Railroad Street Meet and Greet!

september-newsletter

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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ALWAYS THERE TO SUPPORT EVERY STUDENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Great Barrington, MA— In the wake of a violent threat made to an African-American student last week at Monument Mountain Regional High School, Railroad Street Youth Project (RSYP) is concerned about the safety of the student who was threatened and those who witnessed and reported the incident. It is RSYP’s objective to cultivate civic engagement among youth that betters our society and foster the courage to act upon deeply held convictions within the law.

“Railroad Street was created to support youth to find their own voice and empower them to use it,” said RSYP Executive Director Ananda Timpane. “We support this young man to speak his truth and are here to assist him in any way we can.”

RSYP will continue to work with Monument Mountain Regional High School to advocate for the safety of the student who reported he had been threatened, collaborating with the school and Multicultural BRIDGE in order to foster a safe and supportive environment for every student. Additionally, RSYP fully supports the school in any implementation programs to address the situation and will continue to be a resource as needed.

“We are not only concerned about the students directly affected,” said Kamal Johnson, RSYP’s Deputy Director, who provided hands-on support at the school in the days following the incident. “We are concerned about the safety of every student at the school, and will help in every way we can.”

Members of the community can express their support to the youth by sending postcards to Support Young Voices, c/o RSYP, P.O. Box 698, Great Barrington, MA 01230. RSYP will ensure these messages of support reach the intended recipient/s.

RSYP is a dynamic youth development nonprofit organization created in 2000 that serves young people ages 14-25 in the Berkshire Hills and Southern Berkshire Regional School Districts of South Berkshire County. At RSYP, youth explore their full potential and become equipped to meet the challenging transition to adulthood.  RSYP’s professional staff matches youth-generated ideas with community resources, empowering young people 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.

For more information: Ananda Timpane, 413-528-2475, ananda@rsyp.org

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HIGH 5 TO OUR NEWEST TEAM MEMBER!

HIGH FIVE TO OUR NEWEST TEAM MEMBER!

We are excited to welcome a new addition to the RSYP family – Ari Cameron!

Ari joins us as the Youth Operational Board/Special Projects Coordinator (and a Sexual Health Education Facilitator). She has a lot of experience working in after-school programs, and she’s also an amazing poet!

To get to know her better, we her five questions – and we’re sharing her answers with you!

1. How did you find RSYP?

Ari: I found RSYP after searching (for months!) for an awesome and dynamic youth development organization in Columbia/Dutchess/ Berkshire County. I was living in NYC at the time, working as a teaching artist and curriculum builder, and knew I needed a shift. After reading about RSYP and their mission, I was sold. After working for various other youth-centered non-profits, the follow through and integrity of this place is really impressive.

2. What’s the first thing you do when you get home from work?

Ari: I take off my shoes! And water my garden.

3. What was your childhood nickname?

Ari: Oof. I blush a lot and always have so my friends called me Tomato Face.

4. When was the last time you laughed really hard?

Ari: Over the summer I managed a teen farm camp in Columbia County. We had a really great session with 16 campers who got very close. On the second-to-last day, we decided we wanted to give them something, but didn’t want it to be an object or food – we wanted to give them an experience. So we split up into teams and asked the campers to turn a staff person into a woodland creature of some kind. They had an hour to cover us with mud, sticks, moss, leaves – anything they could find – and to create a convincing backstory and name for us. I could barely breathe I was laughing so hard (and because my mouth had dirt in it).

5. What things are you looking forward to most this fall?

Ari: I am super excited to start meeting people. I am planning some poetry events in collaboration with Monument Mountain High School staff and really looking forward to bringing that part of my life into the youth work I do here. I am also looking forward to having the opportunity to teach young people some of the important concepts around sexual health that I never got as a young person.

Welcome, Ari! We look forward to seeing great things from you!

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