Remake Learning on Cinco De Mayo

Hands-On Family Fun This Week at Family Services Center

by Angie Matthiessen, Executive Director – United Way of Charlotte County

The only screens that children gazed at in childhood’s past were probably a Lite-Brite or a Speak & Spell. But today’s childhood wouldn’t be complete without an iPad, a cell phone, or an Xbox (connected to a Smart TV).

I won’t criticize these technological advancements, but I will wax nostalgic for a moment.

Card games were where it was at in my family. A beach day wasn’t complete without several rounds of Hearts or Spades. All ages participated in the fun. We took advantage of time outside whenever possible, but there was always a deck of cards somewhere to be found. I could sit for hours and reminisce about many fond memories smiling and laughing with my family over a card table at the beach.

While we will never completely go back to that simpler time, we can remake opportunities for our families to have hands-on fun together.

April 29 through May 8 has been set aside for Suncoast Remake Learning Days, a 10-day community-wide celebration, led by the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Through the generous support of The Patterson Foundation there will be more than 140 events across the region, hosted by more than 165 organizations.

As the lead agency for our local Grade-Level Reading efforts, United Way of Charlotte County (UWCC) is co-hosting a Remake Learning Days event this week, and we invite YOUR FAMILY to join us!

Beginning at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 5 at the Family Services Center, 21500 Gibralter Drive, Port Charlotte, families are invited to drop in for a Cinco de Mayo learning experience (tacos included!).

Remake Learning on Cinco de Mayo is a great excuse to check out the new Family Services Center. It is home to several government and non-profit organizations who work together to provide health and human services in a collaborative way to better meet the needs of Charlotte County residents.

Drop in any time between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the 5th and your family can learn about Mexican culture in a fun, interactive way.

Valerie’s House is leading this event at the Family Services Center in collaboration with Boys & Girls Clubs of Charlotte County, Drug Free Charlotte County, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services of Charlotte County, United Way of Charlotte County and Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.

Christine Carey, Director of Charlotte County for Valerie’s House, said, “The Family Services Center is a wonderful place for partnerships with other organizations to blossom and flourish. The Remake Learning on Cinco De Mayo event has provided new partnerships to grow at the Family Services Center. We have been able to work together to collaborate for this special event.”

Families can make a maraca and learn about the power of music on your mood. Sombrero cookies will be there, just waiting for you to decorate (and eat) them! UWCC staff will let you “dig in” to Mexican agriculture. Create a beautiful flower, learn sign language, and explore ocean life.

Did I mention the tacos?

All ages are welcome, but children must be accompanied by an adult. Each activity is designed for the whole family to enjoy together! Activities are geared towards early elementary school age children and their parent/caregiver, but older kids can have fun, too.

Children learn best through hands-on experiences. And engaging in these experiences as a family can build some of the most amazing memories. Won’t you join us as we Remake Learning?

More information about the event is on our Facebook page, under Events: If you are unable to join us Thursday as we Remake Learning on Cinco de Mayo, please consider checking out other events being hosted throughout the community. A full listing of events in Charlotte County is available at

When Suncoast Remake Learning Days is over, I hope you will go out and buy a deck of cards. If you don’t know how to play Hearts or Spades, you can start with something simpler, like Memory or Go Fish. Learning and building memories with your family can truly be that simple.

For more information about United Way of Charlotte County’s mission:  Mobilizing the power of our community to break the cycle of poverty, please contact Angie Matthiessen, Executive Director. She can be reached at