July 26 Working Cities Wednesday

Below is a summary of discussions from the July 26 Working Cities Wednesday meeting and how to get involved in each topic.

Art Place America Grant to help educate about storm water 

Alison Dixon adixon@hvatoday.org  413-298-7024 

Discussion: 

  • Finalist in the Art Place America Grant to solve community challenge 
  • Is money coming into the city for this? 
  • Rain related sculptures 
  • Harvest of Hope Sept 16  

Three things to do before the next meeting: 

  • Talk to City about refilling dog waste bags 
  • Create a map of all the rivers and lakes that show the storm drains into the river 
  • Contact Kiwanis, Boy Scouts, Youth Action Research Team  

Resources needed: 

  • More people 
  • Dog waste bags 
  • Map maker 

 Access to energy conservation and renewable energy for low income residents 

Nat Karns nkarns@brpa.org 413-442-1521x 26 

Discussion: 

  • Use community (meaning neighborhood) leaders to provide information to their network and use existing organization leadership that is working with lower income populations already to provide information; 
  • Need information on programs that are most applicable and useable to the population in common language and in multiple languages – certainly at least Spanish; there may be others such as Portuguese that need to be considered as well.  They don’t need jargon or bureaucratic terms – need to be straightforward and pretty simple. 
  • Use community events – block parties, 3rd Thursday, festivals, etc. to spread information 

Transportation* 

Barbara Bizzi b21b44@hotmail.com 413-442-0649 

Discussion: 

Participants discuss transportation needs with a representative from BRTA
Participants discuss transportation needs with a representative from BRTA
  • Immediate transportation needs 
  • Shared ideas and concerns with BRTA 
  • Share BRTA survey 

Resources needed: 

  • Reach out to Councilors and State representatives 
  • Ideas 

*Working Cities is focused on transportation in the Berkshires. If you would like to work with us, please contact our Initiative Director. 

Using technology to support food pantries 

Zach Durso zacharid@gmail.com 413-347-9224 

Discussion: 

  • Different ways to support food pantries 
  • What things to focus on first 
  • Creatively thinking about ideas 

Three things to do before the next meeting: 

  • Learn oasis system 
  • Visit 3 pantries 
  • Contact 3 assistance organizations 

Resources needed: 

  • People power 
  • Money 

Trauma Informed Berkshires 

Chris Haley chris.haley@massmail.state.ma.us 413-355-2014 

Discussion: 

Participants discuss a Trauma Informed Berkshires
Participants discuss a Trauma Informed Berkshires with a representative from the Department of Mental Health
  • Mission of Trauma Informed Berkshires 
  • Event on 8/15 

Three things to do before the next meeting: 

  • Spread word about event 
  • Hold event on 8/15 
  • Meet with Tack Burbank 

Resources needed: 

  • Spread the word 
  • Bring people 

June Working Cities Wednesday Celebration and Updates

Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate and network with us on June 28 at Durant Park. Below are the projects discussed and who to contact if you would like to join these ideas.

YOUTH PROGRAMMING
Lead – Elisa Fuller/Karen Vogel (kvogel@berkshireunitedway.org)

Summary of discussion:

  • Need for youth programs focused on 11-14 year olds
  • Building leadership and career skills
  • Barriers such as finances, access, or lack of knowledge of current resources

Three steps before next meeting:

  • Berkshire United Way will share a current asset map of youth programs
  • Check in with Family Resource Center to create a collective
  • Plan to bring youth groups together

Resources needed:

  • Database system/ ways to connect groups
  • One person at every organization to be a connector for neighborhood

TRAUMA INFORMED BERKSHIRES
Lead – Chris Haley  413-398-2014 chris.haley@massmail.state.ma.us

Summary of discussion:

  • What is a trauma informed community?
  • ACES- Adverse Childhood Experiences

Three steps before next meeting:

  • Get the word out about Aug 15 event at the Colonial
  • Get buy-in from top officials such as Mayor’s office
  • Circulate community education flyers

Resources needed:

  • People – to volunteer, to show up etc.
  • A connection to the corrections community

NOURISH PITTSFIELD
Lead – Zach Durso – zacharid@gmail.com

Summary of discussion:

  • Need to connect food pantry visitors with other services they may not be aware of
  • Community Connector

Three steps before next meeting:

  • Visit 3 pantries
  • Share information at community events

Resources needed:

  • Money
  • Volunteers

FIXING BASEBALL FIELDS
Lead – Chuck Fuller  413-358-7513 HockeyWMHL@gmail.com

Summary of discussion:

  • Fields across county are in disrepair creating conflict between adult and youth leagues – not enough fields.
  • Leagues compromise
  • Make Berkshire Adult League official

Three steps before next meeting:

  • Bring up at City Council meeting
  • Get more people involved
  • Circulate community education flyers

Resources needed:

  • The community

HOMELESSNESS/HOUSING
Lead – Jay Sachetti  413-448-5353 x 111 jaysachetti@servicenet.org

Summary of discussion:

  • Rehab vacant property cost prohibitive
  • How do people get services/where are they?
  • Individuals who are pregnant/homeless

Three steps before next meeting:

  • Servicenet will meet with the Christian Center
  • Deliver list of services available in Pittsfield to Christian Center
  • Safety/Community Watch meeting w/Sharon

Resources needed:

  • Mental health/ brain injury/ physical disability
  • Access to services

The next Working Cities Wednesday will be held on Wednesday, July 26 at 5:30 pm at the Berkshire Dream Center, 475 Tyler Street.

Sharon adds a card to the Working Cities Marketplace.
children playing
Jetta and Zachery play on the playground.
Residents discuss homelessness and housing in Pittsfield.
Elisa and Paul look up for a photo while discussing youth programs.