Medford Family Network
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Medford Family Network
Family Specialist Marie Cassidy
Medford High School
489 Winthrop Street
Medford, MA 02155
The Medford Family Network (MFN) of the Medford Public Schools is a family support and parenting education program that is available to every child and caregiver who lives or works in Medford with at least one child prenatal through age seven. It is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Grant), the Children’s Trust Fund (Massachusetts Family Center Grant), and the Friends of the Medford Family Network Corp.
The goal of the MFN is to create a strong web of support for all families of young children. This is accomplished by making community connections in three ways: (1) connecting families to families; (2) fostering family contact with community resources; and (3) building collaborative relationships among community agencies.
The activities of the Medford Family Network are rooted in The Five Protective Factors (see www.strengtheningfamilies.net). These five factors include: parental resilience, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development, concrete support in times of need, and children’s social and emotional development.
The Medford Family Network in conjunction with the Early Childhood Office and the school district work with local and state agencies to offer a comprehensive service delivery to families of young children that address these five factors. A Family Center is located at 489 Winthrop Street in the Medford High School. Our news and events page details our ongoing and current and special activities. A sample of these resources includes:
- Medford Family Center
- City-wide family events and activities
- Babysitting Exchange Program
- English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes
- Information and referral services, including a lending library
- Parent leadership development opportunities
- Parenting education programs
- Parent Support Group at Medford Housing
- Playgroups – drop-in; age specific
- Quarterly newsletter
- Specialized support groups (e.g., Dads are Great!, Life Transitions, parents of children with special needs, grandparents program)
- Visiting Moms Program
Programs are offered daytime, evening, and weekends throughout the city and are free of charge: child care and transportation options are available.
The MFN’s Parenting Education Workshops are designed to challenge participants to try new strategies, build on personal strengths and values, and incorporate new learning into their parenting skills. See our news and events page for workshops that are currently available. Registration is required for all parenting education workshops.
The MFN offers weekly 10-week playgroups that are held at the Family Center and other sites in the city. These playgroups require registration in advance and are designed for parents and caregivers of children from age 1 to five: Yahoo Crew (ages 1 & 2); Kiddie Glee (age 3); Fun Galore (age 4); Mix It Up (all ages). These playgroups are facilitated by a playgroup leader and foster parent/child interaction through play, social connections for parents, and provide information on child development and community resources. See our newsletter for playgroups that are currently available. Registration is required for all parenting education workshops.
Saturday playgroups are offered twice per month; at 9:30 am for toddlers and at 11:30 am for children ages 4, 5, and 6. This affords parents who work outside of the home on weekdays, as well as all parents, an opportunity to engage in relaxed playtime together. See our newsletter for Saturday playgroups that are currently available. Registration is required for Saturday playgroups.
From September through June, MFN offers Drop-In Playtime at the Family Center at the Medford High School. See our news and events page for specific days and times. The Family Center is equipped with activity areas such as blocks, books/puzzles, open art, housekeeping, dramatic play, puppets with a puppet stage, and math manipulatives; pla-doh; a gated infant space; bathroom with changing table; lending library, parenting and family support information display areas; and welcoming staff to answer questions and/or take registrations for other programs. Registration is not required, but all participants must sign in and out at the Center.
The front foyer of the Family Center holds a variety of items such as children’s and adult’s clothing, books, formula, and baby equipment. Families are welcome to bring and/or take items as needed. A major Swap Day offering three rooms full of gently used items is held on a quarterly basis on a Saturday. Supermarket and other gift certificates are donated by families to distribute to families in need. There is an annual Thanksgiving Basket and Holiday Gift drive that MFN conducts with local schools, student organizations, churches and a synagogue to distribute food and gifts to local families. See our news and events page for the date of the Swap Day.
MFN hosts special events throughout the year that include: the International Family Festival, Curious George Literacy Breakfast, summer Family Concerts, August Fun Night at Mystic Place, Story Walk, and the Teddy Bear Picnic. MFN collaborates with local organizations and you will find us at citywide events such as Tufts Community Day, Hallmark Health Fair, Jingle Bell Festival, Victorian Stroll, “Top Dogs” Dog Show, and Harvest Your Energy Festival. See our news and events page for current special events.
Free Family Concerts are held at Wright’s Pond each Tuesday evening and feature such children’s entertainers as Ben Rudnick and Friends Band, David Polansky, Binkey Bear Magic Show , Cheryl Melody ’s Imagination Concert, and Raspberry Rose.
MFN has many parent leadership opportunities: MFN Advisory Board (AB); AB Committees: Program, Outreach, Legislative Action, Administrative, Publicity/Marketing; volunteer Playgroup Leaders; volunteer presenters/workshop leaders, volunteer parents who assist with newsletter distribution. See our newsletter for current parent leadership opportunities.