Fermentation in South County

20150324__p_EAG-L-FOOD-FERMENT~1_500Michelle Kaplan, one of our constituents and a fierce advocate for food justice, was written about in The Berkshire Eagle this week!
Michelle has hosted many workshops at Railroad Street Youth Project over the years, teaching Berkshire youth how to ferment vegetables and make sustainable, healthy food choices.
Read the article here and check our events page and our Facebook for upcoming workshops!

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Kiana Estime at “A Celebration of W.E.B. Du Bois in His Own Words”

Du-Bois-Readings-Drew-1024x986Kiana Estime, one of our constituents, attended “A Celebration of W.E.B. Du Bois in His Own Words”  at the library on Feb. 28, a week after what would have been the Great Barrington native’s 147th birthday, sponsored by The W.E.B. Du Bois National Historic Site, the Great Barrington Historical Society and the Mason Library. 
There, Kiana read a piece of Du Bois’ from the introduction to Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil called “Credo”.
Read more about the event here.

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RSYP Receives Grant from Mass Bankers Association Charitable Fund

mass bankers assocBOSTON, Dec. 8, 2014 – Railroad Street Youth Project, a non-profit organization in Berkshire County with programming for youth ages 14-25, was the recipient of a $5,000 grant from the Mass Bankers Association Charitable Foundation this past December. The foundation, supported by the 170 member banks of the MBA throughout Massachusetts and New England, distributed the grants over eight geographic regions in Massachusetts, giving awards to deserving social service agencies.

The grant will help fund RSYP programs including the Drop-in Center, Youth Operational Board, Railroad Street Apprenticeship Programs, Jobs and Careers Initiative, Mentoring Program, Sexual Health Education Initiative, and Counseling and Advocacy Services. These programs serve youth in South County, meeting a need not otherwise met in this rural community.

“RSYP has earned the respect and support of the community,” said Rich Aldrich of Salisbury Bank in Great Barrington, who nominated the organization for this award, “For more than a decade it has had a proven track record of providing youth with resources to transform their lives – and they’ve been doing it with a very modest budget.”

“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.”

“We are deeply grateful for the support of Salisbury Bank and the Mass Bankers Association Charitable Foundation.” said Ananda Timpane, Executive Director of RSYP, “It is a wonderful investment in our community and youth.”

About Railroad Street Youth Project

At Railroad Street, youth take the lead. They explore their full potential and become equipped to meet the challenging transition to adulthood. RSYP’s professional adult staff expertly pairs youth-generated ideas with community resources, empowering youth to create and oversee a wide range of innovative, life-changing projects. Unmatched in mission and scope, RSYP excels in helping youth find their voice and realize the benefits of their commitment to themselves and their community. RSYP serves 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 offering referrals, counseling, mediation, and advocacy services. Railroad Street Youth Project’s drop-in center is located at 60 Bridge St., Great Barrington, MA.

Read more about the grant, 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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