Services

First Connections

Our mission is to equip parents with tools, practical strategies, and connections to other families and their communities to foster healthy parenting and guide them through the first years of the parenting journey.

Free programs and services include:
Children's Playgroups 
New Parent Groups
Post Partum Depression Support
Parent Education Programs
Parent Blog
Childcare & Early Education Information
Resource & Referral Guidance
ParentChild+ Home Visiting

View our Spring 2024 Newsletter

Family together
At a Glance
This service is for
Families with children birth to age 6 in the communities of Acton, Bedford, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Hanscom AFB, Harvard, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard, Sudbury, and Westford.
Professionals working with families with young children in those towns.
Age: Birth - 6
Gender: all
Let's Connect
Deborah Werneburg
Program Director
179 Great Road, Suite 104A
Acton, MA 01720
(978) 429-8284
Linda Jensen, LSWA
Office Manager
179 Great Road, Suite 104A
Acton, MA 01720
(978) 429-8284 x20940
(978) 429-8690
New Parent Groups

Emotional Well-Being After Baby Group - Every Wednesday 

Experiencing postpartum blues? Emotional challenges are the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth, yet parents often feel isolated and ashamed if they are struggling. Parents experiencing anxiety or depression, or who are feeling overwhelmed in the postpartum year, can come together for this supportive, nonjudgmental, confidential group to share stories, learn from each other, and receive coping skills strategies. This is an ongoing group for parents of babies 0-12 months.

EWAB is currently meeting via Zoom every Wednesday, 9:30-11AM. Before attending for the first time, or to obtain more info on connecting to the group please contact the facilitator, Emily Fiorini, M.A., efiorini@jri.org

New Mothers Group - Wednesdays 1-2:30  

Any mother with a pre-crawling baby is welcome to attend this weekly support group. Open-discussion format is a forum for you to share experiences and resources, connect with other new mothers, and seek guidance about any concerns you might have. No registration required. Facilitated by a certified lactation counselor or consultant, however parents using bottles for feeding are welcome!

This group is currently meeting in a hybrid schedule.  Email Mary at: mbeilman@jri.org for the link and password if it's your first group, then you will automatically receive it each week. 

NEW!!  The group will meet in person one Wednesday per month at Littleton Library. To RSVP for the in-person option, email lmatthews@jri.org. Upcoming dates are: July 10 and August 7

Parent & Family Consultations - by appointment

First Connections' professional staff provide one-on-one consultations for parents who have questions or concerns about postpartum adjustment, infant development, breastfeeding, or sibling-adjustment issues. Meetings most often take place virtually but can be arranged in person, in our office or outdoors.  This service is available to residents of Acton, Bedford, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Harvard, Hanscom Air Force Base, Littleton, Lincoln, Maynard, Sudbury, and Westford.

Parent and Child Playgroups

 

Our Summer Newsletter, with playgroup listings for July & August 2024 session, will be emailed June 22, 2024. 

 

 

Find Your Local Parent Association

 

Acton-Boxborough Family Network: www.abfamily.org

     Acton Boxborough Community Resources page

Bedford Family Connectionhttps://bfctoday.org/      

Carlisle Family ConnectionCarlisle Family Connection - Carlisle PTO (carlislemapto.org)

Concord Family Networkwww.concordfamilynetworWoman holding baby and readingk.org

Harvard Family AssociationHome - Harvard Family Association (clubexpress.com) 

Lincoln Family Association: www.lincfam.org

Littleton Parents Association: www.facebook.com/littletonparents

Maynard Family Network: www.maynardfamilynetwork.org  

Sudbury Family Network: https://www.sudburyfamilynetwork.com/

Westford Young Child Network

https://www.facebook.com/groups/westfordyoungchildnetwork/   or kjlutz05@gmail.com 

 

 

"Thank you so much for keeping the group running online. It was so good to connect with some new people. I was on the verge of tears when people were talking about family not seeing their babies and trying to juggle motherhood at home with partners doing "real work" so close by. I immediately felt better when you said that we're doing the hardest work. It was so validating and such a great reminder of what I knew before I became a parent. For me, being a parent is a huge honor that took us a little extra time to reach. Thank you for holding this space. "See" you soon!"
Katherine
New Moms Group participant
Supporting First Connections

  

First Connections is a Coordinated Family and Community Engagement (CFCE) program with primary funding from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.  With additional support from generous individuals and organizations, First Connections' wide range of family services are offered at no charge.  

Additional support for our fiscal year 2024 programs and services comes from: 
     Nordblom Family Foundation
     Emerson Health Determination of Need Community Health Initiative
     Sudbury Foundation
     Concord Carlisle Community Chest
     Schrafft Charitable Trust
     Acton Boxborough United Way
     Acton Congregational Church
     Trinitarian Congregational Church

This work is also made possible by donations from local families and individuals.  

Program Blog
First Connections Blog
By Ellie Springer on May 26, 2021
Go! Go! Go! Stop!  Cherise Mericle Harper  Video of Ms. Ellie reading the book. Vehicle painting: this book is a perfect fit with one of my… read more
Tags:
By Ellie Springer on May 14, 2021
The Napping House  Audrey Wood, Don Wood  Video of Ms. Ellie reading The Napping House Pile in the bed: let your child collect a bunch of their… read more
Tags:
By Ellie Springer on May 11, 2021
What’s This? A Seed’s Story  by Caroline Mockford  Video of Ms. Ellie reading the story. Sensory play: fill a bin with soil, some bigger seeds… read more
Tags: read aloud, Preschool, Toddlers, Nature
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Rachel has been a part of the JRI team since January, 2000. For over 20 years, Rachel has been working in the field of human services assisting families with accessing and navigating services. Rachel received her Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. She was promoted in July 2005 to Family Networks Program Director where she closely worked with the Department of Children Families for 10 years ensuring that children and families received the highest quality of individualized services ranging from community based through residential care. Rachel is very dedicated to helping the individuals she works with and is committed to improving the lives of children and families. Rachel’s passion for creative service programming inspires her in her role as JRI Service Navigator.