RSYP Receives Grant from Mass Bankers Association Charitable Fund

mass bankers assocBOSTON, Dec. 8, 2014 – A record number of recipients will receive gifts this year through the Massachusetts Bankers Association (MBA) Charitable Foundation during its annual year-end community grant season.  The 37 grants in 2014 total $152,500, also a record annual amount. The foundation has now provided gifts totaling $1.9 million over its 18-year history.

The foundation, supported by the 170 member banks of the MBA throughout Massachusetts and New England, is distributing the grants over eight geographic regions in Massachusetts, giving awards to deserving social service agencies.

“There are so many organizations with tremendous needs,” said James C. Lively, chairman of the MBA Charitable Foundation and president and CEO of Bridgewater Savings Bank, Raynham.  “We are very fortunate to be able to help with these gifts to deserving organizations across the Commonwealth.”

Read the rest, including a full list of award recipients here.

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Railroad Street Youth Project, Schumacher Center, BCC to offer business training for youth


Great Barrington — The Railroad Street Youth Project, BerkShares, Inc., the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, and Berkshire Community College are partnering to offer an Entrepreneurial Apprenticeship to South County youth this winter.

Berkshire Community College’s South County Center will host the eight-week long course in one of its state-of-the-art classrooms starting January 13. In mid-March, the program will culminate with a public event where participants will present their business plans and each will receive an award of 200 BerkShares.

One of the most common complaints heard in the Berkshires is that young Berkshire county residents have few opportunities to stay here after high school and make a good living. And it is true: as the region’s economy has tended towards the service sector a combination of low-wage jobs and high housing costs has made it especially difficult to retain the area’s youth; the population is declining and the median age of Berkshire residents is now 45.

At the same time, however, Berkshire County has a thriving independent business community with many examples of successful small or medium-sized businesses and many experienced business people.  The Berkshires also have an abundance of renewable natural resources — hardwood forests, rivers and agriculture — all of which can provide energy and inputs to make the things people need and want.

The Entrepreneurial Apprenticeship will focus on the following question: “What kind of businesses can young people start in the Berkshires by harnessing the available human and natural resources in a sustainable way?” The course will emphasize opportunities for import replacement in the essential areas of food, clothing, energy, transportation and shelter.

Throughout the course guest speakers from the local business and college community will offer stories from their own experience as inspiration to the budding entrepreneurs participating in the program. Other local business experts will present on particular subjects, such as marketing and bookkeeping. Yet others will serve as mentors to the participants as they develop their business ideas.

Students who complete their business plans by the end of the course will receive an award of 200 BerkShares, which may be used toward the start-up of an enterprise. If a student decides not to pursue the business plan they develop, they can donate it to a library of ideas for businesses that are appropriate to the Berkshire economy.

By offering training for entrepreneurship, this business-planning course will dovetail with R.S.Y.P.’s existing Apprenticeship programs, which offer high school students real-world experience in a number of different fields.

Space is limited.  If interested please contact Jocelyn Vassos at email hidden; JavaScript is required or (413) 528 2475 ext. 905 as soon as possible. Deadline: January 9, 2015.

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Railroad Street Youth Project’s Culinary Apprenticeship in the Berkshire Eagle

Culinary Pic 2

GREAT BARRINGTON - Berkshire County is known for raising its own produce and crafting foods from scratch. But one thing that’s not often highlighted is how the Berkshires also raises its own future chefs.

The Railroad Street Youth Project’s Culinary Apprenticeship Program is one such initiative that’s found a recipe for success in educating and showcasing the talents of young people, including aspiring chefs, since 2006.

“Our local youths are going to become our local adults,” said Brian Alberg, executive chef and director of food and beverage at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge and The Williams Inn in Williamstown.

One of the founding chef partners with RSYP, he said the Culinary Apprenticeship Program gives teenagers and young adults “an understanding where our food comes from. It really teaches them about work relationships too, and the choices we have locally.”

On Monday, Dec. 8, Chef Odille Carpenter of Crissey Farm in Great Barrington will serve as host to this year’s RSYP Culinary Arts Celebration, featuring a five-course meal prepared and served by 14 youths who’ve been mentored for the past eight weeks under five local master chefs. These chef partners include Alberg, Dan Smith of John Andrews restaurant in South Egremont, Daire Rooney of Allium Restaurant + Bar in Great Barrington, Adam Brassard of The Williams Inn, and Zee Vassos of The Kitchen on the Commons in Lenox.

Read the rest of the article on The Berkshire Eagle’s website here:

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