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A sign for the Haunted Harvest Festival hangs on the door of the Roots teen center on Eagle Street in North Adams, which is celebrating its one-year anniversary with a Halloween fundraiser.

Roots Teen Center Hosting Halloween Fundraiser For One-Year Anniversary

By Rebecca DravisiBerkshires Staff
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The Roots teen center opened for business one year ago on Eagle Street.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — When the Roots teen center's youth board of directors started to brainstorm a fundraiser for the month of October, the answer was as plain as ... well, as plain as the pumpkin on the porch.

A Halloween event, of course. And thus was born the idea for the inaugural youth-led fundraiser, a "Haunted Harvest Festival," an all-ages event to be held in downtown North Adams on Friday, Oct. 27, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Events will begin at the teen center, located at 43 Eagle St., where people can get tickets for activities, raffles and contests for $1 each and then spread out at other locations around Eagle Street for pumpkin decorating, costume contests, photo booths, face painting, handmade crafts for sale by local 9-year-old Piper Jacobs and more. The activities will cost between one and 10 tickets each.

Executive Director Jessica Sweeney said the youth board members "have the reins" on this event, planning it from start to finish.

"It's kind of really awesome because it's a bunch of young people telling adults what to do," she said.

The main goal is to raise $1,000, and Sweeney is hopeful that will happen, between the tickets sold for the event's activities as well as support from local businesses like Persnickety Toys, Eagle Street Artisans, Bella Roma, Empire Cafe and Village Pizza, all of which are donating 10 percent of their sales from the entire day to Roots.

"What's been really beautiful is that all these businesses are eager to support them," she said.

However, the event is more than just a fundraiser or a Halloween party: The reason that it is being planned in October is in celebration of the one-year anniversary of Roots, which opened Oct. 16, 2016, after years of planning and preparing.

Over the course of the first year, the center, even with its limited hours, has seen 200 visits, including a dozen youths who come regularly.

"I consider that really successful," Sweeney said as she sat in the storefront center, outfitted with comfortable seating, plenty of activities and a kitchen all available for Northern Berkshire youths ages 14 to 22.

Over the last year, Roots has built its regular board of directors and a team of 40 volunteers, as well as a youth board of directors for teens interested not only in helping make decisions for the center but get real-life experience of being on a nonprofit board of directors.

"When they go to step on to board as adults, there will be less of an intimidation factor," Sweeney said. And when they turn 23, they can join the regular board of directors. "That also makes our board really diverse."

All of that diversity has helped guide the success of the first year of the center, which the Haunted Harvest Festival fundraiser aims to showcase in addition to making money.

"People can come in and see the space," said Hunter Schrade, 19, of North Adams, a member of the youth board of directors. "If we can get especially youth in this space, they'll know it already and they will want to come. It less scary."

Schrade looked back on the first year of Roots as offering youths a place to come in and share their stories in a non-judgmental atmosphere, especially during events like the Friday open-mic events.

"That is the greatest thing to see, how their lives are impacted," said Shrade, who wants all Northern Berkshire teens to know what Roots has to offer. "This is a nice place for after school that youths can go."

And as the teen center enters its second year, both boards are starting to look at the next five years in a new strategic plan. That includes more fundraising and seeking out grant opportunities, of course, as their original grant is about to expire. But it also includes looking critically at the programming and how it is serving area youths.

"We like to really think about how we're doing the work we're doing here," said Sweeney, who said that many teen centers don't last very long. "We don't want that to be our story."

As for the physical location, Sweeney said originally they did not know if the Eagle Street location would be permanent. But she said everyone really likes the location, with its convenient downtown location and ample foot traffic. And it has come to feel like home.

"The youth board feels really passionately about staying here," she said. "They want to build their roots here, all puns intended."

To connect with Roots, donate money or volunteer, send an email or visit the website.


Tags: fundraiser,   Halloween,   teen center,   

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North Adams Happenings: Aug. 21-27

SAVE THE DATE
AUGUST 29th - DownStreet Art
DownStreet Art, the last-Thursday-of-the-month popup program of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (MCLA BCRC), returns to downtown North Adams from 5-8 p.m. on August 29, 2019. As always, DownStreet Art is free and open to the public.
More information.

AUGUST 30th - Starry Night Movies at UNO Park Presents: Hidden Figures
On August 30th, we are showing Hidden Figures. The story of "three brilliant African-American women at NASA who serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world" (Google).
The festivities start at 6pm. More information on activities and games coming soon. Movie will begin at 8:00pm. Bring pillows, blankets, and low back chairs to take in this incredible untold story under a starry night on the UNO Park lawn.
More information.
 
Wednesday 8/21
9:00 A.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Terrific Tots Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.  

10:30 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Preschool Story Time North Adams Public Library, 74 Church Street, (413) 662-3133 More information. 


11:30 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Little Wonders Baby Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information. 

5:00 P.M. (FREE), WORKSHOP, Simple Zero-Waste Swaps for the Bathroom: A Zero-Waste Workshop UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

6:30 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, Concerts at WIndsor Lake Presents JP Murphy 200 Windsor Lake Drive, (413)664-6180 More information.

8:00 P.M. (FREE), GAMES, Trivia Night! Ramunto's, 67 Main Street, (413) 398-5152 More information.

Thursday 8/22
9:00 A.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

4:00 P.M. (FREE), TUTORING, After School Program UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

5:30 P.M. (FREE), KIDS, North Adams Public Library Trip North Adams Public Library, 74 Church Street, (413) 662-3133 More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), BIKING, Downtown Bike Around Anthony's Municipal Parking Lot More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, Party in the Park Presents The Brave Brothers Noel Field, 310 State Street More information.

7:30 P.M. (FREE), BINGO, Musical Bingo at Mingo's Sports Bar and Grill 41 Roberts Drive More information.

8:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, The Chalet: Eavesdrop The Chalet at Courtyard D, MASS MoCA, 1040 MASS MoCA Way More information.
Friday 8/23
7:30 A.M. (FREE), MEET AND GREET, Coffee Date at the NAMAzing Eagle Street Parklet NAMAzing Eagle Street Parklet More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Drop-In Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.

11:00 A.M. (FREE, PARKING $5), KIDS, Kidleidoscope New England's Natural Bridge, 1 McCauley Road More information.

12:00 P.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

7:00 P.M. (By Donation), CRAFTING, Knitting Nights with Common Folk Common Folk, 73 Main Street More information.

7:00 P.M. ($1 and up), GAMES, BINGO! North Adams Elks 487 Lodge, 100 Eagle Street, (413) 664-9039 More information.

8:00 P.M. (FREE), MOVIE, Movies Under the Stars at Colegrove Park Presents: The Goonies Colegrove Park Elementary, 24 Church Street, (413) 664-6180 More information.

8:00 P.M. ($18 - $44), MUSIC, Roomful of Teeth MASS MoCA, 1040 Mass Moca Way More information.

9:00 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, Karaoke Friday! State Street Tavern, 167 State Street, (413) 664-9152 More information.
Saturday 8/24
9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. (FREE), MARKET, North Adams Farmers Market The Wigwam Western Summit, 2350 Mohawk Trail More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE, PARKING $5), TOUR, Natural Bridge History Tour New England's Natural Bridge, 1 McCauley Road More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), GARDENING, Gardening Program UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

2:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, Motorama Cruise-in Concert Presents Whiskey City & Live Wire Noel Field Athletic Complex, 310 State Street, (413) 664-6180 More information

8:00 P.M. ($20 - $30), CONCERT, Cha Wa MASS MoCA, 1040 Mass Moca Way More information.
Sunday 8/25
9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. (FREE TO SPECTATORS, CAR REG. $15), STREET FAIR, 9th Annual Motorama Car Show Downtown North Adams, (413) 664-6180 More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE, PARKING $5), TOUR, Natural Bridge History Tour New England's Natural Bridge, 1 McCauley Road More information.

4:00 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, Racks and Stacks- Barbecue and Vinyl Music A-ok Berkshire Barbeque, 2601 MASS MoCA Way, (413) 398-5079 More information.
Monday 8/26
1:00 P.M. (FREE), KIDS, Crafternoons! North Adams Public Library, 74 Church Street, (413) 662-3133 More information.
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