archive blog/news

A Reflection from a Healing Homes Teammate

My name is Kyle, and I’ve been working with 18 Degrees for just over nine years now in the Healing Homes Comprehensive Foster Care program. We started in Hadley and later made a smooth transition into West Springfield, closer to the families we work with. I came into this field hoping to be a voice [...]


18 Degrees is pleased to have been awarded a second $20,000 grant from the Mass Mentoring Partnership to support youth in the Pittsfield Community Connection Program (PCC). This matching grant is further supported by generous grant funding we received in 2022 from Berkshire United Way. 18 Degrees is honored to partner with our local and state [...]


The 18 Degrees Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Stephanie Steed, MEd, will assume the position of President and CEO on January 1, 2023. Steed, a longtime employee of the agency and current Vice President of Programs, assumes the position following the departure of Sarah Cook, who is leaving Western Massachusetts to spend [...]

18 Degrees Launches Leadership Cohort

Submitted by Sarah Cook, President and CEO We strive to make 18 Degrees an organization where we regularly welcome fresh ideas and new perspectives, introduce new skills, and provide learning opportunities to expand our knowledge. In this vein, we are thrilled to launch our first agency-wide leadership cohort this fall for a rigorous nine-month exploration of [...]

Standout Summer for Kids 4 Harmony

Kids 4 Harmony is back in action for the school year. Earlier this month, Pittsfield’s Beginning Ensemble students got to choose their instruments at Morningside, while the Advanced String Ensemble and Elayne P. Bernstein Ensemble got back to work at Pittsfield High School. And new for K4H this year, we got a head start with [...]

YouthLaunch 3-year Impact Report

Download our 3-Year Program Report The YouthLaunch program was a three-year pilot that focused on early engagement for families with children zero to ten years old. Using a holistic approach with the EMPath Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath) model, we further integrated a focus on parent and child interactions, as well as early and preliteracy skills [...]

Celebrating Pride Month

Submitted by Emma Lenski, M.S., LGBTQIA Services Coordinator Family Resource Center at 18 Degrees As Pride Month comes to a close, I wanted to make a statement about its ongoing significance. LGBTQ rights in this country have a long history, with the well-known Stonewall Riots being a catalyst for future change. Of course, we know [...]

What’s Happening at Kids 4 Harmony – March 2022

    What's Happening at Kids 4 Harmony From special collaborations to where you can catch the next performance and everything in between, this issue is overflowing with all the exciting things happening at Kids 4 Harmony.  Eleanor Rigby       The Kids 4 Harmony string quartet and the vocal trio from Darrow demonstrated what [...]

Celebrating Black History

By Sarah Cook, President and CEO At 18 Degrees, we celebrate Black History Month by acknowledging that Black history is American history, and its celebration cannot, and should not, be confined to just one month. We hope that the wealth of information and activities available throughout the month sparks conversations, enriches experiences, and ignites a curiosity [...]

Winter 2022 Newsletter

A Message from our President and CEO At 18 Degrees, we are motivated by the belief that even when things seem dark, there is a new beginning over the horizon. Our goals are to provide services and supports that transform the lives of children, families, and communities by creating opportunities that inspire hope, promote possibilities, [...]

Celebrating Mentoring Month at 18 Degrees

By Sarah Cook, President, and CEO of 18 Degrees We’re reaching the end of the twentieth National Mentor Month, launched in 2002 to “recruit new mentors, advance the mentoring field’s legislative priorities, and drive meaningful change for young people.” We are proud of our mentoring program here at 18 Degrees, through which we currently serve [...]

Mentoring Creates Meaningful Connections

In honor of National Mentoring Month, we celebrate the countless contributions and lifelong positive impact our mentors have on area youth. These powerful relationships have the ability to improve academic, social, and economic prospects and make youth more likely to have safer, healthier, and more prosperous lives.   Mentor Reflections Seeing Life Through Fresh Eyes My own children are adults now. [...]

18 Degrees Expands Youth Programming

18 Degrees, Family Services for Western MA,  is offering additional programs for young people in the Berkshires. These programs are designed to guide young people to the resources, skills, and support to help them reach their goals. All of our youth programs aim to ignite young people’s creativity, support their ambitions, discover opportunities, and break [...]

18 Degrees to Participate in Early Childhood Support Pilot Program

18 Degrees has been selected to participate in the Department of Early Education and Care’s (DEEC) pilot program, Early Childhood Support Organization Initiative.  The goal of the pilot is to develop strategies that accelerate continuous improvement in teaching, curriculum, and leadership skills to assure children are receiving the highest levels of quality early education.  The [...]

The Kids Are Not Alright

Want to join the conversation?Be part of our coming together for our young people.Email or call 413-448-8281 ext. 236  By: Erin Sullivan, Vice President of Community and Donor Relations As an adult, it is hard to go a day without talking or thinking about COVID-19. It has consumed our lives, changed our routines, and created [...]

2021-2022 Young Women’s Advisory Council Applications Available

Calling young women, ages 16-24 from Springfield, MA, interested in strategizing efforts to encourage a safe, healthy, and economically prosperous community with gender and racial equity.  Join us for the 2021-2022 Young Women’s Advisory Council (YWAC), where you will investigate barriers, explore solutions, and make recommendations for change in your community. Throughout the year, you [...]

Sarah Cook Named New President and CEO of 18 Degrees

Sarah E. Cook has been named the new President and CEO by the Board of Directors of 18 Degrees. Originally from Boston, Ms. Cook is a graduate of Princeton University and The London School of Economics. Her career has focused on providing opportunity to underserved populations in Boston and most recently in Austin, Texas, where her [...]

Career Readiness Creates Access to the Job Market

By: Thom Fox, Business and Employment Director 18 Degrees’ new Business and Employment Unit of Pittsfield Community Connection has launched its first 16-week Career Readiness program, introducing young people to the world of work, money, and life, helping to build a positive experience for their future.  The Business and Employment Unit was established in October [...]

Coalition Address Youth Violence

By: Sharnice Jones, Coalition Director 18 Degrees is expanding our work with young people in Pittsfield Community Connection and West Main Connection programs.  Coalition is a grant-funded gun violence prevention program awarded through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  Coalition works directly with young people affected by gun violence by delivering evidence-based prevention, intervention, treatment, [...]

Spring Brings New Opportunities to Light

A Message from Interim Executive Director Stephanie Steed Each spring brings with it the promise of more light and warmer days.  My optimism for healthy communities grows as businesses reopen and opportunities to visit with friends and family increase. While the cold winter days are often seen as a time of bundling up and slowing [...]