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After reading the letter to the editor titled “Mother Says Wine and Kids Don’t Mix” in last week’s paper, initially I decided there is no point in responding.
However, after further consideration as director/founder/president of OCFA, the entity that hosted “Fido Fiesta” and the representative that invited minors to assist, I believe it is my responsibility to respectfully respond to Ms. Morris.
I certainly understand any parent’s decision to not allow their child to attend a social activity in which alcohol is being consumed. That is every parent’s prerogative and he/she must do what they feel is appropriate.
However, I feel it is narrow minded and judgmental to publicly reprimand others for not sharing the same views, which is basically what the above-mentioned letter‘s intent appears to have been.
I can attest to the fact that the parents that allowed their children to attend the “Fido Fiesta” do not condone underage drinking but do condone volunteering to support a community effort.
The “Fido Fiesta” was not an event focused on the consumption of alcohol but an event focused on generating money for a nonprofit organization devoted to saving homeless dogs. The main venue was hosting a silent auction and raffle. The event was held at the only local facility that is equipped to handle hundreds of people, is familiar to many from out-of-town, and has an elegant ambience.
It should be noted that when I was selecting middle school students to invite as assistants, I selected children based on their maturity level, character and trustworthiness. I specifically stated to each child as I distributed letters of invitation that some parents may not feel comfortable with the location of the event and that was understandable but I wanted them to know that they were invited if they wanted to help. The students pictured in the newspaper were students involved in a technology-based community outreach project and spent the majority of their time at the Fiesta upstairs in a loft area attending to the silent auction and promoting OCFA.
Did the students see adults drinking? Yes, they did see some patrons consuming wine responsibly as they socialized, ate and listened to live music. Did they see adults getting drunk, acting irresponsibly, breaking the law or causing a scene? Absolutely not.
Ms. Morris stated in her letter that her child is not permitted to be in an environment with adults drinking alcohol. I assume this means they do not go to establishments that serve alcohol such as: O’Charleys, Applebees, Fridays, Mexican restaurants, Chinese restaurants, college-level or higher sporting events, festivals held in surrounding areas, etc..
As a parent I too hope to teach my child the values his father and I want him to uphold but by communicating with him and by modeling these values not by expecting him to not be exposed to common aspects of society.