San Carlos is getting ready to put away the homework, turn off the television and reconnect with family — not to mention gear up for a no-holds barred game of roshambo.
But this year's 14th annual Week of the Family is also injecting a little seriousness among the fun with two speakers focused on the increasingly common challenge of how to juggle multiple generations under one roof. As families find themselves more and more caring for aging parents while simultaneously raising kids, the difficulty can be in finding a balance, said Jennifer Kula, this year's chair of Week of the Family.
"The theme is how you can manage that better rather than having a divide and feeling like you're not spending enough time with either,” Kula said.
The talk at the library caps the week and features Jennifer Mangosong-Shankle, education manager of The Alzheimer's Association, and Dr. John Rose, chief of geropsychology and director of outpatient spinal cord injury/disorders psychology with the Veterans Administration in Palo Alto. Topics will include ways to bring the family together and learning what local resources are available.
The discussion, like every happening during the Week of the Family, is open to everybody, not just those who reside in the City of Good Living. The events are also open to all families no matter the personal definition and each are aimed at reminding people that family is as much a priority as work and school.
This year's annual week of family togetherness includes past favorites like the hike day, cooking school, story time and scavenger hunt. There are also new additions like a science expo, too, along with a focus on volunteerism.
"I think it's an activity that families can do together while they're giving back to the community. It gives them an exposure to volunteering and teaches a great foundational value,” said Kula whose own passion for volunteering played a role in this year's planning.
On Sunday, Jan. 27, a donation drive will collect diaper wipes, new or unused craft supplies, activity books and small toys as part of volunteering for There With Care, a nonprofit that helps families and children facing critical illness. Children will decorate cards for the families, parents will be trained and together they will pack snack bags.
Later in the week, middle school students will spend an evening with senior residents of The Elms, helping them create activity boxes for families supported by There With Care or reading and playing games. Students will also offer residents training on something they probably know a lot about — iPads. Kula said several residents received the technology from relatives but need some help learning how to actually use the devices.
Those with a soft spot for science and a strong streak of curiosity will enjoy the family science expo on Wednesday, Jan. 30 when the library displays student projects. Past efforts include dying hair with unexpected products like Kool-Aid and explaining the impact of vegetation on cooling roofs.
Those with a culinary leaning can learn how to make sushi, fruit salad and decorated sugar cookies that same night at the Arbor Bay School at family cooking school. The popular event was started by two middle school students, showing that creation — as well as participation — runs the gamut of ages.
The week has previously drawn more than 3,000 families participating in some way, Kula said.
She personally is looking forward to Capt'n Jack Spareribs show at the library — think a pirate and talking monkey providing magic, juggling and illusions.
"That's going to be very fun,” she said.
But if that show is not really a family's thing, there are also Hiller Flight Night and discounted sundaes at local ice cream and yogurt shops like Cowabunga Creamery, Harmony Yogurt and Tutti Frutti. And don't forget to reserve Monday, Jan. 28 — all school principals have declared it "no homework night” as a way to encourage families to stay home and do something specifically with their loved ones.
"There is really something for everybody,” Kula said.
Michelle Durand can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 102.
Week of the Family runs Saturday, Jan. 26 to Saturday, Feb. 2. A full schedule of events and more information is available at www.sancarlosweekofthefamily.org. RSVPs for events can be made at www.eventbrite.com. The presentation "Managing the demands of multi-generational caregiving” is 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 at the San Carlos Library community rooms, Second Floor, 610 Elm St.