Pittsfield Community Connection Announces New Appointments
Pittsfield Community Connection announces two new appointments: Jon Schnauber, MSW, LCSW, Executive Director and Eddie Taylor, Community Liaison/Program Coordinator.
Pittsfield Community Connection plays a critical role in supporting our community’s youth. In their respective paths, Jon and Eddie have demonstrated a commitment to service. Their enthusiasm is the foundation for the work ahead,” said Mayor Linda Tyer, of PCC which is funded through the Shannon Grant program.
Earlier this month, 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. 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.
Schnauber succeeds Scott Murray, PhD., who led the organization as Interim Director since September 2015. Schnauber worked with PCC since March 2015 as the Director of Case Management. During this time he developed the case management system utilized by the company, was integral in program development for both the Shannon Grant (The Shannon Grant is a state funded program for 10-20 year olds focused on reducing violence and providing guidance to those most vulnerable within our community) and most recently the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative, SSYI (The Safe and Successful Youth Initiative is a multifaceted, community-based strategy that combines public health and public safety approaches to eliminating serious violence among high-risk, youth ages 14-24).
Prior to working for PCC, Schnauber served as a Military Police sergeant in the Massachusetts National Guard, where he deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). After his return from combat, Schnauber founded the Veteran and Service Members Association (VASMA) at UMass Amherst. Through VASMA he assisted returning combat veterans integrate into the university environment, and advocated at the state level to bring focus to issues and resolutions for returning veterans. From here, Schnauber was appointed the Northeast Regional Director for the Student Veterans of America, a national advocacy organization. Schnauber was responsible for a 30 percent increase in chapter affiliations during this time. He advised each of these organizations on development, fundraising, recruitment, and advocacy. Schnauber worked as a clinician for Providence Hospital and subsequently the Brien Center in Pittsfield. Schnauber received an Associate of Science degree from Berkshire Community College in 2003, a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2007, and a Master of Social Work from Springfield College in 2012.
Schnauber said he was hopeful about PCC’s impact on the community.
“I have had the pleasure of living and working in Pittsfield for many years. My children have been raised and educated here. Like many parents and members of our community the violent events that have occurred within this city concern me,” Schnauber said. “With concern there is also hope, through the Shannon Grant and Safe and Successful Youth Initiative Pittsfield has taken decisive action to curb the violence. Pittsfield Community Connection is excited to provide its expertise and programming to these initiatives. With the continued cooperation of the Mayor’s Office, Pittsfield Police Department, Berkshire United Way and so many other caring organizations, PCC will have the means to make a substantially positive impact on the city and youth as a whole.”
Taylor, a Pittsfield native, is also the Founder and Executive Director of the S.E.E.D. Network Inc. (Social Education Engaging Diversity), network focused on providing the local community with four core elements: mentoring, education, action, and leadership. He is also the creator of the F.U.L.L. Program (Families United through Literacy), designed to work as an “Institution-based program” which uses a combination of literacy and multi-media as tools for reintegrating short-term inmates with their children and families. The goal is to increase the literacy rate amongst incarcerated inmates and their children, while promoting a positive reentry, while reducing the recidivism rate in our county. Last fall, Taylor spearheaded a grassroots campaign to change the name of Pitt Park to honor late community figures, the Rev. Willard and Rosemary Durant.
“I proudly joined the team at Pittsfield Community Connections to assist in bridging the gap between local resources and a youthful demographic, which has proven to be challenged by life, poverty and unfavorable circumstances. The entire team at PCC is sincerely dedicated to providing today's youth with a better tomorrow,” said Taylor, who is in the IDST program with a double concentration in Sociology and Psychology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and will graduate this May. “My job is to strengthen public and private partnerships to provide resources for the clients of the SSYI side of PCC. Through this outreach, I am providing our clientele with diverse opportunities outside of the normal labor track for people with nontraditional backgrounds. The other thing is helping people to understand that though someone has made a mistake, that person still has value to add to add to the community.”