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Berkshire United Way President and CEO Candace Winkler joins Miraval Berkshires General Manager Vic Cappadona at the gong in the reflection garden at the Lenox resort on Monday, Sept. 21, World Gratitude Day.

Berkshire United Way, Miraval Offer Getaway to Essential Worker

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LENOX, Mass. — Berkshire United Way and Miraval Berkshires have teamed up to honor an essential worker or first responder on the front lines of relief efforts in Berkshire County during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Berkshire United Way, which has helped provide relief grants to nonprofit organizations helping the most vulnerable populations throughout the pandemic, has created an online nomination form here. Self-nominations will be accepted and individuals may also request a nomination form by emailing info@berkshireunitedway.org.
 
Nominations are currently open and the deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2. Submissions will be pooled together and one recipient will be selected at random. The person selected will receive a four-day, three-night all-expenses-paid wellness getaway for two guests, including food and experiences, at Miraval Berkshires' newly opened resort in Lenox, the former Cranwell. The recipient and their guest must be 18 years or older and the offer is valid for 12 months (black-out dates apply).
 
"Throughout this pandemic, we have recognized the challenges and triumphs our essential workers have experienced," said Candace Winkler, president and CEO of Berkshire United Way, in a statement. "Today is the perfect day to launch this exciting endeavor to find a well-deserving recipient with this generous offering from Miraval Berkshires. As a new business here, we are happy to partner with them on this effort."
 
Each year on Sept. 21, the world celebrates the mindful practice of gratitude. Miraval Resorts & Spas' locations in the Berkshires, Miraval Arizona in Tucson and Miraval Austin in Texas held a special sound healing gong ceremony live on Instagram on Monday. This year, Miraval celebrates and honors first responders and essential workers around the world by giving back to those that have supported their communities through COVID-19.
 
"This Gratitude Day, we want to show our deep appreciation to those who have selflessly given their time, talents and resources to ensure the health and safety of their local communities,” said Susan Santiago, head of Lifestyle & Miraval operations. "We are proud to partner with Berkshire United Way — an esteemed organization whose dedication to building a stronger community deeply resonates with Miraval and its guests — to honor the community's heroic essential workers with the gift of well-being and healing."
 
In the spirit of gratitude, Miraval Berkshires has also offered a three-day, two-night wellness getaway to incentivize participation in Berkshire United Way's annual campaign for 2020-2021, which includes more than 140 workplaces.
 
Donors are the backbone of Berkshire United Way's fundraising efforts to support community partners and to respond to emerging needs in times of crisis. Donors have helped BUW improve the quality of life for children, youth and families right here in the Berkshires for 96 years.

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District Attorney Launches 'High-Risk' Team to Address Domestic Violence

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Cathy Felix talks about her daughter, Julie Shade, a victim of domestic violence who was murdered by her husband. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire District Attorney's Office has launched a new effort to address domestic and sexual abuse in the region.
 
District Attorney Andrea Harrington, joined by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, on Thursday introduced a Domestic Violence High Risk Team designed to bring multiple disciplines together to strengthen social service and law enforcement responses to domestic violence. The DA's office has also created a new position of a domestic violence coordinator who will work with the team and develop intervention plans.
 
The initiative continues a campaign promise Harrington made to prioritize domestic violence and develop a team of made up of representatives across several disciplines to create a coordinated response. 
 
"We are using our power to dismantle a culture of violence against women and girls," she said. "Being the first female district attorney [in Berkshire County], being the first anything, being a woman in power in particular, and we have a lot of powerful women standing here behind me today, that in and of its self is meaningless unless we use that power to bring equity and human rights and justice to our community."
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