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NORTH ADAMS — In partnership with the Berkshire Humane Society Pet Assistance Program, BFAIR and Elder Services of Berkshire County are helping elders feed their pets in conjunction with Meals on Wheels, which provides hot lunchtime meals for people age 60 and older.

The Pet Assistance Program kicks off today, March 5, at 10:30 a.m. at the Berkshire Humane Society in Pittsfield. BFAIR’s Community Based Day Services (CBDS) program participants will fill a vehicle at Berkshire Humane Society before embarking on a journey through Pittsfield and Dalton to deliver pet food to more than 20 elders in the Berkshire community. The program will run monthly, and BFAIR program participants will continue to deliver this much-needed resource.

BFAIR’s Community Based Day Services program helps adults with disabilities participate in their community and improve their skills by providing access to regular, meaningful social contact and stimulating activities. Services are designed to maximize a person’s ability to manage everyday life activities in their community.

According to Kayla Brown-Wood at Elder Services of Berkshire County, “for us at Elder Services, we’re excited to be able to offer this to the people receiving Meals on Wheels while also strengthening our community partnerships and helping people with disabilities make an impact through this experience.”

Laura Baran, recently appointed senior director of CBDS and Employment at BFAIR, added that “our CBDS program adds value to our local community in multiple ways, providing an opportunity for participants to interact in the community, and with that comes wonderful volunteer service in the Berkshires to help those in need.”

John Perrault at the Berkshire Humane Society noted that “it’s impressive how three very different nonprofit organizations can come together in this way to provide a meaningful service to people, and pets, in our community.”

To be eligible to receive pet assistance through this program, the individual must receive services through Elder Services’ Meals on Wheels program. For more information on how to get started, visit esbci.org or call (413) 499-0524.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — BFAIR and many restaurant partners throughout Berkshire County will host Dine for Disabilities on Wednesday, Oct. 4 from 8 to 9 p.m.

Dine for Disabilities is an event to benefit BFAIR’s programs and services for people with developmental disabilities, autism, and acquired brain injury. On Oct. 4, restaurants around Berkshire County will choose to donate a portion of their proceeds to support BFAIR. Diners will make a positive impact just by visiting one of the restaurant partners to enjoy a favorite meal or even try a new restaurant.

Click here for more information about the event and a full list of restaurant partners.

“We are excited to collaborate with amazing and generous restaurants around Berkshire County to further the BFAIR mission of providing high-quality services to people of all abilities,” said Tara Jacobsen, director of Development at BFAIR. “On October 4th, when people choose to dine at a partner restaurant, they are making a positive impact for BFAIR clients and services, and they are supporting a local business.”

She added that “proceeds from this event will promote independence, create accessibility, and enhance organizational resources at BFAIR. We are very grateful to all our generous restaurant partners, and we hope the community comes out for Dine for Disabilities to show love to our local businesses and support for people of all abilities.”

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — BFAIR announced it has promoted Leanne Martin to assistant director of Day Habilitation.

Martin began working for BFAIR in 2014 as a direct-care professional at the agency’s Day Habilitation program located in North Adams. In 2020, she was promoted to case manager for the Community Based Day Services (CBDS) program and later to the Day Habilitation program in the same role.

In her new role, Martin is responsible for the everyday operation of the Day Habilitation program, which is designed to support members and their unique needs to increase independence and socialization, helping them participate as active and fully integrated members of their community.

According to Kayla Brown-Wood, director of Day Services, “we are eager for Leanne to use her existing experience with the department to further develop programming and services offered for the individuals we support. I am excited to see Leanne flourish in her new position and look forward to working more closely with her.”

Berkshire County Daily News Elder Care Events Sports & Leisure Tourism & Hospitality

NORTH ADAMS Last month, BFAIR staged its First Annual Summer Kick-Off Festival, which that raised more than $31,000. With support from 34 sponsors and 28 in-kind donations from local businesses, the agency able to offer a fun-filled day full of the musical stylings of Code Blue Duo, food from Adams Mason Food Truck, two mini-golf courses as part of the BFAIR-Way Mini Golf Tournament, and 15 games and activities. In total, more than $3,000 in prizes and raffles were distributed.

“Our first Summer Kick-Off Festival was an amazing way to get back into in-person events and further share the BFAIRmission with the greater community,” said Tara Jacobsen, Fundraising & Grants Manager. “Support that we receive through events like the Summer Kick-Off Festival and with other fundraising activities, helps us to provide essential and individualized care to persons with developmental disabilities, autism, and acquired brain injury. We are so grateful to all our generous sponsors for making this event possible, the volunteers who donated their time, and to all the guests who came out to the event. We are already gearing up for next year.”

Since 1994, BFAIR has been providing AFC, residential, in-home clinical services, employment and day services for adults and children with developmental disabilities, acquired brain injury and autism.

Daily News


NORTH ADAMS — BFAIR (Berkshire Family and Individual Resources) will stage its Summer Kick-Off Festival on June 11 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Paterson Field House at Berkshire Community College. 

This event is bringing back a popular BFAIR event in the mini-golf tournament, the BFAIR-Way, alongside live music, games, activities, raffles, prizes, food trucks and more. 

Funds raised from the festival support the BFAIR mission of providing quality services to individuals with developmental disabilities, autism, and acquired brain injury while kicking off the summer with some fun. The festival is sponsored by  

Beat the Heat sponsor Greylock Federal Credit Union and Fun in the Sun sponsor MountainOne Bank. 

To register for the event visit: https://secure.qgiv.com/event/2022bfairsummerfest/ 

If you have any questions, please reach out to Tara Jacobsen, Fundraising and Grants Manager, at [email protected]. 

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — BFAIR (Berkshire Family & Individual Resources) announced a successful review and continued licensing by the Office of Quality Enhancement (OQE), part of the Commonwealth’s Department of Developmental Services. BFAIR earned positive licensing outcomes, with the eight critical indicators reviewed meeting the standards set forth by the department. These positive outcomes resulted in a two-year licensing and certification for BFAIR’s residential, individual home support, and day and employment services.

“BFAIR’s outcomes on reviews and assessments like these are indicative of the work that we do,” said Ethel Altiery, executive director. “Receiving positive survey outcomes and consistent state licensing results speaks to our commitment to consistency in quality services.”

Rich Weisenflue, CEO, agreed. “I consider OQE’s survey a very important measure of the quality of BFAIR services, and therefore, a two-year license is an outstanding outcome. Every BFAIR member of our team should be extremely proud, as the high quality of our services is directly attributable to the hard work of each one of our employees.”

Since 1994, BFAIR has provided a wide range of services for adults and children with developmental disabilities, acquired brain injury, and autism.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Berkshire Family & Individual Resources (BFAIR) received a three-year Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) accreditation for its Day Habilitation and Adult Family Care (AFC) services. The accreditation extends through 2025.

During the accreditation process, the CARF surveyors noted that “BFAIR has a solid reputation with funders and referral agencies that express appreciation for this collaborative, transparent, and respectful approach as a community partner providing quality services and supports. BFAIR often leads the way in the state with its approaches.”

Pete Mirante, BFAIR board chair, noted that “our AFC, Day Habilitation staff, case managers, directors, and caregivers are to be congratulated for the outstanding results of the CARF survey.”

Rich Weisenflue, CEO of BFAIR, added that “I am proud of our program staff and leadership team for their commitment and dedication to offering quality, personalized, and community-based services. The accreditation outcome is even more impressive if the past two years and the challenges staff faced every day to protect the health and safety of our clients is taken into consideration.”

Daily News

NORTHAMPTON — March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month, and BFAIR and Greylock Federal Credit Union are teaming up with All Out Adventures to distribute bike helmets in Northampton to promote brain health and safety. In the U.S., more than 5.3 million children and adults (or about 1 in 60) have a brain injury.

The helmets to be distributed are adult-sized. Those interested in acquiring a new helmet can stop by All Out Adventures at 297 Pleasant St., Northampton on Tuesday, March 29 from noon to 5 p.m. Thanks to funding from Greylock Federal Credit Union, the helmets will be distributed at no cost.

Properly wearing a bike helmet can significantly reduce the risk of a head injury in a bicycle crash. Helmets should be replaced after a crash or if they are more than five years old. All Out Adventures staff and volunteers will ensure that anyone picking up a helmet on March 29 knows how to properly fit and wear their helmet.

Founded in 2001, All Out Adventures operates about 180 outdoor programs each year for people with disabilities, seniors, and veterans throughout Massachusetts. Programs are offered to participants for no or low cost and are funded by grants, contracts, individual contributions, and fundraisers. All Out Adventures also sells and services recumbent trikes from its office/shop at 297 Pleasant St. in Northampton.

Since 1994, BFAIR has provided adult family care; residential, in-home clinical services; employment; and day services for adults and children with developmental disabilities, acquired brain injury, and autism.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — BFAIR and Greylock Federal Credit Union have partnered together to raise awareness during the month of March to promote brain-injury awareness. March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month.

In the U.S., more than 5.3 million children and adults have a brain injury, or about one in 60. Acquired brain injuries (ABI) are those that happen after birth and can result in physical, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive impairments. The primary causes of ABI are trauma, stroke, tumors, degenerative diseases, alcohol and other toxins, and lack of oxygen to the brain, according to the Brain Injury Assoc. of America.

With support from presenting sponsor Greylock Federal Credit Union, BFAIR will be distributing bike helmets to promote brain health and safety. More information on distribution will be available on the BFAIR website at www.bfair.org/brain-injury-awareness-month.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to share brain-injury awareness and prevention to our communities,” said Tara Jacobsen, Fundraising & Grants manager at BFAIR. “We will be sharing brain-injury prevention tips during the month of March on our social media. We are also collaborating with the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts on a project called Unmasking Brain Injury. Residents of BFAIR’s ABI homes will have an opportunity to create a mask that shares their own personal story of living with a brain injury. These masks will be on display by the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts.”

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — BFAIR partnered with the Boston College School of Social Work on a project with graduate students this spring as part of its “Creating and Sustaining Social Enterprises” course.

This course focuses on important concepts and stages in considering revenue-producing programs in a nonprofit setting to add financial stability. Students are involved in basic data gathering and analysis and organize their conclusions in a business plan for the enterprise effort.

As such, they conducted a brief survey to provide BFAIR with information regarding its service that provides employment for people with disabilities and is beneficial to the environment. BFAIR’s Bottle and Can Redemption Center, located in North Adams, helps the community by providing residents with a way to exchange redeemable bottles and cans for cash while remaining true to its mission.

The culmination of the course resulted in an expansion of BFAIR’s Bottle and Can Redemption Center in the form of a pop-up service working with the North Adams Housing Authority, Berkshire Housing, and the city of North Adams. The pop-up service will give these locations the opportunity to redeem or donate their bottles during certain timeframes during the week at six different locations in North County starting in June.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — BFAIR announced the promotion of Michelle Baity to the position of senior vice president of Human Resources.

Baity joined BFAIR’s senior-management team three years ago and brought with her numerous years of experience in human resources as well as the human-services field. Since joining the team, she has formed a strong Human Resources department that has been invaluable with assisting the agency to manage the enormous challenges it has faced over the past year.

According to Ethel Altiery, BFAIR’s executive director, “Michelle has been with BFAIR for three years, and working closely with her has been a wonderful experience for me. She has brought my level of knowledge and experience in the world of human resources to a new level. I look forward to working with Michelle for many more years to come.”

Baity is directly responsible for crafting employee-benefit offerings and developing an educational-assistance policy to support skill development in pursuit of an organization focused on creating opportunities for advancement.

Daily News HCN News & Notes

NORTH ADAMS — Jasmine Rivera-Boucher has been promoted to director of Adult Foster Care (AFC) and Shared Living (SL) services at BFAIR.

The director is responsible for the day-to-day operations of both programs, the development and implementation of the AFC/SL, accreditation, policies, and procedures as well as the fiscal administration of the AFC department. The director ensures that all funders’ regulations are met, which includes oversight of the referral and intake process in collaboration with the Department of Developmental Services, the Department of Mental Health, and other funding and referral sources. 

According to Michelle Carleton, vice president of BFAIR’s Residential Services, “Jasmine’s knowledge, energy, and enthusiasm for BFAIR’s AFC and Shared Living services made her the perfect choice for this well-deserved promotion.”

Prior to her promotion from assistant director, Rivera-Boucher worked at the Key Program in Pittsfield and graduated from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts with a degree in psychology. She also holds a degree in gerontology from Maria College and certification as dementia friend trainer.