NJ 'family night' in national spotlight

RIDGEWOOD, NJ: When they set out to publicize their idea, the organizers of the "Ready, Set, Relax!

RIDGEWOOD, NJ: When they set out to publicize their idea, the organizers of the "Ready, Set, Relax!

family night were content to target local outlets in Northern New Jersey.

But before long, news crews from the likes of USA Today and Good Morning America had turned the event into a national news story - and sparked a broader movement against what Cynthia Busbee, who coordinated the PR effort, refers to as "the overscheduling issue."

Busbee, a strategist with Sonnenberg, Haviland & Partners, was brought on board by Marcia Marra, a community initiatives manager - and mother of three - who works part-time for the Children's Aid and Family Services organization.

After conceiving the family night last year, Marra convened an 18-member committee to tackle logistics, which included convincing teachers and coaches to keep the evening of March 26 free of homework and sports practices.

Two save-the-date postcards were sent to the city's families. This week, participants will receive a feedback form that will help shape future programs.

The organizers also plan to block off more hours on their own calendars.

"We need to do another family night,

said Marra, sounding overwhelmed by the attention. "One that's actually relaxing."

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