There are many ways to care for and improve one’s community.

We believe one of the best — most impactful and sustaining ways — is to invest  in families.

You don’t have to be married with kids to understand and reap the benefits.

Happy marriages and stable families provide emotional well being and lifelong support that extends far beyond the individuals who make up those units.

Strong families contribute to lower crime rates, reduced strain on social services, and contribute to thriving economies.

Children who are raised in healthy environments grow up with increased confidence, competence, self awareness, and empathy for others.

But raising strong, healthy children is no easy task. From navigating financial hardships, to health issues, to overcoming emotional or personal challenges of their own — parents have a daunting challenge. They need and deserve as much help as our community can offer.

There are many ways our community supports families and provides opportunities for all of us to get involved.

Just a few examples include:

• Afterschool and summer day camp opportunities at The Kroc Center, which welcomes donations toward scholarships so more kids can attend;

• Parenting and adult education classes offered through Families and Literacy; which always needs more volunteer teachers.

• Workforce and life skills training offered through Christian Women’s and Men’s Job Corps programs, which need professionals to help with career training, mentoring, and

• Mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters which pairs adult volunteers with children in our community to provide kids another positive adult role model.

And beyond social services and nonprofits, more public examples can be seen in our city’s investment in public sports facilities, which we wrote about in Tuesday’s paper, and voters’ recent approval of bonds to fund school construction. Both are examples of our leaders’ commitment to projects that benefit families and children in our community.

And there is yet more we can all do.

Among our newspaper’s core values is a commitment to care for our community and to help readers live happier, healthier, more fulfilled lives.

As part of that mission, during the month of June we are presenting our annual Hill Country Life series — a set of four publications focused on helping residents navigate their lives in our community in an easier, more satisfying and inspired way.

In today’s edition, we are launching that series with our Family Life section, which contains articles on such topics as personalized schooling for children, strengthening marital relations after kids leave the nest, managing debt, instilling a love of reading in kids, navigating the blended family environment, and more.

Next Wednesday, we will bring you Senior Life, followed by Healthy Life on June 19. The series will culminate with Life’s Treasures, published on June 26, which recognizes The Times’ Life’s Treasures award recipients — Jeff and Barbara Anderson, Clifton Fifer, Scotty Schmerber, and Mary Jewett — who will be honored for their service to our community and for living lives that inspire us all to be better neighbors.

We hope you find this extra content entertaining as well as edifying, and we hope it contributes to making a positive difference in your family, and by extension, our community.


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