NORTH ADAMS -- MountainOne has donated $25,000 to MCLA to establish a scholarship fund for students in families of workers who lost income when North Adams Regional Hospital was closed.

According to Kelli Kozak, community development officer at North Adams-based bank MountainOne Financial, bank officers were seeking an opportunity to help the newly unemployed hospital employee community.

"We already have an excellent relationship with MCLA," she said, "and we were looking at several ways to help families from NARH. We thought the scholarship program was a good way to do that and a good opportunity to work with MCLA. We have a good track record with them."

MountainOne CEO Thomas Leavitt did not take a lot of convincing to approve the scholarship donation, Kozak said.

"He realized this was something that needed to be done immediately," she said. "It was a very swift process because it was an emergency."

According to Denise Richardello, executive vice president at MCLA, the need is certainly real.

"Without this, some students might not be able to continue their education with us," she said. "So we are extremely grateful for this help."

Richardello noted that funds would be used to provide 10 students with $2,500 each to put toward their tuition and fees incurred at MCLA.

The students need to be in good academic standing and enrolled in a full-time degree program. They will also need to demonstrate financial need due to the hospital's closing.

"We are grateful to MountainOne for their generous donation to provide financial help for students affected by the hospital's closure, so they can continue their studies at the college," MCLA President Mary Grant said in a statement. "MountainOne's gift is a terrific example of the spirit of community that exists in this region."

In order to be considered for the MountainOne scholarship, students can submit an application through the MCLA Financial Aid Office in Eldridge Hall at MCLA, or online at www.mcla.edu/aid.

In other news for affected NARH workers, the Brien Center announced that in partnership with the North Adams Police Department, their North Adams site at 124 American Legion Drive will remain open and staffed for extended hours seven days per week.

The Brien Center seeks to provide crisis services in a safe and secure location since closure of the hospital eliminated the emergency department. The extended hours will continue on an interim basis until the emergency department can be re-established.

Even though services can now be received by coming directly to 124 American Legion Drive, the best way to initiate Crisis Services is by calling the 24/7 Crisis Hot Line at 1-800-252-0227.

Since the Brien Center does not have the capability to treat medical conditions of any kind, please call 911 if emergency medical treatment is needed.

To reach Scott Stafford:
sstafford@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 663-3741, ext. 227.
On Twitter: @BE_SStafford