THE FIRST LINK PROGRAM

The First Link program is part of the Deerfield Parents Network geared towards building new relationships among parents within the Deerfield community. Over the years, it has become an important and valuable tradition.

Similar to the Green Keys assigned to new students, First Link volunteers are assigned to an incoming family by the Admission Office in May. They are first asked to reach out before the end of the current school year to welcome them. Volunteers do not need to be an expert on all things Deerfield, but they should be willing to keep in touch over the summer, and follow up throughout the year to provide advice and assistance as new families adjust to the Deerfield community and independent school life.

Many friendships and supportive relationships have formed as a result of the First Link program. Below is a snapshot of some of our favorite quotes from First Link parents. We hope you will consider volunteering to become a part of this supportive and welcoming initiative!

First Link Volunteer Position Description

Volunteers to the First Link program foster connections and build relationships with newly admitted DA families. Involvement in this welcoming initiative helps current parents further integrate into the Deerfield community by outreaching to new families locally, regionally and internationally, forming relationships, sharing knowledge, offering support and enhancing the school experience for all.

As a First Link volunteer you will be given information to guide you, including a brief timeline, sample letters and important links to share with new families.Responsibilities include:

  • Reach out to incoming families in May with sample letters provided
  • Touch base again in mid-June by phone, and throughout the summer as needed
  • If possible, meet up for coffee/lunch or at one of the regional gatherings
  • Send out an email in August with information about move-in, important numbers, resources, etc.
  • Provide support and friendship throughout the year and beyond

If you would like to volunteer as a First Link, and help us build strong partnerships between Deerfield parents and the school, we would appreciate your help.

Reflections on the First Link Experience

Many of you will remember how it felt the moment your child received their acceptance to Deerfield. If you are anything like me, pride and elation were soon eclipsed by questions and concerns as how best to organize and prepare for the changes ahead. Enrolling a son or a daughter at a new school, particularly a boarding school, is a decision that brings about different emotions … as well as the need for more information and direction. How do students manage laundry? Will the Health Center look after my child if they get sick? What is a “closed” weekend? How are roommates assigned?

We soon came to realize, however, that answers were on the way in the form of Deerfield’s “First Link” volunteers: existing Deerfield families who are “linked” with each new incoming family to welcome them to the community and serve as a liaison and resource before, and throughout, the first year.

A current parent of a senior reflected on her own experience as a new incoming parent: 

“While my son had been contacted by the Office of Admissions and by his Green Key, it is hard to describe the relief I felt in being contacted by my First Link and not having to figure everything out myself. Having a veteran of the Deerfield Experience walk me through the minefield of preparing for boarding school was a priceless gift. Not only did they provide valuable information about travel, accommodation and more, we have remained great friends ever since. I found the experience so positive that I couldn’t wait to volunteer to be a First Link myself. And I am happy to report many of my Links are now Links too—a gift that keeps on giving.”

Looking ahead, a new group of parents will walk in our shoes this summer, and they need our help, just like our First Links once helped us. Please volunteer to be a First Link family. It really takes very little time and is a great way to become more involved, to make new friends, and to stay informed about the exciting things happening at Deerfield. 

Parent involvement can be rewarding, fulfilling, and will connect you to an invaluable network.

If you are ready and willing to serve as a First Link to an incoming family this year, please complete the form below. Thank you, and we look forward to contacting you in May. 

Meaghan Chorske P’22,’25
Leslee MacKenzie P’21,’24
Mary Read P’24
Vanessa Willett P’23

Co-Chairs First Link 

 

Volunteer for the First Link

Contact the Director of Parent Engagement

Julia Flannery, P’21
jflannery@deerfield.edu
413-774-1593