sometimes we ignore them and why.

Next was the keynote speaker, John Palfrey of Harvard University, who immediately charmed the audience by sharing that he would not take up much time as he had a date with his son at the Red Sox game and joking that La Verne was a tough act to follow – she is – and he was as compelling.  He has co-written, Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives and here is a link to his site Digital Natives at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He spoke about children and their digital experience and presented a short film (by a student) that showed it clearly and wonderfully. Here is the video.  It is amazing to visualize your – or your child’s – tracks in the digital age. Digital Dossier from Digital Natives.

I have several friends who have long been involved with Families First and have been lucky enough to see first hand (at workshops and other events like this) what Families First can do.  I have always been impressed by the program offerings, the parent educators and the people involved and this night was no exception.

After the event, a group of us met up at The Local, a great neighborhood spot that is truly the neighborhood’s favorite spot, a great space with friendly staff and wonderful food.  Home to amazing burgers, fries (and I do know my burgers and fries) and phenomenal flatbread pizzas and some lobster mac and cheese dish that I want to try.  Definitely not your standard fare. The chef is Brian Counihan (he is also the chef at Isabella’s in Dedham – more amazing food!)  We watched the finish of the Red Sox game, chatted with the super friendly owners… it was the perfect end to a lovely evening.

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