BY CRISTINA RUBIO
As a new family moving into a new town, you always search for family friendly places, schools, programs, and activities for children. I see this process as a way to create community as a family and to find a group of mom friends. Especially when you move to a new place as a stay-at-home mom. I find it easier to make new friends when your kids are school age.
It has been a year since we moved to Los Alamos and it took me some time to build my circle of friends.
My number one place I reached out to when I moved to Los Alamos was Family Strengths Network. FSN is a private, non-profit organization that has served Los Alamos and North of New Mexico since 1989.
They have a beautiful set up for kids and parents. They have plenty of programs to offer, play area for the kids, sofas for parents, library resources, crafts corner, toy library and educational resources available to everybody.
The Covid-19 pandemic began this last year, and it made everything even harder. It is not easy being in lockdown and wanting to have a social life. Families are scared of having any contact. Distance is the safest.
As parents we can be very judgmental when it comes to what its best for our families. Some families came out of lockdown and tried to make the best of this situation and others decided to stay in lockdown for longer. Either way that’s okay, we are all doing our best and need to support each other.
Even though the pandemic has shut down everything that involves human contact, FSN has found different ways to continue to offer support to the community.
They are open Thursday to Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm to pick-up of items from the libraries or activity kits. Staff works with individuals to put together items from the libraries for contactless pick-up. They offer online programs available to everybody. The next virtual events are: Toddler Tunes with Kate, Birth talk Los Alamos, Toddler crafts: “make and take” and Grandparents raising grandchildren. You can check https://www.lafsn.org/events-listing/ for more information.
Their educational resources library is brand new and perfect for kids learning at home (brain models, educational books, fraction blocks…). The Toy Library is such an amazing idea, your kids can play with toys without you needing to buy them since you can check them out for 2 weeks. It was really helpful for me when I moved to Los Alamos, and being able to try toys that my girls may like so I can buy them as gifts later on is a plus. Especially now during the pandemic, the toy library is very appreciated.
They offer Take & Make kits and STEM kits for pick up. You can schedule an appointment on Facebook or call during business hours. I love their “Reading adventure backpacks”, they have books and corresponding activities for early readers.
I personally appreciate everything they are doing for the community. They help families feel welcomed and supported, especially during the pandemic. If you are looking to socialize (in a safe way) during the pandemic, FSN is there to help. Even if you need some adult conversation during these difficult times, you can always can schedule a time to chat.
If you want to support their programs and our community you can donate or sponsor them. Here is the link for more information https://www.lafsn.org/sponsorship-signup/ . Amazon Smiles is another way to support FSN.
You can contact FSN at lafsn.org, (505) 662-4515, and through their Facebook page.