RSYP Presents at the Northeast Conference on Youth Development & Mentoring


On Wednesday Nov. 4th, Ananda Timpane and Luiza Trabka presented at the Northeast Conference on Youth Development and Mentoring in Boston, MA.

This workshop explored the history and role of the Railroad Street Youth Project’s Youth Operational Board and discussed different approaches to creating organizations and programs where youth have decision-making powers within the organization. Since RSYP’s inception in 2000, youth have held decision-making powers as members of the Youth Operational Board and shared responsibility for identifying the direction of the organization. Participants had an opportunity to imagine what empowered, structural level youth leadership might look like and identify next steps to partnering with youth in decision making in an organization.

The Prezi for this presentation can be found here

For more information about Youth Boards, check out the organization Youth on Board.

Share this:


Young chefs and their mentors to prepare five-course dinner at Crissey Farm for Berkshire County community.

Great Barrington, MA – Railroad Street Youth Project (RSYP), the dynamic youth empowerment nonprofit organization serving young people in southern Berkshire County, is pleased to announce that its much-anticipated Annual Culinary Arts Celebration will take place on Monday, December 7th at 5:30pm at Crissey Farm (426 Stockbridge Rd, Great Barrington, MA). This special evening is the culminating event for the RSYP Apprenticeship Program (RAP), which offers work-based apprenticeship opportunities to young people in southern Berkshire County.

Through RAP’s culinary arts apprenticeships, young people learn food preparation and presentation for eight weeks under five master chefs including Brian Alberg of The Red Lion Inn, Dan Smith of John Andrews Restaurant, Daire Rooney of Allium, Adam Brassard of The Williams Inn, and Zee Vassos of Firefly. These renowned local chefs mentor RSYP’s aspiring culinary professionals throughout the fall and guide them in preparing a five-course menu for their families, friends and the community. The evening will also include a certificate ceremony to honor the young chefs and a live service auction to support RSYP and its mission to empower youth.

“Last year was the first time we held a single dinner to honor our talented young chefs rather than two separate events,” says RSYP’s Executive Director Ananda Timpane. “We found that the single event really unified and galvanized the community around the program. We are so grateful for the support that the community has given us, and we look forward to making this year’s dinner as inspiring and memorable as last year’s.”

The program is a positive experience for both young and mentor chefs alike. Chef Adam Brassard, who has acted as a mentor chef for the past four years, says. “Working with kids is awesome, and what better way than through food? The energy and creativity they have for learning culinary arts is amazing. Their faces light up, and they truly enjoy what they cook. It’s fun!”

RSYP has presented these dinners since 2006, when RAP was first launched. Since then, over 200 young people from Berkshire County have participated in apprenticeships not only in the culinary arts, but also in cosmetology, photography, massage therapy and entrepreneurship, gaining valuable skills and experience and, in many cases, job opportunities with local businesses.

Nineteen year-old participant Katrina Hodes is enthusiastic about the program. “My passion is cooking,” she says. “I love making food for other people and I like that this apprenticeship program supports me in improving my skills.”

This is the second year Katrina has participated in the program. “I got an award last year and that was really nice,” she states. “It felt good to be recognized and I felt really proud. I still have the certificate in my room.”

Tickets to the Annual Culinary Arts Celebration will be on sale Saturday, November 1st for $125 per person. Tables are also available for purchase.

To purchase tickets or learn more about how you can support Railroad Street Youth Project, visit BUY TICKETS or call the RSYP office at 413-528-2475. All proceeds from the event support RSYP’s youth development programs and activities.

About the Participating Chefs:

Brian Alberg is executive chef and director of food and beverage at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge and The Williams Inn in Williamstown. He is a staunch supporter of the local food movement and has established strong relationships with regional farmers and food producers, purchasing more than $650K in local foods annually.

Dan Smith is the owner and executive chef of John Andrews Restaurant in South Egremont. He is committed to buying local, organic, sustainable products and works with area small farmers and producers to develop his menu around their products.

Daire Rooney has been chef of Allium Restaurant + Bar in Great Barrington since 2012 after working as the personal chef to actress Meryl Streep, executive chef at De La Vergne Restaurant, executive chef at Brix in Pittsfield and as lead chef at the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament.

Adam Brassard is the executive chef at The Williams Inn in Williamstown, where he is committed to using local, seasonal ingredients.

Zee Vassos, chef at Firefly in Lenox, continually creates dynamic and extensive menus that draw food lovers from all over New England.

Share this:



RSYP’s efforts towards promoting improved intergenerational communication in our community took center stage last month.

In collaboration with MultiCultural BRIDGE and Grace Church, we sponsored “Bridging Generations: Youth Empowerment & Resiliency”, a dynamic intergenerational symposium held on Saturday, September 19 at Berkshire South Regional Community Center.

Keynote speakers Dr. Safire DeJong and Yazmina Madison led this community forum on fostering positive and mutually supportive interactions among youth and adults in our community.

A total of 26 members from all sectors of the South County community – including 10 youth – participated in the daylong event, launching a dialogue between young people and adults that will have a lasting impact.

Share this:



Great Barrington — Railroad Street Youth Project (RSYP) will host the Berkshire Community Youth Art Gallery opening on Saturday, July 18 from noon to 4 p.m. The exhibit will be on display at the RSYP center at 60 Bridge St. The event began as a proposal to the RSYP’s Youth Operational Board by Austen Dupont and Warren Pond III, who recruited other local young artists to take part in a show that gives youth opportunities to explore their artistic values and display their works for the community.

Featured artists include Charlotte Anstett, 18; Emily Curtis, 18; Maia Stanton, 14; and Warren Pond III, 21. Light refreshments will be offered. Contact the Railroad Street Youth Project for more information at (413) 528-2475.

Share this: