PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Shelburne Falls native Adam Hinds has been chosen to serve as the program coordinator for the Shannon Grant the city was recently awarded.
The Charles E. Shannon Grant is a state-funded program that focuses on comprehensive gang prevention and management. In January the city was awarded $100,000 after submitting a competitive grant request to the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. This was an increase over last year’s initial award of $60,000.
Mayor Dan Bianchi said he is looking forward to Hinds expanding upon the efforts that were begun in 2013 and providing the basis for improving the quality of life and opportunities available for our youth.
"Adam Hinds will bring significant experience and perspective in the area of conflict resolution and youth development initiatives,” he said.
Hinds has a background in diplomacy, conflict resolution and community mobilization. He worked for the United Nations for the past 10 years, most recently in the Department of Political Affairs at UN headquarters as a political affairs officer working on Syria to eliminate that country’s chemical weapons program.
He also advised former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan during the effort to secure a ceasefire in Syria in 2012.
Before working on Syria, Hinds spent two years in Jerusalem, where he was the chief regional adviser to the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. He also spent nearly four years in Iraq as Team Leader of a UN-led negotiation in Iraq between the government and the Kurdistan Region over disputed internal boundaries and in 2005-06 to advise on national dialogue.
Hinds is a 2003 graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, with a masters of art in law and diplomacy. Originally from Shelburne Falls, Hinds is relocating to the Berkshires and looking forward to working with the many social service organizations within the community as well as the criminal justice sector.
“I hope to use the knowledge gained through my work in some pretty challenging locations to help keep our communities safe right here at home," he said. "Partnering with the social service organizations in the area will be central to this effort.”
The Shannon Grant concentrates on five central elements for a gang intervention model: community mobilization, provision of opportunity, suppression, social intervention and organizational change. The target area of concern is at risk youth, ages 14-24 living in neighborhoods where gang violence is prevalent.
Through collaborative efforts of the city, the Police Department and Sheriff’s Department and several community organizations, the 2013 program worked with more than 200 youth using the Community Center at Dower Square as a base.