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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

After-School Programs Find Fans at Fair

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Monday, May 02, 2005

Noella Carlow blindfolds brownie contest judge Cameron Lesure during school fair.
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North Adams – Staying after school in this city is a privilege, not a punishment, according to several students, and apparently, many residents agree.

Community support for the First Annual North Adams Public Schools Spring Fair fundraiser exceeded expectations and fair organizers said that a second spring fair is in the works for next year. The fair generated about $1,500 that will benefit the city's after-school programs, parent and family initiatives, and community interaction events.

“We have already decided to do this again,” said Susan Beauchamp, the LINCS Parent Center parent coordinator, during a Saturday interview. The parent center is based at the Brayton Elementary School.


A steady parade of visitors toured the April 29-30 fair.

“I am so pleased with the crowd,” volunteer coordinator Carole Hilderbrand said. “I’m especially pleased that so many senior citizens came out and said that they want to support the kids. People said that they think the programs are important.”

Teachers, parents, and city officials including North Adams Public Schools Superintendent James Montepare were among those who attended the event. Organizers avoided setting financial goals for the first-ever fair, Beauchamp and Hilderbrand said.

“There were no targets, no expectations,” said Hilderbrand. “This is the first time we’ve done this, so we didn’t know what to expect.”


My Own Hands

Confidence and camaraderie improve when students get together at after-school programs, said Hilderbrand. The programs rely heavily on volunteers, she added.

“That’s what makes it work, the number of volunteers that work really hard."

Members of a Greylock Elementary School after-school knitting class were eager to show off their skills on Friday afternoon. The young knitters showcased nimble fingers and straight stitches during a public demonstration led by volunteer knitting instructor Kathy Brazeau. Heidi Lescarbeau, 9, deftly controlled two knitting needles as she crafted a bean-bag casing from yarn.

“I knit and I can purl [a specific stitch],” Heidi said, as she produced tidy rows of pink stitches.

Erika Brazeau, 10, fashioned a blue scarf for a hamster.
“I like doing this,” she said.

A scarf designed for her sister’s doll took form from 11-year-old Paige Howland’s long, slender needles.

“It’s just so fun,” said Paige. “I like being able to see what other people are making and I really like making something myself with my own hands.”

Savor the Flavor

A Saturday highlight was a brownie bake-off challenge. Contest judges Cameron Lesure, an 8-year-old city student, Brayton school teacher Joyce Fruschio and WNAW radio station news announcer Ted Bassani were blindfolded before tasting six brownie entries. North Adams resident Ellen Morris captured the brownie blue ribbon but not before judges declared a three-way first place tie between Morris’ entry and brownies baked by Susan Spooner and Candi Beauchemin. A second round of sweet sampling was necessary to break the tasty tie.

“There’s no carbs in these, right?” Fruschio said with a chuckle as she savored another sample.

Paula Cote of North Adams was awarded a second-place red ribbon for her mint-and-chocolate brownies. Contest spectators devoured the baked treats after the winners were announced.

For the Kids

Crafters sold their wares after buying booth space and those interviewed said that they were pleased with attendance and happy to help the fundraising effort.

“It’s for the kids,” said Pownal, Vt. artisan Judy Greenawalt, owner of KitchenWitch Maker.

“This is a good cause,” said Adams jewelry designer Donald Raymond. “I have nieces and nephews, and I know this will help out the kids.”

A contingent of Institute for International Cooperation and Development volunteers helped out at a food counter and a baked goods table, and manned four IICD-sponsored tables laden with tag sale items. Several IICD members volunteer at city schools as well.

Bijan Rafat, 20, and a native of Germany, enthusiastically greeted fair visitors and encouraged contributions.

“I am having a lot of fun,” he said. “I want to help the children. I want to have children someday.”

Ivan Anselmo, 25, of Brazil, explained his reasons for volunteering.

“Of course I am happy to be here and happy helping the people and the children and the schools,” he said. “It is a pleasure to do this.”

Czech Republic citizen Sylvie Lockerova, 28, said she believed the event was worthwhile. “It is helpful to North Adams,” she said.

Sons of Italy Vice-president Louis Floriani said that the membership agreed that the after-school programs and similar events benefit the city as a whole. The fair space was donated for three days – one day for set-up and two for the event- because of commitment to community, he said.

“We want to become more active and become a stronger presence within the community,” he said. “Anything we can do to help is important. No matter what, we are all in this together.”

Those interested in the LINCS Parent Center or after-school programs may contact Beauchamp or Hilderbrand at the center by calling 413-664-7512.

Susan Bush may be reached by calling 802-823-9367 or by e-mail at suebush123@adelphia.net.
Your Comments
Post Comment
Heidi and Nadia weren't here!!!!!!!!!!
from: heidi and nadiaon: 05-27 00:00:00-2008



GO KNITTING!!!!!!!!!!!!
from: heidi lescrabeauon: 12-31 00:00:00-2006


 
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