What you can do for the Family Center

To the Editor:

I want to be sure the Island community is aware that a beloved institution of mine, the Martha’s Vineyard Family Center, which has been located at the high school for more than 15 years, is being asked to vacate the premises.

I understand the reason for the move. The high school is discontinuing the early education vocational program, and thus the adjacent Family Center no longer serves its function as a living lab for the students in the program. The move may be unavoidable, but keeping the Family Center alive and well is critical. What has been an amazing resource for Island families, where children play year-round in a safe, enriching environment and parents interact, sharing support and resources, either peer-to-peer or with the assistance of a trained facilitator, at no cost to them, may be threatened.

Even when (and if) a new space is found for the Family Center, limited resources will have to be allocated to the move (the costs of rent, building, or rebuilding, for example). I worry that this might limit some of the wonderful programs that I’ve enjoyed in the six years since I moved here and had my first child – programs such as parenting and relationship workshops; field trips to the FARM Institute, Felix Neck, and the town fire station; puppet shows, music classes, baby and me exercise – and that’s only a sampling of all that the Family Center has offered since I’ve been here.

What can we do? For now, spread the word. Share your thoughts and feelings about the Family Center and do your best to ensure it continues. It must.

Jeanne M. Clement

Vineyard Haven