They say it takes a village to raise a child. Two San Francisco moms want to help all parents find the people who will make up theirs.
Sheila Tenney is an elementary school teacher and mother to two young daughters. After adopting her second child from China, Tenney tried to connect with other Bay-area families with similarly aged children from China, but through the available resources, she was unable to find any local parents who shared her experiences.
As a teacher, Tenney observed a similar trend among many families she worked with. For parents and children with unique circumstances, there was often a sense of isolation as they struggled to connect with families who had similar needs and interests.
Finally, Tenney decided to do something about this disconnectedness. She discussed her situation with her friend and fellow mom Laura McMullen, a pediatrician who noticed that families of newly diagnosed children were often looking to meet others with similar medical situations. Together, the moms decided to start AVillage.us "to give families a place online to build community and develop friendships based on their specific needs and circumstances," Tenney told The Huffington Post in an email.
"Unfortunately, privacy regulations prevent those most able to help such as doctors, teachers, social workers and care providers from being able to suggest connections between families," the website states. "There are plenty of support groups and blogs out there, but nothing that specifically allows people to meet and interact one on one," it continues. "We are here to solve that problem."
Inspired by the success of dating sites, Tenney and McMullen developed their plan. Parents interested in connecting with other families would make profiles on AVillage.us, and the site would then match them with families with similar needs, interests, and experiences. At the moment, AVillage.us is a grassroots organization that is collecting information to gauge interest in the service, but as the moms stated on the site's Facebook page, they hope someday the site can help connect families all over the world.