City of Pittsfield Receives $95,000 Award from Shannon Grant Program
The City of Pittsfield was awarded $95,000 from the Shannon Grant program, marking the fourth yearly grant of its kind the city has received from the program, to help reduce youth violence and curb gang activity in the city.
Pittsfield’s award was part of a total $6.7 million in grant funds allocated to communities and groups across the Commonwealth to combat gang violence announced during a press conference at the State House on Feb. 3, which was attended by Mayor Linda Tyer and Police Chief Michael Wynn.
“The cities and local partners selected for these grants have demonstrated commitment and creativity in combatting the gang violence that threatens the safety and well-being of the residents of their communities,” said Gov. Charlie Baker, in a statement. “By using a multidimensional approach that employs a full range of diverse and effective techniques these communities have empowered themselves to make a serious impact on youth violence and gang activity.”
Mayor Tyer said the Shannon Grant and resources like it are essential to the city’s work. “In the City of Pittsfield, we are committed to working with our youth to give them the resources needed to manage challenging circumstances, and position them for success later on in life.”
In Pittsfield, Shannon Grant funds have been used to facilitate Pittsfield Community Connection (PCC), which works with at-risk youth through a mentorship model and outreach services. The program’s focus is on youth ages 10-20; it currently works with 44 kids (it can go up to 50) and with an equal number of mentors. In 2015, PCC has collaborated with local groups including Berkshire Community Action Council (BCAC), Goodwill, and Habitat for Humanity for a youth jobs program. This year’s funds will support existing programs, and also support the police department’s hotspot details.
PCC Interim Executive Director Scott Murray said he was glad to know the program would be supported once again. “We are very pleased to be recipients of the Shannon Grant again this year. Although funds were reduced significantly this year, we hope with support of the city and the community, we will continue to provide a dynamic program to offer our cities at risk youth viable options for a successful future in our community,” he said.
PCC also receives support from the Berkshire United Way, other local businesses and groups; and through fundraisers such as the Green Mile. Murray said PCC is looking to collaborate with more private businesses to expand its jobs program this year.
Chief Wynn praised PCC for its work with youth and said the grant will foster more inroads.
“The Shannon Grant has proven to be a valuable addition to the resources available to the City of Pittsfield in combatting youth violence and gang activity. These funds will allow us to continue the work being done by the Pittsfield Community Connection in providing alternatives to adolescents that might otherwise be lured by the gang culture. Early identification and intervention is the key to stopping the cycle of gang membership and its associated violence.”