Following a successful spring 2020 pilot program funded by Guardian Life Insurance Co., and a program-hold due to the Pandemic, we have hired a teaching artist, tweaked the curriculum to address post-COVID needs, and are re-piloting in Reid Middle School in the fall of 2023. We are currently seeking funding to help roll out the program in local middle schools in 2024.
Our customized lessons that tie into core curriculum requirements are supported by teachers and administrators. Students use the NPC’s Giving Back guide as a tool to identify nonprofits to assist. In our model, each student is empowered with a stipend of $100 to give to one or more nonprofits of their choosing. Students pool their money, research nonprofits and make presentations to each other, and ultimately vote and donate to one or more nonprofit recipients.
PILOT PHILANTHROPY PROGRAM SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED AT REID MIDDLE SCHOOL
Even a pandemic didn’t stop Reid Middle School and the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires from concluding a pilot of their “Philanthropy in the Schools” curriculum. The curriculum was created by arts integration specialist, Yvette Sirker, and teacher, LeeAnn Massery, with the goal of preparing the students to become the next generation of volunteers, donors and nonprofit leaders.
8th graders in LeeAnn Massery’s class studied youth philanthropy, the Berkshire nonprofit sector, and individual nonprofits throughout the spring semester. 31 Common Core Standards were integrated into the curriculum. The class went virtual in March due to COVID-19.
As part of the program funded by Guardian Life, each student was given $100 to donate. After research on local nonprofits and virtual classroom presentations, the students voted for two nonprofit recipients, pooling their money to make more impact. Berkshire Immigrant Center and Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter each received $650. The check presentation took place online on June 10th.
The pilot program had the support of Reid Principal Linda Whitacre and Pittsfield Schools Superintendent Jake McCandless. Said Whitacre, “I am committed to engaging community programming into the curriculum to keep learning relevant for our students. This collaboration exceeded my expectations, especially during this set of circumstances. I am so appreciative of all of you and equally appreciative of the students involved who found meaning in the learning and had a voice in the outcome!”
Liana Toscanini, founder of the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires noted that many individuals were sought out to provide input, which contributed to the success of the program. These included Reid Middle School 8th grade guidance counselor, Kristen Shepardson, Assistant Principal of Teaching and Learning, Mike Henault, and advisors Dawn Lane, Josh Meczywor, Wendy Casey, and Shirley Edgerton.
The NPC is seeking modest sponsorships from local businesses and individuals to help fund the rollout of the program in more Berkshire schools over the coming years. For more information, click here or call (413) 441-9542.
WE THANK OUR 2020 BREAKFAST CLUB SPONSORS
Abbie J. von Schlegell
The Berkshire Edge
Lamme and Linscott
MA 401(k) CORE Plan
My Versatile Secretary
October Mountain Financial Advisors
Park Square Financial Advisors of Raymond James
Elaine Radiss and Rich Petrino
Elaine and Ben Silberstein