Below is a collection of external employment and community resources for individuals in the Berkshires and Southern Vermont who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Job Opportunities in the Berkshires and So. Vermont
Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires & Southern Vermont has a partnership with MassHire. Individuals who complete one of our 3 training programs: Custodial, Employability, or Customer Service will be introduced to an Employment Specialist at MassHire. The Employment Specialist will help connect you to available job openings.
You can sign up for our workshops by clicking the link https://www.goodwill-berkshires.org/programs/programs-calendar.html and completing the registration form.
In Southern Vermont, some of the larger companies such as Walmart, Price Chopper, Aldi and Hannaford regularly have job openings and searches on the following links:
- Applying for unemployment benefits in Massachusetts
- Applying for unemployment benefits in Vermont
- DTA Cash Assistance in Massachusetts
- Reach Up Cash Assistance in Vermont
- SNAP (food assistance) benefits in Massachusetts
- 3SquaresVT (food assistance) in Vermont
- Fuel Assistance in Vermont
- MassHealth Benefits and COVID-19
- Social Security Services & COVID-19
- Massachusetts 211
- Vermont 211
Financial & Utility Support
If you were recently laid off apply for fuel assistance through BCAC by calling the number provided. This program can also help with free Tax prep and Loan programs.
Central/South: (413)445-4503 North: (413)663-3014
Food Pantries and Meal Sites in Berkshire County
(Since program hours and days can change without notice, please call the location to be sure of times and requirements) Updated April 4, 2023
Pittsfield Food Pantries
|Berkshire Dream Center||Morningside Baptist Church, 475 Tyler Street||413-522-3495||Tuesdays 2:30pm – 3:30pm||None|
|Berkshire Dream Center Mobile Food Pantry||Central Annex on 2nd Street at 4:00pm Providence Court at 4:45 pm Berkshire Peak (Old Riverview Apartments) at 5:30pm||413-522-3495||3rd Wednesday of the month||None|
|Berkshire Dream Center Mobile Food Pantry||Dower Square at 5:30pm Wilson Park at 6:15pm||413-522-3495||3rd Tuesday of the month||No requirements|
|Berkshire Humane Society Pet Food Pantry||214 Barker Road Pittsfield||413-447-7878||Tuesdays & Thursdays 10:00am – 6:00pm Wednesdays, Fridays, & Saturdays 10:00am-4:00pm Sundays 1:00pm – 4:00pm||Fill out a request card at time of pick-up|
|Berkshire Veterans’ Outreach Cntr.||505 East Street – Suite 103 Pittsfield 413-448-6052||413-448-6052||Thursdays 11:00am – 1:00pm||Available for veterans and their families|
|Campus Cupboard at Berkshire Community College||Susan B. Anthony Building 1750 West Street||413-236-1602||Mondays thru Fridays 9:00am – 3:00pm Stop in or schedule an appointment at: www.berkshirecc.edu/student-engagement/campuscupboard||Must be a current BCC student with a BCC student ID|
|Christian Assembly Church||850 Williams Street||413-442-1495||Wednesdays & Fridays 10:00am – 1:00pm||Assistance available every week|
|Christian Center Client Choice||193 Robbins Avenue||413-443-2828||Mondays thru Fridays 9:00am – 2:00pm||Assistance available once a week|
|First Baptist Church||88 South Street||413-445-4539||Tuesdays 10:30am – 12:30pm||Sign in when utilizing services|
|First United Methodist Church||55 Fenn Street (Use Fenn Street entrance)||413-499-0866||Tuesdays 4:00pm – 5:30pm||No requirements|
|Mercado de Vida O.U.R. Resurge Community Bldg.||119 Fenn St. Pittsfield||Mondays 6:00pm – 8:00pm||Bring your own bags if you can|
|RE-Define Community Center||5 Melville Street, Pittsfield||Tuesdays 11:00am – 2:00pm Thursdays 11:00am – 5:00pm Saturdays 3:00pm – 5:00pm|
|St. Joseph’s Church||414 North Street (Held at the Parish Center)||413-445-5789||Wednesdays 8:30am – 10:00am||Sign in when utilizing services|
|St. Mark’s Church||400 West Street||413-447-7510||Last two Fridays of each month 9:00am – 11:00am||No requirements|
|The Salvation Army||298 West Street||413-442-0624||Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays 12:30pm – 3:00pm||No requirements|
|Soldier On Food Pantry||360 West Housatonic Street||413-236-5644||Saturdays 7:00am – 11:00am||Open to the public. Need verification of address|
|South Community Food Pantry||110 South Street||413-442-7357||Wednesdays & Thursdays 7:30am – 11:00am Wednesdays 4:30pm – 5:30pm||Assistance available once a week|
|South Community Food Pantry||110 South Street||413-442-7357||Deliveries on Mondays, Tuesdays, & Wednesdays if you don’t have transportation to come in person||No requirements|
Pittsfield Meal Sites
|BREAKFAST MEAL SITES||LOCATION||PHONE||DETAILS|
|Christian Center||193 Robbins Avenue Pittsfield||413-443-2828||Continental Breakfast Mondays thru Fridays 8:30am – 10:30am|
|First United Methodist Church||55 Fenn Street||413-499-0866||Tuesdays - Harvest Table Breakfast 8:00am – 9:30am Use Fenn Street Entrance|
|The Salvation Army||298 West Street||413-442-0624||Mondays thru Thursdays Brunch served 10:30am – 11:30am|
|South Community Food Pantry - St. Joseph’s Kitchen||110 South Street||413-442-7357||Wednesdays & Thursdays 7:30am – 9:00am Grab & Go Breakfast Bag|
|LUNCH MEAL SITES||LOCATION||PHONE||DETAILS|
|Bright Morningstar Kitchen Dine with Dignity||475 Tyler Street - Downstairs Pittsfield||413-522-3495||Tuesdays & Fridays 11:30am – 12:30pm|
|Cathedral of the Beloved||Held at St. Stephen’s Church (Enter on Allen St.), 67 East Street||413-448-8276||Sundays 2:00pm The 2pm service will include coffee and will be followed by a free meal.|
|Christian Center||193 Robbins Avenue Pittsfield||413-443-2828||Mondays thru Fridays 12Noon – 1:00pm|
|Jewish Federation at Knesset Israel Synagogue||16 Colt Road||413-442-2200||Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays 11:45 – 12Noon – Grab & Go - Pick-up at kitchen door In-person dining option also Kosher senior meals Meals by reservation by calling 413-442-2200 MUST CALL NO LATER THAN 9AM SAME DAY|
|Pittsfield Senior Center||330 North Street||413-499-9346||Mondays thru Fridays 10:30am – 12:30pm Modified congregate meals Take and go meals Call 1 day ahead by 12Noon for reservations Recommended $3 donation for seniors 60 and over|
|Price Memorial AME Zion Church||163 Linden Street||413-464-7827||Saturdays 11:00am – 1:00pm Bagged lunches to go. Call Connie at 413-358-8393 for information on deliveries.|
|Bright Morningstar Kitchen Dine with Dignity||475 Tyler Street - Downstairs Pittsfield||413-522-3495||Wednesdays 4:30pm – 5:30pm|
|First Baptist Church “Feed My Sheep”||88 South Street||413-445-4539||Mondays 5:30pm – 6:30pm|
|First United Methodist Church||Fenn Street Entrance, 55 Fenn Street||413-499-0866||Tuesdays - Harvest Table Meal 4:00pm – 5:30pm Use Fenn Street Entrance|
|St. Stephen’s Church||(Enter on Allen Street), 67 East Street||413-448-8276||Thursdays & Fridays 4:30pm - 5:30pm|
|The Salvation Army||298 West Street||413-442-0624||Sundays 4:30pm|
|South Community Food Pantry||St. Joseph’s Kitchen, 110 South Street||413-442-7357||Wednesdays 4:30pm – 5:30pm A cooked take-home dinner is available|
Becket, Dalton & Hinsdale Food Pantries
|Becket Federated Church Parish House||3381 Main Street, Becket||413-841-1701||1st & 3rd Saturdays of each month 9:00am – 11:00am||For Becket, Washington, and the surrounding Hilltowns - Emergencies: 413-770-1897|
|Dalton United Methodist Church||755 Main Street, Dalton||413-684-0521||Tuesdays 4:00pm – 6:00pm||Open to Berkshire County residents|
|The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Mobile Food Bank||Held at the Dalton CRA, 400 Main Street, Dalton||413-247-9738, ext. 121||4th Wednesday of each month 11:00am – 12Noon Rain or shine||No proof of eligibility required|
|Hinsdale Food Pantry||Hinsdale Trading Company Parking Lot 371 Old Dalton Road Hinsdale||413-655-2670||Thursdays 10:00am – 11:00am|
|St. Agnes Church||489 Main Street, Dalton||413-684-0125||Thursdays 5:30pm – 6:00pm||For Dalton and Hilltown residents only|
Dalton Meal Site
|LUNCH MEAL SITE||LOCATION||PHONE||DETAILS|
|Dalton Senior Center||40 Field Street Ext., (Run by the Dalton Council on Aging)||413-684-2000||Mondays and Thursdays 12Noon – 1:00pm Congregate meals or grab & go available for seniors Recommended donation of $3 Need 24 hour notice. Call 684-2000 Sunday Community Lunch 1st & 3rd Sundays of each month 1:00pm ALL AGES WELCOME! Donations are appreciated|
Lanesboro Food Pantry
|American Legion/VFW||Located in the old school house in Berkshire Village 144 Old State Road Lanesboro||413-442-1025||Fridays 9:00am – 11:00am||Open to the public|
North County Food Pantries
|Adams COA Mobile Food Bank of Western Mass.||3 Hoosac Street Adams||413-743-8333||2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month 10:00am – 11:00am Walk-up location||No proof of eligibility required One distribution per household Must be a Berkshire County resident|
|Adams COA Brown Bag||3 Hoosac Street Adams||413-743-8333||Fourth Friday of every month 11:00am – 12Noon||For residents 60+. Must complete application to join program.|
|Al Nelson Friendship Center||45 Eagle Street, North Adams||413-664-0123||Wednesdays 10:00am – 2:00pm Friends physically unable to get to the food pantry, call on Wednesdays between 10am-2pm to set-up a delivery which will take place on Thursdays, 10:00am – 12Noon||Assistance to residents of Clarksburg, Florida, and North Adams every other week|
|Berkshire Dream Center Mobile Food Pantry||North Adams Locations: 1st Wednesday of the month Mohawk Forest at 5:00pm Brayton Hill at 5:45pm Greylock at 6:45pm||413-522-3495||North Adams Locations: 4th Wednesday of the month Mohawk Forest at 5:00pm Brayton Hill at 6:00pm Greylock at 6:45pm||None|
|Berkshire Family YMCA Northern Berkshire Branch||22 Brickyard Court North Adams||413-663-6529||Mondays – Fridays 6:00am – 8:00pm Saturdays 8:00am – 2:00pm Closed on Sundays||No requirements|
|Cheshire Food Pantry||Held at the Cheshire Community Center, 119 School Street, Cheshire||413-743-9719||1st Saturday of each month 11:00am – 12:00noon||Available to all Cheshire residents with proof of residency. Emergency food is also available|
|Community Bible Church||160 Bridges Road, Williamstown||413-458-5556||3rd Wednesday of each month 12:00Noon – 2:00pm||Must be a Mass. resident|
|The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Mobile Food Bank||Brien Center Parking Lot 124 American Legion Drive North Adams||413-247-9738, ext. 121||1st and 3rd Fridays of each month – Drive thru or walk-up August 10:00am – 11:00am Sept. - Dec. No pantry 9/1 Starting on 9/15 Open 11:00am – 12Noon||No proof of eligibility required|
|North Adams COA Brown Bag Distribution||Spitzer Center 116 Ashland Street North Adams||413-662-3125||4th Friday of every month 12:30pm – 1:30pm|
|The Salvation Army Gateway New Life Center||393 River Street, North Adams||413-663-7987||Tuesdays 12Noon – 3:00pm Drive or walk-thru Deliveries on Wednesdays 12Noon – 2:00pm Call 413-663-7987 on Tuesdays 10:00am – 12:00Noon to schedule a delivery||For North County residents only|
|Williamstown COA Brown Bag Distribution||Harper Center 118 Church Street Williamstown||413-458-8250||4th Friday of every month 1:00pm||For residents 60+. Must complete application to join program|
|Williamstown Food Pantry at St. Patrick & St. Raphael Parish||53 Southworth Street, Williamstown||413-458-4946,x11 or 413-458-3149||1st & 3rd Wednesdays of each month Holidays could be different 9:00am – 12Noon Drive or walk-thru||Assistance to residents of Hancock, New Ashford, Williamstown, and Pownal, VT|
North County Meal Sites
|BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINER SITES||LOCATION||PHONE||DETAILS|
|Adams COA||3 Hoosac Street, Adams||413-743-8333||Congregate meals Mondays thru Thursdays at 11:30am Must be 60+ ($3 suggested donation) If under 60, price is $8 Grab & Go Meals, Fridays 11:00am – 11:30am Please call 24 hours in advance to register for a meal at 413-743-8333|
|Berkshire Food Project||Held at First Congregational Church of N. Adams, 134 Main Street, North Adams||413-664-7378||Mondays , Wednesdays, and Fridays 11:30am – 1:00pm|
|Cheshire COA||Held at Cheshire Community Center, 119 School Street, Cheshire||413-743-9719||Mondays thru Fridays Grab & Go – Pick up at 10:30am Mondays, Tuesdays, & Wednesdays Congregate meals available at 11:30am Must call Cheshire COA to make a reservation|
|First Baptist Church Community Soup Kitchen||Eagle Street Entrance, 131 Main Street, North Adams||413-652-7619||Saturdays 11:00am – 12Noon|
|Williamstown COA||Harper Center 118 Church Street Williamstown||413-652-7619||Grab & Go Hot meals Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 11:30am Registration must be completed in advance Residents 60+ $3 suggested donation|
South County Food Pantries
|The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Mobile Food Bank||Held at CHP, 444 Stockbridge Road, Gt. Barrington||413-247-9738, ext. 121||1st Tuesday of each month 11am – 12 Noon. Rain or shine||No proof of eligibility required|
|Lee Food Pantry||45 Railroad Street, Lee||413-266-1141||Saturdays 10:00am – 12 Noon||Serves people in Becket, Lee, Lenox Dale, Otis, Stockbridge, Tyringham, & West Stockbridge, www.graceberkshires.org|
|Lenox Ecumenical Food Pantry||Located at the United Methodist Church of Lenox, 6 Holmes Road, Lenox||413-445-5918 or 413-822-8673||Saturdays 10:00am – 11:00am||Serves Lenox and Lenox Dale residents along with our members of Lenox and Lenox Dale churches - Assistance available every other week|
|Monterey Pantry Pickup||the Meetinghouse 449 Main Road (In the basement) Monterey||413-429-4254 – Call this telephone number with questions or to schedule a home delivery||Saturdays 10:00am – 11:00am Deliveries available for Monterey homebound individuals. Monterey area residents can do in-person shopping.||No proof of eligibility required|
|Otis Food Pantry||1 North Main Road, Otisemail@example.com, On Facebook at: Otis Food Pantry||Wednesdays 9:00am – 11:00am||No residency restrictions|
|Peoples Pantry||5 Taconic Avenue at St. James Place – Across from CVS Gt. Barrington||www.thepeoplespantrygb.org||Mondays 4:00pm – 5:30pm Thursdays 10:00am – 12:30pm||South County residents only. No proof of eligibility required|
|Sheffield Food Assistance||Held at Old Parish Church, 125 Main Street, Sheffield||413-229-2624||Mondays 9:00am – 10:00am||Must be resident of Southern Berkshire Regional School District|
South County Meal Sites
|LUNCH MEAL SITE||LOCATION||PHONE||DETAILS|
|Guthrie Center||2 Van Deusenville Road, Gt. Barrington||413-528-1955||Wednesdays Free Community “TO GO” Lunch 12Noon – 1:00pm|
|Lenox COA, Community Center||65 Walker Street, Lenox||Must reserve a meal two days in advance by calling 413-637-5535||Mondays thru Fridays 12Noon – 12:30pm Grab & go meals|
|Sheffield Senior Center||25 Cook Road, Sheffield||413-229-7037||Mondays Soup & Sandwich Lunch 11:30am Free from the Sheffield Senior Center Wednesdays & Fridays Meals served at 12:00Noon Provided through Elder Services For residents 60+ $3 suggested donation If under 60, price is $8 1st & 3rd Wednesday, free to veterans|
|DINNER MEAL SITES||LOCATION||PHONE||DETAILS|
|Berkshire South Regional Community Center||15 Crissey Road Gt. Barrington||413-528-2810||Every other Monday beginning on 8/7 5:00pm – 6:00pm Curbside pick-up only Meals are first come first served Everyone is welcome.|
|Breaking Bread Community Supper||Held at the American Legion, Cook Road, Sheffield||413-229-8614||Thursdays 5:00pm – Grab & go dinners. Please RSVP at 413-229-7037. Free to all|
Stephentown, NY Food Pantry
|Stephentown Federated Church||1513 Garfield Road (County Road 26), Stephentown, NY||518-487-8606||Saturdays 9:00am – 11:00am Available weekly from your car||Serves residents of Hancock and Stephentown. Need proof of residency. Weather permitting|
Other Food Programs
Brown Bag Program
This program is a supplemental monthly food program offering 10-15 pounds of food to eligible individuals, 55 years or older, free or for a small donation. For income eligibility requirements and further information, call your Council on Aging.
Elder Services’ Elder Nutrition Program
Noontime meals are offered for those 60 years of age and older at several senior centers throughout the County. Some sites offer transportation through the Council on Aging. A suggested donation of $3.00 per meal is requested. Individuals under 60 years of age are welcome for a required fee of $8.00 per meal. Call Elder Services of Berkshire County for information and locations at 1-800-981-5201.
Elder Services’ Meals on Wheels Program
Nutritious, hot noontime meals are offered Monday through Friday to homebound Berkshire seniors, who are 60 years of age or older. A suggested donation of $3.00 is requested to help cover the cost of food preparation and delivery. There are eligibility requirements. Please call Elder Services of Berkshire County at 413-499-0524 to make a referral for yourself, family member or friend.
Take and Eat Program
A program for individuals 60 years of age and older who are homebound, unable to prepare meals, shop, or get out. Meals are delivered on Sundays and are provided for weekends and three-day holiday weekends. Contact Kathleen Ryan at 413-672-1404 or 413-664-1041 for information.
Understanding Bullying and Cyberbullying
Whether it's overtly aggressive or not, bullying is detrimental to students of all ages. The various forms that bullying can take — verbal, social, physical, and cyber — present different challenges, but all are ultimately harmful.
Harassment occurs in-person and on the internet, affecting youths and teens in a variety of situations. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 28% of students aged 12-18 have been bullied, and 9% experienced cyberbullying. The following guide was created to bring awareness to issues surrounding bullying and cyberbullying, and to help students, parents, and teachers prevent instances of bullying in the future.
The Prevalence of Bullying and Cyberbullying
Bullying takes different forms at different ages, growing in complexity and subtlety as students develop. Physical violence is the prevalent form of bullying among children. This abuse typically evolves into verbal or social bullying as students mature, often with one or more bullies excluding or manipulating their victim through several mediums. The popularity of social media has made this form of bullying more prevalent, as technology-based platforms allow perpetrators to share hurtful words and images anonymously.
Common Forms of Bullying
- Saying or writing mean things. This is the most common form of bullying, often starting in elementary school and peaking in middle school. Examples:
- Name calling
- Making threats
- Demeaning jokes about someone's differences
- Spreading rumors
- Making someone feel excluded or humiliated. This behavior is often carried out by a group and can be especially hard to recognize. Examples:
- Social manipulation
- Telling someone whom they can and cannot be friends with
- Spreading rumors
- Hitting, kicking, or threatening to hurt someone. This is the easiest form of bullying to identify and it often starts in preschool. Examples:
- Taking or damaging property
- Forced or unwelcomed contact
- Writing mean or inappropriate things online. Examples:
- Sending unwelcome emails or text messages
- Sexual harassment
- Hate speech
- Ridiculing someone publically
- Posting lies, rumors, or gossip and encouraging others to distribute that information
Why and Where Do Kids Bully?
Bullies have various motivations. Some of the most cited causes of bullying are linked to social, cultural, and familial factors. These potential sources of aggressive behavior generally manifest themselves in children with underdeveloped problem-solving skills. This may cause them to resort to bullying in an attempt to deal with a distressing situation, embarrassment, or the need to feel in control.
Bullying can happen anywhere, but usually occurs when students have a lack of direct supervision: on the playground, during classroom activities, or on the school bus. As students grow older, bullying flourishes in isolated and unsupervised spaces. Technology in particular may encourage aggressive behavior, as students can bully others anonymously through websites, social media, apps, and instant messaging.
The Rise of Cyberbullying
The National Crime Prevention Council found that nearly 43% of students have experienced or seen someone bullied online. This can be delivered through social media in a variety of formats, including private messages, emails, comments, photographs, and catfishing. Cyberbullying can occur frequently and repeatedly due to constant access to the victim, and can be perpetuated through anonymous, gossip-fueled apps such as Yik Yak and Whisper. Since originating with the rise of technology in the 1990s, cyberbullying methods have multiplied and increased in complexity. Despite legislative efforts to combat cyberbullying, online harassment remains widespread.
The Victims of Bullying
Bullies often target those who are perceived as weak or people with less-developed social skills. According to The Youth Voice Project, students most often reported being bullied for their looks (55%), body shape (37%), and race (16%). Students who identify or are perceived as LGBTQ also have a higher risk of being bullied; the National School Climate Survey reported that 31.8% of LGBTQ students missed at least one entire day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable due to bullying at school. Victims bullied because of their image, ethnic background, sexual orientation, or otherwise are often targeted because they appear different in some way.
Of all children who are bullied, more than one third reported bias-based bullying, a form of bullying that targets someone because of who they are or what they look like. Potential victims include LGBTQ youth, students with disabilities, and religious students, especially those who wear symbols of their religion. Students with a higher risk of being bullied are often targeted because of their visible appearance, as physical differences often incite teasing.
- LGBT Students: Youth identifying or perceived as LGBTQ are considered at high risk for bullying. Among students who identity as LGBTQ, 81.9% were bullied within the last year, and most reported feeling unsafe because of their sexual orientation.
- Students with Disabilities: Children with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be bullied than nondisabled children. This form of bullying can be especially dangerous because victims may be defenseless against the perpetrators and may have a harder time communicating about the bullying to others.
- Religious Students: Twenty-five percent of children are bullied because of their religion. Bullying students because of their religion may have less to do with one's beliefs and more to do with misinformation or negative perceptionsabout religion, or how adherents express their beliefs.
- Girls and Young Women: Girls and young women are targeted due to body image or sexuality, and are more often harassed over social media. Girls are more likely than boys to be victims of cyberbullying; bullying statistics show that 38% of girls who use social media report being bullied online, compared to 26% of boys.
Bullying does not end after high school. In fact, 22% of college students report being cyberbullied and 15% experience traditional bullying. Freshman and students in the Greek system may experience bullying or hazing in college — both in person and through cyberbullying. Students in college who bully use technology in particular, as it is widely used across campuses and can be done anonymously.
Apps like Yik Yak, for example, contribute to the problem. The app allows users to anonymously create, view, and up- or down-vote “yaks” within a 10-mile radius, creating threads of popularity-based gossip. These campus-centered apps, combined with the rampant use of social media and hazing, fuels bullying across college campuses.
The Effects of Bullying
Bullying directly affects the victims, but also impacts entire communities. Victims may feel anger, depression, and anxiety, both short- and long-term. If the bullying continues, victims may in turn lash out. When schools, organizations, and groups do not address bullying, it can make others — not just the direct victims of bullying — feel insecure and unsafe, and they may ultimately have trouble learning.
- Anxiety over and desire to avoid settings in which bullying may occur
- Lower grades than non-bullied peers
- Suicidal thoughts and feelings
- Reduced occupational opportunities
- Difficulty trusting people
- Interpersonal difficulties, including fear and avoidance of new social situations
- Increased incidence of continued bullying and victimization
As bullies hurt others, they also hurt themselves. Adolescents who bully often do not learn how to express themselves maturely, and as a result they develop higher rates of aggression, violence, and antisocial behavior. Their lack of behavioral skills are detrimental years later, as bullies often perform poorly in school, and have high rates of smoking, depression, violence, and drunk driving.
The Role of the Bystander
Bystanders witness bullying incidents and can choose to ignore or intervene. Bystanders who intervene are typically able to break up the situation. Those who discourage the bully, defend the target, or gather attention from peers stop nearly 60% of bullying incidents. Students who do not intervene often view the incident as a problem, but are unsure how to respond. Watching someone get bullied can instill feelings of fear and powerlessness, which can cause bystanders to ignore the situation or side with the bully.
Preventing Bullying and Cyberbullying
For the health of all children and the community, it is important that schools, families, and organizations address this issue and raise awareness about cyberbullying and bullying. There are several effective methods, such as educating students and staff, implementing anti-bullying policies and laws, reporting and following up on incidents, and helping perpetrators stop their bullying behaviors.
The parents of bullied students are advised to report the incident directly to the school. If the bullying occurs away from school grounds, or if the victim has been threatened, contact the police.
As an initial step, parents may set up a meeting with the principal and present every detail of the bullying incident(s), noting whether the bully has violated the school's anti-bullying policy. If the issue continues, parents should file a Notice of Harassment. The final step, if necessary, is to contact the U.S. Department of Education.
Providing Support for Bullies
To prevent aggressors from bullying, parents and administrators are encouraged to help them realize why they chose to bully, why it is a problem, and the ramifications of their actions. The bully should also actively resolve the situation by apologizing and demonstrating a positive change in behavior by helping the victim in some way. Adults should also recognize that boys and girls tend to bully in different ways. Girls often use verbal and emotional bullying instead of physical aggression, and therefore require different types of management and support.
There are multiple channels to report cyberbullying. Many websites allow users to flag incidents directly through their application. For cyberbullying protection across all websites, some technology users use third-party software to stop online harassment. Several programs have been developed to prevent cyberbullying, and most social media sites, including Facebook, have added measures to combat cyberbullying with “report” and “block” functions where users cannot view, reach, or interact with the victim.
“Reporting” and “blocking” actions give victims the power to remove themselves from cyberbullying situations. These functions are not fool-proof, however. Cyberbullies can use their anonymity to harass people from different accounts without consequences. To help combat the issue and prevent future instances of harassment, parents are encouraged to teach their children about online etiquette and to report cyberbullying instead of retaliating.
- STOPit is a reporting app for three different audiences: primary and secondary schools, colleges, and businesses. The app allows users to report inappropriate behaviors and mitigate unethical or illegal activity that can occur through technology-based programs used by these groups.
- ReThink uses filtering technology to flag offensive content. The software is geared toward adolescents who use social media, and it notifies them when their writing is offensive, giving them a second chance to reconsider their decision before posting online. Being forced to rethink their decision has proven effective; users change their minds 93% of the time.
- Professor Garfield Cyberbullying is a comic-styled app geared toward younger children to inform them about cyberbullying. The app also teaches users how to identify and resolve cyberbullying situations, and when to enlist help from an adult.
Anti-bullying Training and Education
Prevention techniques include school-wide anti-bullying policies, a plan for consistent consequences for bullies, and family education.
Bullying-prevention techniques vary from school-to-school, but often start with an assessment of bullying facts and prevalence. Schools can take their findings and collaborate with the community to create policies and a reporting system to reinforce positive behavior and inclusiveness. In doing so, schools often integrate anti-bullying material into the student curriculum and staff training methods to prevent and reduce bullying at their school.
Anti-bullying Policies and Laws
Anti-bullying policies and laws are crucial to preventing bullying and ensuring consistent consequences. All 50 states have anti-bullying state laws in place. Laws vary by state but each has policies outlining anti-bullying guidelines to school systems state-wide. Although there are currently no anti-bullying federal laws, bias-based bullying that overlaps with harassment is considered a civil rights violation and must be reported to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division.
Prevention on College Campuses
Bullying behavior on college campuses is serious, as such actions are often considered crimes for perpetrators over the age of 18. To prevent and combat these behaviors, students should take advantage of campus policies and laws to report bullying and cyberbullying to the appropriate offices, including law enforcement, Title IX coordinators, or ombudsmen.
If you or someone you know is being bullied and needs immediate help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online or at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Bullying in College
Help for LGBT Students
- It Gets Better Project
- Resources for LGBTQ Youth from the CDC
- American Psychological Association
Stories about Bullying
Be a Leader in Your Community: How to Make an Impact Where It Counts
by Daniel Sherwin*
No matter how much time you spend online with your fellow supporters, you can always do more in your community. One of the most valuable tools the internet has given the ordinary citizen is social media. It allows people to organize and educate their friends on issues that are important. But if you really want change, what good is it if it doesn't manifest in real life?
Perhaps the easiest way to get involved is by protecting the LGBTQ community. When North Carolina passed a bill requiring transgender individuals to use bathrooms corresponding with their biological birth sex, there was an immediate backlash from organizations that fought for the rights of all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. An excellent place to start in Vermont is working with the Pride Center of Vermont, which focuses on youth, education, and wellness.
It's vital to make the public aware of the benefits of vaccination to end the COVID-19 pandemic. The most important thing you can do is start a dialogue with family and friends about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. From there, consider organizing a push for vaccines with local medical groups. Share the information on local Facebook pages and groups, and see if your community's news station or newspaper can help you promote the event.
Get out and help register people to vote. No matter what political party they follow, there's nothing more important to fulfilling your civic duty and honoring your forefathers than voting. Whether you do this at your local library or post office or visit colleges and high schools to get the word out, it's important to help people find their voice in government.
Vermont is the home of many small farms, and the state's economy relies on them being successful. However, with climate change warming up New England more quickly than other parts of the country, the winters are becoming milder, posing a significant threat to Vermont's agriculture. Help protect Vermonters' jobs by spreading the word about how everyone can help protect the environment.
If you're passionate about saving the planet, consider a career in environmental causes. Anyone can earn aBachelor of Science in Education online to open the door to making a long-term impact on their community by teaching young children about their environment. You can learn at your own pace no matter your daytime job and impact your community after completing the degree program.
When your community is under attack, it brings people together as nothing else can. For example, after the Orlando shooting, people came together to help those affected by the tragedy create a more inclusive community. Just imagine what your town could do if there were an active hate group in the area. If you want to make a change, work to promote love and acceptance.
Boost Community Awareness in Vermont
Several options are available to get involved and encourage others to support local causes. Whether it's protecting a minority group or promoting neighborhood safety, you can make a difference. To learn more ways to help your community, contact Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont, Inc.
*Daniel Sherwin, a single dad of two, created Dadsolo.com with a goal to help equip other dads with resources regarding single parenthood. He is currently living with his two kids: a 9 y/o daughter and 6 y/o son.
Ways Immigrants Can Connect and Integrate Into the American Society
America is one of the nations defined by its success with immigrants. If you’re immigrating into the United States, you want to make it easy to integrate into American society without losing contact with your family back home. This may sound like a hard task, but with little steps, you can easily connect with American society and adapt to the new environment.
For many people, America is a dream of endless possibilities. This is among the best countries for people from all over the world. If you are an immigrant, Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont shares some of the ways you can accelerate your integration into society.
Accept You’ll Leave Things Behind
One of the issues you must deal with is leaving your country. It is hard to leave family and friends. Even your lifestyle will be affected, and there will be weather changes. In your first days, you should learn how to leave a lot of things you loved behind. While this is difficult, it’s important as it will help you achieve greater things.
For many people, the first six months are a difficult patch, as they find themselves in a new reality and must adjust quickly. It’s a process of starting over and embracing a new culture in your new environment.
Fixing Your Finances
After settling in America, you want to also check out ways to address your finances. There are many ways immigrants can contribute to strengthening the American economy. This includes starting a business, which will, in turn, employ Americans and contribute to taxes. The National Venture Capital Association shows that “immigrants have started more than half of America’s startup companies valued at $1 billion or more.” You can be a part of this group of successful immigrants, and this will help you assist your family back home.
You can use programs like MASSCAP, designed to assist low-income families and disadvantaged people with food and education to establish yourself before you attain financial stability. These programs are also well equipped to help seniors in need.
Embrace Change as a Good Thing
Changes to your life can be overwhelming in the beginning while learning how to adapt. There are things you can learn from challenging situations. All you need is to maintain your identity. Changing your environment is not only an opportunity to explore a new culture, the International Labour Organization notes that it comes with opportunities for socio-economic stability. See it as an opportunity for a loving marriage, new friends, and a stable family.
Push Yourself to Integrate
The Guardian points out that this begins with learning the language, a key step in becoming a part of a society to avoid becoming an eternal immigrant. While you may not become excellent in the language in a short period, it’s something you can do over the years.
There are different ways to learn, including through online classes, watching content on platforms like YouTube, and talking more with people. When you immigrate, never isolate yourself. Go out there, and don’t be afraid to look out of place at first. Adapt to the new culture and don’t wait for it to adapt to you.
Immigrating into a new society takes a bit of learning to acquire the skills required to function in that society. One of the solutions would be first learning about the culture and language. Also, you need to manage your finances by starting a business or getting a job.
Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont helps community members with barriers to employment attain independence and self-sufficiency, gain confidence, and enhance their quality of life, through vocational education, work training, and other support services. Connect with us today for more information! (413) 442-0061 x14
(Photo courtesy of Pexels)
Important Numbers – Emergency and Important Phone Numbers in the United States
It is important to know who to call and what to say in an emergency. When the time comes, it is easy to become disoriented and upset. Ensure that you and your family are prepared by keeping a list of all important phone numbers in one place.
The Nationwide Emergency Number in the U.S. is 911
Find COVID‑19 Vaccines 10/25/23
Updated COVID‑19 Vaccine Now Recommended for Children and Adults
The updated COVID-19 vaccine is now available for children and adults. Search to find a location near you. If you have insurance, check with your selected site or your insurer to confirm that the site is in network. If you do not find a convenient location, check back later or contact your health care provider or local health department. Learn more about COVID‑19 vaccine recommendations.
Teens & Adults
Moderna- ages 12+ / 18+
Pfizer/BioNTech- ages 12+ / 18+
Novavax- ages 12+ / 18+
Pfizer/BioNTech- ages 5 - 11
Moderna- ages 6mo - 11
Pfizer/BioNTech- ages 6mo - 4