CYC programs find new home at the Brigham Community Center


PITTSFIELD - The Catholic Youth Center's volleyball and basketball programs have a new home court this fall: The Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center at 165 East St.

In August, the CYC was forced to close its doors at 26 Melville St. because of the conditions inside the deteriorating 100-year-old building.

The Brigham Center will be the new site for elementary and middle school youth volleyball and basketball practices and games. High school programs will take place at area high schools and athletic fields.

"It made a lot of sense to have the CYC programs here as our missions are similar," Kelly Marion, the CEO of the Brigham Center, told The Eagle.

The youth organizations also have a long history of working with each other, often serving the same children and families through their respective programs.

Marion said while the organizations are collaborating on site at the Brigham Center, the CYC will maintain its autonomy as an organization and in running its own programs.

"Kelly's been more than generous and the transition has really moved quickly," said Gail Molari, president of the CYC board of directors.

The CYC Girls Volleyball program began last Tuesday, and will run eight weeks for girls in grades 5 through 8.

Sign-ups for CYC basketball will take place from 5:30 to 8 p. m. today, Wednesday, and Thursday and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Brigham Center. Leagues are available for girls and boys in kindergarten through Grade 8; and boys- only leagues will be offered for grades 9 through 12. Leagues run through March.

Marion said hosting the CYC league sports helps to fill a gap in Brigham Center programs.

"We don't do league sports here. We have a very active aquatics program, but as for things like volleyball and basketball, we haven't done these kinds of programs in about two decades," Marion said. " It'll take place in a space that for us has been pretty empty."

Marion also said having the CYC at the Brigham Center can help raise awareness of the Brigham Center's own programs.

"Ever since our name change in 2005, I think it's been a little mysterious for people what we do around here. Our focus is education and literacy, but the agency is not just about Girls Inc. and girls' programs," she said.

Molari said that despite not having its own facility, the CYC board plans to continue working with community partners to host athletic and community service opportunities under the CYC moniker.

"All of the area youth organizations have been phenomenal in helping us," Molari said.

Though they have yet to take up the offer, Molari said the Boys & Girls Club of Pittsfield offered the use of its space to the CYC. Pittsfield Family YMCA is currently donating the use of its volleyball nets and equipment.

Molari said the CYC is storing equipment for its lacrosse program, which will continue to practice and meet on various fields in the county.

The Junior League high school-age basketball program will take place this year at Berkshire Community College.

Molari said the youth service organization will be looking to start up again with the support of Gary Bianchi at St. Joseph Central High School.

The only program that is no longer affiliated with the CYC is cheerleading.

Coach Teresa Goines is running a youth cheerleading program under the name Berkshire Elite All- Star Cheerleading, and practices at its new home, The Infield, at 10 Lyman St.


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