February Working Cities Wednesday

More than 30 people braved a snow storm noting, “this is my favorite meeting of the month,” to attend February’s Working Cities Wednesday at The Christian Center. They had such a good time, they were still chatting at 7:45 pm, well after the meeting ended. What it is about this meeting that keeps people coming back? “The positive energy” and “seeing everyone again,” really makes a difference.

The following pitches were discussed at the meeting. If you would like to get involved in any of them, please contact the pitch lead or us here at Working Cities Pittsfield.

Topic: Jacobs’s Pillow Bus
Lead: Thasia Giles
Summary of discussion:

  • Explore transportation options, seeking accessible bus
  • City of Pittsfield United Cerebral Palsy
  • Relationships- people to people- work with groups for organizing each weekend, with families

Three things to do before the next meeting

  • Schedule video showings at the Christian Center Library
  • Contact Senior Center as a pickup spot
  • Elliot looking into RSVP group
  • Highlight “Picnics at the Pillow”

Resources you may need:

  • Ginny looking into United Cerebral Palsy contacts.
  • Look into including Becket in the route.
  • Create a “Pillow Playlist”

Topic: City government education workshops

Lead: Alisa Costa, 413-442-0003
Summary of discussion:

  • Wanting to engage people in the advocacy process leading up to elections to understand the importance of voting in local elections. Where do you get stuck with city and state government?
  • Need for family education for getting various services
  • Why is it so complicated to do anything- housing, health insurance, online job applications?
  • What are our rights as tenants, resident, homeowner etc?
  • Not understanding city vs state vs fed
  • Evenings work best for this type of workshop series

Three things to do before the next meeting:

  • Pitch again at next WCW
  • Lay out marketing strategy – identify possible locations for workshops.
  • Need to ask more people to help guide curriculum.

Resources we might need:

  • Input from residents
  • A location for workshops

Topic: Summer Program
Lead: Debbie Vall, 413 443 2828
Summary of discussion:

  • Create project-based learning focused on leadership and career readiness
  • Arts based programs partnering with Berkshire Taconic Fund grants, RAPID, open Friday, Barrington Stage

Three things to do before the next meeting:\

  • Apply our RAPID grant- plan what art programs
  • Find out who many kids 21st Century can take
  • Josh will write up his plan and share with group

Resources you may need:

  • Kas- grant writer
  • Guest judges to rate kids’ projects

Topic: Addressing impact of community violence
Lead: Kathi Riley, 413 822 2292
Next meeting date: 3rd week of March at Brien in Chris’ office during day if possible.

Summary of discussion:

  • Ideas include creating a memorial in a community
  • Don’t forget to include all people who participated in or experienced the violence
  • Root causes/overdose/families of perpetrators

Three things to do before the next meeting:

  • Create mural for those who have passed away

Resources you may need:

  • Pittsfield Prospers music (Joshua)
  • Funding
  • Common/space, summer, Brien Center recovery

January Working Cities Wednesday

A large crowd gathered at Goodwill Industries on Tyler Street to share ideas for making Pittsfield a better place. Many new faces filled the room with great energy. Below are the pitches made and how to get involved:

Topic: Composting
Lead: Kathi Riley 413 822 2292
Summary of Discussion:

  • Community based compost with University of PA (Erin)
  • Research previous pitch
  • Meal site and food pantry
  • Reach out to Kate Lauzon

Three things to do before the next meeting:

  • Identify possible participating organizations
  • Reach out to Julie Lemieux
  • Organize bringing orgs together
  • Reach out to the general public
    • John Krol show
    • FB page- Funky Phoenix seedlings page?

Resources you may need:

  • List of recyclable products “how to”
  • Tina’s academy- cooking groups -> compost education

Topic: Community police outreach center West Side
Lead: Linda Kelley 413 242 6623
Summary of Discussion:

  • Pilot for a new paradigm of Law Enforcement and community engagement reinforced
  • Community relationship building with police force- stabbing
  • Need commitment for community police office
  • Carolyn Valli offered space at Habitat office, 2 officers have been assigned
  • Volunteers staff office / paperwork / advice / space for anonymity
  • How do we as a community contribute to needs
  • Flyers created for program
  • We have: office space, commitment, training (tape trainings)
  • Do volunteers need to be from Pittsfield?

Three things to do before the next meeting:

  • West Side meeting at Conte School 1/28 every 4th Monday
  • Need volunteers? / Shift discussion? / Office hours? / Weekends?
  • Research other models

Resources you may need:

  • Access training resources (online as well)
  • Access to legal resources (including law enforcement)
  • Law enforcement at West Side meeting
  • List of basic requirements for volunteers
  • Interested volunteers with available hours
  • Outreach
    • John Krol Show, retired officers, vets, firemen, clipboards, local access channel, webpage, paper versions, Chief Wynn

Topic: Park with exercise equipment
Leader: Erika

Summary of Discussion:

  • Something free and outdoors for the community without the extra gym cost
  • Bring culture together
  • Sketches and how this would work

Three things to do before the next meeting:

  • Contact Jim and Tessa and ask for feedback
  • Meet with him and our group
  • Bring pictures and ideas of other park designs

Resources you may need:

  • Tessa and Tanu from Westside Riverway Park design
  • Community Navigators
  • Jim McGarth (Head of parks and recreation)

Topic: Creative Learning Network
Leader: Tina Cardot 413 464 6485
Summary of Discussion:

  • Using downstairs Zion classroom
  • Finding kitchens for cooking classes

Three things to do before the next meeting: Check with PHS about dance club, etc – Network to Zion, BCF, young entrepreneurs

Resources you may need: Need people to lead clubs, activities, and other potential sites

The next Working Cities Wednesday is February 27, 2019 at The Christian Center from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm