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Business Briefs: AIM honorees; Villages of the Berkshire info sessions; Brien Center grant; ‘Workshopping the Appeal Letter’; Salisbury Bank Community Day

The Brien Center has been awarded a total of $357,480 in state grants to fund a first-of-its-kind program designed to reduce risky behaviors such as smoking, vaping, drinking and substance misuse that could compromise students’ futures.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts to honor Berkshire employers

Left to right: Former Associated Industries of Massachusetts President Richard Lord with B&B Micro Manufacturing founders Mitch Bresett, Chris St. Cyr and Jason Koperniak at AIM’s 2018 awards event at Hotel on North in Pittsfield. Photo: Nichole Dupont

Pittsfield — On Thursday, Sept. 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Hotel on North, Berkshire Money Management will sponsor the Associated Industries of Massachusetts’ regional employer celebration to honor Berkshire businesses with Next Century and Sustainability awards for their efforts in creating the next era of economic opportunity for the community. This year’s honorees are Tanglewood, Zogics and Holland Company.

The businesses have had a major impact on the Berkshire economy and business culture. Tanglewood in Lenox generated $127 million in economic activity and between 930 and 1,100 jobs throughout the summer season; Zogics, also in Lenox, is one of the wellness industry’s largest suppliers for fitness professionals, selling products ranging from exercise equipment, gym flooring and lockers to eco-friendly cleaning supplies; and the Holland Company in Adams, a 52-year-old family-owned business, produces chemicals necessary for water purification, which are used in settings such as potable water drinking systems, municipal and industrial wastewater treatment facilities, and lake/pond algae control.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. For more information or to register, email with your name, email address, company affiliation, and “AIM Berkshire event” in the subject line.


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Villages of the Berkshires to hold information sessions

Berkshire County — A grassroots “village movement” is helping elders across the country remain in their homes with services such as transportation, home repair help, social connections and tech support. Berkshire-based nonprofit Villages of the Berkshires has joined the effort and will present two information meetings for South County residents interested in the new, membership-based program. The first meeting will take place Saturday, Sept. 21, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the North Egremont firehouse, 187 North Plain Road in Egremont. A second meeting is set for Saturday, Oct. 5, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Berkshire South Regional Community Center.

Inspired by the village model now operating in 230 communities in the U.S., Howard and Shirley Shapiro of Lenox formed Villages of the Berkshires to support the region’s seniors in remaining in their homes. They have formed a pilot in Lenox, Stockbridge and Pittsfield, for which 20 households have signed up for services set to begin in October. The village network also includes a volunteer component for those interested in helping their elder neighbors remain in their homes.

Villages of the Berkshires is a partner with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College and collaborates with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission’s Age Friendly Berkshires initiative. The Berkshire-based organization is a member of the national Village to Village Network. For more information, call (413) 327-4404.


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Brien Center wins grant aimed at curbing risky behavior in high school

Pittsfield — The Brien Center has been awarded a total of $357,480 in state grants to fund a first-of-its-kind program designed to reduce risky behaviors such as smoking, vaping, drinking and substance misuse that could compromise students’ futures. The grants will fund new and intensive services at Taconic High School in Pittsfield and Drury High School in North Adams, which already work closely with the Brien Center’s youth programs.

The Brien Center applied for the funds through a competitive grant process offered by the state Department of Public Health’s Youth and Young Adult Services. The bureau awarded 18 grants statewide, with the Brien Center winning two of them.

At present, students who are caught smoking, vaping, drinking or misusing drugs are often disciplined or suspended. “This program presents a new model that works with students and their families — including any other kids in the family — to end the kind of behavior that can escalate,” said James Mucia, director of child and adolescent services at the Brien Center. “All of these behaviors are precursors to substance misuse disorders down the road. Our goal is to prevent that.”

To qualify for Brien Center intervention, students must have engaged in a risky behavior that has not yet escalated to addiction. They can be referred by the schools, by the court, by health care providers and even by their families.

The state grants will fund the program for three years. During that time, the Brien Center and the other grantees will keep close track of the data in hopes that the state will provide permanent funding.


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Workshop to focus on writing nonprofit appeal letters

Jenni Haley. Photo courtesy Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires

Pittsfield — The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires will present “Workshopping the Annual Appeal Letter” Monday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Th workshop will help fundraising staff strengthen their copywriting skills and compose clear, bold appeal letters that emotionally connect with donors. Group discussion and writing exercises are designed to help participants tap into their organization’s core values, and write fearlessly and simply. Participants will have the opportunity to work on their current appeal letters and get feedback from the group. The workshop will be led by instructor Jenni Haley, a writer and consultant with over 15 years of nonprofit communications and fundraising experience.

The cost of the workshop is $40 for NPC members and $50 for nonmembers. For more information or to register, contact the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires at (413) 645-3151.


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Salisbury Bank to hold Community Day

Lakeville, Conn. — Salisbury Bank will hold a free Community Day Saturday, Sept. 21, from 9 a.m. to noon at its Lakeville location. Each participant may bring up to four boxes of paper (no binders) for shredding by Legal Shred personnel. All shredded paper will be recycled.

Participants are asked to consider contributing a donation of nonperishable food items including canned goods, cereal, macaroni and cheese, cake mix, peanut butter, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and tomato sauce. Household necessities such as paper towels, diapers, shampoo and soap are also appreciated. The donated items will be distributed among local food pantries.

For more information, call Salisbury Bank at (860) 435-9801.



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