Dear BRIDGE supporters:
“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
It has been a full joyful summer. Happiness Toolbox 2019 was full of children and youth mentoring one another, sharing their gifts and skills. We exceeded enrollment and had the most returning families and the most youth leaders in our 10-year history! We drummed with Otha Day, read and imagined ourselves as entrepreneurs with author Ty Jackson. We explored wellness with Kijana Rose in yoga and the study of crystals. We explored computer coding and human coding with DNA with Tim and JV. And our youth leaders led us in sports, Spanish, dance, art, and HANDLE. Thanks to YES (Youth Empowerment in Sports with Williams College students and alumni) for partnering with our youth! We piloted at Luna Buho Farm in Cheshire a two-day Happiness Toolbox program and look forward to even more collaboration next Spring. Email us to find out how you can be involved. Additionally, we were so glad and grateful to be hosted by First Congregational Church in Great Barrington for the first time and look forward to collaborations to come! For example, keep an eye out for BRIDGE Multicultural Dinners returning for the community at First Congregational Church in October! Details coming soon!
Last month, NPC Berkshires hosted our bias awareness workshop and we were glad to host BCC, Lee Bank, Berkshire Natural Resources and friends from Franklin County. Nice to have new groups join the dialogue on how to build stronger, more inclusive workforces.
In case you missed it, our Director, Gwendolyn, and Chief Coe of Dalton, MA shared on the national Not In Our County website about our Berkshire campaign. We were invited to hear Cornelius Minor speak and I loved this quote that he offered CBRSD teachers:
Engagement is social, emotional and intellectual readiness to fail in public. ~Cornelius Minor.
At this beginning of the year launch meeting, CBRSD did their launch of signing the pledge offering to interrupt bias and intolerance at their schools.
Unfortunately, some of our neighbors in North Adams were targets of race incidents and city councilors and Mayor have been in conversation with residents and so forth. We plan to host a September community meeting with DOJ USAO office reps and DOJ CRS reps and we hope you join us for our September Race Task Force for more dialogue and planning. We are proud to welcome new Race Task Force members, Kristen van Ginhoven and Lia Russell Self, from WAM Theatre and Bryan House from our Berkshire District Attorney Office. #allhandsin. Call to action!
And another great time was had by all staff and volunteers who participated, our Director had the awesome opportunity to support planning A Day of Action with Yo-Yo Ma and we built a table in community. Find us here on Yo-Yo Ma’s Instagram and also our photos here on our BRIDGE facebook page here. JV made great new fourth-generation BRIDGE T’s for the event!
Lastly, we are gearing up for the WAM production of Pipeline and you can hear Directors speak about the value of the program here. We had our second planning retreat in Gloucester, MA last week as we prepare for the launch. Please sign up for a show and also join us in dialogue about microaggressions and the school-to-prison pipeline.
Heartbeat Update: We made our Match- woo hoo! $7,869 | We are so grateful for the generosity in our community. Our resilient connections are growing stronger every day! We had a surprise visit from our original Development Coordinator and founding partner in Race Task Force, Rev. Natalie Shiras! She is so proud of the work we have done to grow BRIDGE’s roots and she carries our work on the West Coast. Thank you, Natalie, for the legacy of white accompliceship!
Tim Likarish, Lily Swartz and Grace Church offered this Heartbeat Match as we refer to our Women to Women and Youth Leadership & Education programs as the pulse of our organization! Together they generously contributed $7,000 and we crowdfunded through our networks and raised $7,869 with your help totaling $14,869! Thank you so much for collectively caring for the happiness and well-being of our women and youth in our community. Please see the photos!
“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language.
That may be the measure of our lives.” ~Toni Morrison
Wishing you all the best,
THE BRIDGE team