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.