Berkshire United Way has been proud to be a recipient of a Drug Free Communities (DFC) grant for the past ten years. This grant has supported the Pittsfield Prevention Partnership which has been actively working to unite the community in creating a healthy environment for our middle and high school youth by reducing and preventing youth substance use. Through this collaborative effort with our community partners, we have reduced 30-day usage of alcohol for 8th graders by 19%; for 10th graders by 29%, and for 12th graders by 13% (2007 -2016 Prevention Needs Assessment).
A critical protective factor in reducing and preventing youth substance use is providing recognition and positive rewards to youth for their engagement in their schools and community. The Pittsfield Prevention Partnership recognized the importance of highlighting youth by starting the S.A.Y It Proud (Supporting and Acknowledging Youth) awards in 2012. We have a catalog of 100 recipients since its inception.
|Say It Proud Awards at the Gather In on July 22, 2017; Rich Johnson, former coordinator of Pittsfield Prevention Partnership (right in photo).|
Unfortunately, the Drug Free Communities grant has come to an end, but many of the activities of Pittsfield Prevention Partnership will live on in our revived Positive Youth Development Impact Council (PYDIC). We will strive to create healthy, positive opportunities for all our Berkshire County youth. If you would like to help develop strategies to support our youth in staying on a path to college and career join us on October 18th from 3 - 4:30 p.m. at the Family Resource Center, 480 West Street in Pittsfield. I hope to see you there!
Coordinator of Positive Youth Development