About It Takes a Village
It Takes as Village was founded in 2009 by Cummington, MA resident Maureen Shea. Maureen realized that rural families needed more support when they have a baby, and the Village was born! 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.
Kate lives in Buckland with her husband and daughter. She is a graduate of University of Massachusetts' MFA for Poets and Writers and has taught writing at area colleges. She also manages the estate for the poet James Tate. She can be found at Moms with Mugs most Mondays.
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
Nancy Madru, President
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.
Nicole LaRoche, Vice President
Nicole and her partner live in Shelburne Falls where they are raising their daughter Anorian and son Anson. Nicole worked for Greenfield Public schools and Frontier Regional in Applied Behavioral Analysis programs as well as in their preschools, in both general and special education. Nicole is drawn to the stage, and spent a number of years on the board of directors for The Country Players. She is now helping now to continue the development of a Shelburne-based company called Footlights At The Falls, and is proud to say that she directed their successful summer production of “Our Town”, in commemoration of the town’s 250th anniversary. As an alumni Home Visit family, Parents Group participant, and volunteer at the Village Closet, Nicole knows first-hand the importance of community and service to something bigger than one’s own self.
Mary Lorbert, Vice 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.
Deb Schnappauf, Secretary
Deb has a Master's Degrees in Special Education and Education Administration and Social Policy, and over 30 y ears of experience in the Education field. When she is not visiting families as an active ITAV volunteer, she enjoys reading, hiking, and baking for her husband and son.
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.
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.
Susan 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 has three grown daughters and six grandchildren.
Carol Owen, LCSW
Anne Vaillant, CNM
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.