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Carter Degrenier, Corey Bolte, and Lily Marceau are activation for drug addition awareness in the community.
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Student Xavier Pratt has asked the city to set up more recycle bins.
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21st Century After School Coordinator Wendall Nelson had some opening remarks before turning the event over to the students.

Colegrove Students Go Green At Camp Solution

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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One of the larger groups designed posters advocating for animal adoptions. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – Colegrove Park Elementary School students designed eco-friendly programs and businesses during the Camp Solution program.
 
For the past four weeks, fifth and sixth-grade students have been working with CS Wurzberger, known as "The Green Up Girl," designing projects that could have real impacts in the city and the world.
 
"They have taken so much ownership because we told them anything is possible," Wurzberger, the green movement marketing advisor, sustainability consultant, and podcaster said. "They picked something in their community, world, or life that they wanted to change or make an impact on and we fanned the flames."
 
Students displayed their projects at a culminating event Thursday afternoon in the Colegrove gymnasium and projects spanned from endangered animals, drug abuse awareness, to saving the bees.
 
21st Century After School Coordinator Wendall Nelson said the school has hosted the camp over the past several summers and students have looked at local issues and towards their own futures through Camp Optimism, Camp Courage, and this year’s Camp Solution. 
 
"Students first came up with an issue that they felt strongly about and researched. They then came up with their own solution as they designed businesses and projects," she said. "They learned that some of their ideas were completely feasible and they had to make changes."
 
She added that high school students were also involved and seventh and eighth graders enriched the program as mentors. She said through a partnership with the YMCA sixth, seventh, and eighth students learned CPR and first aid and are all now certified babysitters.
 
Wurzberger said Camp Solution has been the largest group she has worked with and through her books and her birds she worked with students to show real environmental concerns.
 
"They learned that it’s not all book stuff. It is not just reading about endangered animals, it is meeting an animal face to face," she said. "They met Alma [an engendered parrot] here at three weeks old as her feathers were coming in. Every day Alma was here with them."
 
She said withdrawn students often connected with the birds and discussed their projects with them. She said many kids who had no idea what they wanted to do were able to find their voice and pinpoint something important to them.
 
"Some of these kids came in so quiet but as soon as we started asking questions they came alive," she said. "They are getting the chance to realize that their voices matter and their ideas have support from their community."
 
Student Xavier Pratt had enough of the garbage around his neighborhood and the danger it posed to animals.
 
"I like animals and I don’t like what happens to them when they eat garbage," he said. "…I asked the city to put recyclable bins at local attractions to reduce the garbage that comes out and try to organize a green up day where they go out and clean up the trash on the streets and make it better." 
 
Wurzberger officially labeled Pratt as the "Green Up Guy" and said she hoped the mayor, who was at the event, followed up with him.
 
Aubrey Levesque and Kaley Goodell also had concerns about garbage. More specifically about plastic in the ocean.
 
"There are less than 1 million turtles left because they are endangered," Levesque said. "Because when people throw plastic into the ocean they mistake it for jellyfish, eat it, and they can’t digest it."
 

The groups presented projects with various solutions to problems facing the city and  the world.
The two took bottle caps and made turtle pins to help spread awareness.
 
Carter Degrenier, Corey Bolte, Lily Marceau, and Carley Pontier looked at the drug epidemic in the community and designed posters and other media to help spread awareness.
 
"We wanted to do something about drug use," Marceau said. "We started researching it and we found out the facts. We did posters and a podcast."
 
Wurzberger said this project will be taken up through an after-school program once the school year begins.
 
Selena Packard, Nathanial Miranda, Jackson Liang, and Arian Tyler all teamed up to advocate for animal adoption and made posters supporting the adoption of hamsters, gerbils, birds, cats, pit bulls and even the black-footed ferret. 
 
"We are a big group and we wanted to help sheltered animals. I chose the black-footed ferret," Miranda said. "Animals can live longer if you adopt them like the black-footed ferret in the wild they live up to 12 years but as a pet, they live up to 15."
 
Wurzberger said she hopes students’ worlds have been opened up and that they are now aware of environmental issues in and beyond their community.
 
She added that she hopes students have found a new confidence and a voice of their own.
 
"As kids, we are always told no and with this, we did not say no to any projects," she said. "We maybe had to tweak some of these projects or guide them but whatever they wanted to do we were going to help them figure out."
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First-time homebuyer? Follow these steps

Is homeownership a goal of yours? It does offer some benefits, in addition to meeting your basic need for shelter. The equity you build in your home can be a valuable financial asset, and you may get to deduct your interest payments on your taxes. But if you're a first-time homebuyer, what steps should you take?
 
First, make sure the time is right for you in terms of your personal and financial situations. For example, are you fairly confident that your employment is stable and that your earnings won't decline? Of course, external events can also play a role in your decision. A recent study by Morning Consult and Edward Jones found that 12 percent of respondents postponed purchasing a house during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
But if you're ready and eager for homeownership, consider the following moves:
  • Save for a down payment. The more money you put down for a home, the lower your monthly payments, although there's also a point at which overly large down payments can be financially unwise. However, if you can make a down payment of more than 20 percent of the purchase price, you can generally avoid having to pay for private mortgage insurance on top of your monthly payments. Also, as a first-time homebuyer, you might qualify for down payment assistance from your local or state housing authority or a nonprofit group.
  • Check your credit score. A higher credit score gives you a better chance for a lower interest rate. You can request a credit report from annualcreditreport.com, and you might be able to get a credit score for free from your bank. If you need to improve your score, you may want to delay your home purchase.
  • Learn how much you qualify for – and how much you should spend. Once you think you're ready to begin the home-purchasing process, you may want to contact a few lenders to determine the size of the mortgage for which you qualify. Be aware, though, that just because you can get a mortgage of a certain amount, does not necessarily mean that you should. You don't want to become "house poor" – that is, you don't want to spend so much on your house payments that you are cash strapped and can't afford to save for other goals, such as college for your children or a comfortable retirement. You may want to establish a budget for how much you can readily afford to pay for your mortgage each month – and try sticking to it before you buy the house. If you have extra savings, put it toward your down payment.
  • Prepare for unexpected costs. You can plan for your mortgage, utilities, taxes and insurance – but when you own a home, you'll always encounter unexpected costs. You may need to get a new furnace, repair your roof or face any number of other maintenance issues. To help prepare for these costs, try to build an emergency fund containing three to six months' worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid, low-risk account. Without such a fund, you might be forced to dip into your long-term investments or take on added debt to pay for these unanticipated expenses.
Homeownership can be a rewarding experience – and the rewards will be even be greater when you've "done the numbers" and prepared yourself financially.
 
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