Copyright 2014 - 2020. Family Reunion Institute. All rights reserved.


It’s Summer. Let’s keep our school-aged family members reading and learning. Studies show that students lose as much as 2-3 months of math and reading skills over the summer. Let’s fuel them with lots of hands-on education, excitement and fun that they don’t even know they’re learning. Have them research the neighborhood, city and state they live in and the people who’ve made an impact there. Start a word challenge where they identify 5 new words a day starting with the letter A the first day, B the second day, and so on. Go online and check out virtual summer camps, libraries, museums and digital field trips. Learning can be fun—you just have to do it!


to Dr. Ione Vargus...

Founder of the Family Reunion Institute, Trailblazer, Dean Emeritus,Mom, Grandmom,

Friend, Mentor and  Mother of Family Reunions!


A recent CBS Sunday Morning show segment showcased Eric Whitaker and his Virtual Choir 6, the largest virtual choir ever assembled with 17,572 singers from 129 countries. Eric’s song “Sing Gently”  was debuted today, July 19, 2020.

*Check out the interview here:

*Check out the choir here:

Dr. Vargus with daughter Suzanne Holloman

and son Billy Vargus.

I’m responsible for maintaining our family history database. Recently I got a call from a guy who said he was the son of a family elder. This information did not jive with information the family elder previously submitted, and if true, would mean the caller was either born without his knowing, prior to his marriage, or that he had a child out of wedlock. The young man wants to be added to the family tree along with his children. How do I include them without causing tension within the family?

Fact Check First


Our motto is “Family Reunions are More Than Just a Picnic”. We believe reunions have the power to nourish and strengthen families of all races and ethnicities. Reunions can encourage healthy extended family relationships, provide a sense of belonging, restore family pride, nurture and respect all generations, and impart wisdom, knowledge and a shared purpose. Our goal is to strengthen, inspire and support family reunion planning; share useful information and resources; and advocate for the teaching of family and reunion history, values and experiences.

 by Sylvia Ford-George 


July is best known for family reunions and Fourth of July celebrations. However these festivities will be a little bit different this year. This year we have to find a way to celebrate amid the turmoil of Coronavirus/Covid-19; the Black Lives Matter movement and civil awakening; life and death; love and loss; justice and peace; and hopeful understanding of one another. How we go about getting to that hopeful place is the question of the day.
Hopeful understanding means that we all have an opportunity to be at peace with ourselves, our families and one another. That we all have a chance to live our lives without fear, worry, and anxiety. That justice and peace are rightfully maintained amongst all of us, 24/7, here, there and everywhere. That fair and equal are as free and as great for any one of us as it is for all of us. That hate becomes a deceased word, omitted from all vocabularies, minds, actions and deeds. That the word race means nothing more than a physical run, and the word racism is abolished along with the word hate. And for Covid-19 to go back where it came from—never to return again.
Since there is no time machine, we can’t send Covid back, but we can do what’s humanly possible until a fully tested and approved vaccine is available (or it depletes itself). So let’s stay home as much as we can, stay away from crowds and safely distance ourselves, wash our hands, wear masks, and get medical attention when needed.
As for us living in a hopeful society and world, that promise will not be realized until hate is demolished. And in order for that to happen this nation has a lot of work to do. The short list? Begin treating everyone we come in contact with, with the care, concern and respect we want for ourselves. And then, do our best to stay in that mindset day, after day, after day until it's a natural part of what we say, think and do.
When Covid-19 first showed up, we saw a glimpse of how and what the world could be. People were looking out for their family, friends and one another. Essential workers risked their health to help others heal, and to keep society functioning. We need to build on that until the hopes and dreams of our past, join with the prayers of today, and come together for the good of all of us and our families.
This month along with the Fourth of July celebration, we’ve identified 80 observances for you and your family to enjoy, including Black Family Month, Family Reunion Month, Family Golf Month, Purposeful Parenting Month, Parents Day, National Father-in-Law Day, Aunt and Uncle Day, Father-Daughter Take a Walk Together Day, Make a Difference to Children Month, Cousins Day, Nelson Mandela Day, Buffalo Soldiers Day, Social Wellness Month, Cheer Up the Lonely Day, and National Picnic Month. Check them all out in this month’s FAMILY TIME. Also this month we share words about Nelson Mandela in WORTH REPEATING, pass along amusing SUMMERTIME QUOTES, and offer tips to make summer education fun in the REUNION TIP OF THE MONTH.

Did you  know that U.S. Stamp Day is observed this month and that there are over 180 stamps that recognize the achievements of individual African Americans? If not check out this month’s DID YOU KNOW?

We know that this July is different. That the usual anticipation of family reunions, barbecues, enjoying the beach, fireworks, amusement parks, (or whatever your favorite July activity is), may not be the same this year. But we challenge you to find new ways to savor holiday and family gatherings.  Light up the bar-be-cue. Play board games. Have an indoor picnic. Create your own summer concert. Enjoy ice cream and water ice until it melts away. And don’t forget to check in with the family, especially elders and children.

From our family to yours, we hope you stay healthy, safe and well, and have a memorable July.
-Reunion Tip of the Month
-Family Time
-Worth Repeating
-Summertime Quotes

-Did You Know?
-Reunion Planning 101: Next Steps
-Sticky Reunion Situation
-In Case You Missed It!


  • July photos courtesy of Yahoo images.

Ah, summer – that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It’s a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends.”

– Darrell Hammond

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability”. – Sam Keen

“It’s a sure sign of summer if the chair gets up when you do”. – Walter Winchell

“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.” – James Dent

                       on: African American Subjects on United States Postage Stamps...

Click below for FREE summer learning opportunity information.


In Case You Missed It: Two treats for July!!!

July 2020

For questions, planning help, or general inquiries and comments,  click below.

Thank you.

Copyright 2014-2019 Family Reunion Institute. All rights reserved.


In July we greet the heat; hone our culinary skills; savor cool eats and the great outdoors; and get our exercise—all in observance of National Air Conditioning Appreciation Days, National Grilling Month, National Ice Cream Month, National Parks and Recreation Month, World Jump Day, National Dance Day, and so much more!

REUNION PLANNING 101: Step 2 - Getting Organized
Have you asked, answered, (or at least thought about) the who, what, where, when, and how questions related to a family reunion? If so you’re ready for Step 2: Getting Organized. So get your planning team up and running, even if you’ve only identified a few people so far. Getting organized entails communications with family members, and identification of the facilities, reunion menu, activities, finances, family history and reunion feedback.
Click here for details:

Getting Started Tip:
Before making final decisions regarding location, lodging, food, activities, etc., get as much feedback from family members as possible. Why? If you want a successful event with a good turnout, you have to consider the thoughts, needs and concerns of the whole family so that you can build into the reunion something for everyone.


Do you have reunion planning experience and/or tips you'd like to share?
CLICK HERE to Contact us with your tips:

What should families be saying to their members—especially children—regarding police brutality, protests, and racism?

Everyone has the ability and the responsibility to change the world for the better, and Mandela Day is an occasion for everyone to take action and inspire change.

– United Nations

4 year-old Blake from Phoenix expresses how most of us are feeling about the Pandemic.
*Check it out here:

U.S. Stamp Day is observed this month. Did you know that there are over 180 postage stamps issued in honor of African Americans and their contributions?

The first U.S. stamp to honor an African American was the ten-cent Booker T. Washington stamp, issued in 1940. In 1978, the Postal Service initiated the Black Heritage stamp series, to recognize the achievements of individual African Americans, and in May 2020 , four Voices of the Harlem Renaissance stamps were unveiled.

CLICK HERE for a full list of  stamps.

It is easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.

– Nelson Mandela


...celebrating        years!