About Hilltown Families
Hilltown Families’ mission is to support the common good of our community by developing a sense of place through a shared understanding of the value of self-directed learning through community engagement. These learning values are referred to as “community-based education” and are accessible and inclusive to an intergenerational audience. This learning process unites community members through shared interests, establishes a shared history, and deepens a connection to place.
Hilltown Families accomplishes this mission by identifying the embedded learning found everywhere in communities, interpreting the educational and social value of engagement, and making the information accessible to the community through an online communication network.
Hilltown Families’ method for identifying, interpreting, and curating community-based opportunities that support interests and education is an innovative and established community tool developed by Sienna Wildfield that fosters a community culture of intentional learning. This culture creation tool identifies and connects community events, resources, and opportunities throughout the four counties of western Massachusetts and links them together through shared interests, values, and engagement methods.
By making community-based learning opportunities explicit, Hilltown Families reveals intersections of learning, allowing community members of all ages to be self-directed in their education through community engagement. Community-based education strengthens a sense of place in citizens of all ages by making learning relevant to the learner and based in their community.
Awarded the “Essential Agent of Change Award” by the MDPH’s Massachusetts Essentials for Childhood, Hilltown Families is recognized as a leading family-strengthening initiative in the region, promoting “positive parenting through the social norm of community social connectedness.”
Sienna founded Hilltown Families, Inc., serving as Executive Director from 2005-2017. In 2019, Hilltown Families returned to Sienna as a founder-run organization to continue strengthening and serving Western MA’s community through place-based education and self-directed learning. See her TEDx Talk, Supporting Education Through Community Engagement, to hear the story behind the vision and mission of Hilltown Families. Supporting the development of Community-Based Education Network (CBEdu Network) affiliates in other communities, Sienna is available as a national consultant and trainer to others wanting to integrate the framework of community-based education into their educational, community development, mindfulness, and sustainable community projects. She is trained as a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher through the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the Mindfulness Center at Brown University. Sienna lives along the bank of the east branch of the Westfield River in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains, where she is nurturing the emergence of the newest affiliate member of the CBEdu Network, Curly Willow Center: An emerging space for the passionately curious. [LinkedIn]