(PRWEB) March 25, 2004
411-KIDS "Connect-the-Family" activity menus are helping youngsters improve their emotional intelligence, EQ, during family mealtime. Dr. Lori Gordon, one of the world's leading marriage and family therapists, has brought relationship skills to kids menus. She has teamed up with 411-KIDS and JMS Designs to help youngsters improve their EQ and raise money to help homeless youth.
Would you like some lessons in life with those fries? How about a serving of emotional intelligence with that chicken basket? With the launch of 411-KIDS "Connect-the-Family" menus, youngsters armed with crayons are already raising their emotional intelligence, EQ, during family mealtimes.
Emotional intelligence is key to raising children to become happy, healthy, successful adults, says marriage and family therapist Lori Gordon (http://www.pairs.org). Dr. Gordon is the author of landmark relationship building books such as PAIRS, Passage to Intimacy and If You Really Loved Me. Her work has been translated for audiences on every continent to help children, couples, and families.
Dr. GordonÂs newest project is the series of ÂConnect-the-FamilyÂ kids menus that combine mealtime with age appropriate activities to teach children communications, problem solving and emotional understanding skills.
The trademark menus are marketed and produced by JMS Designs (http://www.ConnectTheFamily.org), a Sunrise, Florida specialty printing company that supplies restaurants across the country. Sold for less than a quarter, the custom printed activity books include the individual restaurantÂs logo, contact information, featured menu items and range of activities that build emotional intelligence. Proceeds help 411-KIDS (http://www.411kids.org), a south Florida nonprofit, recruit, train and support volunteers who help homeless and disadvantaged youth.
Bruce Sharkey, president of JMS, said the company has already begun promoting the new menus to customers nationwide. ÂThereÂs a lot of immediate interest around the country,Â he said. ÂWeÂre thrilled. The more we sell, the more we can help 411 reach kids whose lives are at risk,Â said Sharkey. He said his dream is to sell enough menus to help 411-KIDS build their first outreach education center for homeless and disadvantaged youth.
The menus were introduced in south Florida at LucilleÂs American CafÃ© (http://www.lucillescafe.com) in Weston on ValentineÂs Day. Proprietor Paul Nunez said they were an instant hit.
ÂCustomers love the menus,Â Nunez said. ÂThey are different, fun, and they show how much we care about kids and the community. ItÂs a great feeling to see kids and parents talking, sharing and getting along better than ever. ItÂs terrific to know weÂre contributing.Â
ÂMeals are a wonderful moment for meaningful family connections,Â said Dr. Gordon. ÂRelationships thrive when families connect, confide, and solve problems together.Â
Dr. Gordon said the menus help kids develop higher self-esteem, stronger family ties, and greater emotional understanding.
ÂCommunications is key,Â she said. ÂThe exercises give youngsters a better chance of becoming happy, healthy, and successful. When kids are connected to caring adults, they are less likely to engage in dangerous behaviors. As we see all too often, these can be life and death issues.Â
The initial series includes six menus that focus on communications, problem solving and emotional development said Seth Eisenberg, executive director of 411-KIDS. Eisenberg said he is pleased to see the menus helping youngsters become comfortable talking about feelings.
ÂMany children are raised with the message that they shouldnÂt talk about their feelings, especially negative emotions ... that those feelings should somehow be stuffed inside."
"One way or another,Â Eisenberg said, Âfeelings and the energy they carry come out. When negative feelings are held in, they get stronger.Â
Dr. Gordon agreed. ÂWhen negative emotions are held in, we often see depression, disease and, in the worst cases, self-destruction. When these emotions explode outwardly, we can witness anger and hostility toward friends, teachers, siblings, family, and, at the extreme, violence and murder. ItÂs important for children and adults to develop the ability to comfortably talk about anything, including feelings that arenÂt always positive.Â
Eisenberg said the idea for the Connect-the-Family menus developed out of a football field conversation about how a diverse group of people could collectively help kids in the community.
ÂAll of us care deeply about helping children,Â Eisenberg said. ÂThis project has given all of us the chance to contribute in a way that makes a real difference,Â he said. He then pointed to a sign above his desk with a quote from Mother Teresa.
The sign reads: ÂWhat I do you cannot do; but what you do, I cannot do. The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.Â
For more information, visit http://www.411kids.org/menus.htm, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (877) KID-MENU.
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