Let’s Talk: “Back to School” Season

As the sun sets on summer, the first day of school quickly approaches! The start of the new school year can be a very exciting and stressful time. Research has proven that talking about changes with children and creating consistent routines can ease big transitions like starting a new school year. Below are some helpful tips to tackle the return to school as a family:

TALK about the change with your children!

  • Talk positively about the new school year and build excitement about what to expect.
  • Ask about your child’s feelings and fears, name & acknowledge their emotions, and praise them for sharing. Once school has started, check-in daily about how your child is feeling.
  • Talk about the changes that will happen in your daily routines. For a young Preschooler, you might do this a few days in advance. For an older school-aged child you may want to prepare for the new daily routines a week or two in advance. Highlighting what will be different as well as the same will help your child know what to expect.

LEARN TOGETHER about what to expect:

  • Go to events for new families like open house, orientation or support groups.
  • Tour the new school with your child and explore the classroom.
  • Read books about what to expect. See our list of recommendations below!

CREATE your new routine! Rather than waiting for school to change your day-to-day for you, prepare for the new routine in advance.

Before school starts:

  • Adjust your child’s nap and bedtime to adapt for the new school routine and to ensure your child is getting the recommended hours of sleep.
  • Adjust mealtimes to match the school schedule as much as possible.
  • Have children help get ready for their first day — pick out clothes, pack a backpack and choose lunch or snack.

After school starts:

  • Arrive on time to allow the child time to settle in. Go through daily routines, like putting belongings away.
  • Plan and prepare for new or increased behaviors and/or regression which can be expected during a big transition.
  • When possible, try to avoid introducing any new transitions. Spend more one-on-one time together and offer more affection & attention while they’re adjusting to the transition.

Using books to connect to real life is always a great strategy to prepare for change. Here are some books about starting school to help get excited:

pencils and pens

School Supplies Drive – Accepting Donations!

“Back to school” is just around the corner! Each year, the Community Center holds a School Supplies Drive to ensure all students have what they need to return to the classroom and have a wonderful and productive school year. Our annual School Supply Drive is donor-supported, meaning we rely on community members who are able to donate supplies that we’ll then fill into new backpacks for students in need.

How you can help:

While you’re picking up school supplies for your own crew, help local students in need by purchasing a few extra items! Bring donations to MFCC anytime now through August 11th between 8AM and 4PM. Below is a list of the items that are most needed.

  • Backpacks (highest need)
  • Pens and pencils
  • Notebooks / loose-leaf paper
  • Binders of various sizes
  • Glue sticks
  • Crayons
  • Markers / highlighters
  • Scissors
  • Pencil boxes / pouches
  • Tissues

How you can sign up to receive school supplies:

If you’re in need of assistance with school supplies for the upcoming school year, we’d love to be able to help! Families will need to register to receive supplies between July 17th (registration opens) and August 11th (registration deadline).

Either stop by the Community Center, give us a call at (802) 893-1457, or fill out the online form linked below to register!

Link to register: Register for ’23 MFCC School Supplies Drive

Kelly Hughes Memorial Fund

The Milton community is remembering the vibrant life of our dear friend, Kelly Hughes. Kelly was a fierce advocate for children & families, a dedicated staff member (and most recently Board of Directors member) of MFCC, and a sincere friend to so many in our community and beyond.

Kelly could almost always be found with a book in her hands! She was an avid reader and spread her love for reading to all the children and adults who crossed her path.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Ann Church, Milton, Vermont on Friday, June 23rd at 11:00 AM with a reception to follow in the church hall. Kelly will be laid to rest with her parents in St. Ann’s Cemetery in Milton at a later date.  

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to MFCC. All donations to the Kelly Hughes Memorial Fund will go to help build a little free library for the Community Center with Kelly’s name and plenty of bright, beautiful colors.

Donate online via PayPal here: Donate – Milton Family Community Center (miltonfamilycenter.org)

Check payments can also be made out & sent to:
Milton Family Community Center
PO Box 619
Milton, VT 05468

Our Community Center Values

Milton Family Community Center has a set of core values that drive our programs, initiatives, and work. We invite you to read along and share your experience with these values in the comments below!

Value #1: Community

“At MFCC, community is not only in our name, it’s our top core value. As Executive Director, a sense of Community shows up for me every day. Most days I have the opportunity to interact with over 100 people – from the students and families in our early childcare program, staff at Milton Elementary School where our MASK program takes place, to participants of our food shelf. In our recently shared survey to community members, we asked, ‘What comes to mind when you think of MFCC?’ I wasn’t surprised to see that a sense of and support for Community resonated the most with folks that know us – from parents, to donors, and partners.

“On a more personal level, I’m so thankful to have started my journey with MFCC as a new parent. It has been invaluable to connect with so many great, caring parents. I also know my son will grow up wrapped by the love and support this community offers. A MASK student recently shared with me that they saw a previous teacher in the grocery store and got to give her a big hug. It’s not uncommon to see the joy on a 5th or 6th grader’s face when they hug their afterschool teacher who was also their MFCC teacher when they were 2 years old. Our work has and continues to come full circle throughout Milton and Northern Chittenden County. It’s a community that I know I am proud to be a part of cultivating.”
– MFCC’s Executive Director, Nicole Sener

Value #2: Compassion

Compassion is at the heart of everything we do, from distributing food to families in need, to hosting Playgroups and community events to support parents and caregivers as they navigate raising children. We all face tons of challenges and stressors in life, and having empathy and compassion for our fellow community members drives MFCC’s work.

We were touched by the outpouring of support & love we witnessed in our campaign to raise money for the family of a MFCC colleague who unexpectedly passed away. In a matter of a few days, the community came together in remembrance and honor of our friend, and selflessly donated their own financial resources to help a family during a difficult time. This sense of compassion, direct care & concrete support for those in need is what we’re all about, and it’s wonderful to see it embodied throughout our community.

Value #3: Adaptability

Adaptability has been at the forefront of our Food Shelf and direct family assistance programs at MFCC. The COVID-19 pandemic is a great example of what adaptability has looked like for us, as it forced us to respond with reimagined procedures and service offerings to fit the new unique needs of the community.

In early 2020, keeping the Food Shelf open was a top priority, and we needed to figure out a way to keep everyone safe in the process. We asked the community for support, and donations came in like never before! Our closed early childcare classrooms became storage for boxes and boxes of donated food. In order to keep distance and maintain safety, we set up appointments and used grocery carts to meet participants outside. We also launched a grab-and-go market-style food display so folks could access food as needed in a contact-free setting. Many of these changes allowed us to learn better ways to support community members and are still in practice today.

We know that we’ll need to continue being flexible, nimble, and adaptable to fit the ever-changing needs of our community. We are so grateful to our community partners who are nimble and willing to adapt with us to meet the needs of others.

Value #4: Resilience

Our early childhood program staff are well-versed in resilience, and have had countless opportunities to prove their grit. Like the rest of the world, we’ve had to deal with unimaginable obstacles and challenges and have been tasked with remaining positive and supportive to the families we serve while chaos outside the Center ensues.

Most recently, due to a change in enrollment numbers we found ourselves with lots of toddlers and less preschoolers, which prompted us to create additional classroom space for toddlers. This switch introduced even more change to the team and presented new challenges. Not only have staff members met these challenges with optimism and open minds, they’ve excelled and grown in the process, showing their resilience.

Our ability to work through rough patches and continue showing up for the families we serve is so incredibly important and powerful. Just like with parenting, it’s not always easy but it is always worth it!

Value #5: Empowerment

Empowerment is the driving force behind MFCC’s mission and the overarching goal of all the Center’s programs, especially family support and parent education.

Children succeed when parents, caregivers, and families succeed and have the support, information, and resources they need to thrive. Our strengths-based approach to empowering families meets parents where they are, and individualized guidance and support are wrapped around the family with a mix of services based on their unique needs.

We serve a wide range of families, all with their own backgrounds, barriers, challenges, and goals. With that in mind, we design our programs to match the variety of needs out there. Whether it’s a workshop about responding to tantrums, an open-ended Playgroup (check out MFCC Playgroup!) designed to support socialization, or an upbeat family cooking class, it’s all about showing up for families and enriching their lives with wholesome fun, healthy food, and resources to learn and grow as a family.

Parenting is one of the most stressful AND one of the most rewarding jobs that a person can have, and we’re here to lift and build parents up. When children and families thrive, so does our community.

Registration for Summer MASK Camp

Registration for Summer Milton Afterschool Kids (MASK) Camp is now open! We are very excited to bring themed weeks, new activities, and field trips to the programming this year. The Summer MASK Camp runs for 8 weeks, Monday – Friday, 7:30am to 5:30pm starting June 26, 2023. We know it’s going to be a fun-packed summer, and we’d love to have you along for the ride! 

Here are the weekly themes:

Week 1 (6/26-30): Down on the Farm, featuring a visit to Shelburne Farms (FULL, WAIT LIST ONLY)
Week 2 (7/3-7): Reptiles, featuring a visit from some special, scaly guests
Week 3 (7/10-14): Ready, Set, Take-Off! Featuring a visit to BETA technologies (FULL, WAIT LIST ONLY)
Week 4 (7/17-21): Drama Week, featuring Lake Champlain Access Television
Week 5 (7/24-28): Championing Lake Champlain, featuring a visit to the Maritime Museum (FULL, WAIT LIST ONLY)
Week 6 (7/31-8/4): Water Week, featuring walking field trips and on-site water fun (FULL, WAIT LIST ONLY)
Week 7 (8/7-11): Community Helpers, featuring guests and local field trips (FULL, WAIT LIST ONLY)
Week 8 (8/14-18): Summer Celebration! (FULL, WAIT LIST ONLY)

If you’re interested in registering your child(ren) for any of the open weeks, please fill out the interest form linked below, and we’ll be in touch regarding next steps for enrollment and paying a deposit to hold your spot.

2023 Summer MASK Camp Interest Form

We can’t wait to spend summer with you. As always, feel free to reach out to mask@miltonfamilycenter.org with any questions. 

We’re counting down the days until Summer MASK! In community,
-MFCC Staff

Brian Lamb Memorial Fund

We are saddened to share the news of Brian Lamb’s passing earlier this month. Brian was a committed team member at Milton Afterschool Kids, and had a big impact on the program and the children and families he worked with throughout the years. Team members remember Brian as a reliable, energetic, fun-loving friend and colleague who always put kids and families first. 

Milton Family Community Center is raising funds to support his family and cover the unexpected costs of his passing. If you are able to donate, your generosity would be greatly appreciated and would help alleviate the financial burden on the Lamb family during this difficult time. To make a donation, please click the link below to donate online, or contact us directly for other ways to support this fund. 

Click here to donate

Thank you in advance for your support. In community, 

-Milton Family Community Center Staff 

Want a chance to win a $50 Hannaford Gift Card- Complete our survey

Residents of Northern Chittenden County, we need your help!

At Milton Family Community Center, we are committed to providing our best services yet to date, and we need your help identifying what the community needs. Please consider spending less than 10 minutes sharing your feedback with us on our programs, or why you have never accessed our programs.

You will have the option to be entered to win a $50 Hannaford gift card just for completing the survey!

Please share your thoughts by February 17, 2023 to win. Last but not least, you can double your support by helping us spread the word. Encourage friends and neighbors to complete the survey as well.

In Community,
The team at Milton Family Community Center

Giving Tuesday

Updated 12/1 at 2:10pm

Why choose to donate to MFCC this Giving Tuesday? Our work creates strong families – and in turn, strong communities. We run 5-star, affordable childcare, as well as before and afterschool care that allows parents to get back to work. We offer regular opportunities to connect with other parents from playgroups to cooking classes. Our food shelf supports over 30 individuals a week, and hundreds more community members access assistance in times of need through our many drives. The majority of our families reported an increase in their resiliency as a result of our programs in the last year, including feeling more confident as a parent, more connected to their community and more able to handle stressful events. 

Double your impact today by sharing your support on social media. Download the graphics below, and tag us with why you give this givingtuesday to Milton Family Community Center.