Photo Gallery | YMCA/Marilyn Hamilton Literacy-Sports Program final celebration

PITTSFIELD — Hard work and dedication will be rewarded, as demonstrated Wednesday evening during the annual celebration of the completion of the Pittsfield Family YMCA/Marilyn Hamilton Literacy Sports Program.

The summer sports and academic support program, led by community educators and local parents, Manny and Vanessa Slaughter, reaches between 80 and 100 children, ages 5 through 19, each year. The program is funded with support of multiple community agencies, including Berkshire United Way, which also provides technical and program support.


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This year's program remained free and open to city youths, and included a range of field trips, from a campus visit to the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts to the Berkshire Athenaeum to the adventure park at Bousquet.

New this year, the program recruited student counselors from MCLA to help lead academic support and activity sections of the program, which met Monday through Thursday, in July and August.

The goal of the program is to not only provide an accessible, fun summer, experience, but to also help students who may struggle enhance their literacy skills through reading and writing exercises, group projects and vocabulary-building games and conversations. Program educators track students progress throughout the program and shares data with local schools and the United Way's community literacy program.

The Marilyn Hamilton Literacy Sports Program ends each year with an awards ceremony in Durant Park, to honor the students' commitment to studying during the summer.