Notes from Nick

“Give” is a four-letter word.  Somehow, especially during the holiday season it may feel like another four-letter word.  I think this happens because of many compounding factors–like the volume of asks we receive, the underlying stress we put on ourselves during the holidays or our sense of obligation to help though we have limited resources to do so.  Now that Thanksgiving is approaching, take a deep breath, and let’s sort out what giving can really mean.

Most importantly, supporting an organization, program, or cause should come in a form that isn’t burdensome.  Finding the ways that giving makes sense within your unique circumstances is key, and with that, giving can take many forms:  volunteering time, sharing important social media or email with family and friends, donating in-kind materials or services, being a connector in setting up public presentations, attending a special event, and of course, donating monetarily.  All of these levels of partnership are crucial, in concert, to strengthen our organization and help us respond to community needs.

At the end of November, Families First Children’s Museum is launching an annual giving campaign that welcomes ALL of these aspects of collaboration and support.  We have been in partnership with you for 23 years in providing important family education classes, consultations, and an interactive museum environment within which families can grow together.  Together, we are seeing 26,000 annual visits to our museum and family support programs.  This absolutely doesn’t happen without you.

This giving campaign is our way of asking you to join us in maintaining this important reach.  Starting on Giving Tuesday, November 28th, and throughout the whole month of December we will be asking for your support.  As we reach out through social media, newsletter stories, gift matching promotions, and in-person special events, we’ll ask you to give in the ways you can to help sustain Families First Children’s Museum.  Simply put, your engagement at all levels supports parents, inspires children and grows families.

Thank you for your past and present partnership and we’ll look forward to reconnecting soon!

Sincerely,

Nick Roberts
Executive Director

 

October 2017

The needs of any given family are an ever-evolving, fluid journey. Sometimes circumstances lead families to more formalized counseling or consultation services, and other times we just need a little support with a new incident that has come into our lives. Families First Children’s Museum programming reflects our interest in meeting you right where you are to provide guidance for the variety of planned and unplanned realities of parenthood.

We welcome the active fall season by relaunching an important program we hope will help you navigate your own parenting landscape.  Our free family education classes are offered as casual, one-time instructional opportunities during the school year. In partnership with Missoula County Public Schools, these topical presentations are delivered by professional instructors at rotating school-based locations for easier access. We can all use practical parenting advice. From social media challenges, to anxiety and peer pressure at school, to establishing a smoother morning routine, we know what you’re going through! And if we don’t, we want to find someone who can. Read through our fall/winter schedule and join us for a little support or stop by our offices to learn more about our programs.

Be sure to join us with your kids for our annual Halloween Bash on Oct. 29 as well.  The museum staff is putting in a lot of work to make this a great family event and we’re sure you’ll have a good time.  Until then, thank you for your continued support of our organization and our community’s families.

Sincerely,

Nick Roberts
Executive Director

September 2017

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since voters approved the new Missoula County Public Library, the building that will house Families First Children’s Museum when it opens in late 2019. Over the course of this year there’s been a great deal of preparation taking place, but last week things really kicked into high gear.  For three days we met with a design firm to make plans for an especially exciting space for children. Joining us were folks from the library and SpectrUM, one of the partner organizations in the new building (along with MCAT).

If you haven’t heard, the idea for the new facility is built around the Scandinavian concept of a culture house. Essentially, a culture house is a one-stop-shop where various organizations come together “all under one roof” offering their services in a combined effort that meets local needs, builds community and improves life for its residents. Each culture house is different, and ours will be the first of its kind in the U.S. It will bring together social services programs through our offices, along with entertainment and educational opportunities offered through the museum, SpectrUM and the library itself, and it will have a distinctly Western Montana flavor. We’ll have a full floor in the building dedicated to children and families and we’ll work together on programming to create a seamless environment that is fun and engaging. Along with new classrooms and consultation space in a fresh, modern building, we’ll have entirely new exhibits.

We’re grateful for the opportunity to participate in this endeavor and excited about what it will mean for Families First Children’s Museum and the community. The planning process will continue this fall with construction expected to get underway in 2018. From time to time, we’ll update you on the plans and progress for the new facility.

In the meantime, we invite you to take part in A New Way to Library, a month-long series of conversations the library is initiating to talk about it mission and future. On Wednesday, Sept. 6, I’ll be joining Library Director Honore Bray, and MCAT’s Joel Baird for a presentation entitled A New Way to Serve: Putting the Public in Public Library. The presentation will be from 5:30 to 6:30 pm in the library’s large meeting room. For details about the other presentations taking place in this series, please click here.

Sincerely,

Nick Roberts
Executive Director