Tuesday, May 05, 2020

BoCoCa Diary: Help Families First Keep Its Doors Open

Today is Giving Tuesday, and if you are in a position to donate, perhaps you can support one of the most special places in the neighborhood, Families First, which may not be able to reopen in the fall without our help.

For the past 40 years, Families First has been an amazing resource for parents and young children in Brownstone Brooklyn. As its name indicates, families and their well-being have always been at the heart of this wonderful non-profit membership organization.
Located at 250 Baltic Street in Cobble Hill, the center offers a drop-in play space stocked with toys, inspiring art and music classes, and parenting workshops. Most importantly, it provides support groups for young parents and caregivers.
Founded as the Brooklyn Center for Family Life by two therapists in 1979, it was re-named “Families First” in 1983. At its core, the center's main principal has always been that the support of families is fundamental to the heathy development of children.

Families First is appealing to the Community for help in the message below:

Contributing what you can today helps us sustain this beloved place.
Whatever you give will be gratefully received and deeply appreciated.
Dear Families First community,
As you may know, Families First has been a “home away from home” for families in Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and Brooklyn Heights for 40 years. Caregivers, parents and children gather to play, sing, read, dance, eat and learn in our play space, classrooms, library, snack and music room. We were in the midst of modernizing the center, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to postpone planned floor renovations, and have used our savings to pay utilities, rent and salaries.

I have been a part of the Families First community since 2012, when my eldest son started taking Level 1 classes with Ms. Nanette, then as a board member and now as Executive Director since 2018.

Both of my sons’ first school experience was at Families First, and they both “graduated” with Ms. Erin; carrying fond memories and a love of learning. Our teachers foster children’s curiosity and instinctively know how to nurture valuable social-emotional skills. Even in this unprecedented situation, Ms. Erin, Ms. Nanette and Ms. Melissa are able to connect with their students virtually in a powerful way, as those of you who have been participating in online Practically Preschool know. They miss being with their little ones in the classrooms, but their enthusiasm and warmth comes through even via a computer screen.

Our teachers depend on their salaries to support themselves and their own families, and we have been able to pay them their full salaries since the shut down in March. However, we will not be able to do so past June 1 as spring enrollment is virtual only and all memberships have been paused. We need your help. Contributing what you can now will help us sustain our beloved center. Any amount you give will be gratefully received and used to ensure that we can remain part of the neighborhood and open our doors once again, as soon as it is safe to do so.

We can’t wait to be together again and welcome back our treasured families, students and playmates.
Be well,
Alison Khalaf, Executive Director 

To read more about Families First 40 year history in the neighborhood, click here:
Families First Brooklyn
Families First: Celebrating A Long And Proud Tradition Of Supporting Neighborhood Parents And Their Children

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