Hilltown Families, Inc.
Founded in 2005, Hilltown Families is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving thousands of families living throughout western Massachusetts. Through an online grassroots communication network, Hilltown Families connects people and organizations in the region by helping residents share ideas, organize activities, support their children’s education, and increase participation in community life.
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 own communities.
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.