Family Center gears up for fall enrichment programs

By: April Lehmbeck | Grosse Pointe Times | Published September 11, 2013

GROSSE POINTES — The Family Center is getting ready for a jam-packed fall full of enrichment opportunities to help guide parents and other caregivers in tackling the many challenges and choices of youth.

Besides getting ready to provide programs and activities this fall, the organization also held a kickoff party for its multi-year Enrichment Campaign last week at the historic home of Sergio and Lora Mazza in Grosse Pointe Farms.

The Enrichment Campaign is a fundraising effort to help the nonprofit continue its work. The Family Center, located at the Barnes Early Childhood Center, was founded in 2000 and provides a number of programs and activities for family members of all ages.

“We, at the Family Center, believe that by providing innovative and informative programming, we will build stronger families in Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods,” Enrichment Campaign Chair and Family Center Board Vice President Allison Baker said in an email. “As our programs continue to expand, the Enrichment Campaign was put in place to help us keep up with funding for these programs focused on supporting families. 

“We have become a vital resource for families navigating transitions to kindergarten, middle school and college, and are continuing to branch out with programs dealing with aging family members and ‘the sandwich generation,’” she said. “It is our hope that community members attending our programs take away a little more knowledge about the challenges they are facing and the confidence to know that The Family Center is available to them as a community resource.”

The Family Center is hosting another fundraising event with Hollyfest 2013 on Dec. 5 at the Grosse Pointe Club, with tickets starting at $100. Visit Hollyfest.familycenter for more information or tickets.

“We also have lots of events coming up this fall,” Ann Marie Aliotta, of The Family Center, said in an email about the many free information programs and other family-centered opportunities available.

From a program to help parents of middle school students to using technology in the family and methods for stress management, the fall programs offer some help for a number of life’s challenging times as a family.

“Strong and healthy families are the cornerstone in making Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods the vibrant communities we enjoy today,” Baker said. “The Family Center is focused on ensuring everyone in the community has the resources and information available to continue to build strong and healthy families for generations to come.”

The following are some of the upcoming programs:

• On Oct. 10, The Family Center is hosting free “Ask the Experts Talks: Managing Life’s Launches ‘Cradle to College.’” They will include three 20-minute sessions including ways to lead by example, make the most of technology in a family and manage stress. This event will be held at 7 p.m. at Assumption Cultural Center, 21180 Marter Road in St. Clair Shores.

• Because the middle school years can be tough to navigate, The Family Center is hosting “Finding Normal in the Middle School Years,” at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 at Brownell Middle School’s library. The free program will cover many issues faced in those years, including peer pressure, hormones and more.

• From 9-11 a.m. Oct. 22, The Family Center will provide a meet- and-greet for those who spend their careers working with families and young people, including school and mental health professionals. The free program will be held at Assumption Cultural Center.

• The Family Center will help parents tackle the college selection process with the help of Grosse Pointe Schools high school counselors. This free event will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Grosse Pointe South High School auditorium.

• A trio presentation night is planned for Nov. 21, with a 6:30 p.m. session on gearing up for kindergarten, including the core curriculum; a session on “Becoming a Love and Logic Parent” at 7 p.m.; and another 7 p.m. session on effective use of time-outs. The program will be held at Barnes Early Childhood Center.

• Families who want to spend time in play with their young children, grandchildren or other caretakers can also take part in Play Central, which is an indoor play opportunity scheduled for sessions on Wednesday and Thursday mornings and afternoons from Oct. 2 to May 30. Participation costs $5 per family for each visit for the program held at Barnes Early Childhood Center.

Anyone who wants to learn more about the enrichment campaign or The Family Center programs can call (313) 432-3832 or email