Smitty Pignatelli Honored as a Mentor of Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP)

BOSTON – Representative Smitty Pignatelli was one of twenty-five individuals and organizations honored by Mass Mentoring Partnership at their twenty-fifth anniversary gala which took place at the Moakley Courthouse on Tuesday night. Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP) serves more than 250 mentoring and youth development program statewide supporting more than 33,000 youth in mentoring relationships.

The twenty-five individuals and groups who were honored last night were chosen based on their impact on MMP over the past quarter-century.  It’s through their commitment to the mission that MMP has been able to continue their work in strengthening communities through empowering positive youth / adult relationships. For their 25th anniversary they selected 25 mentors out of the thousands who have helped to recognize for their unique and important contributions.

“State Representative Smitty Pignatelli is the house champion of the mentoring line item and has been a critical voice for youth in the Berkshires and across the Commonwealth.  His leadership to sustain and grow investment in mentoring has been key to MMP’s efforts to close the mentoring gap across the state. Smitty has been a true champion for mentoring as well as a mentor to MMP in this work,”  said Marty Martinez, CEO Mass Mentoring Partnership.   “We thank Smitty for everything he has done, to help us achieve so much for the last 25 years.  Without him, we would not be the organization we are today.”

Representative Pignatelli has been a champion of youth development throughout his time in the State House. In addition to taking the lead on increasing funding for Mass Mentoring Partnership, which funds mentoring programs across the state, Representative Pignatelli has also been the lead sponsor of an earmark for the Berkshire Youth Development Project  for ten years. The Berkshire Youth Development Project is a coalition of youth-serving agencies throughout Berkshire County that was formed to advance a youth development approach on the regional level. Railroad Street Youth Project in Great Barrington receives funding through the Berkshire Youth Development Project and Mass Mentoring Partnership.

“Smitty truly believes in the value of relationships and the power of intergenerational relationships to lift up youth,” said Ananda Timpane, Executive Director of Railroad Street Youth Project. “He is the first to tell you about the mentors in his own life who have made it possible to achieve what he has, and he will proudly tell you about the opportunities that he has had to mentor . At Railroad Street, Smitty’s work and dedication to mentoring and young people has supported hundreds of youth to build meaningful relationships with caring adults in their lives. Because of Smitty, we at Railroad Street have a robust mentoring program, apprenticeship program, drop-in center, and amazing Youth Operational Board.”

Other individuals and groups who were honored on Tuesday night include The Boston Red Sox, Highland Street Foundation, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Bank of America, Ernst Young, Yawkey Foundation, Liberty Mutual, The Rodman Ride for Kids, and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg.

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New Counselor Julia Gottlieb, C.M.H.C Available Every Wednesday.

Youth now have a dedicated counselor at the Drop-In Center every Wednesday. Julia Gottlieb, C.M.H.C is happy to serve and work with youth every Wednesday from 3-7.

“I love helping people and I love hearing people’s stories,” said Julia regarding her reason for becoming a youth counselor and, “Everything is confidential.”

Julia is happy to provide a non-judgemental space for youth every Wednesday from 3-7.

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Railroad Street Meet and Greet!


We’ve got the top 5 questions for 2 new staff members at RSYP. Learn all about them here:

Chris Tucci, Director of Empowerment

1. How did you find RSYP? Sara Katzoff, a Great Barrington native, alerted me to the opportunity. She loves RSYP and thought the job description was a perfect fit. I agreed and contacted Ananda and Kamal that very day.

2. What’s the first thing you do when you get home from work? My family and I raise and train dogs for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. When I get home, we spend time outside playing with our current trainee, Neutron.

3. What was your childhood nickname? Tooch.

4. When was the last time you laughed really hard? During a recent sexual health education training in Boston, we laughed a lot. We had a great group and we pretended to be obstinate adolescents during our practice lessons. It was hard to stay in character!

5. What are you working on right now? We have an abundance of applicants for the Culinary Program. I’m working to get an additional site ready so that every interested youth is served. There’s still room if you’re ready to learn some new skills! Contact me at email hidden; JavaScript is requiredfor more information.

Sabrina Allard, Mentoring Coordinator 

1. How did you find RSYP? I found out about RSYP when I moved back to the Berkshires with my family a few years ago. RSYP was one of the first places I walked into in town. It made me feel like we found the right area to live in when I saw there was a strong focus on empowering the young people in town. At the time there weren’t any positions open. However, this summer, my friend Amillie reached out and told me about the Mentor Coordinator postion. I applied immediately.

2. What’s the first thing you do when you get home from work? First thing I do is greet our 10 month old puppy, Bella. She waits for us at the door, excited to jump up and say “hi”.

3. What was your childhood nickname? Family friends starting calling me Pinky from an early age because I went through a stage of only wearing pink. I wrote a blog with that name because it reminds me to honor that inner, spunky kid who unabashedly wore bright pink every day. When I need to step up and into my fullness, I turn to Pinky.

4. When was the last time you laughed really hard? Yesterday. I live with a family full of comedians, they can usually get me laughing until my eyes start watering.

5. What are you working on right now? The Mentoring Program is getting a makeover. We’ve been hand selecting some great mentors in the community who bring an eagerness to share their skills and life experiences. The mentor candidates we’ve met with have such powerful stories and they’re ready to listen to others. They’re authentic and have a learned how to hurdle some big obstacles in their lives. We’re currently looking for youth, ages 14-25 who are looking for a mentor in their lives. Contact me at email hidden; JavaScript is required if you’re interested in become a mentor or being mentored!

Welcome, Chris and Sabrina! We look forward to seeing great things from you!

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