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May 31, 2017


 

Pittsfield PYW use.jpg

Thank you for 30 years!

 

The Pittsfield Youth Workshop Celebrates 30 Years Empowering The Youth of Pittsfield!

 

“The Pittsfield Youth Workshop is a nonprofit youth organization committed to providing programs and services that empower youth by helping them to develop useful skills, self-esteem, and meaningful friendships, by involving them in activities that are interesting, challenging, and healthy avenues to self-discovery.”

 

In the fall of 1986, a small group of community members, area youth, and concerned professionals gathered to discuss the concept of creating a teen center for Pittsfield. This group met regularly, and in the beginning of 1987 the concept became a reality, and was named The Pittsfield Youth Workshop, or more commonly known as PYW.

 

In an article published in the Suncook Valley Sun on March 25, 1987 – PYW was introduced to the community, and described as “a center, which will focus on the needs of youth. This facility will be the hub of youth involvement in leadership, workshops, preventive seminars on drug and alcohol abuse, community involvement as well as a center for recreation and entertainment.” Similarly, found in meeting minutes from March, 9, 1987 – a statement of purpose was created “Our goal is to improve the quality of life for youth in the Pittsfield Community. Our intent is to provide services and encourage programs which empower youth.” Since the beginning, PYW has had the same mission and vision – although 30 years has passed, the purpose of this organization has remained consistent.

 

For the first few years, PYW was a “center without walls”, offering outdoor adventure experiences and community service opportunities for teens. In 1990, PYW hired its first part-time director and opened a Drop-In center in the town’s newly renovated Community Center. Then, in 1998 PYW moved into a downtown storefront on the corner of Depot and Carroll streets. During the next few years, PYW increased its capacity to offer more programing to the youth in the community, and was able to secure funding to hire a full time director. Later, with the help of grant funding, donations, and fundraising, PYW was able to increase staffing levels to include two full time directors, and two part time program coordinators. In the fall of 2007, PYW moved into the Pittsfield Academy & Corinthian Lodge building on Park St., where it is currently located. During all this time, one of the overarching objectives has been to find a permanent home for the Drop-In center, and to offer the youth of our community programs and activities that are consistent, collaborative, effective and fun!

 

The Pittsfield Youth Workshop currently provides services for youth in grades six through twelve, from Pittsfield, NH and surrounding towns (approximately 220 individuals per year). PYW’s holistic approach to youth development includes activities and programs that allow youth to learn healthy life skills, form positive relationships, engage in their community, and form a plan for their future. PYW offers several distinct programs: Drop-In, Academic Enrichment, Mentoring, Trips, Workshops with Adult Role Models, Music & Arts, Leadership and Prevention Programming, and Community Involvement. PYW is open for Drop-In during the school year (M-F 3-6PM) and during the summer (M, W, F 2-6 PM). During Drop-In, youth hang out with friends, and participate in organized activities. Many play games, go on the computer, complete school work, play outdoors, and participate in small group workshops. All of these activities help youth connect with their peers, interact with positive adult role models, achieve academically, and learn healthy life skills. PYW also offers out of town trips and excursions. Examples of our most popular trips include: Movies, Bowling, Hiking, Rock Climbing, Visits to Museums and Science Centers, Sporting Events and Kayaking. PYW facilitates interactions between youth and positive role models in order to connect teens with a wider range of people with different abilities and backgrounds.

 

PYW’s activities are influenced by adventure education, experiential learning and evidence-based practices of youth development. PYW meets the needs of youth by: allowing for acquisition of personal, interpersonal and recreational competencies; offering opportunities to further one’s self-understanding; providing the chance for youth to be part of something and to have a place to belong; creating opportunities for youth to develop and express their individual identity; and by offering a variety of learning modalities. In practice, this leads to a population of youth who make healthier decisions, achieve academically, and have a positive vision for the future.

 

PYW provides youth with time, space and skills. By providing these resources, youth who participate are empowered and become more engaged in their community. It is the firm belief of the program that youth who receive these opportunities will be better prepared for the future and will have a stronger sense of direction in life. The program provides time for young people to be with peers and adult allies; time they need to develop meaningful relationships. Conflicts are worked through with the support of other youth and adults. Important connections are made with adults who share their interests, provide guidance, and care about what’s going on in their lives.

 

PYW provides youth with space that is safe and nurturing; space where they are free to express themselves. The program gives youth a place where they feel safe to be who they are without pressure or judgment. It’s a place where participants can find activities that are age appropriate, healthy and fun. The program provides young people with opportunities to learn new skills; skills that foster personal and interpersonal growth as well as recreational and artistic talents. Youth need opportunities to find something to be good at, and to be recognized for those talents. Young people also need guidance in finding healthy ways to work through personal and interpersonal difficulties. Involvement in facilitated group activities gives participants the chance to learn and practice these critical skills.

 

For the past 30 years, PYW has relied heavily on countless volunteers to keep the organization running smoothly and effectively. Volunteers help make this program happen – whether as members of the Board of Directors, lending a hand with fundraising, helping out during drop-in, chaperoning trips and excursions, or simply being an advocate for our work. PYW would not be so successful without the assistance of these community members and their dedicated support. More importantly, PYW wouldn’t be here without all of the amazing youth who have helped shape the organization into what it is today. At PYW we truly believe that youth voice and choice is an integral and essential part of any youth serving organization.

 

What’s next for PYW? As we take the time to celebrate the past 30 years, we are also looking ahead to the future. Funding for small independent nonprofits like PYW, is available, but often limited. We are truly grateful to our grantors, donors and supporters who consistently give to our program to help us achieve our mission and vision. Program staff and volunteers are working diligently on setting a plan for the future PYW – an exciting endeavor! Our vision is to remain financially stable, continue to evolve our programs to meet the needs of our youth population, and to be around for at least another 30 years!

 

In honor of this momentous achievement, PYW will be celebrating our anniversary with an Open House and Celebration Dinner on Saturday, June 24th 2017. The free Open House will be held at PYW (5 Park St) from 1-4 PM, with guided tours of the Drop-In Center, lots of photos and artifacts to check out from the past 30 years, and a display of our vision for the future. The Celebration Dinner will be held in Dustin Park from 5-8PM, with time to connect with past and present PYW friends, presentations and sharing of stories, and a delicious meal. Tickets can be purchased by visiting PYW’s website, www.pittsfieldyouthworkshop.org, or by calling 435-8272. Space is limited, so make sure to reserve your space today!  If you are unable to attend, but would still like to contribute to the PYW Futures Campaign, information on how to donate can also be found on our website and on Facebook - www.facebook.com/pittsfieldyouthworkshop.

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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