In the end, just three things matter: How well we have lived. How well we have loved. How well we have learned to let go.
Jack Kornfield
Network members' voices bring good news and share highlights from around our community
Activating Community Power: A Conversation with Boston City Councilor Julia Mejia
Earlier this month, Networks of Opportunity for Child Wellbeing (NOW) hosted the launch of our 2024 NOW Leadership Blog series, featuring a dynamic conversation with Boston City Councilor Julia Mejia. Councilor Mejia is a longtime community leader and advocate who has worked tirelessly to build community power through civic engagement efforts that increase participation in the political process. View the recording and other session materials on the webinar archive link below.

In this critical election year across the country, hear more about Councilor Mejia's journey and her reflections and insights for mobilizing resident's and community organizations to make a difference in who holds power and how decisions are made locally and beyond.

Listen to this inspiring conversation and explore more of our NOW Webinar Archives here.
Connect with Vital Village Networks at these upcoming events
Join us at the April Network Connecting Meeting!
Monday, April 8th | 5:30 pm
2024 Community Food Systems Fellows are going LIVE!
Friday, April 26th | 2:00 pm ET
Join our 2024 Community Food Systems fellows on Instagram Live! Friday, April 26th at 2:00 pm ET, the fellows will be logging on for an open-table discussion of all things food systems.

Learn more about these community champions, their organizations, backgrounds, what drew them to food systems work, and what they are working for today.

Learn more about our 2024 Food Systems Fellows here, and visit this link to our VVN instagram account.
Check out available resources relevant to children and families
My'Self' in the World Children Storytime 
Attend the My “Self” In the World Children Storytime series with your young children every Thursday at 3:30 p.m. ET via Zoom. Join us for readings, activities, and reflections focused on social-emotional learning.
Join the Greater Boston Birth Equity Coalition
Our Greater Boston Birth Equity Coalition is live and seeking members. Coalition members will collaborate as equal partners in achieving the shared vision of ensuring equitable and just experiences for people planning, preparing for, and welcoming children into their lives.

Visit the link bellow to join as a member or to nominate someone for the Elder Council. Learn more about the coalitions here.
Together for Hope
Boston Medical Center Health System hosted its inaugural Together for Hope: Boston Addiction Conference 2024 at Roxbury Community College over the weekend of March 16, 2024. The event convened leaders from all corners of the field and cemented our status as a national leader in clinical care, research, policy, and advocacy related to substance use disorders (SUDs).

Through panel discussions, keynote addresses, and one-on-one conversations, attendees were inspired and energized by innovation in substance use disorder treatment and how they can adopt person-centered approaches. You can read more about the conference on HealthCity.
Abundance Boston Food Access App 3.0.2 is now available! Abundance empowers Boston residents to easily access affordable, high-quality food resources. Download the FREE app today!
Events, resources, and opportunities by our partners and community organizations
Talk, Read, Play Flash Rhyme Mob
Wednesday April 10th, 11:00-11:30am
Celebrate the Talk Read Play Campaign by participating in a citywide event where groups of providers and children will recite rhymes, poems, and sing songs at different locations across the city at the same time!
Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Stronger Generations Initiative’s Free Yard Sale
In-Person Event
Stronger Generation is hosting a free spring community event for community members expecting and/or parenting a child/children ages 0-5 across Greater Boston. Community members do not need to RSVP, but it is helpful for supply counts and expediating registration at the event.
Date & Time:
Saturday, April 27th, 11:00am – 1:00 pm (rain date: May 11, 11a-1:00p)
BCYF Curtis Hall in Jamaica Plain (20 South St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130)
The Early Childhood Agenda Spring Convening
In-Person Event
The Early Childhood Agenda works alongside community members and organizations throughout Massachusetts to leverage our collective action and bring heightened awareness to early childhood issues to improve the well-being of young children and their families. This is an in-person gathering for friends, partners, and supporters.
Date & Time:
Wednesday, May 8th, 4-7:00 pm EST
Polar Park, Madison Street,
Worcester, MA
Massachusetts Housing Assistance: Emergency and Long-Term Help
The Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities has created this guide on how to get help with housing in Massachusetts. This guife includes a range of resources, including emergency shelter services, assistance for those facing eviction, short- and long-term support for affording rent and utilities, and affordable housing opportunities.
“A 100-Year Review of Research on Black Families”
Child trends has published “A 100-Year Review of Research on Black Families,” an extensive body of work chronicling research on Black families from the 1920s through 2020.
Revisit the March Network Connector Newsletter Archive on our website, and explore the full newsletter archive library here.
Check out job, volunteer, and grant opportunities available in our community
Policy & Project Coordinator
Health Care for Everyone
If you are interested in joining a dynamic team committed to fighting for health care equity, affordability and justice in Massachusetts, consider sending an application.
Applications are now open to become a RISER Mentee or Mentor!
RISER Network
Riser Network is a collaboration between senior, mid-level, and early career scholars conducting applied child development research focused on the positive development of Black children.
Call for Proposals
A View from All Sides
Application Deadline: Thursday, April 25th, 2024
Apply now to present at this year’s A View from All Sides. Learn and connect with peers and experts dedicated to family support and family wellbeing. Share you experience, insights, strategies, and resources with family and support staff across New England.
The Boston Tree Alliance Program’s Tree Planting Grant is Live!
The Boston Tree Alliance Program
Application Deadline: Thursday, April 25th, 2024
Open to non-profits and community-based organizations to fund impactful tree planting projects alongside landowners to grow and care for the urban tree canopy. For questions regarding the B.T.A. Tree Planting Grant, email
Annual Children’s Mental Health Matters Conference
Thursday, May 2nd, 10:00am – 12:00 pm EST
Virtual Event
Join William James College for their Annual Children’s Mental Health Matters Conference. This program is appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners/ practitioners, or other individuals looking to gain knowledge in this area. $30 for those requesting Continuing Education Credits, FREE for those who are not!
Mistreatment is Commonly Reported During Maternity Care: How Can We Advocate for Change?
Tackling implicit bias, diversifying the healthcare workforce, addressing environmental and occupational exposures, confronting structural racism, and implementing supportive social policies are key strategies to reduce racial disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality in the United States as recommended by Njoku and colleagues (2023).
How Can We Advocate for change?
  1. Enhance Curriculum and Diversify the Workforce: Addressing implicit bias, improving cultural humility among healthcare providers, and improving diversity in the workforce.
  2. Explore the impact of Environmental and Occupational Exposures: Structural racism contributes to disparities in exposure to environmental hazards and workplace discrimination, impacting maternal health outcomes.
  3. Address Social Determinants of Health and Structural Racism: Structural racism affects access to quality healthcare, education, employment, and food, exacerbating racial disparities in maternal health.
  4. Improve Social Policies and Programs: Policy interventions are needed to address barriers to accessing care, such as expanding Medicaid coverage for non-hospital care, doula services, postpartum care, and addressing gaps in maternal support, including paid family leave and childcare affordability.
"State Strategies for Preventing Pregnancy-Related Deaths: A Guide for Moving Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) Data to Action" assists MMRCs in using data to understand the problem, contextualizing solutions, identifying goals and strategies, and implementing actions. Each step integrates equity considerations, aiming to eliminate disparities in maternal mortality.
Are you Willing to Listen to Me?
Advocacy takes many forms. Try to find a trusted care team and communicate preferences regarding interventions, such as caesarean sections or inductions. It is important to ask questions and discuss alternatives, engage in birth preparedness practices, and plan for unexpected events. Lamaze classes and sister circles can provide valuable information and support.

Example questions to ask your provider are found here.
Have an event, job opportunity, or resource to share with the network?
Vital Village Networks is a network of residents and agencies committed to maximizing child, family, and community well-being.