Thanks to MountainOne for sponsoring our very successful 10th Annual Fun Run on Saturday, September 9, 2017. The weather was beautiful and the turn-out was HUGE! Thanks to once again to Stephanie Boyd of Stephanie Boyd Works for the beautiful handcrafted ceramic “medals” and congratulations to all the winners – but there are no losers in the Fun Run because everyone has FUN!
(Photos by Mike Goodwin, except for the shot of Stephanie wiping the medals clean.)
Thanks to Executive Director Anna Retsch Singleton, and board members Bernadine Williams and Justin Crowe for sitting down to chat with Deb Dane.
Just one week ’til the big day! Visit our 2017 Fun Run page for registration information and lots of great photos looking back at all the fun we had in 2016.
Our 10th Annual Fun Run on Saturday, September 9, 2017, consists of two races: 5K Run and a 1-mile Kid’s Run/ Family Walk. The Fun Run races are open to everyone, veteran runners or first time runners, along with daily walkers or occasional walkers. Families with pets and strollers are also welcome to join the fun. Both race events begin at 10:15 a.m. at the Williamstown Youth Center, 66 School Street. Sign-in and registration begins at 9:00 a.m. on the day of the race.
The Williamstown Community Chest received a very generous bequest from the estate of Mary and Henry Flynt, longtime residents of Williamstown and devoted supporters of the community. As we approach the deadline for the next round of Flynt Grants on September 15, 2017, we are proud to look back on the 2016 grant recipients.
For outreach to Northern Berkshire regarding immigrant issues and direct services to 25 individuals
For support for services provided to Williamstown pregnant and breastfeeding families
To provide support for security improvements to Monument Square Early Childhood Center
Support for services to individuals who had been served at Turner House.
Support for Rainbow Seniors Talk and Listen Groups
Support for Aquacize fitness classes for seniors; AND tuition and transportation for children’s swim classes (in collaboration with Williamstown Youth Center)
Support for Early Intervention Community Playgroups in Williamstown
Support for replacement of outdoor play area
Support for renovation of South Center School
Support for hiring a trail supervisor for summer and early fall, 2017
Grants from the bequest are awarded to “…persons or entities (including the Town of Williamstown) that provide services to the town or its residents (although not necessarily exclusively).” The criteria for reviewing applications will “…relate to the maintenance or improvement of the quality of life of the residents of Williamstown, defined broadly.”
Click here to apply: Flynt Grant Application
DEADLINE: September 15, 2017
Make note of this important community initiative! Admission is free.
Thanks to the Berkshire Theatre Group, Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, The Brien Center, Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services, and the Oakdale Residences for coming together to create this important event.
Williamstown is proud to join more than 38 million neighbors across 16+ thousand communities around the nation for National Night Out, an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community.
Williamstown National Night Out will feature our own Police Department talking about crime prevention, and our Fire Department discussing fire safety (and bringing a fire engine!), plus information and fun activities for the entire family, including:
– Giant Bubble Making & Kids’ Crafts
– Ice Cream Lottery
– Exercise & Bike Safety
– CodeRED Registration
– Community Construction Information
Rain or shine! The event will take place in the parking lot of Towne Field House, 170 Latham St. Rain location will be inside the Field House.
Berkshire Fitness Company (beFIT)
Bennington Oral Health Coalition
Hoosic River Watershed Association
Town of Williamstown
– Williamstown, MA Fire District
– Williamstown Police Department, Massachusetts
– Town Manager
Village Ambulance Service
Williamstown Chamber of Commerce
– Campus Safety & Security
– Center for Learning in Action at Williams College
Williamstown Community Chest
Our Partner Agency, the Williamstown Youth Center, marches proud!
Parents, teachers and children turned out to march for our Partner Agency, the Williamstown Community Preschool.
So many handsome horses and riders in this year’s parade! Our Partner Agency, Equus Therapeutic, has introduced generations of disabled children to the joys of riding.
Hats off to MountainOne, which sponsors so many good works in our community. For this year’s parade they sponsored the free barbecue at the foot of Spring Street, along with Williams College and Stop & Shop.
Thanks to The Clark, who sponsored the music of Capitol Brass on the steps of the Post Office.
Posted Thursday, April 20, 2017 6:24 pm
By Jenn Smith , firstname.lastname@example.org
PITTSFIELD — Rising kindergarteners in the Berkshires and their families will get a back-to-school boost in June through the newest Berkshire United Way Day of Caring campaign.
Officially touted in a Thursday morning press conference held at the Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires, the annual Day of Caring this year will bring together on June 7, more than a hundred employees from program sponsor, Berkshire Bank, to help fill 1,200 new “literacy kit backpacks” with books, school supplies and resources for families emphasizing the development of early literacy habits.
A countywide distribution will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 21, across eight community locations hosting literacy pop-up parties, all offered at no cost to children and families.
The 30 adults and about 60 young children in the audience all appreciated the gesture with applause and smiles, but there was also some serious talk about why literacy-focused events and actions are needed in the county.
Various studies implicate the importance of children reading at proficient literacy rate by the third grade as a predictor of their long-term success. It’s the age when a child is no longer learning to read, but reading to learn to comprehend various subjects. That’s why Berkshire United Way has been working with the community in recent years with the focus to improve third-grade reading proficiency rates from a median of 51 percent to 90 percent by 2020.
Organizers said it should be an issue of great concern that, since this goal was established in 2012, that about half of students, by the time they reach Grade 3, are still struggling to read with ease.
“Frankly, that is unacceptable,” said Gary Levante, assistant vice president for community engagement at Berkshire Bank, who is co-chairing the Day of Caring with his colleague, Berkshire Bank Foundation Director Lori Gazzillo.
“We expect more from our community and we can do more for our community,” Levante said.
Gazillo said the literacy kit backpacks are “one way to create sustainable change” with this learning gap.
The problem with stagnated literacy rates is perpetuated by a number of issues, including an increasing rate of poverty in various communities.
“At the same time we’re working on this, poverty rates are going up, and about half of our young kids are not going to a quality preschool program,” said Berkshire United Way President and CEO Kristine Hazzard.
In Pittsfield, between the 2014-2015 school year and the current year, the rate of Pittsfield students facing an economic disadvantage rose from 43 percent to nearly 50 percent, according to state data. During the same timeframe in North Adams, the rate of students facing an economic disadvantage rose from about 53 to 59 percent.
Estimating the true change of rates of literacy and relating them to shifts in the poverty rates is a bit tricky, since the state standardized reading/English language arts assessments at the third grade level have changed multiple times over the past five years, and different districts use different in-house metric systems to evaluate literacy rates. But it’s fair to say that reaching a third-grade literacy rate of 90 percent by 2020 is a challenge that won’t be solved by book bags alone.
“We know children are falling behind but [through this effort] we are able to give children something they might not be able to get otherwise before they go to school in the fall,” said Christa Collier, executive director of Northern Berkshire United Way.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, so we realized the earlier we start to work on that the better,” Hazzard said.
In the 3-year-old program at the Boys & Girls Club, for example, students are now being taught to recognize and write their own names, said lead teacher Cynthia Mole, as she led a line of youngsters to a post-press conference book giveaway. “These kids love this stuff,” she said.
The local United Way is also partnered with a few other initiatives, including the Pittsfield Promise campaign for early childhood literacy, the Early Childhood Impact Council, and the Chapter One: South County Reads initiative, all working toward similar goals to support kids and families.
The latter initiative works on getting business leaders, social workers, pediatricians and other community members invested in the cause.
Said the Rev. Sam Smith, pastor of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, a volunteer with the movement, “Helping kids get a good start is the key to a good future.”
About Berkshire County Literacy Kit Backpacks
What: A total of 1,200 book bags will be distributed to children entering kindergarten this fall. Each backpack contains: a book and companion activity guide; a recommended reading list for incoming kindergarteners; a Berkshire Book House flier; crayons and various school supplies; a personal note from a Berkshire Bank book bag volunteer.
Distribution date: 4-7 p.m., Wednesday, June 21.
Where: Williamstown Youth Center, Childcare of the Berkshires, The Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires’ Pittsfield site, Dalton CRA, Lenox Community Center, Lee Bank branch in Lee, Berkshire South Regional Community Center in Great Barrington, and a Sheffield site (TBD).
Info and sponsorship opportunities: Berkshire United Way at 413-442-6948