Working Cities Pittsfield Celebrates 2 Years of Success

On July 25, more than 100 people gathered at the Christian Center, despite the rain, to celebrate community. Many people are a part of this work. Some attend Working Cities Wednesdays, others embody our strategies for community change within their organizations, and still, others are building their leadership skills to become another voice for change. We are all working toward a Pittsfield that is just, thriving, and safe.

So how are we doing? Below is a list of some of the progress we’ve made together. We shared it at the event, but want to make sure you didn’t miss any of the good news.

53 graduates of Getting Ahead
• 4 placed on city boards and commissions
• 4 hired by the city
• 8 got better jobs/were promoted
• Businesses who hired graduates report learning from them
• Spanish graduates report feeling less isolated
• 6 graduates reported improving their finances without getting a new job or raise

15 Bridges Out of Poverty trainings for 236 people

Working Cities Wednesday
• 72 unique residents engaged
• 7 resident-led projects (3 completed)
• City Candidate Mixer

Initiatives building inclusion into their models
• Pittsfield Moves!
• Pittsfield to Pillow Express
• Community-Based Research barriers to the arts
• Organizations paying people with lived experience for their time and expertise
• Child care, food, and transportation being offered for more meetings and community events
• More events providing Spanish interpretation

Additionally, the Mt. Auburn Associates, the evaluator hired by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, our main funder, noted the following in their midpoint evaluation:

• “WCP is a model for other organizations in the city for engaging residents meaningfully and authentically.”
• “WCP has seen early, anecdotal progress of increasing resident leadership in broader community forums across the city.”
• “Interviews suggest that WCP has contributed to early, fairly anecdotal, but positive system changes.”

Click here to read the Berkshire Eagle article.

group of people at table looking a question on poster
Working Cities Pittsfield celebrated its two-year anniversary Wednesday with a community cookout in the Christian Center. Participants ate and talked about what they’ve accomplished, and looked to the future. GILLIAN JONES – THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE

June 27 Working Cities Wednesday

Did you miss the last Working Cities Wednesday? No problem! Below is information about the pitches and who to contact to get involved.

Topic: Pittsfield MOVES & Harvest of Hope
Lead Name: Thasia Giles, tgiles@jacobspillow.org

Summary of Discussion: Building a connection between the Jacob’s Pillow Pittsfield Moves project and the Manos Unidas Harvest of Hope festival. Brainstorm best community outreach practices. Both events are open to the public and there is no age limit on participation. What gets people excited to participate in creative programs?

Three things to do before next meeting:
• Circulate flyers to all Working Cities Wednesday attendees
• Invite more people to volunteer on the Harvest of Hope planning committee
• Advertise Pittsfield Moves program dates

Resources you may need:
• Outreach and canvassing support
• Volunteer support

Topic: Bus Stop Signs
Lead Name: Barbara Bizzi, b21b44@hotmail.com, 413-442-0649

Summary of Discussion: BRTA bus stations around Pittsfield are not clearly marked with Bus Stop signs or the bus schedule making it difficult for first-time users. Upcoming route changes and rate increases are not readily available at local bus stops for riders to reference. What is the BRTA already doing to convey information to current and potential riders?

Three things to do before next meeting:
• Meet with BRTA reps
• Learn more about BRTA current practices

Resources you may need:
• Feedback from other residents
• Introduction to BRTA

Topic: West Side Riverway Park
Lead Name: Tessa Kelly, tessa@arcade.works , 413-281-8023

Summary of Discussion: Brainstorm on the best way to gather community feedback about the design and use of the future West Side Riverway Park on Dewey Ave. Collaborate with service providers already conducting community surveys and listening sessions. Attend local community events such as the Gather-In at Durant Park and the Saturday Farmer’s Market.

Three things to do before next meeting:
• Create a large map of the park for residents to view and post opinions on
• Investigate possible digital information kiosks for the park

Resources you may need:
• Contacts with local community centers
• Resident feedback

Topic: Energy Efficiency
Lead Name: Logan Malik, loganmalik13@gmail.com, 860-671-0754

Summary of Discussion: Increase awareness of the benefits of energy efficiency and the available resources for energy updates. Host an open house in the neighborhood to show other residents what energy efficient upgrades/weatherization look like. Create a social media campaign and reach out to local service providers to spread the information.

Three things to do before next meeting:
• Contact groups i.e. RSVP, BUW, Berkshire Interfaith
• Distribute information flyers
• Engage more volunteers

Resources you may need:
• Contacts and outreach support
• Volunteer support

Topic: Pittsfield Recycles
Lead Name: Kate Lauzon, Katie.lauzon0@gmail.com, 413-841-5841

Summary of Discussion: What can residents do to increase awareness and participation in recycling programs in Pittsfield? Create a welcome package with recycling information for all new residents. Table at the Saturday Farmer’s Market with interactive information about recyclable materials. Create a social media campaign through existing Pittsfield networks and distribute material through the public schools. Make sure all city material on recycling is available in Spanish as well.

Three things to do before next meeting:
• Partner with local service providers and upcycling centers
• Hold an informational event
• Gather ambassadors for each ward to convey information

Resources you may need:
• Interested residents
• Volunteers to canvas and distribute information