Photo Gallery | Pittsfield Community Kickball Event
PITTSFIELD — On a pleasant Sunday afternoon, local law enforcement teamed up with city youth for a game of kickball hoping to make a good impression on the boys and girls without getting hurt.
For several participating members of the Pittsfield Police Department and Berkshire County Sheriff's Office, they had to go back to their childhood playground days to recall the last time they booted a rubber ball rolled up to them.
Danielle Tyer was hoping not to pull a muscle, but knew her presence was needed for the inaugural Pittsfield Community Kickball Event. Pittsfield Community Connection (PCC) sponsored the games held on the playing fields behind the Wahconah Park parking lot.
"It's a good opportunity to give back to the community," said the Sheriff's corrections officer at the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction.
Usually confined to the jail with the inmates, the officers were glad to interact with the community they are sworn to protect.
"Connecting with the kids make them see we're not bad guys," said corrections officer Nick Parmelee.
Pittsfield High School junior Salvy Nataro was definitely ready for some kickball.
"I haven't played in a long time, but I know I'm good," said the 17-year-old.
In all, close to 40 adults and youths of all grade levels formed four teams wearing different brightly colored T-shirts courtesy of the several businesses and organizations that sponsored the three-hour event.
Although Pittsfield Community Connection provides intervention, mentoring and other services for the city's at-risk young people ages 10-24, the kickball games were open to all youth.
Megan Mickle of Dalton learned of the event an hour before the noontime start and felt it would be good for her five-year-old son Amari Vanderpool.
"It sounded like a lot of fun and it's great to get him out of the house," she said.
Thanks to mostly sunny skies, cooler temperatures and great camaraderie among the players, PCC mentorship program director Mary Jane Dunlop was pleased with the turnout.
"This is everything we had hoped for; there were really no barriers," she said.
Food vendors were on hand, a DJ played music and provided occasional commentary for the on-field action.
Dunlop also used the opportunity to seek more volunteers as 17 youth are on a waiting list for an adult mentor. To help out, call 413-329-3266
For the past year, Bill Travis has paired up with 17-year-old Trijon and noticed how he's greatly improved in school and has started to turn his life around.
Travis, an avid outdoorsman, has kept the young man busy.
"We've been kayaking, we [hiked] Mt. Greylock, he comes to my house for dinner and he helps clean up afterwards," said the former Pittsfield Public Schools superintendent.
As the resource officer at Pittsfield High School, Pittsfield Police Officer Jessica Godfroy knows the importance of being a positive adult role model.
Many students often confide in her and, at times, she feels like a den mother to some 900 students on campus.
"More than one calls me, 'Mom,'" said the nine-year police veteran.
Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233