Hilltown Families’ mission is to support the common good of our community through the development of a sense of place by a shared understanding in 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 process of learning unites community members through shared interests, establishes a shared history and deepens a connection to place.
Hilltown Families works to accomplish this mission by identifying the embedded learning that is 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 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 methods of engagement.
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.
Founded in 2005 by Sienna Wildfield, Hilltown Families is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, serving thousands of families living throughout western Massachusetts. Through an online grassroots communication network, Hilltown Families connects people and organizations in the widespread communities of western Massachusetts by helping area residents share ideas, organize activities, support their children’s education and increase participation in community life.
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:
THE FOLKS BEHIND THE SCENES
Sienna Wildfield, Founder/Executive Director
Sienna is the Founder and Executive Director of Hilltown Families, Inc. See Sienna’s TEDx Talk, Supporting Education Through Community Engagement to hear the story behind the vision and mission of Hilltown Families. Supporting the development of the Hilltown Families community engagement model into other communities, Sienna is available as a keynote speaker, workshop facilitator and national consultant for individuals and groups looking to integrate the Hilltown Families framework into their educational, community development and sustainable community projects. Recognized by the Western Mass Women Magazine as one of the Top 25 “Women to Watch,” Sienna lives along the Westfield River in the Hilltowns of western Massachusetts with her family and two cats. [LinkedIn] email@example.com
Courtney Supple, Program Manager
Courtney came to work with Hilltown Families by way of an internet search for alternative, community-based educational opportunities for her own son and family. Her desire to raise a child who is engaged in his community and feels a deep sense of belonging to the place where he lives and the people who live there with him comes from many years of community organizing and civic engagement efforts in Oakland, CA. There, she worked as an outreach worker for a local community health clinic and freelanced as a community radio producer at KPFA, Free Speech Radio. Both of these experiences helped Courtney see the importance and power of being connected to both place and people. They’re also what prompted her to pursue a Master’s Degree in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Upon completion in 2014, she moved back to the Bay Area and worked with the City of Berkeley’s Department of Health, Housing, and Community Services, where she managed a range of projects, from transportation to elder care and improving mental health facilities to developing affordable housing policy. When she and her husband welcomed their first son into the world on Labor Day of 2015, they decided it was time to move back east to raise him around a huge family who loves him dearly, in Chicopee. Courtney is thrilled to surrounded by the love and support of her husband’s family and is excited to build connections with her new home. She’s so grateful for the opportunity to do this with Hilltown Families! firstname.lastname@example.org
Emily Butler, Interpretive Writer
Emily moved to western Massachusetts to study English as an undergraduate at UMass Amherst. She has a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and works in a high school library in the Pioneer Valley. Emily was drawn to the library field due to its interdisciplinary nature and the ways in which libraries enrich the social and intellectual life of communities. She shares her passion for writing and education to connect community members with learning opportunities through Hilltown Families. email@example.com
Merricka Breuer, Sales & Marketing Manager
Merricka moved around quite a bit in her childhood living in places like NYC, Seattle and Northwestern CT. She attended college in NH where she has two degrees in English Literature and Counseling/Psychology. Over the years, Merricka has developed her sales experience working for an NPR affiliate out of Albany and various local businesses as Marketing Director, promoting community involvement and researching market trends. In her free time from Hilltown Families, she runs operations for a contemporary dance magazine, and also reads, fly fishes, studies handwriting and loves playing outdoors. She lives in the farmlands of Western MA with her awesome little boy and too many adopted cats. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ted Harvey, History Bulletin Board Manager
Ted moved to Western Massachusetts for graduate school and decided to stay. He currently lives in Easthampton with his wife and two boys. He has degrees in archaeology, medieval history and public policy, and currently works in community development in Springfield. He has a lifelong love of history, which he hopes to impart on others through his role as part History Bulletin Board Manager with Hilltown Families.
Robin Morgan Huntley, MEd., Contributing Writer
A native to Maine, Robin joined Hilltown Families in early 2011 as an intern and remained over the years volunteering as a community-based education correspondent until moving back to Maine in 2016. Robin is a graduate of Antioch University with a masters in education. Her interests within the field of education include policy and all types of nontraditional education. For her undergraduate project at Hampshire College, Robin researched the importance of connecting public schools with their surrounding communities, especially in rural areas. Robin currently lives with her husband and cats in Maine and is a 6th grade teacher.
Hilltown Families Board of Directors, Advisers & Committee Members
PLUG INTO THE NETWORK!
- Subscribe to our Weekly eNewsletter
- Check out our weekly columns, including our list of Weekly Suggested Events
- “Like” us on Facebook
- Follow us on Twitter
- Suggest An Event
- Suggest A Camp
- Suggest A Class
- Share your news on our Sustainability Bulletin Board & Community Bulletin Board
- Gather the kids around and listen to our Radio Show/Podcast
- Participate in our community programs
Hilltown Families warmly welcomes writings that reflect the positive work and educational efforts teachers, parents and community members work toward while sharing how that affects, supports and empowers our community and families. HF also welcomes the voices of parent’s surviving the struggles and challenges of parenthood, and their experiences here in western Massachusetts. Submissions of art and photography are welcomed too. Check out our contributing writer/artists and find out how you can join our team!
Hilltown Families supports the development of our local economy and has sponsorship and advertising opportunities available. Local businesses, individuals, schools, etc., can advertise their event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement on our list of Weekly Suggested Events and weekly eNewsletter. Join our team of sponsors and have your message shared with thousands of families living throughout the region while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. For more information email Merricka Breuer at email@example.com.
We’d love to hear from you. Fill out the form or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org: