Sunday, July 14, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: Mount Everett students in India; Youth Rec Club at Berkshire South; CoA luncheon; combatting cognitive decline

Youth Rec Club, led by Berkshire South Regional Community Center's youth development manager Mac Wallace, will include a fun mix of sports, team-building games and outdoor activities.

Mount Everett students travel to India for workshop, dance performance

Mount Everett Regional High School students in India in September 2018. Photo courtesy Southern Berkshire Regional School District

Sheffield — As part of the World Education Alliance program, five Mount Everett Regional High School students traveled to India, joining in a group of 29 students from around the world. At the start of this academic year, the Keswick Public School in Madurai, India, hosted Dance Mela, a workshop and dance performance that brought together international youth to learn Indian dance and experience Indian culture.

In late September, participants were immersed in local Indian culture, spending a week with students from Confucius Hall Secondary School in Hong Kong, Keswick Public School, and two other local Madurai district schools as well as German students who had been volunteering at the Madurai YMCA. In addition to the participants learning classical and Bollywood-style dance, Keswick students taught traditional crafts, language, games and other cultural traditions unique to India. Students bonded immediately, as they spent most of each day in workshops.

Teacher Tom Masters and students from Mount Everett Regional High School rehearse Dance Mela in India in September 2018. Photo courtesy Southern Berkshire Regional School District

Each student group brought with them a performance representing the culture of their home country. Mount Everett students performed a dance inspired by the movie “The Greatest Showman,” which they rehearsed for several weeks at the start of the school year. Their story was about perseverance, strength and staying true to oneself in the face of exploitation and humiliation. Southern Berkshire Regional School District teacher Tom Masters choreographed the piece, which was performed to a compilation of songs from the movie. In the spirit of sharing American culture, he took cues from traditional dance styles including jazz and hip hop.

The trip began in New Delhi with stops in Jaipur and Agra, followed by a five-day student workshop in Madurai. The Keswick Public School organized two days of travel to Kerala following the workshops for all international students in the program.

Produced by Community Television for the Southern Berkshires station manager Chris Graham, a short video details the performance and workshop. A documentary sharing the full story of the students’ experience in India is in progress and will be released later in 2019.


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Berkshire South to host program for tweens

Great Barrington — Berkshire South Regional Community Center will host Youth Rec Club, an innovative new program for tweens ages 10 to 13, after school on Mondays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. beginning Monday, Jan. 7.

The class, led by youth development manager Mac Wallace, will include a fun mix of sports, team-building games and outdoor activities. “In addition to physical wellness,” said Wallace, “our goal is to improve mental wellness by including check-ins and debriefs that give young people a chance to talk about what is going on in their lives, to feel supported by others.”

The fee per class is $4 for members and $6 for nonmembers. For more information or to sign up, contact Berkshire South at (413) 528-2810 or


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Councils on aging to hold luncheon

South Egremont — The Egremont and Mount Washington councils on aging invite all seniors to a complimentary luncheon Wednesday, Jan. 9, at noon at the Egremont Village Inn.

The program “First Aid: What to Do Until the Ambulance Comes” is designed to increase everyone’s knowledge and safety. It will be taught by Egremont firefighter and emergency medical services Cpt. David Katzenstein, who has been an emergency medical technician for 17 years and is certified as an instructor of CPR and first aid by the American Heart Association.

To make reservations, contact the Egremont Town Hall at (413) 528-0182 x17 or by Monday, Jan. 7, and include dietary restrictions and whether or not a ride is needed.


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Programs to focus on combatting cognitive decline

Pittsfield —The Jewish Federation of the Berkshires will present Meghan Lemay, regional manager of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Western Massachusetts office, for two free programs relating to cognitive decline at Knesset Israel.

On Monday, Jan. 7, at 10:45 a.m., “Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body” will cover information on the latest research around how nutrition, exercise, social engagement and cognitive activity can improve the aging process and reduce one’s risk of cognitive decline. On Monday, Feb. 4, at 10:45 a.m., Lemay will present “Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia,” which will offer an opportunity to learn about the impact of Alzheimer’s, the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia, the stages and risk factors of Alzheimer’s, current research and treatments, and Alzheimer’s Association resources.

The programs are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires at (413) 442-4360 x10.



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