#GivingTuesday: You Rock!
Thank you to everyone who donated to It Takes a Village on Giving Tuesday. We had over 110 donors! We are completely blown away by your generosity and your words of encouragement. Sometimes when we feel buried by the everyday tasks and details of keeping this organization running, comments like these keep us going:
“You provide exactly what new moms need. Thank you for your good work.”
“I am so glad that such an organization exists.”
Local Foundation Extends Support
The Central Berkshire Fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation has renewed their support for It Takes a Village. This grant will help us to expand our Village Closet services to help more at-risk families get the baby supplies they need. We are extremely grateful for their ongoing belief in our mission and commitment to Hilltown families.
All Decked Out
We loved seeing our Village families posting pictures of their little ones in holiday outfits from the Village Closet! We have begun putting out our spring holiday clothes – Valentine’s Day bibs and outfits, St. Patrick’s Day onesies, and Easter Dresses! Always come see us before buying “Baby’s First [holiday]” anything, because we probably have what you’re looking for. Click here for our 2017 Open Hours.
Wrapping up 2016
The New Year is always a great time to look back and to look ahead. We couldn’t believe it when we tallied up all of what It Takes a Village had accomplished this year in terms of supporting Hilltown families with newborns and young children.
- Our Home-Visit Program visited 40 families with 283 individual visits, across 14 Hilltowns.
- Our Ashfield Mothers’ Circle served 22 mothers, with 38 children, from 12 different towns.
- And our Village Closet took in over $12,000 worth of donations, and gave away over $30,000 worth of baby and kids items to members of our community. These items served 604 families across 56 towns all over Western Mass and beyond!
- In all, we served over 2,400 individuals in 2016!
How did It Takes a Village help you in 2016? Tell us! Send your comments, feedback or story to email@example.com. We would love to hear from you.
This Spring and Summer are going to be busy busy busy. Here’s just a snapshot of what’s to come in 2017:
January: Our Ashfield Mother’s Circle is back and meets every Friday from 10:00 to 11:30am at the St. John’s Corner House in Ashfield. We are also working to set up a new Mothers’ Circle in the Southern or Central Hilltowns! Stay tuned for more information about days and times.
March: Volunteer Information Meeting and Orientation. Would you like to be one of our amazing Home-Visit Volunteers? Join us to learn more about how the program works, what our volunteers do, and how you can get started making a difference for the families in our community. Date and time still TBD, but you can email Mollie today and she’ll put you on her reminder email when the details are set (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are always looking for volunteers throughout the Hilltowns and the Pioneer Valley. We currently have an immediate and urgent need for volunteers who can support our mamas in the Southern Hilltowns of Hampshire and Hampden counties. If you are ready to jump into action, please let us know.
April: It Takes a Village will be at The Nest Family Expo on Sunday, April 9th in West Springfield. We will be hosting the Baby Changing & Mama Break Station, so come find us if you and your baby need a comfy place to take a break.
Mollie will also be speaking about our Home-Visit Program at the Civil Liberties and Public Policy conference at Hampshire College that same weekend.
May: Valley Gives Day is May 2nd!
June: We will be joining the Western MA team for the Climb Out of Darkness hike on Saturday, June 24. This event will bring together mothers, babies, birth workers, care providers, service agencies – pretty much anyone who has contact with moms and babies – to bring awareness to Postpartum Depression and other Perinatal Emotional Complications. More details to come, but mark please your calendars!
Board of Directors
You may be thinking, “Wow, that seems like A LOT for such a small organization!” Well, you’re right, but we now have an amazing Board of Directors working behind the scenes to help keep us organized AND supported. These eight spectacular women bring years of experience to the table, and we are so grateful to have them in OUR Village.
Our fabulous Board of Directors (from left to right):
Susan Todd has served as the Senior Warden of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ashfield, and has been one of It Takes a Village’s biggest champions over the years. She also has served as President of the Ashfield Historical Society, a member of the Ashfield Select Board, a Trustee for the Applewild and Advent Schools, and a member of the Ashfield Trails Committee. She previously taught and was a principal at the elementary school level for two schools in the Hilltowns. She is also a writer and her writings and editorial contributions are extensive. Sue and her husband Richard have three grown daughters and six grandchildren.
Anne Vaillant is a Nurse Midwife (CNM) at the Women’s Health Associates in Westfield, and coordinates the Community Perinatal Support Model (CPSM) through a grant from the Department of Public Health and MotherWoman to improve care and follow up for families in Westfield and the Hilltowns who are suffering with postpartum emotional complications. Anne is married, has two teenage daughters and lives in Southampton.
Carol Owen is an adjunct professor in the Masters of Social Work Department at Westfield State University and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a 38-year career that has included clinical practice with adolescents and adults, community organizing, social policy work, program administration, teaching and publishing. Carol considers herself an “Activist Scholar,” and has presented and published articles on various aspects of health policy and practice. Carol lives in Northampton with her husband of 37 years, her dog Chino, and two cats.
Jeannie Sargent is a retired educational administrator, counselor and special education teacher who for 18 years was the founding director of a private school and residential program for adolescents challenged by life-long learning and medical concerns. Thereafter, she worked for 20 years as a middle school counselor. Jeannie is one of our long-term Home-Visit volunteers. In addition to finding joy in working with families of newborns, she is equally at home preparing and sharing dinners with local seniors as a part of a newly established program called Plainfield Cares. She is also a member of the Hilltown Seed Saving Network, working with like-minded folks to protect seeds that thrive in the cold hills of Massachusetts.
Nancy Madru is a Postpartum Doula and a prenatal yoga instructor. She is passionate about serving new families and supporting mothers — and those working with mothers — about postpartum health and building a sustainable postpartum community. She has coordinated birth doula projects at Baystate Franklin in Greenfield and Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. She has also facilitated postpartum workshops for birth workers, mothers, mothers-to-be, and anyone who supports them. Nancy is a Hilltown native and lives with her husband in Montgomery.
Meg Taylor is one of our “Alumni Families”, and participated in our Home-Visit program after the birth of her daughter. She served as the Director of Development and Community Partnerships for It Takes a Village until 2016, and was instrumental in the organization becoming its own 501(C)(3), as well as setting up the new Board of Directors. Meg’s professional background is in teaching, community outreach, program design/evaluation and organizational leadership. She founded and directed a farm education organization on the campus of Hampshire College and has served on both local and statewide nonprofit boards of directors. Meg is currently also on the Williamsburg School Committee and the Williamsburg Agricultural Commission, and volunteers at local schools and libraries with her certified therapy dog, Scout.
Jean Cherdack has been a Home-Visit volunteer with It Takes a Village since 2012, and we’ve lost count of how many families Jean has served – she is our VIP Volunteer! Jean serves on the Board of the Northampton League of Women Voters and is also the League of Women Voters Massachusetts State President. A semi-retired educator, Jean serves as the Vice President of Temple Israel in Greenfield and has vast experience in board operations. She believes in our organization’s mission and hopes we can share this model with other towns and cities that have the same needs as our Hilltown families.
Susie Arnett’s (not pictured) first career was as a TV producer in New York City and Los Angeles. After having children, Susie decided to quit the rat race and so something different. Her second career has been in retreat center business and she now works as a Senior Programmer at the Kripalu Center, where she is always on the look-out for new and interesting workshops and trainings. Susie appreciates and values what It Takes a Village is creating, knowing how important it is for mothers to have help and to not have to do it all themselves. Susie and her children currently live in the Berkshires.
Want an easy way to support It Takes a Village? Use Amazon Smile!
For those of you who are Amazon customers, you already know the convenience of ordering what you need, especially if you live in the Hilltowns. Well Amazon has teamed up with It Takes a Village, along with hundreds of other charities nationwide. When you use the link for Amazon Smile, everything is the same except that Amazon donates a small percentage of each purchase to the charity of your choice.
While it may not seem like a lot, it really adds up quite fast. So if you plan to use Amazon, please consider using Amazon Smile and choosing It Takes a Village as your organization. Oh, and please remember to bookmark the new Amazon Smile web address so each time you make a purchase, you can make your purchase count.
The more we do, the more we need.
Please consider donating today — what about $20.17 to get 2017 off to a great start?!