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Sue Bush
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Crews Shifts from Youth Coalition To Youth Center

By Jen Thomas
02:05PM / Friday, June 15, 2007

Carrie Crews [Photo by Jen Thomas]
Adams – As AmeriCorps fellow Carrie Crews prepares to leave her year-long home at the Adams-Cheshire-Savoy Youth Coalition, she made it clear she isn’t ready to leave the work she’s done behind.

"We’ve done so much this year," she said in an interview this morning. "I’m thrilled to work with youth; they become like one of the family. I can’t imagine not being a part of it."

Crews, a North Adams resident, has accepted a position as a senior fellow with AmeriCorps and, with the new title, comes a move to the town-based Youth Center Inc., where Crews will continue the work she’s done on youth-based projects over the last year.

Crews’ hard work as helped the development of free family-oriented events for the community, including tonight’s Family Fun Night event, which will combine an Ice Cream Social and Movie Night.

Held at the C.T. Plunkett Elementary School, the ACS Youth Coalition, in collaboration with Adams Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol, will showcase a screening of Happily N’ever After and provide attendees with informational packets on local youth issues. The event begins at 5:30 p.m.

Five Promises

Most of Crews’ fellowship work has focused on having the ACS Youth Coalition fulfill the five promises outlined by the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship program.

Though the non-profit organization concentrates primarily on networking and organization, acting as a “hub” for other member organizations, the 5 promises dictate what kinds of programming the coalition promotes and supports.

The five promises, as outlined by MassPromise, are centered on the “fundamental five” – five areas youth need for healthy and productive lives. They are mentor, protect, nurture, teach and serve.

"Our main goal and purpose is to ensure that youth in our area get the five promises," said Crews.

They are:

1. An ongoing relationship with a caring adult

2. Safe places and structured activities during non-school hours for learning and growing

3. A healthy start and a healthy future

4. Marketable skills through effective education

5. An opportunity to give back through community service

Crews hopes that Adams will be declared a “community of promise” by America’s Promise Alliance, making them eligible to be rated as one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People in the country.

"I think we can do it," said Crews. "It’d be a great way to say to the community, ‘Look at what we’ve been doing.’"

Passion for the Job

Crews chose to make the move to Youth Center, Inc. to be more in touch with her real passion: the kids.

"With the coalition, my main focus was working with different agencies," she said. "At the Youth Center, I’ll be working directly with the youth. It’ll be them all the time, instead of part time."

Crews said her work would be more hands-on at the Youth Center. She has plans to expand their curriculum to include more field trips to local businesses and to the police station for tours.

"I want them to get a handle for their future," said Crews.

Crews’ passion for youth stems from her desire to prepare for the future. With two daughters of her own – Tara, 6 months and Mickey, 15, – Crews said she values the family unit and works to provide a strong community in which youth can flourish.

"I spent many years behind many desks, and I watched too many kids go through too many things. I learned that it just wasn’t what was important to me."

'If we’re not taking care of the youth, we have no future," she said.

Crews said she likes providing a strong foundation for youth.

"Giving people the support they need to create individuals society needs is more important than anything else," she said.

In her new capacity at the Youth Center, Crews hopes to make a real difference.

"I’m looking forward to being in a place where I can watch youth and the community itself going to the next level," Crews said. "It’s really rewarding to see how much a community can do."


For more information on the ACS Youth Coalition, visit their web page at http://www.acsyouth.org/ or for more on Youth Center, Inc., visit http://www.youthcenterinc.org/.

Jen Thomas may be reached via e-mail at jthomas@iberkshires.com or at 413-663-3384 ext. 29.
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