State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier and Ward 6 Councilor John Krol cut the ribbon on the newest trail at Pitt Park.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — City officials and the Berkshire United Way cut the ribbon the city's second "born learning trail" at Pitt Park on Tuesday.
The trail is a series of signs throughout the park outlining pre-literary activities for children to do. The trail is another step in the Pittsfield Promise, an effort to improve literacy at a young age. The activities are aimed to set the base for literacy skills at a young age.
"When families are learning, it is not just reading at home. It is being out," said Berkshire United Way CEO Kristine Hazzard said.
The trail is the second one in the city after officials cut the ribbon on the first at Springside Park. Prior to that, the Berkshire United Way cut the ribbon on a trail at Muddy Brook Elementary School in Great Barrington in 2011.
Mayor Daniel Bianchi spoke highly of the program saying that teaching children to read is "the greatest gift" one can give. He hopes the program can get all third-graders are proficient in reading.
"We spend millions of dollars on programs for remediation. Wouldn't it be great if we could divert those remediation dollars to enrichment programs?" Bianchi said, adding that he had trouble with literacy as a child and that is a burden he wouldn't want any others to have.
The Pittsfield Promise and the Berkshire United Way have their sights on improving third grade proficiency from 52 percent in 2012 to 90 percent by 2020.
Tuesday's ribbon cutting was held in conjunction with the Berkshire United Way's Day of Caring volunteer effort. Volunteers at Pitt Park spent the day cleaning and spending mulch on the playground. The United Way also set up a book swap and donated supplies to teachers.
The Day of Caring effort also included volunteers painting a classroom at Lanesborough Elementary School and, again, delivering teacher's supplies.
Also attending the ribbon cutting were Superintendent of Schools Jake McCandless, who spoke about the importance of children's attendance rates in schools and state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier and Ward 6 Councilor John Krol, who cut the ribbon.
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