Construct, Inc. is located at 41 Mahaiwe Street, Great Barrington, Mass.
Construct, Inc. is located at 41 Mahaiwe Street, Great Barrington, Mass.

TLC #80 — NTRVW: Jane Ralph, of Construct, Inc., on powerful partnerships to combat homeless during COVID-19 crisis

Today is Wednesday, April 22, and you are listening to episode #80 of TLC. I’m your host, Jay Velazquez, and I have to say, thanks for tuning in. Also, I have to say thank you to The Foundry in West Stockbridge for being the first to contribute to our COVID-19 Local News Fund campaign, organized by the Local Media Foundation. Foundry director Amy Brentano, who’s been on the show in the past to talk about that amazing performance venue and gallery, saw my appeal on social media and donated in before the post had been up for 10 minutes. She left a note on the campaign page saying, “We need you Greylock Glass.” That means so much, I just can’t even begin to say. 


The COVID-19 Local News Fund campaign, organized by the Local Media Foundation, has ended. Thank you so much to those of you who stepped up and helped out when we put out the call. We appreciate it more than you know.

We have a great interview with Jane Ralph, executive director of Construct, Inc., based in Great Barrington. This organization, marking its 50th anniversary, provides support services through Cara Davis Project Home  – everything from emergency assistance, transitional housing, workforce development, housing & financial counseling and adult education.

Jane Ralph is going to tell us about some of the amazing work and partnerships responding to the COVID-19 crisis right here in the Berkshires, but first, a couple of news items worth mentioning:

As the death toll from the novel coronavirus in Berkshire County reached 400, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker yesterday announced the closure of school buildings for the remainder of the academic year. Mount Greylock Regional School District Superintendent, Kimberly Grady wrote to the school community, 

“This means that the remote learning we have in place will continue with additional components being outlined shortly by DESE. As the information comes to us we will be sending updates out. Thank you all for you patience and flexibility.”

The pandemic will continue to wreak havoc with schedules and plans locally even after the end of school as summer camps and childcare programs face uncertainty. The Berkshire Family YMCA has announced that it will be looking for ways to offer summer day camp/summer program to families and children. Hundreds of families rely on and look forward to Y programs each summer. To better understand those families’ needs, opinions, and expectations about summer programs, the YMCA is asking participants to share their input in a survey.

Complete the survey if summer programs at the Y are a part of your family’s plans.

And in North Adams, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts has announced that senior art students will launch their website exhibition, titled “And So it Goes,” with an online event featuring artist talks from 5-7 p.m. Friday, May, 1, 2020. The event and exhibition will feature artists Emery Bibbins, Liz Brick, Gillian Catherine Fournier, Spring Hajjar, Samantha Louise Hinds, Sierra Lamonde, Kelsey Sherman, and Macie Turrell, all Class of 2020. The online event appears to be free, but is limited the number of participants, so be sure to get tickets early.

Free online theatre workshop

via Facebook Live
Monday, May 11 • 5:00 p.m. EST

Lastly, as another sign that arts organizations are channeling some of their creativity into creating opportunities for events in our expanding virtual lives, Williamstown Theatre Festival hosted its first  free online theatre workshop last week. Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director of WTF said, “When we do emerge and emerge together, our work will be even stronger and even more powerfully transformative. We do not gather together in person but we gather here today,” describing the online workshop. Rather than dwell on the interruption in the production of the increasingly popular community theatre program, COMMUNITY WORKS, Greenfield continued, “We feel our sense of community through moments like this. Theatre is for and by and with everyone!”

No prior experience is necessary and all ages are welcome. Full household participation is encouraged! A recording of the workshop will also be available.

An audio-only version of the workshop will be available by phone at 5:00 pm EST on Wednesday, May 13; e-mail Hayley if you would like to join our phone workshop.

If you’d like to experience last week’s debut session of the workshop series, look for the link in the shownotes.

We’re going to turn to our interview with Jane Ralph of Construct, Inc., momentarily, but first, a word from the Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office:

As you just heard, that’s some amazing work being done by Construct, Inc. and their partners. In addition to linking to their site, I’ve included the majority of the information from some of the recent press releases they’ve sent me in the shownotes. I don’t include them as reportage so much as I do to provide additional info that we can’t possibly cover in one short show. So if you want the full scoop on all of these initiatives, visit and look for this episodes post.

Also in the Glass right now is a fabulous travel piece by Robin Catalano. Yes, you heard right, just because you shouldn’t be risking exposure to COVID-19 with unnecessary travel doesn’t mean you can’t do some very cool interactive exploring.

Also, you won’t want to miss Owen Tucker-Smith’s review of the new album by Mother Yeti, My Best Please.

And Robin is back with another installment of “Eating My Feelings: What we’re cooking in the time of COVID-19.” This time, she attempts to crush out this lingering cold weather with Summer Barbecue Tempeh Bowls.

Appearing in the Glass over the next week will be another music review by Owen Tucker-Smith of the latest release by Mankind’s Remedy, new episodes of both the Cornbread Cafe and INDIEcent Exposure AND my own entrance into travel writing as I go way, way deep into cyberspace to take you on a tour of someplace you can go to visit the most adorable French village that doesn’t really exist, but you can go there to hang out and have conversations with native speakers just about any time of day or night. That’s all I can tell you right now, but I promise to blow your mind.

Mother Yeti, My Best Please

To put the wraps on this show, why not have a listen to the title track off that new Mother Yeti album, “My Best Please” right here on the Top Left Corner.

Well, that’s our show for this week. Until next time,  Stay healthy, Be good to each other, and go easy on yourself. 

Recent Construct, Inc. press releases related to this interview.

Jason Velázquez

Jason Velázquez has worked in print and digital journalism and publishing for two decades.
Phone: (413) 776-5125

Tenants who suddenly find themselves without income and no way to secure new housing are also at risk of losing furniture and belongings when landlords enforce evictions; photo by DodgertonSkillhause Productions.
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