8 Berkshire Women Selected for Leadership Institute

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EASTHAMPTON, Mass. — Eight Berkshire County women have been selected by The Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts as members of the 2010-11 Leadership Institute for Political Impact.

A new initiative of the Women's Fund, the 10-month curriculum is designed to create a cadre of effective and powerful women leaders in the region and to train local women to run for elected office.

Focusing on areas such as community organizing, the legislative process and policy-making, fundraising and campaigning for office, LIPI is designed to give women the tools — but more importantly the confidence — they need to become political leaders.

"We believe that a critical way to address the problems facing our communities is to engage the talents and the input of women at all levels and in all sectors of decision making," said Carla Oleska, chief executive chairman of the Fund. "With this project we will create wave after wave of confident, skilled, politically savvy women leaders who will be at the forefront of strengthening our communities."

The women:

Nakeida Bethel-Smith, an outreach educator at the Elizabeth Freeman Center

Gwendolyn Hampton VanSant, co-founder and director of Berkshire Resources for the Integration of Diverse Groups and Education, or BRIDGE

Ariane C.Blanchard, Great Barrington Housing Authority Commission member and volunteer BRIDGE Youth Corps coordinator

Eliza Crescentini, executive director of  Berkshire South Regional Community Center

Tanya A. Hills, director of CHP-South Berkshire Youth Coalition

Susan Olshuff, fundraising consultant in Lenox

Marla N. Robertson, mentoring program director for Railroad Street Youth Project

Becky Schirber, an acupuncturist and chef in Lenox

They were publicly recognized as new Leadership Institute members on May 6 at the Delaney House in Holyoke. Their yearlong participation in the institute begins in June.
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BCC's Nursing Program Restored to Full Approval

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College's Associate Degree in Nursing program is once again in full compliance with the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing requirements and will start accepting students again in the fall of 2020.

This news was announced at the Board of Registration in Nursing's Dec. 11 board meeting. A site survey was completed by board designees in October 2019 and the positive results of that visit were shared this week. In that site survey, board personnel reviewed documentation, met with students, faculty and staff, toured the facilities, and carefully examined both current data and plans for future data collection.

The college's Practical Nursing program (PN) also underwent a scheduled 10-year site visit this fall, which reviewed the certificate program. This program continues to be fully compliant with MABORN requirements.

"This was a campus-wide effort to meet the needs of our community. We are very proud that our collective efforts and focus resulted in the full reinstatement of the ADN program," BCC President Ellen Kennedy said in a statement. "Berkshire Community College has been offering nursing education for over 50 years and we will continue to provide high quality nursing education that leads to employment and meets the needs of health care providers."

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