Share YOUR Voice
Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? Have an idea for an on-going column? Have a review or resource you’d like to share? Are you a mommy/daddy blogger who would like to have a monthly column on Hilltown Families? – We enjoy topics that inspire, entertain and educate our readers and welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including humor, reviews, community-based educational opportunities, seasonal cooking & crafts and DIY posts. Hilltown Families reserves the right to edit any submissions.
Send your query to email@example.com.
Let Them Grow: Fresh Ways to Engage Toddler’s in Creative Free Play
Candice Chouinard has worked with youth of all ages and backgrounds, creating and implementing programing for children. She revels in hand-on, long-term, messy projects that are both fun and educational. Candice comes from a background in creative writing, as well as, child development and psychology. She owns and operates a day care in Northampton, MA. – Check out Let Them Grow: Fresh Ways to Engage Toddler’s in Creative Free Play on the fourth Wednesday of every month.
Amy is a freelance writer and digital communications specialist who has lived in Western Massachusetts for the last ten years. The mother of two young daughters, Amy is a frequenter of coffee shops and bookstores, and an avid hiker. She is a long-time student of mindfulness meditation, and loves nothing more than a good friend, a good book, or a good nap. – Check out In Appreciation: Reflections on Teaching Gratitude & Empathy on the first Tuesday of every month.
Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed. Logan’s previous column for Hilltown Families, Snakes and Snails: Teenage Boys Tales ran bi-monthly from June 2010-Feb. 2011, sharing stories of her first time around as a parent of two teenage boys. — Check out Hindsight Parenting: Raising Kids the Second Time Around on the fifth Monday of any month.
Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting
Ginny is a pain specialist, yoga instructor, and Reiki practitioner, supporting busy moms carrying the pain of too much stress and too little exercise, rest, and self-care time. She has put down roots in South Amherst with her spouse and young son. Daily she’s amazed by the beauty the Pioneer Valley offers, though her allergies beg to differ. In Off the Mat, Ginny explores how yoga’s physical and mindfulness exercises help her parent and how parenting shapes her yoga practice. www.ginnyhamilton.com — Check out Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting on the first Monday of every month.
Kurt Heidinger, Ph.D.
The Ripple: Stories About Western MA Rivers
Kurt is the Executive Director of Biocitizen, non-profit school of field environmental philosophy, based in the Western MA Hilltown of Westhampton, MA where he lives with his family. Biocitizen gives participants an opportunity to “think outside” and cultivate a joyous and empowering biocultural awareness of where we live and who we are. – Check out The Ripple: Stories About Western MA Rivers on the fourth Monday of every month.
Sarah Mattison Buhl
The Good Life: A Year of Thoughtful Seasons
As a mother of three, Sarah appreciates the extraordinary beauty of the ordinary. She makes her home with her family in Northampton, MA. – Check out The Good Life: A Year of Thoughtful Seasons on the fifth Wednesday of any month.
Mister G (Ben Gundersheimer)
Under the Hat: Independent Music Education
A 2015 Latin Grammy Award winner, two time Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner, Mister G (Ben Gundersheimer) is an Amherst College graduate who spent 20 years as a singer/songwriter/producer in the adult music world prior to earning a Masters in Elementary Education at Smith College and transitioning to making music for children. Mister G is one of the leading figures in the children’s music world. www.mistergsongs.com. – Check out Under the Hat: Independent Music Education on the fifth Wednesday of any month.
Jen is a wife, mother of two joyous children, experiential education mentor, and founder of PERMIE KIDs. She has a M. Ed. in International Education and has worked with children in the U.S. and overseas from early childhood through the primary years, as well as parent-educators. She integrates an ethical, design science methodology with her love for education to help others learn to design a customized education with their children that honors themselves, others, and the earth. – Look for Learning Landscapes: Integrating Permaculture with Community-Based Education on the second Monday of every month.
Open Sesame: Kid Lit Musings & Reviews
Cheli Mennella writes our monthly column, Open Sesame: Kid Lit Musings & Reviews, sharing reviews of children’s literature ranging from board books to young adult novels, from new titles to beloved classics. Cheli has been involved with creative arts and education for most of her life, and has taught many subjects from art and books to yoga and zoology. But she has a special fondness for kid’s books, and has worked in the field for more than 20 years. She is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Valley Kids and teaches a course for adults in “Writing for Children.” She writes from Colrain, where she lives with her musician-husband, three children, and shelves full of kid’s books. – Look for Open Sesame: Kid Lit Musings & Reviews on the fourth Tuesday of every month.
Hilltown Families Archived Columns & Guest Posts
Tom lives and works in Williamsburg, MA with his wife, two kids, dog maggie & cat charlie. He is a graduate of UMASS, Amherst and has over 15 years of experience in the fields of educational, commercial and corporate video production. In 1996, he founded Reelife Documentary Productions (1997 & 2008 Telly Award recipient). He is an active member of Hidden-Tech, the Chair of the Williamsburg Technology Committee and Chair of The Williamsburg Cultural Arts Committee. He is an accomplished photographer and a semi-professional drummer with the rock-freakout-jazz bands: NiL, Moschops & Loungehouse. He also masquerades as a prolific writer/poet & cartoonist named lester b thomas.
Karen wrote about her discovery of local attractions and events in Western MA with her family of five in our monthly column, Wow Them & Wear Them Out. – Karen grew up in Manhattan and lived in Connecticut before moving to Northampton with her husband Matt to raise their boys. Her sons Isaac, Henry and Theo are 11, 6 and 4, leaving Karen on a search for all the “just right adventures” that will wow them and wear them out. She works as a birth doula, childbirth and parent educator in the greater Northampton area. She writes about mothering at Needs New Batteries and about birth in our culture at Gentle Balance Birth.
Amber Bobnar wrote our monthly column, Must-Hear Music Monday, sharing her music reviews of family genre music, including many artists from New England. Her column Special Spaces shared local resources for families with special needs children. – Amber lives with her husband and son in Watertown, MA. Originally hailing from Hawaii, Amber and her family moved to Watertown to be closer to the Perkins School for the Blind where her son attends preschool. She has a Master’s degree in English from Tufts University and spends most of her “free time” writing about being a parent of a disabled child on WonderBaby.org or about the family’s musical adventures around Boston on BostonChildrensMusic.com.
Jen was the Program Coordinator at Red Gate Farm in Buckland, MA. She lives in the woods with her husband, two teenage daughters, a trusty dog and a frisky cat. A gardener for much of her life, Jen enjoys cooking with her harvest, canning and preserving foods. She sees nature as her home and can be found outside during all manner of weather. A graduate of Goddard College (BA with an emphasis in Ecological Education), she is at her happiest when she is able to share her love of farming and nature with children and adults alike. Her column, Farmyard Tails, shares events and explorations that happen on the farm while educating children about farm life.
Alisa wrote our monthly column, Is it Time to Be Mom? which explored her balance of work and family. A Berkshire transplant, Alisa is a: tattooed mom of an almost 2yr old girl; singer (with her local chapter of Sweet Adelines International); writer; trained Doula (labor and postpartum support); and photographer (Common Moments).
Rachel Besserman and Damon Arthur Blanchette live in Northampton, MA with their son and are partners in Emmet’s Essentials, an organic body care line. Rachel is a graduate student in Education at Smith College, a certified yoga instructor, a trained Stillpoint Massage Therapist, and serves as Hebrew language tutor and classroom educator, innovating movement and technology in Hebrew language instruction. Damon is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, currently on staff at Smith College programming websites and databases in the Educational Technology Services department, and is a freelance graphics and web designer.
Sarah shared love notes for the Pioneer Valley in our monthly column, Mash Notes to Paradise. Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton (aka “Paradise City”) with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!
Bill teaches law school by day in Springfield. With his kids, he produces a radio show for kids, Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, which airs on Saturday mornings on 93.9 The River (7-9 AM, 101.5 in Brattleboro) and 103.3 Valley Free Radio (7-9 AM). He’s also a columnist for regional parenting magazines, covers music for Parenting magazine, and was a bi-monthly contributing writer for Hilltown Families.
Bill wrote our monthly column, Raising Children: Love, Limits & Lessons. He is the author of the award-winning parenting book series, Love, Limits, & Lessons: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Cooperative Kids and the executive producer and host of the public access television show Creating Cooperative Kids. He is a Western Mass native and grew up in the Northampton area. As a member of the American Psychological Association and the North American Society for Adlerian Psychology, Bill provides parent coaching and keynote presentations to parent and professional audiences across the country. He sits on the board of the Network Against Domestic Abuse, the Resource Advisory Committee for Attachment Parenting International, and the management team of the Springfield Parent Academy.
Alice, chef extraordinaire, wrote our monthly column, In the Kitchen with Alice: Recipes & Local Lore from the Old Creamery Co-op, sharing seasonal recipes to inspire families to dine together. Alice has been co-owner of The Old Creamery since 2000. She and her partner and spouse, Amy, have lived in Cummington since they built their home in 1986. Alice and Amy are very deeply connected to their land; they grow a lot of their own food, eat well (especially during the growing season), feed many friends and loved ones and preserve as much food as possible. Rarely a day goes by that they don’t say “Aren’t we blessed to live here?” Feeding people feels like a calling to Alice. She was brought up with her Italian Gram and her Dad putting something wonderful to eat in her mouth and saying “Here, eat this.” Nothing brings her greater joy than feeding people that she cares about or people that are in need of kindness and nurturing.
Rebecca wrote our monthly column, Just My Type: Raising a Child with Type One Diabetes. Pittsfield native Rebecca is a former journalist who lives in north Berkshire County with her husband and daughter in Williamstown, MA. In Just My Type Rebecca shared her experiences as a parent raising a child with type one diabetes.
Amy wrote our monthly column, One Clover & A Bee: Poems For Families To Learn & Love. Amy’s the mother of two children who seem to enjoy poetry, for which she’s extremely grateful. Her first book, How I Got Lost So Close To Home, was published by Alice James Books and poems have appeared in a variety of anthologies and journals. She’s a former Associate at the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center at Mt. Holyoke College, where she looked at the impact of motherhood on the work of women poets. In addition to her life as a poet, Dryansky works for a land trust, teaches in at Hampshire College, leads workshops in the community and writes about what it’s like to navigate the territory of mother/poet/worker at her blog, Pokey Mama. Her second book, Grass Whistle, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2013
Ellen lives with her husband and son in Williamsburg, MA. She holds degrees from Stanford in biology and international relations, and a master of public health degree from Boston University in epidemiology and biostatistics. In previous incarnations, Ellen has worked as a research scientist in molecular biology and, most recently, as an infectious diseases epidemiologist. As a stay-at-home-mom, Ellen’s current passion is conducting independent health and environmental research for her blog, BodyEarth (www.bodyearth.net).
Connie is a mother, teacher, songwriter and performer. As an advocate for the Earth, she performs with her musical partner, Alice Weiser, with Constant Wonder: Interactive Kids Music with a Green Message. Connie has taught as a K-1 public school teacher since 1985, developing district-wide curriculums. She is currently teaching a Kindergarten Enrichment class in the seaside village of Northport, NY, where she lives with her family.
Catherine wrote our monthly column, Teens 101: Hacks, Ideas, Commiserations, and Small Wonders. Sheworks with teens and families and writes about the joys and challenges that come with these adolescent humans. She has spent her career creating alternative educational options for young people. She led the program at North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens in Hadley for more than a decade, and is now Co-Director for LightHouse Personalized Education for Teens in Holyoke. Catherine resides in the Hilltowns with her family and aims to live with gratitude and serenity, achieving this about 15% of the time.
Angie wrote our monthly column, Parenting Green: Earth Friendly Ideas for Raising a Family. Shesettled in the Western MA six years ago after many years of traveling the country. She lives in Northampton, MA with her husband and three kids and is an avid gardener and studies herbal medicine. She has worked in the community fostering projects like Grow Food Northampton, and started Mother Herb Diaper Service out of her home after the birth of her second child. Her business is now a cooperative venture and has relocated to Holyoke, MA under the name of Simple Diaper & Linen.
John Heffernan wrote our monthly column, Tech Talk: Supporting Creative Play with Technology, taking a look at creative ways kids can explore technology and engineering. John is currently the technology teacher the Williamsburg Schools. He has also worked as an educational technology consultant, a third grade teacher, and as a software engineer. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from Tufts and a Masters of Education from Lesley University. John lives in Conway with his wife, 5 year old son, and 2 whippets. In additional to his interest in technology, John is a juggler, musician, and animal tracker. Read more about his engineering adventures at kidsengineer.com.
Shana Hiranandani wrote our monthly column, Parenting Possibilities: Contemplation with a Splash of Inspiration. Shana shares a home with her two boys, her partner of 12 years, a big dog and a small cat in the Pioneer Valley of Western MA. Shana earned a B.A. in Psychology from UMass Amherst and a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Antioch New England College. Shana is a Board Certified Life and Career Coach, offering consultations from her office in Florence, MA. Her monthly column offers parenting perspectives from a Jewish-Indian-American, 2-mommy household.
Kara is a public high school art teacher with a BFA from Mass Art and MEd from Lesley University, currently offering art workshops and individual instructions at her barn art studio. She is a mother of twins and lives with her husband in Plainfield, MA.
Dane wrote our monthly column, Soup’s On: Stirring Up Connections in the Kitchen. She also writes poems and cooks food in Northampton, MA. When she isn’t engaged in one of her semiannual 30-poems-in-30-days sprints, she teaches people how to feed themselves tasty things at the Julia Poppins School of Cooking. Julia Poppins School of Cooking promotes food literacy through fun, confidence-building, hands-on cooking lessons in the Northampton area.
A Yankee living in enemy territory, Lauren transplanted from NJ to VA and somehow ended up even further south in Georgia, marrying a good ol’ Georgia boy. Together they have three children age four and under. Any spare time Lauren has, she dedicates to supporting women and their families as they experience Postpartum Mood Disorders. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from LaGrange College (even further south than she is now!) and hopes for acceptance to UGA’s Social Work Graduate program for fall of 2009.
Karen lives in Lenox Dale, MA with her two children, Katie, age 10, and Christopher, age 6. She has severe allergies to several foods, including tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Her daughter is allergic to peanuts. Her son was allergic to soy for 2 years and eventually outgrew it. Karen started finding out more about food allergies when her daughter, who was two at the time, had her first anaphylactic reaction. Years of research and networking, as well as utilizing skills learned during her work experience in human resources and employee training, led Karen to branch out on her own as Berkshire Food Allergy Consulting Services. Now she spend most of her time working on training and development as well as support for those living with food allergies.
George Kingston has been a member of the Allen Bird Club for over 30 years, is a past president of the club, and serves on its executive committee. He is a retired engineer and is currently chair of the East Longmeadow Conservation Commission as well as a member of that town’s planning board and community preservation committee and a Master Gardener. He has birded on all 7 continents.
Tony(a) Lemos wrote our monthly column, A Cure for What Ails, sharing excerpts from her out of print book by the same name, a collection of folk remedies from the Pioneer Valley here in Western Mass. — Tony(a) is the director of Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA and maintains an herbal medicine practice in Western Mass. She is a graduate of Natural Therapy at Raworth College in England and has apprenticed with many influential herbalist, including Susun Weed. She has taught at conferences and festivals all over New England, including Green Nations Gathering, Falcon Ridge Folk Fest and the Women’s Herbal Conference.
Leslie wrote our monthly column, Oak & Acorn: Forage, Farm and Feast with the Family. She is from Texas but has always been drawn to New England. She lives in the town of Northampton and loves living in Western Massachusetts. She spends a lot of time with her five year old and connecting with the community. Her interest include cooking, DIY projects,writing, biking, being outdoors, photography, restoration, food preservation and social activism. She spends some of her time farming when she can and also you can spot her working with the Pedal People.
Kelly Bevan McIlquham was a contributing writer for our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, sharing updates, events and activities for families in the Berkshires. Her monthly column Green Mama shared her family experiences towards living a “greener” lifestyle. – Kelly is a psychotherapist-turned-writer who resides in Hinsdale, MA with her husband, three children, a chocolate lab, a very fat cat, a turtle, and a few goldfish. Kelly is a freelance writer who dabbles in writing for children and has had her non-fiction published by Wee Ones online family magazine.
Amy Meltzer wrote our monthly column, Not Your Grandparents’ Shtetl: Exploring Jewish Culture in Western MA, sharing family stories along with interfaith events and activities in Western MA that explore Jewish culture. Amy is a Kindergarten teacher at Lander-Grinspoon Academy in Northampton, MA, and the author of two children’s books, A Mezuzah on the Door, and The Shabbat Princess. She writes the blog Homeshuling for Beliefnet, and a monthly column for the Jewish parenting site Kveller.com. Amy lives in Northampton, MA with her husband and two daughters. .
Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou (DARIA) explored different cultures, traditions, holidays and instruments in our monthly column, Music Trekking: Traveling the World in Song. An award-winning children’s performer, DARIA has created 7 CD’s that have won national honors. She has the most awesome job of traveling the world to sing for kids and peace. Her “world music for kids” website, http://www.dariamusic.com, was given a 2009 Parents Choice Award for its musical and cultural content. She has also created a multicultural kids video site as well as My Favorite Multicultural Books.
Nan Parati wrote our column, Notes from Nan, sharing her thoughts and actions as proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. – A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm.
Dana Pilson wrote our monthly column, The Power of One, discussing the experiences of raising an only child. – Dee lives with her professor husband and young daughter in rural Pownal, Vermont, just over the state line from Williamstown, Massachusetts. She is an art historian and has worked in museums in New York City, Boston, and Williamstown. She has been an avid writer since the tender age of eight, filling journals with personal essays and short stories, as well as mounds of poetry, both serious and whimsical. New Yorker by birth, New Hampshire-ite by schooling, and now Vermonter by choice, Dee writes about art and architecture, the environment, books, food, exercise, travel, and green living.
Hollington Lee has been teaching high school science for 14 years (currently at Ludlow HS), following 13 years as an anatomy & physiology lab instructor at Northeastern University, where he received his BS in Biology. He also has an EdM from Harvard University School of Education. For 12 years, he was a curriculum consultant for WGBH’s NOVA Teacher’s Guide and for the past several summers has taught science workshops at The Care Center in Holyoke, MA. In his pre-teaching life, Holly also ran a graphic design studio and worked as a computer consultant in the Boston area. This summer he will be enjoying his family, his vegetable garden, and revising his curriculum for next year.
Susan Markel, M.D. is a board-certified pediatrician who has a private consultative practice specializing in parent coaching and child health. A graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Dr. Markel became a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1981 and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in 1997. For many years she served as a medical liaison for La Leche League and is the author of What Your Pediatrician Doesn’t Know Can Hurt Your Child.
Jim write our monthly column, The Garden Plot: Growing & Caring Tips for the Family Garden & Landscape. Jim is a certified arborist, certified horticulturist, licensed pesticide applicator (needed for the application of organic pesticides in MA) & a professional landscape designer with over 15 years experience. He is also the owner of Hilltown Tree & Garden LLC. Jim is on the faculty at the New England Wildflower Society, teaching courses on a diverse range of topics. He lives and works in Zone 5 (Chesterfield, MA) with his family. Once a month here on Hilltown Families you will find timely gardening tips, from a pro in the field, that can be easily used by both avid and novice gardeners, specific to Western MA.
Cherylann Richards wrote our monthly column, Going’s On at the Old Creamery Co-Op before moving down south. Cherylann was the Outreach Coordinator for the Old Creamery Co-op and wrote about the ongoing adventure of working to transition the locally beloved Old Creamery in Cummington into a community owned food cooperative.
Cheryl wrote our monthly column, Our Growing Roots: Real Food, Real Connection. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. In addition to freelance writing, she works as a private practice Mental Health Counselor in Chicopee. Cheryl is passionate about local and organic food. In 2012, she founded GMO Free Massachusetts, a grassroots organization designed to educate consumers about the benefits of an organic lifestyle while empowering people to make informed choices. Cheryl is also an avid theater-goer, a passionate writer, and aspiring playwright.
Kathy Puckett wrote our monthly column, Time to Talk: Supporting Children’s Language Skills. Kathy is a private practice speech-language pathologist from Shelburne, MA. Living in Western Massachusetts since 1970, she raised two children in the area and has two grandsons, ages 15 and 8 years old. She has worked as an SLP with people of all ages for the last 14 years. She runs social thinking skill groups and often works with teens. As a professional artist, she has a unique and creative approach to her practice. She loves technology, neurology, gardening, orchids, and photography. She uses an iPad for therapies. She grows 500 orchids and moderates her own forum for orchid growers (Crazy Orchid Lady). Kathy is dedicated to the families of her private practice, and offers practical, creative ideas to parents. She blogs about communication at kathypuckett.com.
Born and raised in Calcutta, India, and moved to the U.S. for her undergraduate work in chemistry, Saborna lives in Massachusetts, and teaches at the Swampscott High School. Her short fiction has appeared in New York Stories and Quality Women’s Magazine U.K. and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Saborna is also the author of the novel The Distance, published in 2009 by Mindscape.
Sheri is a volunteer and board member at the Center for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW). She aspires to write articles for local publications on diverse subjects relating to the reduction of negative human impact on wildlife and wildlife habitat. She lives in Plainfield, MA.
Nancy wrote our monthly column, It’s a Girl Thing: Empowering Our Girls to Be Expressive, Safe and Strong. She has been empowering girls since 1985. She teaches self-defense, martial arts and life lessons at her studio in Northampton and beyond. Nancy is also a bodyworker, blogger, love of life and most importantly, a mom.
Carrie St. John wrote our monthly column, What to Play? Play Ideas for Family & Community. Carrie was born, raised and attended university in Michigan. As a child she rode bikes and explored her rural neighborhood freely with siblings and neighbor kids. Mom and Dad never worried. The kids always made it home after hours wading in the creek and climbing trees in the woods. After college she moved to Kyoto, Japan to study traditional Japanese woodblock printing. In 1995, she began a career at a small Chicago firm designing maps and information graphics. Life brought a move to Northampton in 2001. Carrie completed her MFA at UMass in 2004. Her little love, Sophia, was born in 2005.
Wendy briefly wrote our Grandpa in the House: Parenting in a Multigenerational Home column. Wendy is an educator and history geek who lives in a century old summer cottage in Goshen with her family, dog, and two cats. Her column touched on the juggle of the sandwich generation and issues surrounding elders on the Autism spectrum.
John Sarrof wrote our monthly column, The Dinner Table: Ideas and Inspiration for Family Mealtimes. John is a father of two and was the Director of Program Development for The Public Conversations Project based in Watertown, MA. John is a professional mediator and dialogue facilitator who spends much of his time leading conversations with parents and families about the opportunities and challenges of family dinners.
Rachel Simmons wrote our monthly column, Our Daughters: Raising Confident Girls. Rachel is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, and The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence. As an educator and coach, Rachel works internationally to develop strategies to address bullying and empower girls. The co-founder of the Girls Leadership Institute, Rachel currently serves as a consultant to schools and organizations around the world. Rachel was the host of the recent PBS television special, “A Girl’s Life,” and writes an advice blog for girls at TeenVogue.com. Rachel lives in western Massachusetts with her West Highland Terrier, Rosie, and teaches workshops for parents and girls in Northampton.
Lynne Marie is a karate black belt, a certified personal trainer and a feminist mama. She holds a B.A. in Women’s Studies and American Literature from the City University of New York. Lynne Marie blogs at http://www.mindbodymama.com, where you can also learn more about her personal training practice. She lives in a dilapidated house in western Massachusetts with her wife and daughter.
Steve Weeks is an award winning children’s musician and creator of the Alphabet Songs series which includes such hits as “If I Were a Cup”, “Kiki Kangaroo”, and “Someday”. His songs are upbeat acoustic-based tunes for kids and their families alike and can be heard on radio stations across the US. He currently lives in Colorado with his wife and two children where he writes, records and produces his music. http://www.steveweeksmusic.com
Marie was the creative force behind ArtStar , an art enrichment studio this use to be locatd downtown Williamsburg, MA which offered art programs for kids and adults, including homeschool and after-school classes and workshops. She is an artist and art therapist and has been working for the past 20 years with people of all ages and backgrounds. She is especially drawn to working with girls and women to facilitate their expression, empowerment and connections through art. Marie is passionate about community, painting, cake decorating and collaboration with others doing anything creative or meaningful. She lives in Williamsburg with her husband and two daughters.
Jeff Winston wrote our monthly column, Teaching Teens: Lessons I’ve Learned in the High School Classroom, which illustrated life lessons that he taught, and just as often learned, both in and out of the classroom. Jeff has lived in Easthampton since 2007, after moving up from Philadelphia with his wife, Alli, and their 3 dogs, Murphy, Zoey and Maggie. Jeff has private tutoring business, Tap Your Truth, specific to enhancing writing and study skill, focusing on empowering individuals through their own written and spoken words. Jeff writes a blog called Better Out Than In…, a place to read creative expressions of his life’s experiences, samples of his student’s work, and tidbits that will enable readers to gain insight into their own lives.
Victoria was a board member of the Ashfield Community Preschool, and the Cummington Family Center. She is an organizer of many community fundraisers and events in the Hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, and has spearheaded the Voices of Motherhood project. She lives in Ashfield, MA, with her family in a beautifully restored New England farmhouse.
Shoshana lives in Northampton with her husband, Rabbi Saul Perlmutter. She is the Director of the Sulamot Family Education Initiative of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and an instructor in the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School in Northampton.