Show Your Support for Hilltown Families: Vote for Us!
Hilltown Families: BEST BLOG
Vote for Us by Feb. 4th!
As Hilltown Families enters its tenth year, celebrate with us as we finish out the past decade by voting for Hilltown Families as Best Blog in the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2015!
Best Blog is listed under the
“Information Age” category.
Deadline to cast your votes is Noon, Feb 4th.
Participants must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors (listed in the left-hand column)?
Spread the word & share the ❤ love!
ABOUT HILLTOWN FAMILIES
Hilltown Families believes in creating resilient and sustainable communities by developing and strengthening a sense of place in our children and citizens through community based education and engagement. We work to accomplish this by highlighting the embedded learning that is found everywhere in our communities, making the information accessible to families, and giving parents/educators access to opportunities that supports their children’s interests and education while encouraging community engagement.
Founded in late 2005 by Sienna Wildfield, the Hilltown Families blog is part of a online grassroots communication network for families living in Western MA, and is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Serving thousands of families living throughout the region, Hilltown Families supports education through community engagement by connecting, collaborating, and creating community building events, community based educational opportunities, and service learning experiences.
See this TEDx Talk, Supporting Education Through Community Engagement, where Hilltown Families founder, Sienna Wildfield, shares the story behind the vision and mission of Hilltown Families:
Susan Langenheim of Plainfield, MA, writes: “Hilltown Families has been an extremely important resource for our family since the birth of our twins. Living in the Hilltowns poses some challenges in staying connected with what is going on in the different communities, and Hilltown Families has been vital in keeping us supported with what resources and community events are happening in the surrounding areas.”
Kim Pedigo of Westhampton, MA, writes: “As a mom to 4 small children, Hilltown Families is my go to resource for fun and educational family activities. It has enriched our lives tremendously by keeping us informed and connected to our community.”
NJ Rongner Holyoke, MA, writes: “I was a new mom who was staying at home with my son when I discovered Hilltown Families. At the time, I had a pretty sweet case of Postpartum Depression. Hilltown Families encouraged me to attend events and kept me from isolating myself. Now that I’m past those early lonely days, it is still a great resource full of wonderful (SMART) blog posts, has a great weekly podcast that my son loves, and continues to be the first place I go to when I want to know what family friendly activities are going on in the Pioneer Valley!”
Kerri Simonelli of Haydenville, MA, writes: “I love Hilltown Families! I always check out the calendar for upcoming events to see all the good things going on. I know that in one place I can count on finding quality, fun events for my family to enjoy. My favorite thing is the ability to click on a particular day to go right to what’s happening! I also love sharing this incredible resource with new families I meet at the Northampton Parents Center. Hilltown Families is a real gem of a resource! THANK YOU for all you do!”
WHAT WE’VE BEEN CHATTING ABOUT
With over 1.5 million visitors to date, Hilltown Families blog offers local writers and experts the opportunity to connect with readers living throughout Western MA. We have many wonderful monthly columns that our readers delight in each week. Check out this amazing group of Contributing Writers who have shared their voices on the Hilltown Families blog over the years:
- Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser ♦ Mash Notes to Paradise
- Candice Chouinard ♦ Let Them Grow: Fresh Ways to Engage Toddler’s in Creative Free Play
- Alice Cozzolino ♦ In the Kitchen with Alice: Recipes & Local Lore from the Old Creamery Co-op
- Rebecca Dravis ♦ Just My Type: Raising a Child with Type One Diabetes
- Amy Dryansky ♦ One Clover & A Bee: Poems For Families To Learn & Love
- Logan Fisher ♦ Hindsight Parenting: Raising Kids the Second Time Around
- Angie Gregory ♦ Parenting Green: Earth Friendly Ideas for Raising a Family
- Ginny Hamilton ♦ Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting
- Theresa Heary-Selah ♦ Engaged Learning: A Look at Western MA Resources
- Kurt Heidinger, Ph.D. ♦ The Ripple: Stories About Western MA Rivers
- Shana Hiranandani ♦ Parenting Possibilities: Contemplation with a Splash of Inspiration
- Robin Huntley ♦ Nature Tables
- Leslie Lynn Lucio ♦ Oak & Acorn: Forage, Farm and Feast with the Family
- Sarah Mattison Buhl ♦ The Good Life: A Year of Thoughtful Seasons
- Mister G ♦ Under the Hat: Independent Music Education
- Jim McSweeney ♦ The Garden Plot: Growing & Caring Tips for the Family Garden & Landscape
- Cheli Mennella ♦ Open Sesame: Kid Lit Musings & Reviews
- Kathy Puckett ♦ Time to Talk: Supporting Children’s Language Skills
- Carrie St. John ♦ What to Play? Play Ideas for Family & Community
- John Sarrof ♦ The Dinner Table: Ideas and Inspiration for Family Mealtimes
- Wendy Somes ♦ Grandpa in the House: Parenting in a Multigenerational Home
In addition to these wonderful writers, we have several ongoing posts & resources, including:
- Berkshire Family Fun
- Q&A: Community Recommendations
- Learning Ahead
- Learn Local. Play Local.
- Parent Night Out Promotions
- Recap Map
- Sustainability Bulletin Board
- Literary Guides
- Weekly Suggested Events
COMMUNITY-BASED LEARNING & ENGAGEMENT
This past year we organized several ways families could participate in community-service learning, including our third Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event. We collaborated in several events that integrating art with environmental stewardship during We (heart) the Deerfield River, and human services during DIY Mittens & Scarves for Families in Transition. We also hosted events that allowed families to Pay it Forward with a Small Act of Kindness and shared ways our readers could volunteer with their family to Help Children in Transition Celebrate Their Birthdays. We highlighted ways to support service-based learning through Volunteer Engagement During Thanksgiving, helping to Close the Summer Meal Gap, volunteering as Land Monitors and how to use Halloween Candy to show kindness to others… and much more!
Our annual Handmade Community Valentine Swap grew leaps and bounds and we hosted a free Handmade Valentines Workshop in collaboration with our friends from the The Art Garden. Other collaborations included with Flywheel for a Saturday Morning Music Party, and Biocitizen for our annual river review.
Other ways we encouraged engagement in our community while supporting the development of a sense of place connecting (and STEM learning!) was as citizen scientists. We shared this past year included Focus on Feeders, Snow Studies, Great Backyard Bird Count, Watershed Blitz, Monarch Butterflies, Honey Bees, Wildlife Encounters, Map the Stars, Phenology, and Project BudBurst.
HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW
We also feature a podcast on the Hilltown Families blog every Sunday, with great guest DJs like Justin Roberts, Chris Ballew of Caspar Babypants, Daniel Weinkauf of They Might Be Giants, The Dream Jam Band and Suzi Shelton. This included many terrific episodes, like Animals in American Folk Music Episode, What I Learned this Summer Episode, National Park Episode, Science and Education Episode, Pioneers of Sound Episode, Latin Music Episode, Marine Science Episode, , and many many others!
Liz Friedman of Northampton, MA, writes: “Hilltown Families has been our family go-to place to know what’s going on in the community and find the fun. I am grateful for Sienna’s dedication to making the Valley accessible to all families and keeping us connected. Most recently we had a chance to start listening to the radio show for children. We played the Hanukkah show over and over and the 4 year old and 9 year old BOTH loved it. As did I. Thank you so much!”
SUPPORT HILLTOWN FAMILIES SPONSORS
To take part in the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2015, you must vote in 10 or more categories. Over the years Hilltown Families has had many wonderful sponsors proudly displayed in the left-hand column. Consider voting for one of these local businesses, showing your appreciated of their support of Hilltown Families!