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Staff


Families First Staff Rachel BanksRachel Banks
Administrative Assistant
rbanks@families-first.org, ext. 13
Rachel holds a BA in Government from Harvard University. She has served as an assistant with educational organizations in Boston and has interned with the Fulbright Commission in Paris. Her experience with these programs includes office administration, event planning, and communications. At Families First, she provides administrative support to the Outreach and Education department.

Jill Brevik Grants SpecialistJill Brevik
Grants Specialist
jbrevik@families-first.org, ext. 26
Jill joined Families First in July 2014 as the Grant Writer after managing corporate and foundation fundraising for the American Red Cross of Massachusetts. She brings several years of experience in grant writing and institutional fundraising strategy, as well as non-profit administration and operations. After traveling to Southeast Asia and volunteering with several education-based non-profit organizations, she saw the impact of community and family support on children’s success in school. Upon her return, she joined Boston’s non-profit community to use her writing skills to help local populations in need. Jill received a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Vermont, and she is currently pursuing an MS in Nonprofit Management at Northeastern University.

Liz Cohen Families First Executive DirectorElizabeth Cohen
Executive Director
ecohen@families-first.org, ext. 19
Elizabeth Cohen joined Families First in January 2012 as its third Executive Director. She has fourteen years of experience in non-profits focused on a variety of public health issues, including violence prevention, comprehensive sexual education, and supporting families dealing with health complications. Prior to coming to Families First, Elizabeth was the Manager of Training at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, where she oversaw all external training to teachers and health professionals, as well as internal training for over 200 staff members, including managers, health care staff, and educators. Her past work experience also includes a position with WGBH Boston as Director of Health Initiatives. While at WGBH, she worked on local and national outreach education campaigns focused on childhood asthma, cancer, caring for older parents, and heart disease. The first part of her career was dedicated to advocating for survivors of sexual violence and their significant others through positions at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, and Rape Crisis Services of Greater Lowell, where she served as Executive Director. Elizabeth has a BA from Tufts University and a Masters of Public Health from Boston University, where she developed and taught a course for four years on sexual violence. Her greatest achievement and joy is being the single mother of an amazing toddler.

staff Sue CovitzSue Covitz
Deputy Director
scovitz@families-first.org, ext. 14
Sue is the parent of two teenage daughters and participated as a parent in Families First workshops when her children were toddlers. She joined Families First in July 2006 as the Director of Strategic Partnerships and is now responsible for overseeing work with all of our program sites as well as managing key partnerships. Sue formerly served as the Executive Director of Greater Options for Adolescent Lives and brings almost 20 years experience in non-profit management, coalition building, and community organizing to her work at Families First. She received a BA in philosophy from Haverford and an MSW from Boston College. 

staff Stacey EllsworthStacey Ellsworth
Development & Executive Assistant
sellsworth@families-first.org, ext. 10
Stacey joined Families First in July 2008 as the Office Administrator/Executive Assistant after several years of office administration in the corporate sector. Her major responsibilities include managing the office, acting as liaison to the Board of Directors, and providing administrative support to the Development and Outreach & Education departments. She is the ridiculously doting aunt of two young nephews.

Rebekah McKinney
Director of Development & Communications
rmckinney@families-first.org, ext. 23
Rebekah has been with Families First since 2011. She has nearly 15 years’ experience in fundraising and communications for Boston non-profit organizations, with an emphasis on institutional grants strategy, writing, and stewardship. She has advanced the development programs of Greater Boston Legal Services and the City of Somerville Youth Program, and prior to joining Families First, she managed fundraising and communications for Hyde Square Task Force. As an independent fundraising consultant, Rebekah has served clients including Critical Explorers and Encuentro Diaspora Latina. She also taught at the elementary school level for several years in the Boston Public Schools. She holds a BA in Urban Studies from Brown University and an MEd from Lesley University, and she is a single mom to an nine-year-old son.

Maureen O’Brien
Curriculum & Training Manager
mobrien@families-first.org, ext. 21
Maureen is a developmental psychologist whose professional expertise includes child development, parent support and education, and promotion of healthy parent-child relationships. She co-directed the Brazelton Touchpoints Center at Children’s Hospital of Boston, taught at Bentley College, consulted with numerous juvenile product companies, and is the author of the parenting series Watch Me Grow: I’m One-Two-Three (Harper Collins, 2002). She has also written widely on parenting topics, is a regular source for national parenting publications, and has several years’ media experience in radio and television. Maureen holds degrees in Psychology/Child Development from Brown University (BA, 1983), Temple University (MA, 1985), and the University of Minnesota (PhD, 1991). She serves on the Boston Leadership Advisory Board of Room to Grow and volunteers for cancer support programs at South Shore Hospital. Maureen lives with her husband and twin sons in Canton, MA.

Madeleine Otani Oldman
Education Coordinator
motani@families-first.org, ext. 25
Working with children and strengthening families has been a passion throughout Madeleine’s career. She came to Families First in 2002 as a volunteer in the Program Department and was hired as Program Associate in 2006. When the department changed its name to Outreach & Education in 2012, Madeleine stepped into the Education Coordinator role and is responsible for coordinating and scheduling programs with our Transitional Housing and Early Childhood Education partner organizations. She continues to support and work closely with parenting educators, while also involved in outreach and building relationships with new and existing partners. She received a BA in Elementary Education from Marylhurst University in Oregon, followed by Early Childhood and Infant & Toddler Certification in Montessori education. During her tenure at the Cambridge Montessori School, Madeleine worked as a Primary and Toddler Lead Teacher, as Director of Admissions, and in their Parenting Education Program. She now serves as a trustee on the CMS Board.

Amber Pittenger Annual Fund & Special Events CoordinatorAmber Pittenger
Annual Fund & Special Events Coordinator
apittenger@families-first.org, ext. 24
Amber comes to Families First after serving as Director of the Back Bay’s Friday Night Supper Program, a 30-year-old hunger relief organization that provides dinner for 150 people each week. Social responsibility emerged as a significant interest for her while volunteering with at-risk youth during her time at the University of California, Santa Cruz (where she obtained a degree in Photography). As a volunteer, and later as a staff member of the Middlesex Boys & Girls Clubs, Amber saw the effects of positive and negative relationships on children’s lives, but she says the reason Families First’s mission resonates so strongly with her is her own family experience as the oldest of five children raised by a hard-working single mom. Amber is enthusiastic to join Families First as it enters a major phase of growth and is looking forward to working with the organization's community of supporters.

Magda RodriguezMagda Rodriguez
FUSE Manager
mrodriguez@families-first.org, ext.15
Magda Rodriguez moved to United States after receiving her law degree in Colombia and worked in the immigration field for several years. After establishing her own family and experiencing the process of raising her two children, Magda became passionate about parenting issues and gained experience as a family engagement leader while working for a non-profit organization offering services in the Boston Public Schools. As FUSE Manager, Magda is spearheading the launch of our FUSE family engagement capacity-building project for schools and also facilitates Families First workshops as a Parenting Educator.


Families First Staff
Families First Parenting Program Staff