County Fare: Dinner/dance to benefit Young Champion Foundation

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A dinner and dance party will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday to help raise funds for community outreach programs and services of The Young Champ Foundation.

The event will be held in The Lighthouse space of the Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires, 16 Melville St., in Pittsfield. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 10 and up. The event includes a menu of Caribbean fare, a 50/50 raffle, giveaways and dancing with program founder DJ David "Young Champ" Dias, and Sean Mochon.

Since The Young Champ Foundation was established last year, it has provided a range of efforts, from helping kids in the Berkshires get free back-to-school haircuts to providing holiday gifts to 50 families.

Dias said there are bigger projects on tap for 2016.

"We have great plans for transportation as well as a center for kids in the near future," he said. "Help us get to the top so more families can also win."

Friday's dinner starts at 5:30 p.m.. After the main event, an after-party, which will also benefit the organization, will be held from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at Pancho's Mexican Restaurant, 154 North St. The after-party is free with a dinner party ticket, or $7 at the door.

Get information at: facebook.com/youngchampfoundation or youngchampfoundation.com.

Kids helping kids

This year the Reid Middle School Student Council has partnered with Ayelada Frozen Yogurt in Pittsfield to collect warm blankets and stuffed animals for Berkshire Center for Families and Children's "Project Night Night," part of a national campaign.

Just before the holiday break, the Student Council collected more than 100 blankets and stuffed animals with promotional support from Ayelada.

Other Student Council efforts this past fall included volunteering with the Thanksgiving Angels Project and ringing bells for the Salvation Army kettle drive.

It takes a village

Each year, volunteers donate thousands of hours in time as well as their talents and expertise, to make Hancock Shaker Village a vibrant place for visitors, staff and scholars alike.

"There are a million moving parts here and many ways to participate," the historical site's President and CEO Linda Steigleder tells County Fare. "Without our volunteers, we could never get it all done."

From farm-helpers to interpreters, volunteers at the village play many roles. Some are organized into groups, including Quilting Friends. Honored by the Hancock Shaker Village board of trustees at its Oct. 17 leadership dinner, Quilting Friends has been active since 1983.

Each year, members design, piece and quilt a queen-sized masterpiece that's raffled off at the village's Country Fair to benefit the site's education programs. They also organize the annual quilt show.

When the village re-opens for the 2016 season on Saturday, April 16, the group's latest creation will be on view at the ticket desk until it gets auctioned off in September.

The members of Quilting Friends, who contributed a total of 895 hours this past year include: Doreen Atwood, Liz Celli, Quilting Friends Chairwoman Elaine Christopher, Terry Costello, Martha Dominguez, Gail Ellis, Judy Fyfe, Betsy Garcia, Barbara Harry, Sindy Holmes, Betty King, Carole Kelley, Connie Logan, Marybeth Malacarne, Meri-Ellen Morgans, Cindy Morin, Donna Mullet, Mary Newtown, Vivian Pikett, Margarat Mary Richards, Mary Rentz, Judy Rufo, Carol Seltzer, Irma Sisson, Tjasa Sprague and Elizabeth Williams.

Additionally, a group of volunteer woodworkers collect upstairs in the village's Tannery during the season, most often on Wednesdays. On any given day, as many as seven woodworkers might be engaged in projects that use historic Shaker tools and the famous George Wickersham workbench.

"Our woodworkers added new dimension this year to the visitor experience in the Tannery, Brethren's Shop, and Machine Shop," said village Director of Education Cindy Dickinson. "I continue to be impressed with all of our crafters' expert demonstrations, enthusiasm and dedication to the village."

All told, volunteer woodworkers devoted more than 2,000 hours to the village in 2015.

Jack Steffek, an active volunteer woodworker and born teacher, was even featured in the "Build It" segment of episode 3 of Season 14 of "Ask This Old House," where he was filmed making components of the famous Hancock Shaker Village candlestand, as can be seen in the brick dwelling.

Active volunteer woodworkers in 2015 included Paul Albertson, Tony Antonucci, Bill Bernbeck, Sam Dallmeyer, Pam Hibbs, Jacob Lezberg, Pete McLaren, Pete Millett, Stan Nikkel, Rick Ryer, Bill Shea, Jack Steffek, Clark Wiedmann, Paul Woitkowsky and staff members Ted Williams and Jeff Brace.

Get involved at hancockshakervillage.org/volunteering-hsv or call 413-443-0188, ext. 203.

County Fare, a weekly column featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers.


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