The First Connections office will be closed through June in compliance with the Governor's order for schools to remain closed. We are definitely still available and operating remotely during this time, however!
Mary is stepping down from her position as Program Director/CFCE Coordinator as soon as a replacement is hired so that she can devote more time to her true passion of working with new parents and babies.
The good news is,
he will still be facilitating new parent programs one day a week with us!
We feel very lucky to have had Emily Lindblad working with us over the past few years, first as a playgroup substitute, then as an intern facilitating playgroups, New Moms Group and Emotional Wellbeing After Baby Group while she finished her Master's Degree. We congratulate Emily on her new position as the NICU Family Program Coordinator at U.Mass. Memorial Hospital in Worcester!
Job posting for Playgroup Substitute:
This winter we welcomed a new volunteer to help us facilitate our Multilingual Playgroup. Yu Song raised her boys in Acton, and taught at Acton Chinese School before finding us. She has been immensely helpful to our staff and can speak from experience to other parents who are raising children in a country they were not raised in.
Love has no Limits, but Parenting Does!
presented by guest speaker Donna Shea
Saturday, May 9, 10:30-12:30
Register for the Zoom link to connect to this program:
Send your name, ages of your children, and town you live in: firstname.lastname@example.org
With the stress of our current situation, more demands between working from home or being suddenly unemployed, and balancing those with the kids learning from home, we sometimes just don't have the steam for the harder-than-we-might-expect work of parenting. Let's be honest, we all slide when it comes to seeing the limits our kids need from us. In this workshop we'll talk about the benefits to limit setting, that fair is not necessarily equal, dealing with tantrum throwers and negotiators, when to hold onto an expectation and when to let one go, overcompensating because we feel guilty, and tips for getting it all done while we stay at home. This is a free program.
Donna She is the Founder of The Peter Pan Center for Social & Emotional Growth in Boxborough. She is a social-emotional learning specialist and the co-author of the How to Make & Keep Friends book series for children and adolescents.
This training was funded through a grant by CHNA 15, and was made possible by Determination of Need funds received from Lahey Hospital & Medical Center and Winchester Hospital.
Baby Sleep Science
Guest Speaker Kiri Gurd, Ph.D.
Friday, June 5, 1:00 p.m
Register for the full description of this program and link to connect by sending you name, baby's age, and the town you live in to: email@example.com
The mission of the Baby Sleep Science Sleep Resource Center is to help parents improve their child's sleep in a way that feels right to them, both by using what is known about the science of infant and child sleep and by acknowledging and respecting the strong attachments and associations babies develop.
Dr. Gurd's expertise is in the sociology of family, gender, race and organizations. She has established and overseen a number of large outreach programs for families and children in cities and countries around the world. We thank her for donating her time. You can learn more about the center at www.babysleepscience.com
NEW PARENT PROGRAMS
New Moms Group
Any mother with a pre-crawling baby is welcome to attend this ongoing weekly support group. This 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. Facilitator is certified lactation support. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the zoom link until groups can be held in person again.
Every Wednesday, 1-2:30 p.m.
Emotional Well-being After Baby Group
Emotional challenges are the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth, yet parents often feel isolated and ashamed if they are struggling. Moms and Dads experiencing anxiety or depression, or who are feeling overwhelmed in the postpartum year, can come together for this supportive, nonjudgmental, confidential group to learn from each other and acquire coping and self-care strategies. While this is an ongoing, weekly group, before attending for the first time please contact the facilitator, Heather O'Brien, LICSW, at
for the zoom link until we can meet in person again.
Every Thursday, 10:00-11:30 a.m.
New Dads Group
Our new dads group meets monthly to allow dads to make connections with other fathers, ask questions, exchange tips, and share their experiences of parenthood. There are many adjustments when a new baby enters your home which can affect relationships with family, friends, and partners. A brief topic will be presented each month in addition to checking in with those who wish to participate in a discussion. Facilitated by Heather O'Brien, LICSW.
Email email@example.com for the zoom link until the group can meet in person again. Tuesdays, 7-8:30 pm, May 12 & June 9
Working Parents Group
Registration for the monthly Working Parents Group is currently full but we will be re-registering families in July. If you're interested in this group for parents who are (usually) working out of the home full time and have a baby under 24 months, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know who will be attending the group, including baby's age, and the town you live in Thanks!
Held Saturdays, 9:30-11:00
INFANT THRU PRESCHOOLER PLAYGROUPS:
Virtual playgroups will continue to run through mid-June. We will send another newsletter at that time to let families know what the summer offerings will look like based on social-distancing guidelines in place at that time. The only groups that we can add members to now are:
Active Duty Military Families Group on Thursdays at 10:00
Pre-K Group for 4 & 5 Year Olds who will begin Kindergarten in the Fall of 2020
Email email@example.com if you are interested in either of these playgroups
Thank you to the following who made recent donations to our program!
Deborah Jones: $50
Nancy Nephew: $100
Cahn Funds for Social Change: $500
Cornerstone Thrift Shop in Acton: $1,640
Eastern Bank: $10,150
Julia Day: $2,000 with matching gift from Eversource
$849 from CHNA 15 for the MGH Psychiatry Academy staff training:
"When a Patient with Cancer is a Parent: Practical Parent Guidance to Address Parenting Concerns and Enhance Parenting Skills to Support Child Coping"
and for the "Love Has No Limits" Community Training
Deb Verner and
Pam Heald for the diapers, and
Laura Kennedy and
Rakhi Narayan for Amazon Gift Cards to re-stock diapers for our Diaper Pantry serving families in our community. We also appreciate the donations of diapers from families whose children have outgrown a size. Even though the office is currently closed, someone is there on Fridays to pickup donations left at the door between 8:00 and 2:00. We then repackage them for a family who needs them!
THANK YOU ACTON FAMILY NETWORK for their diaper drive that got this project started.
GRANDPARENTS/KIN RAISING GRANDCHILDREN
The Mass. Commission on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren is currently sending a weekly newsletter to any family that requests it by filling out the form at
Find out about supportive resources, workshops, important news, benefits, and ways to manage the stress of sheltering in place.
Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Group held at First Connections
Finding Support Through Community
Parents who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss and are seeking support from others with shared experiences are welcome to attend a free monthly support group held on the second Monday of each month. The groups are led by Katie Stockman, an Advance Practice Nurse at Emerson Hospital with experience supporting families whose pregnancies have ended unexpectedly or whose infants have died.This group is currently meeting via zoom - email firstname.lastname@example.org so she can send you the link. You can also give her a call with questions at 978-287-3422.
May 11, June 8, 2020, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Early Childhood Council
The Early Childhood Council provides partial preschool scholarships to low- and moderate-income working families with children who are 4 years old, have never been to preschool, are residents of one of the 4 towns, and will be entering kindergarten the following year. Use the following email
to inquire about applying to this fund: ABHLearlychildhoodcouncil@gmail.com
Concord-Area Preschool Association
Scholarships for Concord & Carlisle
Four Year Olds
Scholarships are available for Concord and Carlisle children who will be entering kindergarten in the Fall of 2021
and have not attended preschool due to economic barriers. For more information contact CAPA: email@example.com or 978-318-3045.
Doli Atamian Campership
for Acton & Boxboro Residents
Applications are available for income eligible families who require financial assistance in order for their child age 3 or older to be able to participate in a summer camp program this year. Apply for a $250 scholarship by visiting this website:
Deadline for applications is June 30, 2020!
Low-income families are encouraged to apply directly to camps and recreation departments for scholarships if a camp experience would be a financial hardship for your family and you would like to be able to give your child that opportunity.
Strategies for Children Survey for Working Parents whose Childcare is Affected by COVID-19
Early Education for All is the advocacy campaign of Strategies for Children. EEA advocates in numerous ways to achieve SFC's core mission: to ensure that Massachusetts invests the resources needed for all children, from birth to age five, to access high-quality early education programs that prepare them for success in school and life.
We want to hear from the parents of young children in Massachusetts. The family perspective is crucial and will help our organization advocate for child care providers and families in the coming months. How have you been navigating the Coronavirus pandemic so far? What are your plans for the future? Please take our
, and share with your networks. Your participation will help inform the COVID-19 response and advocacy in Massachusetts.
The Latest Updates on Financial Resources for COVID-19 Stressors
1) If you are currently unemployed:
If your income is reduced you may be eligible for supplemental food benefits:
3) If you are working and your child care provider is closed:
4) If you're looking for a job at a company that is open and hiring now:
5) If you can't afford your cable/internet bill but need internet for school or work:
8) Good information for business owners during COVID-19, including the Workshare Program:
9) If you are being threatened with eviction, foreclosure, or harassment, special rules apply during COVID:
10) If you lost your health insurance and need help with prescriptions or medical care:
Other Important Information You May Need
1) Children under age 2 should not wear a face mask:
2) If you are in an abusive or domestic violence situation and need help:
4) 4-week parenting groups through zoom links through William James College are free and open to all:
Parents & Co-parents of Children under Age 7, Executive Functioning Challenges While Working from Home, Disconnecting from News & Reducing Anxiety:
5) Parenting groups open to all and free of charge are also being run through Parents Helping Parents. Current openings on Fridays at noon or a group for
Parents of Children with Technology Challenges
6) If you are pregnant during the pandemic and looking for a support group: