September thru December 2018            
Playgroups, Support Groups, Parenting Education, Special Events


or call
978-429-8284 ext. 202
We will confirm your registration!
Thank You! 

 brain building

Check out Ellie's Blog
  for her homemade play dough recipe, playgroup song lyrics, social & emotional skills tips, going to the library with your toddler, when kids should say they're sorry, and sensory play ideas.

If you have any concerns about your child's development or readiness for preschool, you can contact your public school preschool program listed below for a free screening if your child is age 2.6-5.

978-264-4700 x3948
781-275-1700 x3248
978-486-3953 x117
978-692-5560 x2132

As a first step, you may also choose to fill out an ASQ through First Connections. Send your child's birth date and your postal mailing address to:
We will send you the questionnaire and a return envelope. After we receive it back, an educator will set up a time to go over it with you and share suggested activities for helping your child reach his/her next developmental milestone. 


"Internet Safety"

Tues., Sept. 11

5:30-8:00 p.m.

West Suburban YMCA, 276 Church St., Newton 

Workshops include an information panel with representatives from DTA, DCF, MassHealth, WIC, Elder Services and more.

To register: 


"Legal Issues for Relative Caregivers"

is available free of charge as a 30-minute online video at the above website.

"The Adoption Option"
September 23, 2018
8:30-11:00 a.m.
Jordans Furniture, Reading

A free event for families in any stage of considering foster care adoption. Learn about the process of adoption during an orientation at 9:00 or 9:30. Meet social workers and learn about waiting children. Speak with families who have already adopted. Fun activities for kids, light food and refreshments. For more information go to:, the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange.

Baby Care for Adoptive Parents  
September 12
Adoption Community of New England, 36 Knox Trail, Acton. To register contact $35/person, $50 nonmembers
Future Classmates Groups for 2019 Kindergarteners

If your child will be entering kindergarten in 2019, you may want to join a local parent association group for future classmates so your child will see some familiar faces when he/she begins school.

Harvard Family Association's Kindergarten Connection!
Open to all incoming Hildreth Elementary School kindergarten families. Includes playgroups, information about fun and educational opportunities, and it's free! Email:
to be included on the email list.

Sudbury Family Network's Future Classmates 
events meet periodically. 
Go to
for more info and to join. Or email Shana at sudburyfamilynetwork 

Concord Family Network 
Online Discussion Forum

for parents whose children will be entering kindergarten the same year. Contact concordfamilynetwork

  Maynard Fest & Wellness Fair


September 29


Free family entertainment including Mr. Vic, children's events, used book sale, trackless train, 13 wellness providers, and much more!

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group

meets at First Connections monthly for those who've experienced pregnancy loss, or infant loss shortly after birth, and are seeking support from others with shared experiences. Join Nurse Practitioner Katie Stockman on any of the following dates this fall

Sept. 10, Oct. 8, 

Nov. 12, Dec. 10

6:30-8:00 p.m.

Individuals are encouraged to contact the facilitator before attending though this is not required. You can email Katie in the case of severe weather to confirm the group is running: kstockman@emersonhosp. org
or 978-287-3422
This is a free program.
New Resource

Have you had a stressful childbirth experience?
Researchers at MGH are looking for women who have given birth in the past 18 years to participate in a novel study that will examine how having a stressful childbirth can impact a mother's mind and body, specifically PPD and PTSD. The study consists of talking about your childbirth experience while your emotional and physiological responses are measured - about 4 hours during 2 visits to Charlestown. Up to $120 paid for your participation.
Sharon Dekel, Ph.D.
Fall Kid's Tag Sale
Saturday, Sept. 22
11 Charter Rd., Acton

Recycle the old and come find the new from 8:00. to 11:00 a.m. at the Parker/Damon School upper parking lot (rain location in the cafeteria). If you're interested in selling ($20 ABFN member, $25 non-member) email to reserve your space.

Shopping is $1/family to help defray the cost of site rental. All items for sale must be kid-related (clothes, winter items, sporting goods, toys, baby equip, books, maternity, etc.) 

Cradles to Crayons Massachusetts will arrive at the end of the sale if sellers wish to donate any leftover items. 

ABFN Spooktacular Halloween Party
Saturday, Oct. 27
10-11:30 a.m.
Sensory-free pre-party
RJ Grey Jr. H.S. Gym
16 Charter Rd., Acton

Children and adults are encouraged to come dressed in costume and be ready to have a fantastic time! There will be crafts, activities, dancing music, trick-or-treating, sweet treats, a fabulous haunted house, and refreshments. Open to the public and free to adults,  ABFN members, and babies under age 1. Otherwise $3 per child with a $10 family max. Raffle available.
New Resource!

Link to Literacy
is an organization devoted to enabling adults who have joined us from other cultures to read, write, and speak American English more effectively. Tutors work with their students at the library. Currently there are openings for additional students. Contact J.V. Fletcher Library Information Services Dept. in Westford to become a student or to volunteer as a tutor:

English Conversation Circle 
will begin again on Tuesday, September 11, 10:30-11:30 in the library's Mary Atwood Room. Practice your English conversation skills and meet new friends. Free, registration not required. Questions? Contact Sarah Regan at 978-399-2309.


Worcester Art Museum
All remaining August dates

Acton Discovery Museum
Fridays, 4:30-8:00 p.m.
Sept 7, Oct 5, Nov 2, Dec. 7

Museum of Fine Arts-Boston
Monday, October 8

Smithsonian Magazine Free Museum Admission Day!
Saturday, September 22
Participating museums:
Eric Carle, MFA, Harvard Museums, Garden in the Woods, Springfield, Russian Icons, Fruitlands, Discovery, Childrens-Easton
Download your 2 free tickets:
Free Wright Tavern Hands-on History Fall Events
2 Lexington Rd, Concord

Saturday, Sept. 8, 1-3:00
Try your hands at activities such as writing with a quill and ink, sewing a scented sachet, making soap, or tinsmithing. 

Sunday, Oct. 7, 1-4:00
Archaeology Day focuses on Native American artifacts. Dig into Concord's past with a simulated archaeological site.

Saturday, Oct. 13, 11-3:00
History Festival includes living history, crafts, and hands-on activities all day. Walking tour at 1:00 from the Tavern to Old North Bridge. 

Free (with a Library Pass) Stroller Tour for Ages 0-3 at Worcester Art Museum
Includes tea, coffee, juice & snack after the tour. 
Focus of the tours:
Sept 5: Hanging Sculptures
Sept. 19: Wonder
Oct. 3: Seasons
Oct. 17: China
Nov. 7: India
Nov. 21: Feast for the Eyes
Dec. 5: Stained Glass
Dec. 19: Rocketship

Professional Development Opportunity
"Providing Treatment and Care for Children and Youth with Problems Due to Developmental Trauma"
presented by Dan Hughes, Ph.D.
Children and youth who have experienced abuse or neglect are at high risk for significant difficulties in their neurological, affective, cognitive, and behavioral development. The central place of attachment in enabling an individual to resolve conflicts and traumatic experiences, develop affect regulation and reflective functioning, and establish a coherent narrative will be explored.
October 15, 9-4:30
Congregation Beth Elohim
133 Prospect St, Acton
Lunch provided. CEU's provided for social workers, psychologists & LMHC.
To register:
$125 by Sept. 10
$150 after Sept. 10
$75 students.
$25 JRI employees
Thank you for Your Support!

We greatly appreciate the following donations which have been received since our last newsletter:

Emerson Hospital Pediatric Intervention Team: $2,000

Maynard Community Chest: $1,200

Acton-Boxborough United Way: $2,000

Acton Congregational Church:  $4,000

Climb Out of the Darkness Walk on June 30-Acton:   $4,250*
Includes donations from Ellsworth/Brownlee Family, Lucy Bunning, Pamela White, Susan O'Brien, Kari Rubinic, Elizabeth Beckner, Matthew Sorrentino, Mike & Michele Marotta, Tracy Westcott, Jean Herrera, Joanna Joy, Rick Dwyer, Kari Eckley, Buccholz Family , Susan Rabinovitz, Maurya Orama, Lauren Brown, Kristin Moffat, Public Consulting Group, Denise and Richard Shea, Lisa Reich, Thomas Aldridge, Julie Blazar, Sarah Forman, Peter Gilles, Brian Howells, Tony Ong, Kelly Gallagher, Kristin Montanez, Jennifer Leone, Paul Buckley, Laura Soares, Brett Hartnagel, Douglas & Carole Hartnagel,  Amber Mendes, Amelia Lipton, Carrie Kaplowitz, Jesse Shepherd, Kerlyne Cenafils, Tom Flaherty, Will Weddleton, John Blowers, Kathryn Vassallo, Heather O'Brien, John Matthews, Gabriela Feliu, Christen Courville, Jennifer MacBlane, Nancy Nephew and 10 Anonymous donors.  
Climb Out of the Darkness Walk on June 23-Leominster: $409*
Sandra Merack, Sherrill Strickland, Amelia Lipton, Lesley Griner, Sandra Mailloux, Kat Strickland, Mark Fratoni, Robin Pattershall and 1 Anonymous donor.
*75% of the Climb out of the Darkness walk proceeds will be donated directly to First Connections from Postpartum Support International. We thank Lis Renczkowski and Lesley Griner for organizing the teams for these walks!

Fall Parent Education

"Learning to Ride a Tricycle/Bicycle"
Presented by Karen Veilleus, D.P.T.
Tuesday, August 28, 10-10:45, childcare provided if needed. Learn about motor development and how it relates to learning this new skill.  Held at First Connections, Acton. 
Please register: 

"Introduction to Solids"
Presented by Marahu George, Speech-Language Pathologist
Wednesday, September 5, 1-2:30, during New Moms Group at First Connections in Acton

"Social & Emotional Skills: Sharing"
Presented by Ellie Springer, M.Ed.
Tuesday, September 11, 10:00 with childcare provided if needed.  Why won't my child share with other kids? When will my child be able to share? What can I do to help my child learn to share? Does my child always have to share? We will talk about the answers to these questions and any others you have about sharing. Appropriate for caregivers of children age 2-5, or 1 year olds whose parents want to be prepared.
Held at First Connections, Acton. Please register: 

"Positioning Infants for Play"
Presented by Karen Veilleux, Dr. Physical Therapy
Wednesday, October 17, 1:00-2:30, during New Moms Group at First Connections in Acton

"Communication Milestones in Ages 1-4"
Presented by Emma Hill, Speech-Language Pathologist
Thursday, November 8, 10:00, at Concord Carousel Preschool. Please register: Limited childcare available.

"Babywearing Demonstration" 
Presented by Postpartum Doula Sarah Douglas
Wednesday, November 14, 1:00-2:30, during New Moms Group at First Connections, Acton. Bring your sling, wrap or front carrier with you, or try on different varieties that Sarah will bring with her.

"Fine Motor Milestones in Toddlers & Preschoolers and School Readiness"
Presented by Chelsea Mello, Occupational Therapist and Sharon Ryan, Elementary Literacy & Social Studies Curriculum Specialist & Coach for Acton-Boxborough School District
Tuesday, December 18, 10-11:30, at First Connections, Acton
An overview of fine motor milestones and things parents can do at home to nurture these skills will take place from 10-10:30, followed by Sharon's presentation on how the development of fine motor muscles is a necessary skill for school readiness. Childcare is available for those who request it when registering: 

We are extremely grateful to all of our presenters who are donating their time to our programs.

First Year of Life Support Programs

These programs are open to parents from any town.
New Mothers Support Group
Any mother with a pre-crawling baby is welcome to attend this ongoing weekly support group facilitated by Emerson Hospital and First Connections. Open discussion group is a forum for you to share experiences and resources, connect with other new mothers, and seek guidance about any concerns you might have. Facilitators are certified in lactation support. Held at First Connections, 179 Great Rd, Acton  (for Special presentation schedule:
September 5: Introduction to Solids, Marahu George, S.L.P*.
October 17: Positioning Infants for Play, Karen Veilleux, D.P.T.*
November 14: Babywearing Demo, Postpartum Doula Sarah Douglas
*Speakers provided by Emerson Center for Rehab & Specialty Services
Every Wednesday, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m., No registration required. 
First-Time Mothers Group
6-week, small-group setting includes a different topic each week such as : adjusting to your new role, changes in relationships, work/family life balance, sleeping, feeding, crying and infant development. Based on the Zero to Three Healthy Minds Series. Registration required: 
Fall group begins October 15, 1-2:30 at The Pierce House, Lincoln

New Dads Group
Our new dads group allows dads to make connections with other fathers, ask questions, exchange tips, and share their experiences of parenthood and all the changes that come with it. Fathers are welcome to attend with or without babies, most of whom are 0-12 months. Facilitated by Heather O'Brien, LICSW, who runs our postpartum wellness group. Email Heather ( to be added to the reminder email that is sent out with the monthly brief discussion topic. 
Maynard Public Library, 77 Nason St, Cullen Room 
Tuesday, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Sept. 11, Oct. 9, Nov. 13, Dec. 11 
Emotional Wellbeing After Baby Group
Emotional challenges are the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth, yet mothers often feel isolated and ashamed if they are struggling. Mothers experiencing anxiety or depression in the postpartum year can come together in this supportive, nonjudgmental, confidential group to share stories and learn from each other while receiving coping skills strategies. This is an ongoing, weekly group moms can attend for as long as it is helpful to them. Before participating for the first time please contact the facilitator, Heather O'Brien, LICSW at or 978-429-8284, ext. 219. Childcare can be provided for older siblings with advance notice (except October 4).
Every Thursday, 10:00-11:30 a.m. at First Connections, Acton

Working Parents Play & Support Group
A group specifically for parents with babies/toddlers 0-24 months who are working full time and having a difficult time staying connected or finding a peer group - something that is especially hard with short maternity leaves or if you struggled with postpartum anxiety or depression. Discover ways to manage stress and cope with the challenge of balancing work and family life. Facilitated by First Connections and NAMMA Families staff. Moms and dads welcome! 
8-Week sessions begin September 8 and November 3
Saturdays, 9:30-11:00 at First Connections, Acton
Playscape at Ripley
120 Meriam Road, Concord
Sunday, September 30
(rain date October 14)
3:00-5:00 p.m.
Open to the public - no registration required - suggested donation $5 (cash) per family at the entrance.
Wash a fire truck, meet a firefighter, learn about fire safety
Play pumpkin games and participate in family activities
Visit animals from Drumlin Farm
Nature-based art activity with Musketaquid Arts & Environment
Lots of Scarecrows Around this Fall!
Building a scarecrow is a great creative outdoor family activity that uses small & large motor skills, executive functioning skills, inspires creativity and teamwork. Even if you don't take part in one of these upcoming events, you can be inspired by them and build your own at home!

Stand up to Stigma
Cucurbit Farm will again be hosting the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Central Middlesex Scarecrow Making fundraiser. To secure your spot along the fence, bring a $25 donation to the farm (25 Parker Street, Acton) and pick up your scarecrow frame starting September 1st. Then drop off your family-friendly scarecrow at the farm prior to the "Put 'Em Up Party" on September 28, 5:00-8:00. Scarecrows will wear signs bearing the name of donors for the month of October. 
On Columbus Day Weekend visit the farm from 9:00-5:00 for Fun Family Activities, to vote for your favorite scarecrow, and find out about mental health concerns and supports in our area.
October 6, 7 and 8

Annual Scarecrow Festival: Concord Public Library 
Family Event on Sunday, October 14, 2-3:00 p.m.
Includes food, music, author appearance and scarecrow display at the Main Library, 129 Main Street. Each scarecrow will display a favorite picture book from a local preschools, organizations, or town department as part of the library's early literacy initiative:
 " 101 Picture Books Concord Free Public Library Loves & Reads!"
For more information: 

Annual Sudbury Fall Festival
Halloween 5K & Scarecrow Contest
Sunday, October 28, 12:00-5:00
5K and 1-mile Fun Run for kids, in addition to face painting, musical entertainment, crafts and more. Your family can make a scarecrow and the Rec. Dept. will supply the straw, mounting & twine. Scarecrows will remain on display until Halloween. $10 per family, registration required:

Playgroups begin the week of Sept. 16 and end the Week of Dec. 9 unless otherwise stated. Registration is required for all groups: or 978-429-8284 x202. No fees. Children may be registered for one group. All groups require participation of a parent or caregiver. With the exception of our Infant Playgroup which receives supplemental funding, registration for families living outside of Acton, Bedford, Boxboro, Carlisle, Concord, Harvard, Hanscom AFB, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard, Sudbury and Westford will be on a space-available basis and confirmed one week prior to start date. 


Infant 3-11 Month Playgroup Meets Tuesdays 1:00-2:00

This playgroup includes developmental discussions and handouts, playtime, circle time with finger plays, rhymes and songs. Based on the Ages & Stages Developmental Milestones suggested activities for this age group. Limited to 14 babies. Held at Sargent Memorial Library in Boxborough


Older Baby 10-17 Month Playgroup Me ets Wednesdays 10-11:00

This playgroup will have free play time at the beginning and short stories and songs at the end. The facilitator will be available to talk to and answer questions, but we won't have the same structured adult talking time as in the infant group because the children are starting to move around and sitting still for more than a few minutes is too much to ask! Children in this group should be actively crawling or walking. Based on the Ages & Stages Developmental Milestones suggested activities for this age group.

Held at First Connections in Acton


Literacy Playgroup for 18-30 Months meets Fridays, 10-11:15

This group offers free play time in a preschool classroom with specific activities to work on different fine motor, communication, self help, and social skills, as well as a circle time with a book and songs. Every family will get a bag of books to take home each week, along with tips on fostering your child's love of reading. Limited to 12. Due to size and location of room, only infants worn in a sling or carrier may attend with the registered child - no strollers or car seats.

Held at Village Nursery School in Harvard


Art-Sensory Playgroup for 18-24 Months meets Tuesdays, 10-11:00

In this group children will get a chance to play in a preschool classroom and try out some new art and sensory activities. We will get messy, so don't wear your best clothes. The group will also include a circle time with book and songs. Limited to 9. Due to room size, only infants worn in a sling or carrier may attend with the registered child - no strollers or car seats.

Held at Roudenbush Preschool in Westford Center (Frost Bldg.)


Social & Emotional Skills Group for 2.6 thru 3 Year Olds

Held Thursdays 10:00 to 11:30 

This playgroup will use the Mass. Early Learning Standards and approaches to play and learning for social and emotional development. The group will include free play, a weekly learning activity, snack time, story and circle time. Children should bring a snack and inform us during registration of any anaphylactic food allergies. Limited to 12 children. This program includes a presentation to parents on Communication Milestones on November 8 by a speech-language pathologist. 

Held at Concord Carousel Preschool in West Concord 


Lunch Bunch Social & Emotional Skills Group for 2 & 3 Year Olds

Held  Mondays 12:30-2:00 

Same description as above except that we will start the group by eating lunch together. Families are welcome to attend the Communication Milestones presentation in Concord with childcare if needed.

Held at The Community School in Maynard Center


Outdoor STEM Group for 3 thru 5 Year Olds, held Fridays 2-3:00

With cooler weather and all the Fall changes, we'll be heading outside to explore nature trails so we can learn about what is happening in the ponds, fields and woods around us. We'll read a different book each week and allow the children to talk about what they may have discovered in their own back yards during the week. The places we will be walking are not completely stroller-friendly, but babies are welcome if they are worn in a carrier/sling/backpack.  

Held at Assabet River Wildlife Refuge in Sudbury


Multilingual Families Playgroup (babies in carriers welcome) held Mondays, 9:30-11:00

A child's primary language and culture are key contributors to lifelong development. This playgroup is specifically for families who are conversing in a language other than English as part of their family culture and daily life. The group will include a Read & Rise monthly parent/caregiver discussion topic, led by a parent educator, centering on how culture, traditions, and everyday fun family experiences can help foster their child's literacy and language development. The group includes a circle time and snack time in addition to free play. If your child has a life-threatening anaphylactic food allergy please let us know when you register. If you are registering for this group for the first time, please let us know the language other than English that is spoken at home.

Appropriate for ages 18 months thru 5. Held at First Connections in Acton


Free 6-Week Support Group for Parents of Children with Special Needs Aged 4-9, held in Concord beginning Monday, October 15, 9:30-11:00 a.m.
This group will be facilitated by Patty Marquis, LICSW, who has many years of experience counseling parents of children with challenges in her private practice and groups. Members of this group will meet other parents who can offer immediate empathy for the unique challenges they face on a daily basis and for the long haul. They will also learn strategies to care for themselves and have more satisfying interactions with their child. 6-week commitment required, 8-10 members. Register: or 978-202-1143.

"DIR Floortime: Helping Parents Work with Children with Developmental Delays" will be held September 13, 20, 27, Oct. 4, 11, 18, 7-9:00 p.m.
Held at The Professional Center for Child Development in Andover. $120/person or $160/family. The class consists of coaching, presentations, video illustrations. Learn how to strengthen your child's self regulation, the role of sensory issues, how to expand your child's play, the interplay between play and emotions. Includes two individualized mentoring sessions on Sundays, Sept. 23 and Oct. 14. Contact the Astra Foundation: 978-266-3700, ext. 701

The authors of "Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid! A Survival Guide for Ordinary Parents of Special Children"  are real-life sisters who share the joys and challenges, with heartfelt humor, about their experiences raising imperfect children in a society that values perfection. Hear how to let go of the expectations you have for your children and embrace the reality. They will be speaking in Waltham on October 10. Free, RSVP or for more information: or 781-895-3200.

Aspergers Connections Conference, October 15, at Boston University
Guest speaker Tony Attwood, author of "The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome," will precede two specialized topics for parents of children diagnosed with ASD-Level 1 (Asperger's syndrome). After the key note the day will focus on why specific interests occur, and how to make constructive use of the interest -- or reduce the dominance of a specific interest in daily life. The conference will also look at independence and interdependence moving toward acceptance of your child, realistic expectations, and effects of culture and gender over the life span. or 617-393-3824 x32 

"Making Things Possible: The Parenting Experience" at The Cotting School
Free day-long conference with guest Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, which is also a documentary released this summer focusing on parents of children who have Down Syndrome, autism and dwarfism. The day includes choice of workshop topics, lunch, and an opportunity to visit vendors and network with other parents. To register for the November 17 event, go to  

Free Admission Dates for Families of Children with Special Needs at The Discovery Museum in Acton. Registration is required on the website:, where you can also see all the details.
Families w/deaf, hard of hearing, or KODA infants/toddlers: Oct 1, 9:30-12:30
Families w/deaf, hard of hearing or KODA children: October 13, 5-8:00 pm
Sensory-Friendly Afternoons, 1:30-4:30: Oct. 2, Nov. 6, Dec. 4
Autism-Friendly Evenings, 5-8:00: October 6 and November 17
Visually Impaired Family Evenings, 5-8:00: November 3

Moms of Amazing Kids supports families who have a child with a medical, developmental or other special need. Membership is free and includes in-person and online opportunities to share resources/recommendations and talk with other moms who "get it." Monthly socials, workshops, family events, inclusive playgroups and more. 


"Raising Healthy Children in a Commercialized World"
presented by Josh Golin, Executive Director of the Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood on Thursday, September 27, 6:30-8:30 pm at Oak Meadow School in Littleton. Commercialism has been linked to many of the problems facing children today including obesity, eating disorders, increased materialism,  excessive media use, and the erosion of creative play. The speaker will describe what we can do - as parents and as a community - to give children the time/space they need in order to thrive. Free, but pre-registration is required online: $18 for professional development hours certificate.

Motor Development and Infant Massage held monthly this Fall
Parents and caregivers can learn how to avoid flat head syndrome, promote motor development, diminish fussiness, promote bonding, weight gain, and improve sleep. $20 per class. To register:
Sept. 13 or Nov. 15, 9:30-10:30 in Concord
Oct. 10 or Dec. 12, 10:00-11:00 in Westford 

Free 8-Week Circle of Security Parenting Group begins October 4
Sometimes children behave in ways that make parents angry, sad, ashamed, or confused. In this group parents learn to understand what their children are telling them in these moments and how they can respond to meet the needs of their child and themselves. Parents will explore how to help children manage feelings, how to identify what they and their children need, and how to overcome conflicts with their children. Held Thursdays, 6:30-8:00 at JF&CS Headquarters, in Waltham. Dinner will be served. To RSVP contact Anna Cable at or call 781-860-2195. Parents receive a certificate of graduation, and a $15 gift card after completing pre- and post-group paperwork.

Free 3-Week Active Parenting 1, 2, 3, 4 begins October 12 in Lowell
This group is held at Lowell General Hospital's Hanchett Auditorium on Fridays from 12-1:30. It is most appropriate for parents of children age 0-4 and will include ages and stages of development, building the bond between you and your child, discipline skills, choices and consequences, the power of encouragement and caring for the caregiver. Lunch is included. Taught by NFI Family Resource Center. To register, go to:  


Buy One Get One Free Admission at Southwick's Zoo September 8 & 9
Valid Massachusetts ID required
Meet Goats from Fraser Farm at Concord's Main Library, 10:00-2:00, on
September 8.  Kyle Bonefant will bring his goats to the library as part of Concord's "Agriculture Day," including a special story time.

Tufts Veterinary Hospital & School Open House, Sunday, Sept. 16, Grafton
Free fun and educational family activities include learning about what a veterinarian or animal behaviorist does through role play, hands-on conservation and wildlife activities, crafts, hayrides, farm animals, frisbee-catching dogs. 

Bike Rodeo and Safety Fair in the Target Parking Lot, Nashua, on Sept. 16
Bring your bikes and finish the safety & obstacle courses, have your helmet fitted, enjoy refreshments. Helmet giveaways and bike raffle. 10-1:00. Rain date is September 23.  

Sudbury Colonial Faire & Muster of Fyfes & Drums, September 29
Morning activities include games for children, a demonstration of contra dance and militia drills, a parade of 25 fife & drum companies marching from the Grist Mill to the Wayside Inn, demonstrations of colonial life cooking, black-smithing, woodworking, medicine. Period clothing, herbs, wooden toys, and food available for purchase. $2 per person over age 12. Held at 72 Wayside Inn Road, Sudbury. 10:00-4:00 (parade at noon).

Acton Fire Dept.'s 125th Anniversary Celebration is Saturday, October 13!
Watch the parade at 10:00 from the High School to Fire Station at 1 Concord Road.  See antique fire apparatus, Smokey the Bear, Sparky the Fire Dog, see fire demos, a safe house, and pizza cooked on the back of a fire truck. Free. 

If you will need financial assistance during the holidays this year and you live in.....
Acton:  Contact Community Services Coordinator Laura Ducharme at or 978-929-6651.

Bedford:  Contact Bedford Youth & Family Services at 781-275-7727 or 

Concord & Carlisle:  Contact Bonny Wilbur, Community Services Coordinator, 978-318-3034 or 

Boxborough: Contact Community Services Coordinator Lauren Abraham, 978-264-1730, 

Littleton & Harvard: Contact the Client Advocate at Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry, 978-772-4627 x312 or go to https://loavesfishespantry.orgThe pantry holds annual "Shop for Your Kids" and "Shop for your Parents" events, but
preregistration is required.  Volunteers and donations to this project are always welcome.

Sudbury:  Contact town social worker Bethany Hadvab, 978-440-5476 or Holiday assistance applications are due on October 12, 2018.  Families or organizations wishing to donate to this project can also contact Bethany.
Acton, Bedford, Boxboro, Concord, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard & Westford:
The annual Beacon Santa fundraiser benefits children living in the above towns. Applications are due October 31! For questions and information go to  or call 978-371-5795 or 

Justice Resource Institute has a Hope for All Seasons program that can help needy families who are participating in their programs, such as First Connections. Email to let us know about your special circumstance and how we can help. 

Please note that most holiday assistance programs allow families to receive gifts from only one program.