NORTH ADAMS -- Local dancers, singers and musicians will take to the stage Sunday to help raise funds for United Cerebral Palsy of Berkshire County during its 50th annual UCP Telethon, which will be broadcast live from the Crowne Plaza in Pittsfield on Northern Berkshire Community Television Channel 15, from 1 to 5 p.m.
Funds raised during the telethon, which also includes a raffle and silent auction, are used to support programming for the over 2,500 children and adults served by the organization.
UCP served 635 individuals in North County last year through a variety of services, including Early Intervention, from its new home at 525 Curran Highway, where the agency moved in October.
"While the funding goes to support all of UCP's programming, our particular focus this year is our new ‘Social Sprouts' program," Karen Charbonneau, director of Early Intervention and early childhood programs, said Wednesday. "We realized there is a population of children that would like to attend after-school programs or vacation camps, but often are not able to because of their special needs. We've begun to offer these activities on a very small scale."
Early Intervention, which provides physical, occupational and speech therapy for children from birth to 3 years, partnered with UCP in May 2011.
"We feel so lucky to have this new space," she said. "It's allowed us to expand our programs and services, and we still have room to grow. We're really excited that we will be able to add an outdoor play space for our children and an outdoor space for adult programming in the spring."
UCP purchased the former home of the Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice of Northern Berkshire in August, after more than a decade of searching for a permanent location.
"We knew we needed to stay in North Adams, where our largest population of clients comes from, even though we serve all of North County," Charbonneau said. "This building wasn't even on our radar. When it became available, we acted right away. We were only [at our previous space at 26 Union St.] for about 15 months."
According to the Northern Berkshire Registry of Deeds, UCP purchased the building for $670,000, with a mortgage of $536,000. In previous interviews, Executive Director Christine Singer has said that $134,000 from the nonprofit's endowment fund was used for a required down payment of 20 percent.
Director of Individual and Family Support Services Leigh Uqdah, who has been with UCP for the last seven years, said the added space has been a blessing.
"To know that we have room to grow is just wonderful," she said. "The possibilities are endless. Moving in here was the first time that we've ever really felt like we were home."
A new kitchen space, which has a gas stove and an electric stove UCP brought with it, now allows for cooking classes tailored to an individual's own home set up.
"It's a nice added feature," Uqdah said. "Each type of stove comes with its own set of safety skills that we can now teach."
UCP's programs include the Berkshire Talking Chronicle Radio Reading Service, computer training, employment readiness and job placement, adult family care, life-skills training, durable medical-equipment loans and advocacy programs. For more information, visit www.ucpberkhire.org or call 413-664-9345.
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau, email