Somerville, MA – Somerville’s youngest community members will be receiving a special welcome to Somerville, thanks to a new initiative by the Somerville Family Learning Collaborative (SFLC) and the Kiwanis Club of Somerville. The program, SomerBaby, focuses on welcoming Somerville newborns by providing parents of newborns with information, resources and connections, to assist in their new journey as parents and to help establish a support structure early in a child’s life. The official kick-off of SomerBaby will occur during the Week of the Young Child, April 11-15, 2016.
“Our hope is that SomerBaby reflects the collective support within Somerville that acknowledges and dignifies the presence of every child. The first welcome helps families forge social and community connections and starts them on the path to educational opportunity,” commented Nomi Davidson, Director of the SFLC.
As part of the SomerBaby initiative, on April 5th, the SFLC and the City of Somerville’s Council on Aging are hosting an Intergenerational Community Baby Shower for a targeted initial group of new parents or expectant parents. The event will bring together new or expectant parents and older adults in the community to celebrate the journey of parenthood, build community, connect generations, and provide information about community resources.
Each family invited to the April 5th Intergenerational Community Baby Shower will leave with a Welcome Baby bag, information on community resources, and gifts for the baby. Each Welcome Baby bag includes a Somerville Community Resource Guide, an informational booklet on child development, a stacking cups toy, the board book Babies/Los Bebés by Susan Canizares and Pamela Chanko, a handmade blanket, and a Somerville Early Childhood Hub magnet. The Welcome Baby bag will be available in multiple languages. The SFLC will distribute additional Welcome Baby bags to Somerville families after the initial event.
Along with the generous support of the Kiwanis Club of Somerville, Davidson acknowledged the support of numerous other agencies and individuals throughout the community in ensuring a successful launch of the SomerBaby initiative. Additional support for the program, which will initially serve an estimated 100 Somerville families, was provided by The Somerville Council on Aging, SomerPromise, David Blumsack, Beautiful Stuff Project, Lori Lander, Diaper Circle, Porter Square Books, Target, Katey Duchin, music of Liza Kitchell, and community members who knitted clothing items and blankets and donated baby shower gifts.
“This initial event and targeted distribution of Welcome Baby bags is just the beginning of what we hope will be a program that continues to grow through continuing community-wide partnerships,” added Davidson. “We are incredibly fortunate to be part of a community that is so committed to our families and to the future of our youth.”
About the Somerville Family Learning Collaborative
The Somerville Family Learning Collaborative (SFLC) is the family engagement department of the Somerville Public Schools. The SFLC works to enhance the capacity of families to support their children’s learning and well-being by collaborating with community partners and promoting welcoming, responsive schools and programs that serve Somerville family members from birth to adulthood. The early childhood team of the SFLC provides parent support groups, playgroups, and home-visiting to families of young children in multiple languages.