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Executive Director Amber Besaw speaks during the forum at First Congregational Church in Williamstown on Dec. 14.

North Berkshire Coalition Forum Listens to Community's Kids

By Rebecca DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Out of the mouths of babes.

At the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition's December monthly forum — held for the first time outside of North Adams, at First Congregational Church in Williamstown — Executive Director Amber Besaw unveiled a six-minute video she made in conjunction with Paul Marino from Northern Berkshire Community Television in which several local children were filmed answering questions about their own families.

The airing of the video to the nearly 100 people in the church's Fellowship Hall kicked off the forum subject: "Re-Imagining How We Support Children in Our Community." The topics brought together people from all walks of life with an interest in the health and well-being of North Berkshire children, including school nurses and pediatricians, child care providers and social workers, education officials and many, many parents with first-hand interest and experience.

But even for those who don't have children or actively work with children, the community as a whole should support the healthy development of today's youth, Besaw said. She shared an anecdote about the use of the "our" in front of "kids" in the title of the video, "What 'Our Kids' Had to Say'" — the "our kids" used to mean the community's children but has come to mean instead one family talking about their own children, a shift toward isolationism and away from community.

"There are all of our kids in our community," she said.

The film led to a discussion in which breakout groups discussed the five "protective factors" of healthy families, a research-based, cost-effective framework developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy over the last decade. These five factors are enhancing parental resilience; providing an array of social connections; providing parents concrete support in times of need; facilitating knowledge of parenting and child development; and supporting healthy social and emotional development in young children.

"It's an approach," said Stacy Parsons, who worked for Child Care of the Berkshires until recently taking the job of education program manager at the Berkshire Museum. "It's not something you have, it's something you do.

"Kids need adults who can model these in a positive way."

The adults in the room — happily supplemented by a few teen voices, thanks to the presence of students from Drury High School's E3 Academy — shared thoughts and suggestions for how to support those protective factors in North Berkshire, from the need for parents to have solid support networks and to understand appropriate child development to the need for community members to be comfortable reaching out to help parents in non-judgmental ways.

"We need to create a healthy interdependence of all families," said Amy Hall, the program director of the Family Center, a part of Child Care of the Berkshires.

But it was perhaps the voices of the kids in the video themselves that highlighted the forum, even in a short six minutes. The children, ranging in age from early education to adolescence — were asked a variety of questions about their families and their parents, and their answers ranged from funny to sweet to inspiring.

In answering the question, "What makes your family strong?" several of the kids cited their love for each other. "We get along," one child said. When asked how parents learn to be parents, many of the kids intuitively seemed to understand they learned from watching their own parents or other parents, although one child said parents learn from their kids, too. And one child said, "they can make mistakes sometimes."

When asked how their families solve problems and how they go back to being OK after a disagreement, the kids mentioned working together to help each other or taking a breather in their rooms. "We work together to make things right," one child said, and another said, "We just try to keep it normal for a while."

At the end of the video, the kids were asked what they would want to tell adults it's like to be a kid. One child offered that "kids just need time away from their parents when times get hard" and another said, "sometimes we like to fool around and sometimes they don't like that so they might want to know that sometimes we want to fool around and sometimes they should just let us fool around."

And then they were asked what they would tell adults if they could only tell them one thing:

"They can't yell."

"Being a kid is fun."

"Never give up on your children."

"I love them."

"Kids' words are important."


Tags: children & families,   NBCC,   

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Mount Greylock Announces Fourth Quarter Honor Roll

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Mount Greylock Regional School has announced its honor rolls for the fourth quarter of the 2018-19 school year.

Students are placed on the honor roll when their quarterly letter grades average a B or better, and when the student receives no grade lower than a B- in all graded classes. The student must be carrying a minimum of four graded courses to be eligible.

Grade 12

Maddison Albert, Hallie Anderson, Mitchell Bath, Sage Bohl, Casey Bouchard, Daniel Buell, Taylor Callahan, Sonya Carrizales, Giovanni Cavalli, Joshua Cheung, Josephine Dalsin, Autumn Delorey, Elizabeth Dudley, John Ellingwood, David Falk, Katrina Hotaling, Alison Howard, Lauren Jacobbe, Sophie Jones, Cole Kuster, Cameron Macuch, Karen MagnusdottirMcComish, Sean Malloy, Michael, Maruk, Brook Masse, Brennan McGowan, Grace Miller, Jakin Miller, Isabella Nicastro, Dominic Paris, Avery Powers, Cameron Sabin, Theodore Sandstrom, Cassidy Shea, Evan Sheridan, Josef Soza-Foias, Colette Stapp, Andrew Sutter, Luke Swann, Samantha Trybus, Katherine Wilson

Grade 11

Gabriella Alvarez, Madeline Art, Miriam Bakija, Julia Butler, Barry Chhuon,  Taylor Cornell, Julia Donati, Sarah Egan, Brandon Fahlenkamp, Alexander Falk, Cole Filson, Toby Foehl, Lucas Forman, Evelyn Fuls, Tarryn Gaherty, Brandi Gill, Logan Gould, James Hetherington, Julia Jammalo, Mitchell Jezouit, Joseph Jones, Jonah Kelly-Whitney, Saville Keyes, Cassidy Kiernan, Amelia Murphy, Brooke Phelps, Samantha Pierce, Charlotte Rauscher, Grace Sanchez, Ciera Schwarzer, Anna Scott, Malcolm Skinner, Brayden Smith, Emanuel Soza-Foias, Owen Tucker-Smith, Xavier Vilaubi, Anna Welch, Finnian Welch, Spencer Zheng

Grade 10

Delaney Babcock, Isabel Beauchamp, Aurora Bullett, Talia Cappadona, Croft Carter, Priya D'Souza, Briana Dowling, Nicholas Duda, Elizabeth Dupras, Laura Dupuis, William Ellingwood, Michael Faulkner, Amanda Filiault, Gabriel Gerry, Jack Gitterman, Claire Hall, Emma Hayward, Carolyn Jones, Isabella Kirby, Isabelle Leonard, Lily Lesieur, Oscar Low, Taylor Mason, Catherine McAllister, Col McDermott, Charles McWeeny, Clarissa McWeeny, Victoria Melkonyan, Julius Munemo, Erin O'Keefe, Emma Paul, Leah Petricca, Benjamin Prescott, Elizabeth Ramos, Jordan Rosier, Leo Rossitter, Abigail Rudin, Charlotte Sanford, Hazel Scullin, Brandon Sills, John Skavlem, Matthew Sorrell, William Starenko, Hayden Steadwell-Brundige, Solomon Sutter, Nathan Taveras, Kyle Trottier, Mia VanDeurzen, Gina Wang, Malcolm Waynick, Ruth Weaver, Jacqueline Wells, Elizabeth Westerdahl, Fiona Williams, Alexander Wilson, Olivia Winters

Grade Nine

Zoe Armet, Henry Art, Alexander Axt, Adriel Benko, Sophia Brady-Owen, Edward Brannan, William Broadwell, Jillian Bump, Jack Catelotti, Cayden Conry, Takiera Darrow, Josephine Dechaine, Maisie Dufour, Diego Galvez, Samantha Garzone, Kathryn Gentry, Jonah Hane, Rina Hatakeyama, Luca Hirsch, Ava Howard, Simon Klompus, Tate Kuster, Juliann Lawson, Madison Machaffie, Thomas Martin, Karissa McInerney, Eleanor McPartland, Sophia Mele, Troy Michalak, Derek Paris, Tej Patel, Krishan Rai, Tashi Rai, Sarah Reynolds, Jamie Rhinemiller, Lily Rorke, Emma Sandstrom, Anna Schoorlemmer, Piper Schulman, Alayna Schwarzer, Mackenzie Sheehy, Ava Simon, Josephine Smith, Christian Sullivan, Katherine Swann, Camden Taylor, Alexis Toomey, Rona Wang, Anthony Welch, Malina Woodbury

Grade Eight

Ainsley Abel, Arsil Ahmed, Annabelle Art, Matilda Asch, Elizabeth Bertolino, Matthew Bertolino, Henrik Bingemann, Erika Bolton, Marguerite Brody, Elena Caplinger, Matteo Chang, Hannah Chase, Chase Doyle, Antoinette Dykes, Cailean Fippinger, Emma Gilooly, Emma Gray, Arthur Greenfield, Dylen Harrison, Eamon Hetherington, Lucy Igoe, Lily Jayko, Seth Lillie, Clarissa Louis, Elliot Louis, Isabella Mangano, Emma Mathews, Patrick McConnell, Emma Newberry, Liam O’Keefe, Zenalyssa Packer, Beatrice Pedroni, Christiane Rech, Juliet Robinson, Brodi Rosier, Ernani Rosse, Joshua Rudin, Andres Sanchez, Foster Savitsky, Drew Scanlon, Krish Sharma, Noah Shin, Jennah Simpson, Kiersten Simpson, Jane Skavlem, Euphemia Skinner, Elizabeth Smith, Jacob Stokes, Molly Sullivan, Rose Sutter, Kamryn Sweet, Samuel Tucker-Smith, Nathaniel Verter, Haley Williams, Elissa Wong

Grade Seven

Ava Anagnos, Lex Anagnos, Thomas Art, Riley Babcock, Phoebe Barnes, Jude Barzousky, Isabella Belleau, Jacqueline Brannan, Emma Brennan, Larissa Broadwell, Kaylie Bryan, Lily Catelotti, Sylvie Clowes, Lila Cohen-McFall, Julia DeChaine, Benjamin Dingman, Noelle Dravis, Emily Dupuis, Abaigael Fuls, Isabella Garivaltis, Beatrice Garvey, Annabelle Gitterman,  Anabel Gonzales, Emma Kate Hane, Akira Harris, Alexa Heidel, Matilde Henderson, Phoebe Hughes, Tyler Kloblensky Hynes-Drumm, Jason Jaros, Talia Kapiloff, Erin Keating, Ryan Keating, Jenner Kittle, Luka Lash-St. John, Svea Lawson, Cedric Lemaire, Caleb Low, Cecilia Malone, Grace Malone, Judge Martin, Lily McDermott, Quinn McDermott, Lucy McWeeny, Emily Mole, John Morales, George Munemo, Dylan Nevarez, Maggie Nichols, Emily Ouellette, Gianna Pesce, Andrew Petropulos, Owen Petropulos, Alexa Politis, Gabriella Quagliano, Quinlan Repetto, Declan Rogers, Celina Savage, Mason Sayers, Iris Semon Pike, Jasmine Skorupski, Katelin Smith, Parker Smith, Oliver Swabey, Jamie Sweren, Emma Swoap, Celia Szczepaniak, Macy Tidmarsh, John Trinder, Serafina Velazquez, Mitchell Waynick, Vincent Welch, Marcus Whalen-Loux, Gavin Whaley, Grace Winters.

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