Social Services

Active Minds

Student Leaders: Paige Wilkinson ([email protected]), Kira Marrero ([email protected])
Faculty/Staff Adviser: Margie Wood ([email protected])
Meeting Time/Place: Sundays at 6

Active Minds is a mental health awareness club that opens up the conversation on campus about serious mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The club also fosters support and strengthens resources for those on campus facing challenges with mental health and well-being. We organize many events throughout the year with dinner discussions, movie showings, de-stressing activities, and panels. Active Minds also coordinates with Psych Services and other mental help groups on campus. The goal of Active Minds is to create a more open campus wherein students understand the resources available to them, are more open to getting the help they need, realize they are not alone with their mental health disorders, and stigmas against mental health are reduced.

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Active Minds Facebook Page

Berkshire Doula Project

Student Leaders: Sophie Torres
Faculty/Staff Adviser: Kim Gutschow
Meeting Time/Place: Thursday 7PM, location TBD

We are a student-run, volunteer collective on campus that addresses doula work, abortion, and the reproductive justice needs of Williams College and our surrounding community. Our vision is to create a society in which all people with uteruses have access to the care and support they need throughout their reproductive lives. Our goals are: To educate future full-spectrum doulas with the doula model of continuous, non-judgmental emotional, physical, and informational support; To provide free, compassionate, and empowering full-spectrum doula services to people who are pregnant in the Williams community and around the Berkshires;To host community events that support destigmatization of reproductive experiences and a better understanding of reproductive health, rights, and justice; and,To improve and raise awareness of reproductive resources available to students and community members on and around campus.

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Berkshire Food Project

The Berkshire Food Project provides free lunches on weekdays at the First Congregational Church in downtown North Adams. This program creates a great link between Williams College and other parts of the northern Berkshires. Volunteers join the staff of the BFP and help prepare, serve and enjoy lunch with members of the community. Help is appreciated between the hours of 8:30 AM and 2 PM on weekdays. There are also opportunities for groups to volunteer in the evening or on weekends for special projects. Students can either fill out the online application or contact the BFP directly.

First Congregational Church
134 Main Street
North Adams, MA 01247

http://berkshirefoodproject.org/

Contact:
Kim McMann
[email protected]
413-664-7378

Berkshire Humane Society

Takes in surrendered animals, offers adoption services, food bank, obedience classes, resource for educational material, and financial support for spaying and neutering. Not associated with MSPCA. Welcomes volunteers in a variety of capacities. Check the organization’s website for volunteer opportunities and orientation information. Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm; Thursday, 5 pm – 8 pm; Sunday, 1pm – 4 pm.
214 Barker Road
Pittsfield, MA 01201
413-447-7878

Berkshire Immigrant Center

The mission of the Berkshire Immigrant Center is to assist individuals and families in making the economic, psychological and cultural adjustment to a new land, not only by meeting basic needs, but also by helping them to become active participants in our community. The Center also aims to build bridges of understanding and cooperation across cultures, to fight racism and discrimination in all forms, and to advocate for the rights of immigrants from all backgrounds. The Center offers comprehensive services for individuals from more than 80 countries to promote civic engagement, facilitate cultural integration, and assist in navigating the complex U.S. immigration system.

Additional Information & Current Opportunities:

learning-in-action.williams.edu/opportunities/berkshire-immigrant-center/

BFAIR

Berkshire Family and Individual Resources (BFAIR) is a national and state accredited human service agency responsive to the unique needs of people with disabilities and their families through:

  • A Dedication to Excellence
  • Diverse Service Options
  • Safe and Healthy Environments
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Community Partnerships
  • Career Opportunities and Advancement
  • Inspiring Abilities, Creating Limitless Possibilities

Additional Information & Current Opportunities:

learning-in-action.williams.edu/opportunities/bfair

Break Out Trips

In 2013-2014, the Chaplains’ Office and Center for Learning in Action began coordinating funding and advising for Break Out Trips over spring break that involve projects in and beyond the Berkshires region.  A general interest survey, detailed advice, guidelines, timetable, a Proposal Form, Budget Calculator, and additional resources are available at learning-in-action.williams.edu/opportunities/bot.

CLiA Community Outreach Summer Fellowship

This paid summer program trains a small team of Williams students to help build better community service and experiential learning opportunities at Williams.  The selected rising Sophomores and Juniors are initially oriented to the Berkshires and trained in key skill areas before spending the balance of their time immersed and leading others in community engagement work.  This 8-week, 35-hour/week position reports to the CLiA Director.

Additional Information & Application:

learning-in-action.williams.edu/opportunities/community-outreach-summer-fellowship

 

Coalition for Immigrant Student Advancement

Student Leaders: Vanessa Quevedo
Faculty/Staff Adviser: Ninah Pretto
Meeting Time/Place: Thursdays 7PM, Zilkha Center

CISA aims to achieve administrative progress and create a campus consciousness around immigrant issues. We hope to improve college policies to better address the needs of immigrant and mixed-status family students. We also want to foster a richer campus dialogue and give a voice to these stories.

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Converging Worlds

Student Leaders: Emma York
Faculty/Staff Adviser: Paula Consolini
Meeting Time/Place: Wednesdays 7PM, Zilkha Center Reading Room

Converging Worlds  (CW) is a student organization which was created to raise awareness about racial injustice in our court and carceral systems. Through penpal relationships with currently incarcerated, queer people, a transformative justice mentorship program at Reid Middle School in Pittsfield, MA, the publication of SUMMIT – a magazine dedicated to the sharing of concrete ideas for community programming in Berkshire County, and a social activist speaker series, CW seeks to end the school-to-prison pipeline and think critically about alternatives to our current carceral state.

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CW Facebook Page

Eph Buddies

Student Leaders: Julianna Veira ([email protected]), Helena Barber ([email protected])
Faculty/Staff Adviser: Colin Ovitsky ([email protected])
Meeting Time/Place: Wednesdays

Eph Buddies was created to facilitate friendships between the students at Williams College and members of our community who have mental and physical disabilities. We strive to support these individuals, provide them with additional resources and activities, and create for them a greater sense of social belongingness in our community. Most of our work is with the United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) center and Berkshire Family & Individual Resources (BFAIR).

 

 

Give It Up!

Students collect clothing, books, & other leftovers from fellow students at year’s end. Donations of appliances, household goods and clothing are sold in the Tag sale at First Congregational Church and the ABC (A Better Community) Clothing Sale in September.  Proceeds from these sales benefit local charitable organizations and initiatives such as the Louison House Homeless Shelter and the Friendship Center Food Pantry. Donated food, personal care products and cleaning supplies are brought to St. Patrick’s food pantry. Proceeds from the sale of donated books benefit Education for Konyango a project organized by Williams students to support educational initiatives of the Konyango Mboto community in rural Kenya.

The 2017 ABC Clothing Sale raised over $37,000! The following local community organizations were the beneficiaries of the proceeds:

  • Barrington Stage Company’s Playwright Mentoring Program
  • Elizabeth Freeman Center
  • Friendship Center Food Pantry
  • Kids 4 Harmony
  • Louison House
  • North Adams Summer Youth Works Program
  • Roots Teen Center
  • Williamstown Food Pantry

Additional Information & Opportunities:

learning-in-action.williams.edu/opportunities/give-it-up

Healing Hands

Student Leaders: Taylor Jackvony ([email protected]), Kevin Mercadante ([email protected]), Jesse Rodriguez ([email protected])
Faculty/Staff Adviser: Fr. Gary Caster ([email protected])
Meeting Time/Place: Wednesday evenings, Griffin 3

We founded our group last fall as a means of fostering an active pre-medical community on campus. Our goal is to engage in local service projects aimed at understanding and assisting health care concerns in Berkshire County. Last year, our group hosted a community event in which doctors, nurses, and patients from North Adams Regional Hospital as well as Williams professors and other community members spoke to the Williams community about the impact that the closing of the hospital had on the area and about what Williams student and faculty could do to assist in re-establishing services at the hospital. We also hosted local doctors and alums to speak to pre-medical students on campus about their professions and about the many complexities of patient care. Next year, we hope to continue to host doctors in these informal Q&A sessions and to volunteer at a local free medical clinic.

Kinetic

Student Leaders: Zachary Brand
Faculty/Staff Adviser: Jessica Bernheim

The purpose of Kinetic is to cultivate a social innovation incubator committed to designing and implementing creative, non-political, sustainable, scalable solutions to pressing social issues in the Berkshire region. Kinetic teams, which are comprised of 4-8 Kinetic members, work on a particular issue in three distinct phases: research, design, and implementation. Kinetic members work to understand the entire landscape of an issue and to discover gaps where they can intervene and create systemic change.

Kinetic Website

Lehman Community Engagement

Student Leaders: Frances Dean
Faculty/Staff Adviser: Sharif Rosen
Meeting Time/Place: Sundays, Paresky

Recognizing that community outreach and interaction is necessary for the actualization of the mission of a liberal arts education, the Lehman Council (for Community Engagement) serves to promote, foster, and maintain a spirit of service on campus. This is done through many different community-oriented service projects throughout the year. We organize a Fall and a Spring Great Day of Service to engage the wider campus community in service in addition to smaller monthly and annual projects. Our projects range from baking for the less fortunate, volunteering at the Berkshire Humane Society, helping at the local co-op farms, building for Habitat for Humanity and many more! We are also enthusiastic about aiding other groups and students in organizing projects for their own interests.

Manos Unidas (Hands United)

A multicultural community empowerment organization that strives to uplift all of the Latino, immigrant and minority members of our community through a sustained exchange of shared resources, participatory education and living arts. Manos Unidas seeks not only to provide the opportunity for empowerment but also foster the creation of a diverse culture of community that hones our unique strengths by crossing real and artificial boundaries set up by class, race, language, culture and geography. Manos Unidas welcomes help with its outreach work in the community such as a) creating opportunities for community dialogue (such as a “Know Your Rights” Forum), b) helping with program start-up and continuation (e.g., Bilingual Radio Program), c) planning community events such as mural projects, Earth Charter Summit Day, Immigrant Month Conference, etc.

 

P.O. Box 112
South Lee, MA 01260
413-243-9121
Contact: Annaelisa Vanegas-Farrara, Executive Director

Meals on Wheels

The Meals On Wheels Association of America is the oldest and largest membership organization supporting the national network of more than 5,000 Senior Nutrition Programs that operate in all 50 states and U.S. territories. The tireless work of these programs – supported by a dedicated army of 2 million volunteers – delivers a nutritious meal, a warm smile and a safety check that helps keep 2.5 million seniors healthy, safe and living independently in their own homes each year.

In Williamstown, local churches in walking distance from Williams College organize the collection of baked goods and food preparation.  Meals are prepared on Saturday mornings and delivered on Sundays.  The Methodist and Baptist churches alternate meal duties on the first Sunday of the month, St. Patrick’s on the second, St. John’s on the third, and the First Congregational Church is responsible for the 4th Sunday.

Additional Information & Current Opportunities:

learning-in-action.williams.edu/opportunities/meals-on-wheels/

No Lost Generation

Student Leaders: Emma Lezberg
Faculty/Staff Adviser: Colin Ovitsky
Meeting Time/Place: Weekly

No Lost Generation – Williams College (NLG) is the campus chapter of a national group supporting and advocating for refugees and immigrants. Our current focus is working with schools and local organizations to educate our campus and community about the global refugee crisis and migration.

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Reclaim Childhood

Student Leaders: Annie Vanagenen ([email protected]), Allie Holle ([email protected]), Kara Sperry ([email protected]), Julia Diaz ([email protected]), Katherine Rosen ([email protected])
Faculty/Staff Adviser: Christi Kelsey ([email protected])
Meeting Time/Place: Sundays, Paresky

Reclaim Childhood is a non-profit organization based in Amman, Jordan that seeks to empower refugee girls and local women through sport and play. Reclaim Childhood operates regular after-school sports leagues and a month-long summer camp for girls ages 6 – 18, and coaching clinics for local adult women. On campus, we try to devise creative ways to raise money for the organization through dining hall dinners, athletics, and other events. With the money we raise, we send it to the organization which in turn purchases athletic equipment for the girls, as well as funds the summer camps for them. In addition to working during the school year, some of our members have spent their summers in Jordan working as camp counselors at these camps.

Ritmo Latino

Student Leaders: Nicolle Vittini Cabral
Faculty/Staff Adviser: Mike Bodnarik
Meeting Time/Place: Twice a week in a pre-approved dance studio space

Ritmo focuses on sharing Latin American history and culture with the campus through dance and music. We hold our own performances, campus-wide dance lessons, and sometimes perform and student lead events.

Student Veterans Association

Student Leaders: Landon Merchant
Faculty/Staff Adviser: Rachel Bukanc
Meeting Time/Place: As needed

The Williams College SVA is a professional and academic organization for student veterans at Williams College. We help veteran students navigate life at Williams, find veteran-specific opportunities and resources off-campus, and engage with community, faculty, and staff veterans. This takes multiple forms: we celebrate Veterans Day with faculty and staff veterans in order to recognize and appreciate their service. We also provide valuable insight and understanding of an underrepresented minority to the campus at large through one-on-one conversations, community engagement, and classroom participation.

Sweet Brook Nursing Home Volunteers

Student Leaders: Megan Steele ([email protected]), Ashley Ngo ([email protected])
Faculty/Staff Adviser: Paula Consolini ([email protected])
Meeting Time/Place: Sundays 2pm, Chapin Steps

Sweet Brook Volunteers organize transportation to-and-from the Sweet Brook Rehabilitation and Nursing Center every week. Once volunteers are accepted by the nursing center, they become “friendly visitors” and are matched up with one of the senior residents. “Friendly visitors” spend quality time with their resident each Sunday. Each pair determines how to spend their weekly time together. Some volunteers play games with their residents, others read out loud to them and yet others simply chat.

The Inside-Out Course and Positive Pathways Partnership (P3)

The Inside Out Course and Positive Pathways Partnership are programs run with the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction in nearby Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The Inside Out Course follows the Inside Out Program model developed at Temple University.  In this model, the course consists of an equal number of college students and inmates learning alongside one another in a seminar taught by a college instructor at the correctional institution. A major goal of the course is to facilitate dialogue across difference,  potentially developing transformative learning experiences for participants.  The program at Williams, begun in 2013 with a course taught by Professor Christian Thorne, was initiated by Gaudino Scholar Magnus Bernhardsson as part of the “Danger Initiative.”  It continues now under the guidance of a faculty advisory team (Professors Keith McPartland, Christian Thorne, Jim Nolan, and Kris Kirby) with administration and financial support from the Center for Learning in Action. For more information on the course, contact CLiA Director Dr. Paula Consolini ([email protected]).

The Positive Pathways Partnership (P3) with the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office, begun in 2015, supports educational access for those formerly or currently incarcerated in the Berkshire County House of Correction (BCHOC). In fall 2016, when several Williams students attended an orientation and tour of the facility in Pittsfield, some were taken aback by the new environment they had been invited to tutor in. Still, they were inspired to serve by a recognition of the importance of P3’s mission.

From December 2016 to April 2017, Omar Kawam ’20, Diana Sanchez ’17, and Timothy Suh ’18, drove weekly to the 2nd St. Reentry Office in Pittsfield where they taught a recently released individual Writing, Reading, and Math to pass his HiSET exam. Under the supervision of BCHoC staff, tutoring continued through the summer of 2017 in the Pittsfield correctional facility as two inmates sought to work towards their diplomas.

In addition to the tutoring, a small group of Williams students led by Ted McNally ’20, launched a weekly book discussion group at the BCHoC in the Spring of 2017. Within a few years, inmate participation has grown to as many as 16. Williams students facilitate the discussion of books and short stories chosen by the group as a whole. Maus, Legends of the Fall, and Love and War in California have been among the books read and discussed together.

The tutoring and book discussion group initiatives have grown substantially with the addition of another early evening (5:30-7pm) of tutoring to the Thursday slot and more students volunteering to help facilitate the Friday evening book discussions. After additional recruitment to better serve the tutoring needs both in and outside the jail, Dr. Laura Muller, Williams’ Director of Quantitative Skills Programs and Peer Support, helped the tutors develop tutoring syllabi and a communication system that helps them work more effectively individually and as a team.

Even as tutoring and mentoring in this setting may be out of some people’s comfort zone, Williams students and inmates alike are grateful for the rewarding shared learning experiences. Along with the regularly taught Inside-Out Williams course, P3 strives to strengthen relations between the two institutions and offer a larger number of individuals hope in the possibility of new beginnings.

For more information, please contact Sharif Rosen ([email protected]).

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

Both a Winter Study course (ECON 22/POEC 22) pioneered by Professor Lucie Schmidt and a community service program (Purple Valley VITA) this initiative provides low income taxpayers free filing assistance.  IRS-certified student volunteers, who train through the winter study course, help local clients retrieve over $150,000 annually in federal and state tax refunds. For more information, contact VITA program administrator and CLiA Director Paula Consolini at [email protected] and visit learning-in-action.williams.edu/courses-teaching/volunteer-income-tax-assistance-program.

Williams Homeless Outreach

Student Leaders: Julia Cheng ([email protected]), Aaron Maruzzo ([email protected]), Aaron Goldstein ([email protected])
Faculty/Staff Adviser: Paula Consolini ([email protected]), Jingyi Liu ’14
Meeting Time/Place: Biweekly Mondays 5pm, Paresky 112

Williams Homeless Outreach (WHO) is dedicated to raising campus awareness and enacting systemic change regarding the issues of homelessness and economic disparity, especially as they pertain to the local families of rural Massachusetts. Our club meets biweekly to collaboratively create student-led, philanthropic initiatives that are determined by the interests of the current members of WHO. Additionally, we provide a platform for volunteerism at local non-profits such as, but not limited to, Horizons for Homeless Children, Berkshire Food Project and the Friendship Center Food Pantry.

Facebook
WHO Facebook Page

WHO Intro PowerPoint (PPTX)

Williams Secular Community

Student Leaders: Coly Elhai ([email protected])
Faculty/Staff Adviser: Colin Adams
Meeting Time/Place: Tuesdays 6 PM, Paresky

The purpose of the group is to build an inclusive community of agnostics, atheists, and all skeptics to socialize and connect in a variety of ways. We also aim to create a safe, non-religious space for anyone to engage in fulfilling discussions of their personal lives, current events, religion, life philosophy, or anything else. We do this through regular dinners and discussions that are open to everyone.

Willy Good Wood

Student Leaders: Geff Fisher ([email protected]), Jensen Pak ([email protected]u), Robert Hefferon ([email protected]), Evelyn Mahon ([email protected])
Faculty/Staff Adviser
: Ben Lamb ([email protected])
Meeting Time/Place: Monthly, First Congregational Church

Our organization aims to provide an opportunity for Williams College students to learn and practice woodworking and related handicrafts in a safe and educational environment. We also aim to engage with the community through woodworking-related service projects with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. The club offers a place for students to create and work with their hands in a way that may not be included in their normal academic schedule, and a chance to engage in community service projects using the skills they have acquired through club activities.

WRAPS

Student Leader(s): Marco Vallejos
Faculty/Staff Adviser: Colin Ovitsky
Meeting Time/Place: Paresky kitchen

WRAPS (Williams Recovery of All Perishable Surplus) packages leftover dining hall food into individual meals made up of a grain, protein, and vegetable. We freeze these meals before delivering them on Fridays to our community partners in North Adams.

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FRN/WRAPS Facebook Page