Eleven graduated from the program in 2011.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Northern Berkshire Neighbors are entering their fourth year of training community members on how to be good neighbors.
The Community Outreach Worker program, which is a program of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, teaches about a dozen Northern Berkshire residents each year about the social resources available.
The 15-week training include site visits to places like food pantries, youth centers and council on ageings in hopes of raising awareness in the form of specialists in each neighborhood.
"We're really hammed packed this year," organizer Annie Rodgers said on Friday about the more than 10 site visits planned.
The group is expanding more into Adams and Williamstown this year with additional organizations jumping on board. Individuals who go through the program are not asked to do anything specify with their newly gained knowledge other than help others.
"This started because there are so many services in the area and what we hear most often is 'I didn't know," Rodgers said. "We want to make sure folks get the information."
With more than 30 people trained, the organization is beginning to make a name for itself. Some of the individuals who went through the training before have used that knowledge to be a neighborhood resource, others from other organizations have used it to get better at what they do and others have gone even further beyond.
"The scope of work is really dependent on the individual," Rodgers said.
In 2011, Mark Lincourt graduated the program and upon graduation he was "plugged in" with food resources and the Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative was just beginning. Lincourt joined the effort and helped form the Friendship Center food pantry on Eagle Street.
"The reputation of the program really has blossomed," Rodgers said, adding that when they first started nobody knew what it was and now there are people asking where outreach workers are located.
This year's training begins on Jan. 17, 2013. The classes are from 10 until noon. Anyone is welcome to take the course but are asked to submit a letter of interest to Rodgers or Wendy Krom at the Main Street office or mail to 61 Main St., Suite 218 North Adams, MA 01247.