BUW support continues to fund Sexual Health Education, Mentoring, Apprenticeship, & Youth Development Programs for South County youth

June 2014…………….Railroad Street Youth Project (RSYP), a community-based non-profit dedicated to youth development and empowerment, is pleased to announce that Berkshire United Way (BUW) has extended funding through June 2015 to support RSYP’s Sexual Health Education, Mentoring program, and Youth Development programs for teens and young adults ages 14-25 in South County.

The grant includes continued funding for RSYP’s Youth Leadership and Drop-in Center programming, Sexual Health Initiative with Berkshire Hills Regional School District and Multicultural BRIDGE, and Mentoring Program.

In addition, BUW will continue to fund RSYP’s Apprenticeship Program (RAP) through a collaboration with Construct, Inc., a non-profit supporting the needs of homeless and low income people in South County. The Railroad Street Apprenticeship Program (RAP), launched in 2006, matches the inspirations of young people to the resources of the community. RAP meets the unmet vocational and educational needs of at-risk South Berkshire youth and young adults, and prepares them for the workplace by providing valuable skills and experience and in many cases a job opportunity working with local area businesses.

RSYP’s Youth Leadership and Drop-in Center programming include a staffed and substance-free Drop-in Center open Monday through Friday for community youth; the Youth Operational Board that nurtures youth-generated ideas; one-on-one drop-in Counseling and Advocacy services; supporting youth delegates to the United Nations International Day of Peace and other trips to the United Nations; youth-generated programming around substance abuse, and Real Talk, RSYP’s newest initiative to be launched this fall in collaboration with Multicultural BRIDGE and aimed at creating a safe space where youth can dialogue about their experiences and engage each other across social differences.

RSYP’s Sexual Health and Peer Education Programs, offered in collaboration with the Southern Berkshire and Berkshire Hills Regional School Districts and Bard College at Simon’s Rock, empower young people to take the lead and identify methods to improve access to health services and education in the area of sexual health and reproductive justice. With the support of BUW, RSYP and BHRSD will launch a new teacher training program and education-based curriculum to help young people view sexuality in the context of relationships, focusing on social skills as a key component of making responsible and healthy decisions. Additionally, RSYP will team with Multicultural BRIDGE to implement a parent education series using the Let’s Be Honest/Seamos Honestos parent education curriculum designed to help parents be successful sexual health educators in their homes.

RSYP’s Mentoring Program facilitates interest-based matches between youth age 14-19 with volunteer adult mentors from their community. BUW’s grant will be used to continue to support existing and new mentor partnerships.

For more information, contact RSYP Executive Director AnandaTimpane at 413-528-2475.

About Berkshire United Way: Berkshire United Way is committed to improving the quality of life in Berkshire County by mobilizing resources to address community priorities and create sustainable change. For more information visit www.berkshireunitedway.org

About Railroad Street Youth Project: RSYP empowers young people by supporting youth-inspired projects that promote responsibility, self-worth and intergenerational communication. For more information visit www.rsyp.org

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Community Forum on Mentoring, May 22 @ Berkshire South


May 22, 2014, 6:00 PM at Berkshire South

Railroad Street Youth Project and its Mentoring Program will be hosting its first Community Forum on Mentoring for businesses, individuals, parents, and youth interested in learning more about Mentoring. The event, to be held on Thursday, May 22 from 6:00PM – 8:00 PM at Berkshire South’s Community Room, will feature a panel of experts,

including youth, mentors, school personnel, youth workers, non-profit leaders, professionals, and local legislators discussing the impact of adults, and the powerful effect they have on youth empowerment,  support, and opportunity. This forum will facilitate an important community conversation between youth and adults and is open to anyone interested in learning more about becoming a Mentor or Mentee.  Food and beverages provided. For more information, contact Alex Lenski at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

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RSYP to Hold Annual Spring Apprenticeship Celebration on April 9th

LogoGreat Barrington, MA…..Railroad Street Youth Project, a community-based youth development non-profit, is holding its annual Spring Apprenticeship Celebration and Dinner on Wednesday, April 9 at John Andrews: A Farmhouse Restaurant in South Egremont, MA. The evening will showcase the work of Railroad Street Apprenticeship Program (RAP) participants and their mentors. The money raised will support youth-inspired projects and activities, and sustain RSYP community programs and services.

The annual “Farm to Spring Table” 5-course tasting menu will be prepared by students participating in RSYP’s Culinary Arts Apprenticeship Program, who will be mentored in the planning and preparation of the meal by Program Mentor Chef Brian Alberg of The Red Lion Inn, and participating Chefs Dan Smith of John Andrews: A Farmhouse Restaurant and Daire Rooney of Allium. This dinner is the culmination of their eight-week apprenticeship with Chef Brian Alberg at The Red Lion Inn.

Tickets are $100 per person and can be purchased online at www.rsyp.org or by contacting the RSYP Office at 413-528-2475. For questions and additional information, contact Maxine Carter-Lome at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

The Railroad Street Apprenticeship Program was launched in 2006 to match the inspirations of young people to the resources of the community. RAP meets the unmet vocational and educational needs of South Berkshire youth and prepares them with skills for gainful employment. Over 150 young people from South County have participated in one of RSYP’s Apprenticeships over the years in Culinary Arts, Cosmetology, Photography, and Massage Therapy, gaining valuable skills and experience and, in many cases, a job opportunity with a local area business.

About Railroad Street Youth Project

Founded in 1991, RSYP empowers young people by supporting the creation of youth-generated activities that promote self-worth, responsibility and intergenerational respect and communication. We serve 14-25 year old residents of southern Berkshire County and the surrounding area with mentoring and apprenticeship programs, a sexual health education initiative, an all-youth board that funds innovative, youth-inspired projects and trips, job training and career counseling, and a drop-in center where we offer referrals, counseling, mediation, and advocacy services.

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