“You be the ogre; I’ll be the princess!” That was Emily six years ago. At that time new to Parents’ Night Out, Emily R. was playing a game of tag with Dan, one of the direct-support professionals on staff. Both were fans of the animated classic Shrek. Now, as a confident teen, Emily continues to be an enthusiastic participant in this community-based drop-off program, which serves families in Morris, Sussex, and Warren counties, New Jersey.
At first, Emily simply enjoyed playing and socializing with her peers. She took part in board games, singing, dancing. If the weather was good, she joined the group for an outdoor walk. Over time, Emily’s interests have expanded to include arts and crafts, movie nights, cooking classes, and family bowling night. “My daughter enjoys herself and feels confident and happy at these events,” says her mom, Debbi.
“The staff at PNO are wonderful and always happy and helpful to all the children who participate,” says Debbi. “I am beyond grateful and pleased to have this program in place for us.”
For Emily, the benefits go beyond a Friday or Saturday evening. In fact, she has made a life-long friend through the Parents’ Night Out program. “Even though the girl moved to another county in New Jersey, they are committed to stay friends,” adds Debbi. “Parents’ Night Out is a wonderful way to have your child gain confidence, make friendships, and come home enthusiastic about their day.”