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.

Facebook

Active Minds Facebook Page

Berkshire Doula Project

Student Leaders: Gates Tenerowicz (glt1) & Maddie Moore (mtm4)
Faculty/Staff Advisor: Laini Sporbert

Berkshire Doula Project is a student collective that advocates for reproductive rights on campus. We spread reproductive health awareness through our campus-wide events: Menstruation and Masturbation Celebration, as well as holding an IUD/ abortion doula training each semester. Every week, our club sends certified IUD/ abortion doulas into local healthcare clinics to provide our services.

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

BFAIR Buddies

Student Leaders: Regina Fink (raf3) & Eva Castagna (ecc4)
Faculty/Staff Advisor: Ash Bell (ab35)

We take weekly trips to BFAIR (Berkshire Family and Indiviual Resources) homes in the area where we create crafts, have dance parties and spa days, and make new friends.

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: Imane Rharbi (ir4) & Chelsea Romulus (ctr1)
Faculty/Staff Advisor: Clinton Williams

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.

Converging Worlds

Student Leaders: Bless Reece (bkr2) & Kaylen Smith (kds6)
Faculty/Staff Advisor: Paula Consolini

Converging Worlds is a student organization advocating against racial injustice in our court and carceral systems that works through organizing workshops, information sessions, speakers, and other events to bridge the gap between those in and outside of the criminal justice system.

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).

 

 

Friendly Visitors

Student Leaders: Emily Lock (ekl4) & Chen Chen Huang (ch15)
Faculty/Staff Advisor: Ash Bell (ab35)

The main purposes of this organization are to guide Williams College students through the application process of volunteering at Williamstown Commons Nursing & Rehabilitation Center and provide transportation for student volunteers, and guarantee a positive experience for volunteers. Once volunteers are accepted by the Center, they become “friendly visitors” and are matched up with one of the residents and spend quality time with their resident each Sunday. Additional projects in support of seniors in the Berkshire region are organized by student leaders from time to time.

Future Optometrists and Dentists of Williams

Student Leaders: Hanbin Koo (hk7) & Chuhan Geng (cg7)
Faculty/Staff Advisor: Rebecca Counter

Are you interested in exploring careers in healthcare, volunteering remotely, or applying to optometry or dental school? Join our organization! Through programs that involve us in the North Adams School District, we engage with educational programs that teach youth about the importance of proper eye care and oral hygiene, as well as run as a toothbrushing program (we are looking to relaunch this program when it is safe to do so). We are currently working on a collaboration with a non-profit that’s helping Nepalese-Bhutanese refugee youth earn a GED diploma to launch a 15-minute phone call initiative to help students improve their communication skills. We also attend virtual optometry and dental school visits, can connect you to former students, share OAT/DAT study resources, support you through the process of applying to pre-health and research summer programs, and forward pre-med/pre-health resources. Many of our activities are useful for pre-health students in general. We’d love to welcome you!

Give It Up!

Students collect clothing, books, & other items from fellow students at year’s end. Donations of appliances, household goods and clothing are sold in the annual Giant Tag Sale at First Congregational Church and the ABC (A Better Community) Clothing Sale in September. Proceeds from these sales typically exceed $50,000 and benefit local charitable organizations and initiatives such as the Barrington Stage Company Playwright Mentoring Program, Berkshire Immigrant Center, Community Legal Aid, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Friendship Center Food Pantry, Louison House, Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, Northern Berkshire YMCA and ROOTS Teen Center. Donated food, personal care products and cleaning supplies are brought to the Williamstown Food Pantry.

Donated books are collected and organized at St. John’s Episcopal Church, then bought back by the Williams Bookstore or shipped to Better World Books. Proceeds from the sale of donated books benefit Nyanam Widows Rising, a project founded by Williams students to support widows in Kenya in reaching their goals through a focus on personal development, social change, and justice. Books that cannot be sold are recycled or repurposed by Better World Books, and as of the end of the 2021 campaign, have resulted in the following environmental impact metrics:

  • Over 23,000 books (~32,000 lbs)
  • Nearly 400 trees
  • Over 50,000 lbs of methane and greenhouse gas
  • Over 235,000 gallons of water
  • 51 cubic yards of landfill space
  • Over 75,000 kWh of electricity

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: Allison Li (awl4) & Eva Castagna (ecc4)
Faculty/Staff Advisor: Paula Consolini

Lehman serves to promote, foster, and maintain a spirit of service on campus by organizing and supporting many different community-oriented service projects. Our biggest projects are our Fall and Spring Great Days of Service which engage the wider campus in many projects. We also host other smaller ongoing and pop-up projects including Winter Study Service Week, meal and clothing donations drives, and volunteering at local schools, senior homes, homeless shelters, hospitals, and farms.

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/

RASAN (Rape and Sexual Assault Network)

Student Leaders: Gabby Granata (gmg4) & Emily Lock (ekl4)
Faculty/Staff Advisur: Meg Bossong

We seek to support survivors and those affected by the entire spectrum of sexually violent behavior, including but not limited to sexual assault, dating violence, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, etc. We look to provide year-round support, either in person or over the phone, as well as proper resources for support, awareness, and education.

 

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.

Sentinels Summer Public Policy Research Fellowship

This U.S. public policy research program supports student research projects focused on contemporary issues in U.S. economic, social, and/or environmental policy, including but not limited to community and regional development, regulation, inequality, and/or processes and powers of the American Government at any level.  Sentinels Fellows are awarded research funding based primarily upon their written project proposal.

Additional Information & Application:

https://learning-in-action.williams.edu/opportunities/sentinels-summer-research-fellowship/

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 Ash Bell ([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 $250,000 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 Refugee Advancement Coalition

Student Leaders: Kazi Raleh (kfr1) & Jonathan Breibart (jsb8)
Faculty/Staff Advisor: Colin Ovitsky (cmo2)

The Williams Refugee Advancement Coalition seeks to assist in the advancement of refugees and evacuees coming into Berkshire County. Currently, we are collaborating with the Center for Learning in Action, Jewish Family Service, and other local organizations to mobilize structural assistance and create a welcoming environment for 60 Afghan evacuees who are in the process of being relocated to Pittsfield, MA. As the resettlement process further develops, we expect to be providing a diverse array of services that could make a tangible difference in their new lives and we would love your help!

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.

Williams Translation Project

Student Leader: Maria Roman (mjr8) & Isabel Frey Ribeiro (if2)
Faculty/Staff Advisor: Luana Maroja

We help translate short legal documents for nearby non-profits that help immigrants.

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 Leaders: Taylor McClennen (tm8) & Sarah Dean (srd5)
Faculty/Staff Advisor: Colin Ovitsky

Williams Recovery of All Perishable Surplus (WRAPS) works at the intersection of food insecurity and food waste, employing a two-part model that connects the Williams College campus with the North Adams community. Our model focuses on recovering surplus dining hall food and packaging it into meals for the community. We strive to unite students and local organizations in working to improve the accessibility, resiliency, and sustainability of the local food system.