Berkshire United Way Teams Up With Ready4K

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire United Way (BUW) and Northern Berkshire United Way (NBUW) have partnered with Ready4K to provide Berkshire families with educational facts and on their cell phones. 
 
To support early childhood education, BUW and NBUW have teamed up with Ready4K to help support early childhood education through a text messaging program.
 
According to BUW and NBUW, based on research conducted in a recent 2019 Early Childhood Assessment and Sustainability report, Civitas Strategies found that bolstering the services available to directly serve parents and caregivers has the greatest potential to positively influence the overall well-being of the family unit in general, and ultimately increase third-grade reading proficiency.
 
"BUW learned about the Ready4K program right before COVID-19 struck our community. Based on the evaluation data about improved child outcomes and parent satisfaction, we were excited to bring this free texting service to the Berkshires and add it to our portfolio of investments in early childhood education," Candace Winkler, president and CEO of Berkshire United Way said. "This simple but effective program seems even more relevant now as families struggle with social distancing and virtual education. We are proud to partner with Ready4K to provide parents with simple, tangible ideas they can use at home with their child to promote growth and development."
 
Ready4K is a research-based text messaging program for families with children ages zero to nine. Each week, participants will receive three texts with facts and tips on ways to help your child learn and grow. Ready4K tips build on daily routines and families will always get messages that match their child's age.
 
The program supports the Head Start Parent, Family and Community Engagement Framework, promoting family well-being, positive relationships, child transitions, and involvement at school. Text messages focus on: approaches to learning, social and emotional development, language and literacy, cognition, and perceptual, motor, and physical development.
 
You may enroll up to three children per cell number and choose English or Spanish for the text language. The program is free, but data and message rates may apply.
 
Families can enroll here.
 
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Pittsfield Developing Plan for Bicycle Network

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

The first public meeting on the master plan was held Wednesday.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city is developing plans to make Pittsfield safer and more accessible to bicycling. 
 
The first public meeting for the Pittsfield Bicycle Facilities Master Plan was held on Wednesday but the plan has been in the works for the last year or two, said City Planner CJ Hoss.
 
Though Pittsfield has a few areas with bike lanes or shared road lanes, the city would like to take a more progressive approach with simple roadwork projects or more extensive plans in the future to try and take on more ambitious, safer bike facilities.
 
"There's a need to take a citywide approach," Hoss said.
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