Serving the Berkshires and the Pioneer Valley!


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Carol, a Parent Aide Volunteer working on the Sydney F. Smith Toy Fund.

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Cathy, A Parent Aide Volunteer that is in charge of the Sydney F. Smith Toy Fund.

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Please give to our Parent Aide Program. Please!

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Developing reading skills

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Encouraging family time without cell phones!

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Encouraging community!

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Parent Aides support networks to decrease isolation.

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Volunteers give parents a little break!

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We will be successful together.

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Happy kids!

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Serving the Berkshires and the Pioneer Valley!

B C F improves the lives of children by strengthening family and community relationships. Our Parent Aides do this everyday.

Ruth was referred to the Parent Aide Volunteer Program by the nurse at her daughter’s preschool. Ruth was frantic because she was about to lose her after-preschool childcare. The nurse thought that Amy’s mother needed “encouragement, support, and guidance”. Ruth had few supportive people in her life. She unfortunately did not finish high school and worked a minimum wage job.

Laura was assigned to work with Ruth as her Parent Aide. Ruth had just learned that Amy has learning struggles, and was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. The diagnosis was a shock to Ruth, who had no experience with small children to compare her daughter with. She couldn’t accept that she wasn’t “normal.” Her expectations for Amy’s behavior were far beyond her capabilities, which meant lots of tantrums and upset in their home. One of the first things Laura did with Ruth was to help her work with the special education system at the school. Following Amy’s evaluation, she became eligible for bus transportation to and from school, as well as occupational and speech therapy.

As Ruth began to trust Laura and she shared more and more of her feelings about how hard it was to parent Amy, she was better able to accept Amy’s struggles. With Laura’s encouragement, Ruth started to have more appropriate expectations of Amy, and found ways to make their home life more predictable and supportive. Educating Ruth about how to better meet Amy’s needs, along with the support of preschool staff has improved Amy’s ability to manage herself at home and in school. She is also blossoming in her use of speech.

Amy‘s development is progressing, and things are calmer at home as Laura continues to support Ruth. Laura accompanies Ruth and Amy to the park. Together they notice Amy’s growth. Before she had a Parent Aide, Ruth had been used to doing everything on her own because there wasn’t anyone to trust, this left her and Amy in a very isolated situation. Over time, Ruth shared stories about abuse in her childhood, which left her with little self-esteem. Laura interested Ruth in starting work on her GED. While Amy’s special needs will continue to be challenging for both Amy and Ruth, having a Parent Aide such as Laura to support Ruth has been a crucial step in creating a loving and supportive environment.

Berkshire Children and Families serves more than 3,600 children and families throughout the Pioneer Valley and Berkshire County each year and is a recognized regional leader in social services. In the Pioneer Valley BCF programs include Adoption, Foster Care, PAVE (Parent Aide Volunteers), Community Centered Family Support and the CBHI Family Partners program.

BCF is dedicated to ensuring that every child has a family, and every family is part of a community.

Our Parent Aide Volunteer Program is funded in part by the United Way of Hampshire County. The United Way recognizes the importnce of this program. Please help us to strenghten and support more families and keep them from isolation and despair. We offer a hand up, not a hand out. Our Parent Aides range from 25 to 70, they are from all walks of life! Doctors, business women, teachers, foster parents, attorneys and social workers are just a few examples. We offer trainings twice a year and have weekly supervision.

You don't need to wait to make your gift - you can SCHEDULE your on-line donation to Berkshire Children and Families today (check "make this count toward Valley Gives" under the Donate Now button).

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Organization Information


413-584-5690 #102



B C F improves the lives of children by strengthening family and community relationships. Our Parent Aides do this everyday.

EIN: 042226238

Reports: Guidestar


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