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Community family night draws nationwide notice

POWAY, Calif. — The Poway Family Focus Night, held Monday evening, May 22, generated so much attention that other communities are now following suit.

After a great deal of work led by the Church, this San Diego suburb's communitywide family night was endorsed by the city council, the school board, local PTAs, sports organizations and many of the churches in the community. All residents of the City of Poway were encouraged to clear their calendars from 5-9 p.m. and spend time with their families.

Soon after, USA Today learned of this citywide effort to nurture and support families and requested an interview. USA Today published a very positive article featuring Poway Family Focus Night entitled "The Calendar is Left Blank."

"When USA Today approached the organizers wanting to do an article, we had no idea the overwhelming attention we would receive," stated Sister Janae Low, the media representative for the Church's Poway Public Affairs Council. After the USA Today article appeared, the Poway Public Affairs Council was flooded with requests for interviews from national and local media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, and CBS television networks, as well as from nearly every San Diego television affiliate, several radio news programs, talk shows, every major local newspaper, and from news media as far away as Washington and Texas.

"The amount of positive feedback we have received is gratifying," said Brother Jeff Mangum, a member of the Poway Unified School District School Board. Brother Mangum of the Green Valley Ward, Poway California Stake, summed up things well: "We will feel successful if we have helped parents to stop and take a moment to think about whether they're raising a child or a resume."

Because of the groundbreaking work of the Poway Public Affairs Council, three other communities in the County of San Diego are making plans to start their own citywide "family night."

The idea was born in Poway during a meeting of the San Diego Public Affairs Council. Escondido California South Stake President Allen Haynie who presided over the council, unveiled an ambitious vision for the entire region of San Diego. He said, "I would like to see every family — member and nonmember alike — in San Diego have Family Home Evening." President Dan Clark of the Poway stake volunteered his stake to pilot the community program. President Clark asked Toni Thomas, stake director of public affairs, to accept the challenge of making family night a reality for all the residents of the City of Poway.