Real Life

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.

Best of the web food blogs awarded – Food & Drink, Life & Style – The Independent

Best of the web food blogs awarded – Food & Drink, Life & Style – The Independent.

Our very favorite – smitten kitchen is there winning in two categories – best food photography and best individual post and another favorite, David Lebovitz (of Chocolate Idiot cake fame) for best baking and desserts blog.

I will check out the blogs I hadn’t yet found from their list – Congrats to all!

Need an answer? Just ask my friends.

Yesterday I was thrilled to find great links in my in box to area organizations that rescue food.  I am looking into them all right now. Thank you so much to everyone who responded. It will help immeasurably. Keep it coming!

Readying the house for Sunday’s guests. Cleaning, shopping, and more.

Scones, muffins…are you in the know? Local area food donations go…? this is where you come in.

How do you help in your community?  I do a little bit but think I can do more.  The following was in this week’s  Newton Tab and  it was my husband’s idea to post it on my blog (thanks, honey). It also ties in with a project I am working on with two friends.

The Newton Food Pantry needs help.  It is a great organization run by volunteers in the basement of the (former) Waban branch libary (the building is now run by the Waban Improvement Society).  The Village Bank ( a local Newton bank) is partnering with the Newton Pride Committee  to re-stock the shelves of the food pantry.  Donations are welcome from April 5-19 in collection boxes at Village Bank locations throughout Newton and at the Newton Cultural Center in Newtonville.  If you are in the area, they are looking for donations of non-perishable foods, toiletries, diapers and cleaning products.  Many thanks.

This leads me to the project.  One day, while talking with two friends, the question came up about what happens to stuff at local bakeries at the end of the day.  We each chose a bakery, now that we have places that are willing to donate, we are looking at how to get the food to places that need it. 

New York City has City Harvest which is  a  “food rescue organization”.   It started with a group of volunteers (25 years ago) who “connected and a handful of neighborhood restaurants to food programs serving meals to those in need”.  So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive and we haven’t even gotten to restaurants yet.

I know about Community Servings in Boston and the Greater Boston Food Bank , two wonderful organizations. Is there already a City Harvest model  in Boston? Is there anything like it?

Do you know anyone who has started something like this? Any help would be appreciated. Please feel free to send this along.

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