On May 20, 2013, the District Attorney’s Office hosted a recognition ceremony to honor and thank the members of the 2012 - 2013 Youth Advisory Board for hard work and service to the community.
As a Board, the students come together to share and communicate their concerns on social issues facing youth today, and then assist the staff of the Community Outreach and Education Program in formulating effective educational initiatives addressing these issues.
The Board serves as a vehicle to enable the Office to better address the critical risk factors affecting youth across Berkshire County, and their participation in the Office’s ongoing prevention efforts has allowed for the expansion of peer to peer learning opportunities for student across Berkshire County.
Almost half of the Board members are seniors who have served for two years and are moving on to new adventures and possibilities. The returning members will be joined by newly selected students to represent their schools and lend a voice for the youth they represent.
District Attorney Capeless acknowledged the school advisors and parents for their ongoing support and encouragement of the students and the program. Special thanks were also given to Massachusetts State Police Sergeant Michael Hill and the Massachusetts Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force for securing funding assistance to support the Board’s work and to David Cachat, CityLink Coordinator at Pittsfield Community Television, for his work in filming the Board’s projects as well as producing and editing the year in review video shown at the ceremony.
The ceremony also featured three student speakers. Samantha Brown, a senior at Lee Middle & High School, and Amy Kane, a senior at Lenox Memorial High School, shared details of the Board’s program accomplishments and reflected on their experiences and memories of their service. Dimitri Pixley, a junior at Pittsfield High School, also spoke of his personal growth during his first year of service.
The Board’s work over this year involved multigenerational projects throughout the county.
In October the Board traveled to Craneville Elementary School in Dalton to work with young students on internet safety. The training, utilizing NetSmartz® Workshop, a program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, provided primary safety rules for going online.
In December many members joined the Office in hosting the Annual Vigil of Remembrance to honor those who lost their lives in drunk driving accidents.
Getting into the holiday spirit, members also used their time and talent to organize an event with seniors in the community and joined forces with PineHill Assisted Living for a special morning with holiday Bingo games and breakfast treats.
The Board wrapped up its service by hosting the STRIVE (Students Teaching Respect, Integrity, Values and Equality) Youth Leadership Conference, which brought together students from 20 middle schools. The day-long conference raised students' awareness about risky behaviors and the consequences of unhealthy choices and engaged them in presentations, discussions and activities focusing on drug abuse, underage drinking, relationships, cyberbullying and peer pressure. The thoughtful agenda really connected with students, resulting in a memorable day.
Youth Advisory Board members for the 2012 – 2013 academic year were: Jacob McNicol, Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter School; Joseph Liporace and Allison Meehan, Drury High School; Austin Herzog and Ian Hill, Hoosac Valley High School; Samantha Brown and Nicholaus Sitzer, Lee Middle and High School; Amy Kane and Taylor Tranfaglia, Lenox Memorial Middle and High School; Justin Schneider and Jessica Wojcik, McCann Technical School; Alisha Malkani and Meghan Newton, Miss Hall's School; John Carmichael and Colleen Kelly, Monument Mt. Regional High School; Eric Derwitsch and Taylor Dorsey, Mt. Everett Regional High School; Emily Kaegi, Mt. Greylock Regional High School; Dimitri Pixley and Rachele Rosiello, Pittsfield High School; Virginia Goggins and Zachary Neary, St. Joseph Central High School; Ashley McLaughlin and Michelle White, Taconic High School; and Chris Darroch and Nicole Gingras, Wahconah Regional High School.