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. [LinkedIn] email@example.com
Emily Butler, Interpretive Writer
Emily moved to western Massachusetts to study English as an undergraduate at UMass Amherst. She is currently getting her master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and works in a high school library. 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.
Robin Morgan Huntley, MEd., Community-Based Education Correspondent
A native to Maine, Robin joined Hilltown Families in early 2011. She 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 lives and teaches 5th grade in the Hilltowns of western Massachusetts and serves on the Mary Lyon Foundation Board of Directors.
Cheryl Przezdziecki, Theater & Visual Art Bulletin Boards Manager
Living in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters, Cheryl is a private practice psychotherapist who earned her M.A. at Westfield State University. She is fascinated with the dimensions and complexities of the human experience, making it no surprise that some of her deepest interests include character development and the experience of live theater. She is a writer and playwright who recently completed her first full-length stage play. In addition, Cheryl’s rich travel history has deepened her appreciation for varying architecture and the cultural significance of visual art in all mediums.
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.
Hilltown Families Board of Directors & Advisers
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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 check out our enhanced publicity options or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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