The Northern Berkshire 2020 Summer Youth Works program had a twist this year as efforts were converted to virtual programming. Typically students participate in paid internships throughout local companies, however, this year with generous funding from the First Congregational Church of Williamstown and MountainOne, the Berkshire Workforce Board converted programming to a seven-week virtual gardening program.  Here’s a 3-minute video about the program: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KQMNGPWn3bb2ome_5JBDrJH2TfBqsXE_/view?usp=sharing

The Berkshire Workforce Board partnered with Greenagers (led by Aretha Whitehead and Leslie Svilokos) who donated everything for container gardens for each student and provided lessons about gardening and its impacts on food insecurity, social justice, and about cooking with vegetables.  North Adams’ Growing Healthy Garden Program (Jen Munoz) provided daily instruction, mentoring, and videos about the tricks of the gardening, dos and don’ts in planting, and got students out of their comfort zone by trying a variety of new foods. All vegetables harvested were delivered to the Berkshire Food Project. The final service learning project was at the Louison House where the students build raised garden beds.

Our outstanding team included Heather Shogry-Williams, Kat Toomey, Michele Boyer-Vivori and Molly Meczywor who recruited, selected, and mentored students with continued support from the MassHire Berkshire Career Center (Kelly Skrocki and Melanie Gelaznik) who provided weekly stipends to the participants.

Participants included:

Ashlyn Belisle (McCann Tech)                                            Camryn Belisle (McCann Tech)                                          Abby Bird (Hoosac Valley)

Molly Boyer (McCann Tech)                                                Madison Helm (Mt. Greylock)                                            Vernon Lewis (Hoosac Valley)

Talia Rehill (Hoosac Valley)                                                Hanna Shea (Hoosac Valley)

A socially distancing celebration was held on August 6th at the Drury High School gardens which included congratulation remarks on behalf of Mayor Bernard and attendance from parents, grandparents, BWB Board members, funders, partners, and Town of Adams Selectman Christine Hoyt.

To learn more please visit the Berkshire Workforce Board Facebook page or go to www.MassHireBerkshire.com.