The Berkshire Leadership Program program aims to bring together community-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds who are committed to addressing challenges and improve the quality of life in the Berkshires. This 12-week program gives participants an opportunity to learn about the opportunities and challenges the Berkshires face in a wide variety of topics, ranging from education to healthcare, an economic development bus tour to community engagement.
Each class is tasked with using the consensus building and leadership skills that they’ve learned to brainstorm, select, develop and deliver a full team project at Commencement. This project should be based on either an economic development need, a critical community need or an immediate need. Our 20th Class of the Berkshire Leadership Program did not disappoint!
This ambitious group of individuals took their role as the 20th class to heart. Their project, titled Growing Something Great: 20 years of BLP was compiled of three parts: Planting the Seed, Roots, and Trunk. The group “planted the seed” by using many of the tools they acquired during their two-day retreat at Jiminy Peak to choose their project.
The “root” of their project was looking to the foundation of BLP, our alumni network of almost 600 former participants. The class helped compile alumni data through surveys and interviews, with an 18% response rate to their survey. The data showed that BLP alumni donate $200,000 annually to organizations they are passionate about and they volunteer on average 16 days a year.
The “trunk” of the project was split into two parts. The first was planting 20 trees across Berkshire County in honor of each class of the Berkshire Leadership Program. The group was responsible for finding donations of trees, locations to plant them and in some cases putting the tree in the ground themselves.
The second part of their “trunk” was inspired by the Creative Economy session when Jess Vecchia of the Alchemy Initiative presented on their Roots Rising program. Roots Rising is an agriculture-based youth development program that puts teens to work on farms, in kitchens, and in food pantries and provides them with educational workshops on essential life skills. In her presentation, Jess mentioned that the program was in need of a passenger van to transport the youth to their worksites and that they would have to raise the $20,000 to purchase the van. The class, inspired by the presentation used a variety of methods including online fundraising and hosting a fundraiser at Thistle & Mirth. In the short time that they had the class raised $20,125 and Roots Rising will be purchasing a van this summer.
We are so proud of all that this class has accomplished, please help us congratulate the Berkshire Leadership Program, Class of 2018!
- Shannon Ashcroft, Ashcroft Wellness
- Carrie Barth, Community Health Programs
- Tracy Bassette, Crane Currency
- Natty Burford, MCLA
- Jennifer Civello, Berkshire Family & Individual Resources (BFAIR)
- Lindsay Codwise, Berkshire Bank Foundation
- Anthony Dellea, Hillcrest Educational Centers
- Stephanie Dick, General Dynamics Mission Systems
- Kimberly, Donoughe, Berkshire Museum
- Gloria Escobar, Greylock Federal Credit Union
- Rachel Greenberg, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
- Nathan Haddad, 1Berkshire
- Noel Henebury, Hotel on North
- Cornelius Hoss, City of Pittsfield
- Julia Marko, BART Public Charter School
- Rebecca McDole, Berkshire Athenaeum
- Cheryl Mirer, Downtown Pittsfield, Inc.
- Nicole Mooney, Berkshire Community College
- Ricardo Morales, City of Pittsfield
- Jessica Perez, Berkshire Medical Center
- Kevin Pink, Center for EcoTechnology, Inc.
- Erin Poplaski, The Orchards Hotel
- Abby Powers, College Internship Program
- Amewusika Sedzro, Mass Development
- Ryan Senecal, MCLA
- Jenaye Simon, Greylock Federal Credit Union
- Christopher Smith, Cohen Kinne Valicenti & Cook
- Amelia Spiliotes, Community Health Programs, Inc.
- Amber Steele, Berkshire County ARC