Sharing Family Home Evening in Harlem

“Sharing Family Home Evening in Harlem,” Ensign, Oct. 1998, 77–78

Sharing Family Home Evening in Harlem

In cooperation with the Church, New York City’s Columbia University recently adapted the family home evening program for use by inner-city families of other faiths. In a pilot program that began last year, member families were asked to become mentors to families in Manhattan’s Harlem district and share the family home evening program with them.

“We weren’t sure in the beginning if it would work,” says Dr. Mindy Fullilove, a Columbia University physician and family therapist. “Now we know it helps people get closer. We often see families becoming warmer and children participating more. Family home evening helps families develop problem-solving techniques.”

Dr. Fullilove first heard about family home evening while providing academic support to Columbia University medical students. “I kept getting sound advice from another physician who was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” said Dr. Fullilove. “Not infrequently, he mentioned family home evening as the source of much of his insight.”

The more Dr. Fullilove investigated the family home evening program, the more convinced she became that the program could work with families in Harlem. Leslie Green, a doctoral candidate at Columbia University, modified lessons from the Church’s Family Home Evening Resource Book to more closely fit the needs of Harlem families. The resulting Family-to-Family Program has been supported by a Church humanitarian grant.

“Working with the LDS Church has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my professional career,” said Leslie Green. “The family home evening program supplied a solution that fit the problems inner-city families face like a missing piece of a puzzle.”