About Us

Whole Children is a grassroots organization founded by parents of children with special needs. It was created to fill a significant gap in the existing services provided by local communities.

willWEBThe center offers a wide range of after-school, weekend, and vacation enrichment programs for children of all ages and abilities, particularly those with special needs. Classes include gymnastics, art, martial arts, dance, music, social skills, yoga, guided recess games, and theater.

Our recreation program includes soccer, basketball, and outdoor adventures. Our teen program focuses on teaching skills such as self-advocacy, sexuality and social skills. We also provide a variety of social opportunities to help students develop and sustain friendships.

graph3drevisedIn 2004 Whole Children opened at 8 River Drive in Hadley, Massachusetts. That year Whole Children offered 16 classes, including yoga and gymnastics and served 43 families. In July, 2010 Whole Children affiliated with Pathlight (formerly known as The Association For Community Living), an organization in Springfield with a long history of working for and with families and people with special needs.

With the affiliation, Whole Children moved to bigger quarters at 41 Russell Street in Hadley. The site includes a gym, separate movement space for preschoolers, and a teen room. Family Empowerment, also a program of Pathlight, is also at 41 Russell Street and has worked with Whole Children to offer classes and social events for older teens and young adults.

Our 7,600 square foot building includes a gymnasium, sensory movement room (with a ball pit, swings, sensory toys, a trampoline, weighted blankets and pillows, etc.), kitchen, game room, computer lab and several classrooms. We have a space set up as a café that we use during social skills practice – simulating a community experience where students can practice and work on new social skills. We hold monthly “café nights” where students and their families come to the café, order food (cooked by students), sit at tables with friends and eat, talk, play board games. We also have live music as part of the evening.

Whole Children represents a group of parents who have learned that, given the opportunity, our children can far surpass even our own expectations, and the more doors that are open to them, the more they may discover the worlds that await their success.

Maggie Rice – Director

Tracy McNaughton – Program Manager

Valle Dwight – Director of Development and Communications, Pathlight

Lynne Saner – Communications Manager, Pathlight

Courtney Dunham – Social Media Coordinator, Pathlight

Brittany Brown – Development and Communications Coordinator

Gail Garrabrants – Administrative Coordinator

Joyce Paige  – Administrative and Outreach Coordinator

Teaching Staff

     Chris Harper, Brian Melanson, Amanda Kent, Pete Smith, Liana Marks, Eddy Hougen

Specialty teachers

AnneMarie Flaherty: Gymnastics

Nancy Janoson: Joyful Chorus

Morgan Kent: Kung Fu

Matt Meers: Theater

Meghan Carroll: Social Skills

Board of Directors 2016-2017

Eric Aasheim

Chris Lynch

Sara Ewell

Noreen Cmar-Mascis

Halim Cruz

 Bridget Haley

Joanie Daniels

Peggy Winsman

Lindsay Doak

Cammie McGovern

Susan Hurt