A Place to Gather & Thrive
Hallie Polanco and her husband have lived in the Brentwood area for the last five years but both commuted for work, Hallie as a nurse and her husband as a police officer..
“I was an ER and trauma nurse for a lot of years,” said Hallie. “I left the hospital in 2021 and went into home health. For a couple of years, I was feeling like I was supposed to be doing something different, something more in the community.” Hallie listened to her gut and moved toward community nursing, thinking that was the right avenue. However, with everything going on with COVID and families falling apart, the Polancos felt called to double down in their community and make a change. “We have three children, ages eight, six, and three,” said Hallie. “They were a huge inspiration to transition into this next phase of our lives, along with the outrageous number of suicidal kids and teens I was seeing in the ER due to the isolation caused by lockdowns. We started homeschooling in 2020 while I was still in the hospital system. Our work schedules during COVID, paired with distance learning, were not compatible.” Hallie left the nursing world, her husband transferred to Brentwood PD, and the couple took a flying leap of faith, opening The Family Room Brentwood the last week of January 2022.
The Family Room’s mission is to provide space for families, vendors, teachers, or creatives to come together and serve the community. “Our heart’s mission has been to provide a space for people to walk in their gifts. It has been incredible. It is already becoming more than we ever imagined.” With homeschooling their children, Hallie saw that there weren’t many classes available close by for families in her position. Most organizations were already full to capacity with waiting lists. So, The Family Room offers more of what Hallie and her husband were in search of for their own children. The Kinders class is for children ages three to five and was originally only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, the popularity spoke for itself, and the class is now offered year-round and includes a Monday and Wednesday class option. Hallie also offers a Health Science and Anatomy class for lower elementary, higher elementary, and junior high. “I’ve always taught in some capacity, whether it was tutoring, teaching dance, running afterschool programs, or teaching nursing students,” said Hallie. The Family Room also offers a Comic Club that reinforces early literacy and language arts principles through comics, as well as a math class called Math in Real Life, which takes core math principles and shows kids how they’re used in real life scenarios. “The kids are out measuring the yard to figure out how much fencing we would need, doing a cooking lesson to work on weight, measurements, and fractions, and practicing with time and money,” said Hallie.
The Family Room provides the community with more than just children’s classes. They also offer Makers Morning Kids’ Club in partnership with The Makers Boulevard, which allows mom and dad to have a day date or simply wander the market alone while their little ones enjoy play time, a craft, and a breakfast box from Wanna Waffle? Hallie also hosts Date Night Kids’ Club as a safe place for kids to be while parents enjoy some alone time while the kids get to have a blast watching a movie and indulging in pizza, as well as a monthly Tween Girls’ Night Out Club to provide safe activities and social space for girls ages 10 to 13. “We have such a heart for our community,” said Hallie. “We want to make sure that everyone that comes here walks away knowing that we’re here to serve families, to be a good member of the community, and to collaborate with other local businesses.”
That’s just the surface of what The Family Room Brentwood offers; the possibilities are endless. “We have a lot of dreams for what we could do. Our ultimate goal is to have this be a place that impacts local children and families. Watching the kids come in and blossom is just incredible. We want families to be refreshed and restored and for them to know that they have a place that is a resource.”
by Michelle Lassle
photos by Ron Essex Photography