FAMILIES

It All Starts With Family

Why do families matter?

Families are the backbone of our society and provide structure to our lives. A city built on creating an environment that supports families will thrive.

Supporting What Matters Most

Doris on Families:

I remember as a child wondering, ‘What is a family?’ Growing up in 30 out of home placements, a family was a foreign concept. Having been violated, beaten, and sexually abused for years meant that adults, to me, were scary. Many bones in my body were broken, five concussions by my teen years and numerous illnesses/diseases meant little hope of a future of laughter & joy.

Fast forward to today – where my husband and I have housed over 200 teen boys. Teaching them to be vibrant and caring adults. We have nurtured and aided them to recover from many of the same traumas I faced. We give each child a hope for their future and work with them to finish school and focus on a career path.

Our past family relationships help to make each of us who we are as adults, and influence how we treat our own children and other family members. Families all look different. Maybe yours is:

birth family • family of marriage • kinship family • step family • blended family • foster family • adoptive family • co-parenting family • chosen family

“The health of your family and these relationships matter a lot! The type or structure of your family doesn’t really matter, as long as the relationships are safe, stable and respectful. Research suggests that children from safe, stable and respectful families do better in school and have healthier long-term social relationships, and that adults who are in happy marriages or committed relationships live longer.  Now, who doesn’t want that?” – Denyse Altman Variano, Cornell University

If families are so important, why have so many cities failed them?

Families cost cities more in services, spend less in the economy, and produce less tax revenue than affluent young single professionals. Cities that want to grow fast do it by building studios and one-bedrooms and drawing on endlessly renewable throngs of young single adults. 

Cities need housing for families (two and three bedroom units), amenities for families and a safe, welcoming public realm. The first is to ensure there are homes that can actually fit families. If your homes can’t fit families, you don’t get families, period. That generally comes down to the number of bedrooms, though it can also be about the size of the apartment or home.

But it’s not the job of planning to maximize the profit of developers. It’s the job of planning to determine the vision for the city and the downtown, set clear expectations, and let those expectations help clarify land value for developers.

Developers will argue that two and three bedroom units are not viable, but it’s false. Economic analysis shows that two and three bedroom units can be less profitable than one bedrooms or studios, but that’s not the same as saying that they aren’t viable.

So what? Why does the city care about families? There are 100’s of ways to care!

As I have walked all over Napa, you have told me that kids & families matter. You have said you want more for families. More for kids. Some things I have heard from you (and I agree), plus ideas from other cities include:

Teens

More places for teenagers, preferably involving them in the design process — i.e.: skateboard parks, plazas with activities like music & games for teens instead of young children, places designed to help teens interact with each other & the space itself in cool ways (social activities, conversation starters, “show-off” opportunities), spaces with food, and of course, free wifi.

Families on Vacation

We can ask hotels to offer family nights. A night when the parents can take children to a suite in the hotel where there can be movies and snacks. Parents can pick a choose a range of services that can be offered to children so parents can go wine tasting or to dinner.

Swimming

Many hotels have pools and other amenities that locals could enjoy. Consider a ‘day pass’ option so families can enjoy swimming and snacks with a possible day use of the gym.

Host a downtown ‘scavenger hunt’

Enable families to go and hunt for the lovely art treasures we so proudly offer in our community. After completion – meet for a snack on the waterfront.

Locals Night at Restaurants

Encourage restaurants all over the city to offer local nights. Locals get free corkage and meal discounts.

"Kids Eat Free"

Ask restaurants if they can have “kids eat free” night which would encourage families to dine out more often with children.

Family-friendly slogan for the city

Develop a family-friendly slogan for the city to help promote that we are a city that encourages family visits

Locals nights in the lodging industry

Offer a locals nights in the lodging industry – maybe Napa can rent a room on Wednesday nights for 50% off

Welcoming dogs

People are traveling a lot more with pets. Let guests know pets are welcome and help locals feel that their furry friends can join them while exploring the town.

Music in the parks +

Music in the parks is a great summer addition, how about indoor and free music during the rains?

Going to the Cinema

Going to the Cinema is awesome, but ticket prices are expensive – offer buy one get one free on slow nights.

Add commercial fun industries to Napa

Look at attracting some commercial fun industries like laser tag, indoor auto driving for wee ones and an arcade that is upscale offering snack options.

In summary – Families matter. Our future is bright and the kids of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. Let’s make Napa an insanely fun place to raise our families as we play, dance, sing, walk, swim and enjoy this vibrant city.

Join the team – Doris Gentry for Mayor – let’s make sure that Families Matter!

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Get in Touch & Get Involved

Learn more about Doris Gentry becoming Mayor of Napa. Find out how you can help the cause and make a difference in our community.