Director Alisa Costa highlights some of the successes the organization had in the last three years.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Working Cities is in its final year of funding and believes it has made an impact.
The organization threw its annual barbecue on Wednesday that Initiative Director Alisa Costa said is a chance to not only share what the organization has been doing but also to get additional feedback. The organization put out sheets asking about the challenges and successes in the neighborhood.
"When we started this work, residents reported feeling isolated and not welcome in many spaces in Pittsfield. You told us where you struggle and what you need. And we've been working together for three years toward a long-term, 10-yearr goal. Building a just, thriving, and safe city for everyone," Costa told the crowd.
She asked, "what have we accomplished together?" And then she answered
"We have seven community navigators on the ground in our neighborhoods working to connect their neighbors to opportunities. Whether that is a program, a job, food, or shelter, this team is connecting people to what they need," Costa said.
The navigators completed more than 500 hours of work in the community, helping connect people with the resources they need. The organization has provided 250 people with Bridges Out of Poverty training. It graduated 90 people from the Getting Ahead program. And it has hosted 20 community meetings reaching some 317 residents and where ideas on to how to help the community were pitched.
Of those, a bus program from Pittsfield to Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival was created to help low-income residents enjoy the arts and culture. A police outreach post opened in the same building as Working Cities and Habitat for Humanity on Columbus Avenue. Rose and Cole Co-op Transport was created to provide low-cost transportation options. And the Tyler Street Lab opened. Costa said the organization got involved in all of those partnerships because of the responses from the community.
The initiative began three years ago with funding through the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Berkshire United Way, Berkshire Bank, Greylock Federal Credit Union, and 1Berkshire. The focus of the group is to help low-income residents overcome "structural barriers such as inadequate access to education, transportation, jobs, and opportunities."
The group was funded for three years but Costa said the work is not done. She will be looking for funding to continue on into the future.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
The donation, which was made in honor of all BHS employees and medical staff, will be designated to support two major programs that provide reliable access to healthy food for residents of Berkshire County. click for more
Any other year, the graduates of Berkshire Community College and their friends and families would be filling The Shed at Tanglewood in Lenox.
But instead of taking the stage, speakers stood alone in front of a backdrop. And instead of being handed their certificates and diplomas, the more than... click for more
MassWildlife has seen a dramatic uptick in newly documented eagle nests and has confirmed nine new nests in Fitchburg, Wenham, Concord, Rutland, Wareham, Medford, Northampton, Hudson, and Barnstable. click for more