Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

(January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968)



The group consisting of mother, father and child is the main educational agency of mankind.

There is no more lovely, friendly or charming relationship, communion or company, than a good marriage.

Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.

Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation

where they will not be judged by the color of their skin,

but by the content of their character.”


Our family has had more than our share of Covid-19 deaths this year. We’re wondering if you have any ideas or suggestions on how to honor those who have passed and to help heal the family at the next reunion (whether live or virtually).

PLANNING A FAMILY REUNION?  Click below for tips.

by Sylvia Ford-George 

Home and family is where the New Year begins. Every new year comes with goals, wishes, dreams, desires, anticipation—along with a bit of self-examination. We review the year that has passed, take note of our achievements, and identify what needs more work and time in order to be successful. We remember loved ones who’ve passed and consider ways to heal relationships that need restoring. We ponder life events that challenged and made us stronger. We count our blessings and enter into the new year with a mind towards improving, enhancing, and being more productive. We aspire to become healthier, live better, be happier, and get better organized—especially in terms of our family and reunions.

January 1st, 2021 gives us reason to hope for the coming year, especially after a 2020 filled with a pandemic resulting in over two-million stricken with the illness and over 346-thousand deaths in the U.S. alone (and still counting), while creating financial and educational instability; political discord and unrest; deadly policing, racism, inequality and protests; a disturbing election and aftermath; gun violence; and the list goes on. Today we’re hopeful that the vaccine works to perish the pandemic. We’re hopeful for the new regime and leadership in the White House. We’re hopeful that we will one-day soon enjoy being and spending time with our family members…and enjoying face-to-face reunions again.

We’re ready to get back to normal day-to-day tasks and routines. Time to be hopeful for the new year. If we’ll all do our part. Step by step. Day by day. Moment by moment—whatever it takes to get there.

It's January. Time to be positive, wear our masks, wash our hands, and be socially distanced—on the road to a full recovery. Time to empower ourselves and others. Time to be encouraging and supportive. Time to be the light. To do what’s right for the safety, health and well-being of our family members, friends and ourselves.

This year we’re looking forward to a safe, healthy, happy and prosperous New Year—for all of us! We may have different goals and pursuits, take different roads to get there, and have diverse journeys along the way, but we’ll make our plans, stay focused, and stop with excuses. Whatever you’re hopeful for in 2021, stay determined to succeed. In the end we’ll improve, make our families better, and our reunions sweeter.

Here’s wishing your family a healthy, happy, better and best New Year.

- Family Time                                                                       
- Reunion Tip of the Month                                              
- Worth Repeating

- Practical Family Reunion Planning

- Sticky Reunion Situation
- ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)


January photos from Yahoo images.

Our motto: “Family Reunions are More Than Just a Picnic”.


January’s observances are geared to help us get back into healthy, everyday routines. January motivates us to: mend ourselves physically, financially and mentally; get organized; and do things that inspire and encourage, including New Year’s Day, Celebration of Life Month, Family Fit Lifestyle Month, Financial Wellness Month, Get Organized Month, National Thank You Month, Hunt for Happiness Week, Compliment Day, Cuddle Up Day, Hugging Day, Inspire Your Heart with Art Day, Motivation and Inspiration Day.


Our 2020 reunion was canceled due to the coronavirus and continued safety concerns. My cousin who was chairing the reunion says they won’t reschedule hosting the reunion, and that they will pass the reunion on to the next city for 2021. We live in the next city and don’t think that’s fair. How can we resolve this without a family fight?


It's Your Turn!

a January REUNION TIP OF THE MONTH worth repeating...

A great family reunion starts with a strong family. You can get the family off to a great start by identifying 12 things family members can do each month this year to make your family stronger. Then share the list with the family-at-large and encourage everyone to work on one item a month to help the family grow closer, stronger and better—together. For example, if you want to see your reunion continue for 25, 50, 100 years or more you’ll want to get the younger folks involved, engaged and helping plan for the future. If you want your school aged students to read more, plan a 100 Book Reading Challenge and share results at the next reunion. If you want to raise more money for the reunion, get the whole family involved by asking members to collect and donate their change. A little change from everyone, collected monthly, can add up to hundreds of dollars. Make sure your list of 12 things includes all age-groups, is educational and fun for everyone.


Hope is not blind optimism. It's not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It's not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it. Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.” President Barack Obama

...celebrating 31 years!

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.


Click here for purchase details!

For an autographed copy send an email to Bill Vargus at:  billvargus@gmail.com


In Case You Missed It

The spectacular scenes from Washington DC on January 20, were a stark contrast to the spectacle we saw a few weeks earlier on January 6. The Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris was one of the changes we needed to see in 2021. Their presence cleared the air and ushered in a brighter hope for change. We know it won’t be easy, but it’s been a long time coming and it’s too late to turn back now.

The need for change and the feelings of hope were messaged throughout Inauguration day by the many speakers and performers, including Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history. In case you missed it, take a listen to what she had to say about finding light in this never-ending shade we call life.

Click here to view.

Copyright 2014-2021  Family Reunion Institute. All rights reserved.


The year 2020 left our reunions bare in the sense that we had to rethink how to get together without physically being together. We may not know when the pandemic will wane enough for us to enjoy our reunions and extended family members in a “normal” fashion. However, we do know that day is coming. And we can spend the in-between time organizing, preparing, and planning for the kisses, hugs, joy, and camaraderie we’re desperately missing today. So let’s keep our family reunion hopes alive, up our reunion planning, and get to being more ready, more improved, more together, and mo’ better than ever.

Planning a Reunion Event the Whole Family Can Enjoy
When it comes to planning reunion events, you want to make sure there’s something to do—and fun—for everyone. Sometimes that’s hard to do, especially when you have a lot of family members with different likes and opinions. If your reunion is a multi-day event it’s easier to plan something that will suit most if not all the family. However, when it’s a one-day affair you have to be creative and think outside of the box.

The Coleman Family did just that with their one-day reunion event where everybody agreed to a cabaret. However half of them wanted the event to be acceptable enough for younger family members to attend with no alcohol and no loud music. The other half of the family wanted it to be a live, turned up affair, with an open bar.

So what did they do to make everyone happy? They held a “Saints and Sinners” event from 6pm – 2am, that included a dinner for everyone from 6-8pm, a “Saints” party from 8-10:30pm, and a “Sinners” party from 10:30p, to 2pm. Everybody liked the name of the event and felt it suited the family perfectly. Everybody had a good time. And they carried on the tradition for several years.

It was an ingenious idea. Very thoughtful and imaginative. And that’s what’s needed when planning family reunions.

This year as part of our Practical Family Reunion Planning, we’d like to share our family reunion planning tips, with yours, to help other family reunion planners hoping to have a mo’ better reunion. If you have tips, hints or stories that will help others in their planning, let us know by clicking below. Thank you!


Dr. Ione D. Vargus Lecture Series One-on-One,

a Virtual Conversation and Book Launch

was held Friday, January 22, 2021 at 2PM
 with Richard M. Englert, EdD, Temple University President,

Dr. Bernard Watson, PhD, Temple's first-ever black Vice-President, and

the launch of Dr. Vargus' new book, Family Reunions: Finding the Rest of Me.
Moderators: Bill Vargus and Suzanne Vargus Holloman