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Compassion Massachusetts partners named

On Monday, May 5, 2008, twenty Berkshire County youth agencies were named “Compassion Massachusetts Partners.” Overall thirty-six youth based organizations applied for the distinction which was offered through a three-year federal capacity-building grant secured by the Berkshire Youth Development Project, University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute, and the New England Network. The Compassion Massachusetts grant is specifically intended for community-based and faith-based organizations operating programs that serve youth from ages 14 to 24 in Berkshire County.

The organizations named as Compassion Massachusetts Partners will now be able to apply for grants ranging from $1,000-$20,000 and also be eligible to receive technical assistance.

"This is really the beginning," said Leslie Ackles, the grant managing representative from UMass. "Look around the room — these are the people you're going to be partnering with for one year, two years, or many more."

While only those named partners will be eligible for federal funding, Compassion Massachusetts will also offer free training sessions open to the public.

"One of the grants major goals is to encourage networking," said Kathleen Jackson, the local manager for the project.

The Compassion Massachusetts Partners are:

North Adams: Northern Berkshire Creative Arts, Salvation Army, Youth Center Incorporated, Church Outreach to Youth Center (COTY).

Pittsfield: Meeting Our Community Youth Needs, Helen Berube Teen Parent Program, Catholic Youth Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berkshire County (includes Great Barrington and North Adams), Youth Alive, Manos Unidas, Center for Holistic Instruction, Word Street, Counseling Center for the Berkshires (includes Great Barrington).

Great Barrington: GreenAgers, Railroad Street Youth Project, Claiming Our Voices, Berkshire South Regional Community Center.

Adams: Adams Cheshire Savoy Youth Coalition.

Lenox: Rhythms.

Lee: Lee Youth Association.

Compassion Massachusetts Trainings:

Tuesday, May 20: "Board Governance" with Jane Silverman, Berkshire South Community Center, 15 Crissey Road, Great Barrington, 9 a.m. to noon.

Friday, June 13: "Working with Challenging and Aggressive Youth" with Jay Indik, Northern Berkshire Creative Arts Complex, 115 State St., Bldg. 1, Heritage State Park, North Adams, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Thursday, June 26: "Youth Development and Behavioral Health" with Cindy Carraway-Wilson of New England Network, Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, 75 North St., third floor, Pittsfield, 9 a.m. to noon.

For more information about any of these programs, contact Kathleen Jackson at (413) 528-1919 or

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