The Berkshire Eagle  reports  Pittsfield Community Connection, a human services program that works to counter gang activity, will expand into North Adams, propelled by two new leaders.

Barry King now serves as director for the Pittsfield-based program, which operates under 18 Degrees — the former Berkshire Children and Families. Gary Doughty serves as the senior director for gang-diversion efforts in both cities. Both men started July 8.

Doughty said he's hiring four staff members at the office at 6 West Main St. in North Adams. The northern branch of the program will open within six weeks, he said.

The Pittsfield office has a staff of 11, nine of them full time.

The organization received a $127,000 boost this year from the state's Shannon Community Safety Initiative. Under the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative, it will receive an additional $350,000 to fund its North Adams extension.

 

The work hinges on convincing young people to change their course of their lives. King said he specializes in building that connection.

King said he was stabbed more than once and is no stranger to struggles in the street.