About It Takes a Village
It Takes as Village was founded in 2009 by Cummington, MA resident Maureen Shea when she realized that rural families needed more support during the postpartum period. What began as one mother supporting one mother has evolved into a support system that spans four counties, hundreds of families, and over a decade of community support. Through Home Visits to Hilltown families, The Village Closet donation and distribution center, and the Parent Education and Support program, families are able to build their own safety-nets for postpartum support, and neighbors can truly welcome the newest members of their Village.
It Takes a Village Staff
Mollie began at It Takes a Village as a Home Visit volunteer, and was drawn to the organization after experiencing isolation and depression after the birth of her first child. Mollie grew up in Richmond, MA and now lives in Northampton with her husband and two boys, Rowan and Calvin, and their dog Ara. Mollie teaches Childbirth Education, Newborn Care, and Breastfeeding classes with Crafted Birth, and enjoys finishing other people's knitting projects.
Kenzie lives in Chesterfield with her two children, Emlyn and Cody, husband Mike and dog Samson. She relocated to Western MA right before the birth of her daughter in 2019 and has been in the Hilltowns ever since. Kenzie graduated from SUNY Cortland with an Early Childhood/Childhood Education degree. Kenzie joined our team in spring of 2021 and has worked closely with Mollie on social media and outreach! She welcomed a new baby in July 2021 and has been able to experience our Home Visitor Program, in addition to learning about The Village Closet and what it means to work from home with two children!
Our team of dedicated Village Closet staff keeps the Village Closet running smoothly and the donations moving in and out quickly. We strive to keep the Village Closet a welcoming place for ALL families.
Our Parent Group Facilitators are Hilltown parents themselves who bring warmth, skill & experience to this work. They have professional backgrounds in doula care, lactation support, meditation and yoga therapy. We strive that every group feels welcoming to all families, including special needs families, families in the LGBTQIA+ community, and families from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
We strive to provide childcare during all our parent groups and events so parents can focus and take a much-needed break. Our care providers are carefully screened and have passed CORI and SORI background checks. For more information on our childcare policies, please visit our Parents Group page.
Board of Directors
Mary Lorbert, President
Mary is an active ITAV volunteer and mother to 1 year old Eva. She has been working and volunteering to help people her whole life. With this goal she became a lawyer, working in real estate litigation. Recently she has also been teaching ESL, taught at Webs Yarn, and volunteered and taught at a community center in Galway, Ireland. Mary and Eva volunteer at the Village Closet every Tuesday, and the both love being part of helping others and spreading resources to the community.
Gail Lucey, Vice President
Gail is a retired public school administrator who has supported early childhood and K-12 educational programs throughout her career. She brings expertise in grant writing, program evaluation, teamwork and communication to the It Takes A Village organization. Her leadership skills were invaluable in finding ITAV’s new location in Huntington. Gail recently moved to Chesterfield with her husband Mike where she is a member of the Chesterfield Council on Aging. She enjoys traveling to Chicago and Ansuncion, Paraguay to visit her sons and their families.
Nancy Madru, Secretary
Nancy 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.
Rick Brown, Treasurer
Rick’s professional background involves over forty years in education, most of it involving leadership positions in a variety of school settings. He has also served as a Trustee for three schools, with roles focusing on fiscal management, development activities, and strategic planning. Rick is an active volunteer. He has served on state agency boards involving child welfare and advocacy issues. He also volunteered for the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina and served as a Foster Care Case Reviewer for DCF. Currently, he tutors for the Literacy Network of South Berkshire, is an officer of the Sheffield Democratic Town Committee, and was recently appointed to the Sheffield Commission on Disabilities. Rick currently splits his time between Cummington and Sheffield. Education is definitely the family business as his wife is a science teacher and his daughter is an early childhood educator in Vermont. Rick believes that raising children, while having community support available from the earliest moments of parenthood, leads to healthy outcomes for kids, parents and our community.
Brenda is a retired Speech-Language Pathologist, and currently a trustee for the Bryant Free Library and on the Municipal Light Board. She was the municipal representative for Cummington's Mass Solarize program and is a long time member of the Cummington Village Church. In her free time, she enjoys biking, skiing, hiking, and traveling.
Jean studied history in college and did graduate work in Judaic Christian studies. Her other passion is The League of Women Voters. She substitute teaches at Sanderson Academy, gardens, and hike, and travels with her husband. Jean is one of It Takes a Village's longest-running Home Visit Volunteers!
Jeannie 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.
Victoria lives in Ashfield with her husband, daughter and dogs. She is a teacher and volunteer, with a background in fundraising and marketing in Massachusetts and New York City. Victoria also serves as a Board member for The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts. She has a PhD in English and enjoys cooking, hiking, reading, knitting and traveling.
Katy Eiseman, Cummington, MA
Liz Friedman, GPS: Group Peer Support, Northampton, MA
Beth Girshman, Conway, MA
Kathy Harrison, Easthampton, MA
Lynn Koenig, Westfield State University, Westfield, MA
Kim Messeck, Department of Transitional Assistance, Huntington, MA
Carol Owen, Florence, MA
Nora Oppenheimer, Santa Cruz, CA
Roxie Pin, New England Public Media, Huntington, MA
Kim Savery, Hilltown Community Health Centers, Middlefield, MA
Debora Schnappauf, Middlefield, MA
Whitney Shepperd, Plainfield, MA
Meg Taylor, Williamsburg, MA
Susan Todd, Ashfield, MA
Anne Vaillant, Atkinson Family Practice, Northampton, MA
Lily Vreeland, Colrain, MA
Kathryn Wakefield, Belchertown, MA
Hilltown Village Inc., DBA It Takes a Village is a registered 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization. All contributions are tax-deductible. Please contact the staff if you need a receipt for a financial or in-kind donation.