Berkshire Nonprofit Leaders Told to 'Take Care of Yourself'
May 19, 2020 Nonprofit professionals who provide communal care should take extra effort to care for themselves, especially in a time of great change and stress such as the coronavirus crisis, western Massachusetts nonprofit leaders were advised today at a summit hosted by the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, which also recognized workers and volunteers for their work with the Berkshire community.
Calling self-care "mandatory, not a luxury," Maria Sirois, a psychologist and wellness consultant, said, "You have chosen to put yourself in the position of communal care. To stay in the place of possibility, we must take care of ourselves."
She advised the 110 attendees that nonprofit leaders need to model practices that will help themselves, and the people they work with, respond constructively to stress. She cited specific steps they can take to mitigate pessimism or anxiety by identifying what calms, strengthens, and inspires them, and increasing their capacity to recognize positive possibilities.
During a period of change what was formerly true may no longer be, while a new, stable time has yet to emerge, Sirois said. Transformation and learning occurs between the two periods. "Learn something golden in this time and then apply it," she said.
Instead of a one-day, in-person event, which attracted 260 people last year, the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, a Great Barrington nonprofit that serves as an information clearing house for area nonprofits, opted to host a two-day virtual event, featuring panel discussions, workshops, polling, chats, and live Q & A.
Following are this year's Berkshire Nonprofit Award honorees, who were recognized "for their outstanding commitment and contributions to the Berkshire community."
Wray Gunn, Sr., Clinton Church Restoration
Edward Forfa, Berkshire Retirement Home
Kathy Keeser, Louison House
Maureen O'Connell Atwood, The Pediatric Development Center
Sue Doucette, Berkshire County Head Start Child Development Program
Ann Gallo, IS183 Art School
Arwen Lowbridge, WAM Theatre
Dale Abrams, Mass Audubon Berkshire Wildlife Sanctuaries
Thasia Giles, Jacob's Pillow Dance
Aleta Moncecchi, Berkshire Community Action Council
Sabrina Allard, Railroad Street Youth Project
Joe Gunn, Barrington Stage Company
Mary Jo Ramos, Berkshire Immigrant Center
Raei Bridges, NAACP, Berkshire County Branch
Sara Rawson, Southern Berkshire Health Coalition
Alix Ziaja, ROOTS Northern Berkshire Teen Center
Melissa Myers, Berkshire Community College Alumni Association
Judith Nardacci, Berkshire Coalition for Suicide Prevention
David Russell, Barrington Stage Company
Sharron Frazier-McClain, Barrington Stage Company
Jenney Maloy, Stockbridge Library Association
Caroline Wheeler, Sisters for Peace
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