Making Music and Bringing Joy

William Melchiorre of Hadley, joined the Milestones community a year ago, and for the last six months he’s been finding his voice as a singer in Whole Children’s Joyful Chorus as well as with Milestones’ Friendship Band as a singer, guitarist, and ukulele player. In that short time, he’s taken the stage at The Thread […]

Alice in Theaterland

If you had to use just one word to describe 14-year-old Alice, you’d have to go with theatrical. Ask her what she enjoys and she will tell you two things: performing and makeup. She loves musicals, from West Side Story to Oklahoma to Singing in the Rain, and has danced in countless local ballet performances, including […]

Cammie McGovern: Samuel Minot Jones Award for Literary Achievement

Carrie McGee’s introduction to Cammie McGovern, winner of Samuel Minot Jones Award for Literary Achievement (SAMMY) on  May 2, 2017 atAmherst College. Cammie and I were introduced to one another by a fellow parent when our children were in Amherst’s integrated preschool together.  We found ourselves cast into the world of disability, where information was […]


Sweetheart Dance

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and what better way to celebrate than with all of your friends at Whole Children!

Join us on February 12, from 6:30-8:30 pm, dressed in your fanciest attire for our annual Sweetheart Dance.

There’ll be tasty treats, an awesome DJ, and great music that’s sure to get you dancing! For those who prefer a quieter celebration, there will be games available in the game room and space in the cafè for socializing! The preschool room will also be open to some of our younger party-goers.

All ages are welcome, but children under 13 need to be accompanied by a parent; those over 13 can be dropped off with prior permission. Call ahead and check with the staff if you’re unsure.

We can’t wait to see you there!


Seeking Interns for Fall 2016!

Whole Children Intern
Intern Jack Kapinos working with director Matt Meers as they film a scene for Northampton Community TV’s “Crowdsourced Cinema.”

Are you a film or photography student looking to develop a portfolio of promotional videos and graphics? Are you interested in creating fresh media content in a diverse setting? Whole Children has a communications internship program that offers these opportunities and more.

Whole Children provides recreational, social, and enrichment programs for children and teens of all abilities, including those with special needs. As our communications intern, you will have the opportunity to work in an inclusive office space and assist in showcasing Whole Children’s community events, programs, and services.

Interns in the past have worked on a variety of projects, including video editing and camera work, photography, graphic design, drafting press releases, and creating content for our website and social media pages, to name a few. That being said…

We value your input! This internship is what you want to make it, so feel free to let us know if you have a specific interest you want to pursue, or a new skill you want to develop. We want your experience here to be productive and beneficial, and the best way to ensure that is by doing work that you are motivated to do!

The following video was produced by our fabulous intern, Jack Kapinos, pictured above!

Whole Children is conveniently located on the Route 9 bus route in Hadley, and is easily accessible from any of the 5 colleges. You may receive academic credit for the internship, and work hours can be arranged to fit your schedule.

If the Whole Children communications internship sounds right for you, email Brittany Brown at


Annual Dinner 2016

The Association For Community Living’s Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony, 2016

WC photo booth

Whole Children photo booth fun at The Association For Community Living’s Annual Dinner.


Last night, The Association For Community Living held its Annual Dinner at The Log Cabin in Holyoke and, per usual, it was a delight. Whole Children had a number of exciting moments, including a performance by our theater group! Our students treated dinner guests to a dance mashup of some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s biggest hits. They were lead by instructor Matt Meers, who later on was fittingly honored alongside chorus director Nancy Janoson for their outstanding work as performing art teachers. Also among those honored was Ruth Wade for all of her hard and fruitful work in organizing Whole Children’s Wild Goose Chase. All of the awards were much deserved, and we are very proud of each recipient’s passion and dedication.

Each award was presented by Barbara Pilarcik, our beloved Executive Director who is sadly retiring in August. Since this was Barbara’s last annual dinner, she was introduced with a surprise rap performance from Brian Melanson and Chris Harper that brought smiles to everyone’s faces, most of all Barbara’s. After the rap, which detailed her many career accomplishments, Barbara treated everyone to a few dance moves of her own before taking the podium. All in all, it was a fantastic night and we’re already looking forward to next year!


Making the Invisible Visible: The Sprout Film Festival

Sprout Banner for Website

Join us for a February film festival!

Whole Children and Five College Realtors will showcase a series of short documentary films from the Sprout Film Festival on Sunday, February 28 from 4-6 pm in the Cole Assembly in Converse Hall at Amherst College for a $5 suggested donation (to support Whole Children).

The Sprout Film Festival’s mission is “to inspire audiences, promote inclusion, and support transformative filmmaking as an integral part of social change.” All of the Sprout films highlight the lives and experiences of individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. By embracing differences and encouraging acceptance, Sprout aims to “make the invisible visible.”

Come enjoy the films and stay afterward for an informal reception and discussion with local filmmaker, Ted White. White’s powerful film The Unexpected Gift: A Father’s Story, is one of six films being showcased at the film festival; it explores how the birth of his daughter with Down Syndrome ultimately transformed his family’s life for the better.

To take part in this meaningful afternoon of film, RSVP here

‘Tis the season of giving!

In the spirit of the holidays, we are trying something new out at Whole Children this year: a community giving tree! You may have seen it nestled in the corner of the lobby, decorated in little paper ornaments, tinsel, and gold ribbon. The little paper ornaments on the tree have either gifts written on them […]

Our very own Pioneer in Disability Awareness: Cammie McGovern

We are still glowing from our Disability Awareness Pioneer brunch last month! October 18 was an incredible fall morning celebrated with delicious food, moving speeches, and a rousing performance by the Joyful Chorus. Our first-ever honoree, Cammie McGovern, is an award-winning author of young adult fiction and one of the founding parents of Whole Children. More than 150 […]


Learn About All the Learning at Whole Children!

Ever wonder about a particular Whole Children class? Instructors from Friendship Band to Kung Fu are sharing the inside scoop about the wonderful courses they’re teaching in our newest videos (produced by our talented intern, UMass senior Courtney Dunham). Take a peek at normal class time and hear what the instructors love most about what […]