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Summer is not over!

Dear Clients, Colleagues and Friends,

It’s hard to stay in the moment when Halloween and Christmas are in the stores, southern friends are posting back to school photos and college kids are moving into their dorms!

But it’s still the middle of August and summer is not over! Pause. Check in with yourself. What did you want to do (individually and as a family) this summer that you haven’t yet? It doesn’t have to be big. It could be an afternoon of mini golf, a day trip to water fun or going out for an ice cream sundae for lunch! Micro moments of really getting to know and connecting with our kids add up are what memories are made of!

Prioritize joy, a summer memory and make a plan. Then, put the phone away and be present. You will be so glad you did.

Block Parties are one of my favorite summer memories. Even as a child, the connection, belonging and joy were so grounding and meaningful. So much so that they have become my “passion project” and I launched Block Party USA this summer.

Block parties are simple, free and have incredible potential to make a difference home by home, street by street. I believe that Block Party USA is a cure for our country’s loneliness epidemic, social isolation, divisiveness, and the youth mental health crisis. We are all starving for face-to-face connection and our kids for free play opportunities. Block parties for the win.

Please join the movement and be a well-being catalyst by planning a block party in your neighborhood and/or sharing this idea in your organization for the community! Sign up to get info on how to make it easy, join an open house zoom and get started with this free how-to guide. Reach out. I’m here to help you make it happen. And please spread the word!

Kids over 18?

If you are the parent of a child 18 and up, the single most important item to do, especially before they leave for college or a gap year, is have them do a power of attorney and health proxy/healthcare directive. This is not a scare tactic. This is just reality. Too many parents regret not having done this.

Why? Because once your child is 18 you basically have no rights as a parent, so you are not able to receive any medical information or make any medical decisions if they are ill, hospitalized or incapacitated. It’s also necessary to be able to help them with any banking or tax return needs.

You can do this with your attorney if you have one — or go online to Mama Bear or LegalZoom, and then have it signed and notarized. Make copies, send with your child, keep at home and take pictures too. I hope you won’t ever need it, but you will be so relieved if you do.



As co-founder of the Free Play Matters Task Force, I have campaigned for parents to be able to give their kids appropriate independence, without fear of being arrested or

accused of neglect since its inception. So I’m over the moon that Senate Bill 1133, which increases childhood independence in Connecticut, was signed into law this summer! Interested in making this a reality in your state? Reach out to Let Grow who have been instrumental in helping eight states pass a “reasonable childhood independence bill” and have this legislative toolkit to get you started!

In my work with clients, we work together to "weave" the fabric of their family. Each family is one square in the greater societal fabric and connection of humankind. I was honored to be profiled as a "Weaver" by Weave: The Social Fabric Project at The Aspen Institute for my Block Party USA initiative.


PS Remember to follow “Thrive with a Guide - Vanessa Elias” on Facebook and Instagram for more parenting tips and inspiration! Most important things to do, ideas and tips to help with day to day challenges, plus back to school, college drop off and senior year jitters!

PPS Did you get this newsletter forwarded to you? Sign up here.

About the Author

Vanessa Elias is a mental health activist, certified parent coach, speaker, and writer featured on NPR, PBS, and in the WSJ. She is the founder of Thrive with a Guide, LLC and serves as a group facilitator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Block Party USA is her passion project. Vanessa helps parents achieve healthier family relationships and lasting, meaningful connections.


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