Wednesday June 27, 2012

On Sunday, the Berkshire Dream Center will celebrate its first anniversary, its accomplishments over the past year, and the many volunteers who drive the center's success. A free, public open house will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at Berkshire Dream Center, 41 Cherry St., Pittsfield.

The Dream Center provides food, clothing, furniture, connection to assistance programs, the Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, jail visits, hospital visits, church, discussion groups, spiritual counseling, a men's group, a young adults group, and Adopt-A-Block (home visits and street clean up).

"Our team [of volunteers] has experienced so much positive growth, where we have been able to adopt more streets. In one year, we have gone from five volunteers on our opening day to 43 volunteers, and from three streets to eight streets in Pittsfield," said Katelynn Chapman, executive director, describing the growth of both the center and the Adopt-a-Block program in Pittsfield.

Since its inception a year ago, Berkshire Dream Center has also expanded its reach to North Adams. The Berkshire Dream Center, which provides services to select areas of Pittsfield and North Adams, seeks to meet the tangible and spiritual needs of the community it serves.

For more information, visit the center's website at berkshiredreamcenter.blogspot.com or contact Katelynn Chapman at (413) 522-3495 or BerkshireDreamCenter@gmail.com.

Replenish the school supply: DoSomething.org and Staples are teaming up with teen actress/singer Bella Thorne of Disney Channel fame for the Staples for Students National School Supply Drive for kids in need.

Berkshire County youth are being encouraged to help their peers by collecting school supplies and dropping them off at designated locations between July 1 and Sept. 15.

All school supplies and donations will be given locally to the Boys & Girls Club of Pittsfield to ensure they get into the hands of disadvantaged youth in time for the new school year. Staples stores for school supply drop-off are 740 Main St., Suite 1, Great Bar ring ton and 555 Hubbard Ave., Pittsfield.

To kick-start the campaign, Staples will donate $125,000 worth of school supplies to the program this year. In addition, Staples customers can get involved by donating $1 or more at any Staples store, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting local Pittsfield-area students.

Teens interested in getting involved with the campaign, as an individual or youth group, can visit www.staplesforstudents.org or text message the word "SUPPLIES" to 38383 to receive more information.

Local riders on Pan-Mass. Challenge: On Aug. 4 and 5, three residents from Pittsfield -- Donald Carlson, Daniel Moon and Craig Smith -- will pedal their ways into fundraising history as participants in the 33rd annual Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, the nation's pioneer charity bike-a-thon, which raises more money than any other athletic fundraising event in the country. (Since 1980, the PMC has raised $338 million for adult and pediatric cancer research and patient care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund.)

Carlson, Moon and Smith will ride among 5,500 cyclists with the collective goal of raising $36 million to support adult and pediatric cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund.

PMC riders range in age from 13 to 88. Most participants ride in honor of a family member or friend lost to, or being treated for, cancer. All share a passion and desire to find a cure for the disease.

The PMC is presented by the Red Sox Foundation and the New Balance Foundation. To become a virtual rider or make a financial contribution to Carlson, Moon and Smith on their rides, visit www.pmc.org, or call (800) WE-CYCLE. Checks can be made payable to PMC, 77 Fourth Ave., Needham, MA 02494.

County Fare is compiled by Eagle staffers.