PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) — A new social-emotional youth learning program is now being offered in Berkshire County.
The Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office announced that they were awarded a $25,000 grant by the Department of Probation to make it happen. They’re now partnering up with the Pittsfield Public School District to work with students in second through fifth grade within the Conte and Morningside Community Schools.
The early intervention program called “Tune Transitions” is aimed at fostering positive behaviors at a young age so that students never have to engage with the court system. They’re hoping to address the root causes of delinquency by empowering children to have meaningful social interactions and to make responsible decisions when faced with challenges.
The District Attorney’s Office is collaborating with former actress, Brooke Bridges. She now works as a mental health speaker and advocate and has developed the curriculum. Originally from Los Angeles, she has now relocated to the Berkshires.
She said, as a young actress under a lot of pressure, she struggled with her own emotions and dabbled with drugs and drinking. She said later in life, when she decided to seek help, she realized she wasn’t alone and became inspired to make a difference.
“So I thought, I need to have a curriculum so that I can share my story and then stay with them (children) and help them develop an understanding of their own story and their own emotions,” said Bridges.
Bridges said her evidence-based curriculum uses storytelling and helps students navigate and process distressing events in their lives.
For now, sessions are being held virtually, but they hope to hold them in-person as Pittsfield Public Schools begin to bring their students back for hybrid learning. So far, 24 students from the Conte and Morningside Community Schools are enrolled. The program is set to run for three months, but they’re hoping to secure additional funding to extend that.