Dear Community Members:
We are reaching out to you for support. This life saving program is in need of funding to help the next round of teens and young adults who are coming forward and asking us for help. Sadly, AIRY has lost some of its annual funding and now, more than ever, needs community support.
Since 2017, AIRY has served 90 teens and young adults from 16 towns in Berkshire County and surrounding areas. Through the arts they have all improved and stayed safe despite having been at high risk for suicide.
Our program doesn’t just save young lives. It increases access to the arts for underserved populations; fosters social and emotional learning through the arts; helps young people to make a greater contribution to society; and enhances the culture of the Berkshires through collaboration with area arts organizations like Berkshire Theatre Group, Barrington Stage, The Whitney Center for the Arts, Berkshire Pulse and others.
More and more of our youth are moving into successful leadership roles as a result of attending the program.
For example, one youth in the program’s pilot group in 2017 was being bullied at school and self harming, and was consumed by thoughts of killing herself. While her family was very supportive, there was a lack of resources available to help her in the county. Through AIRY, she was able to open up in a safe space, make art, and receive peer support. She followed her passion in community arts, and at age 17, entered the early undergraduate track at MCLA with advanced standing. She is now in her sophomore year of college, has completed several arts internships, and is employed as a skills counselor helping other young people.
A second pilot member suffered from chronic anxiety and social phobias, and had been hospitalized for a suicide attempt. She and her mother turned to AIRY in great desperation. In AIRY she learned new life skills while making art with peers. She overcame her social anxiety and went on to speak and perform original music at public events advocating for youth suicide prevention. Last year she had her own art exhibit during the Artswalk which showcased her masterful digital drawings. This winter, she produced the program’s first short digital film. It was received with great reception at the Love Yourself event at the Colonial Theatre, and is a story of hope shared across social media.
Please help us make this valuable program a sustainable resource in Berkshire County. Every dollar you can contribute goes directly to helping the next generation, not only survive, but thrive.
To make a contribution, please make your check payable to:
Arts in Recovery, Attn: Marney Schorr, 311 North St, Studio 12, Pittsfield MA 01201
Or donate by credit card online on our crowdfunding platform at www.gofundme.com/arts-in-recovery.
Together, we can make a difference. Thank you for your support.
Sincerely, Marney Schorr
Founding Director, Arts in Recovery for Youth (AIRY)