NORTH ADAMS -- A benefit concert at Joe Wolfe Field this Saturday will raise funds for the local ROPES camp for children.
Headlining the event will be local blues musician Albert Cummings IV.
"The money is going directly to helping kids in the community, period," Cummings said. "I think the best way to improve the community is by helping our kids."
The Northern Berkshire ROPES (Respecting Other People Encouraging Self Esteem) features two sessions of a one-week-long summer camp that serves 250 area children each year. The program is staffed by police officers, firefighters and teachers from participating communities in Northern Berkshire and Pittsfield.
The week-long camp introduces children to new experiences and makes them challenge themselves, North Adams Police Lt. David Sacco said.
"What we do is provide a safe place and put an emphasis on creating a bully-free environment," he said. "We give children a chance to try new things and face any fears of height they may have."
An early incarnation began in 1996 and was funded through state grants as a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) summer program, Sacco said. But state budget cuts eliminated the funding in the early 2000s.
Approximately $11,000 is needed to run the program every summer.
"Everything now is based on donated funds to keep ROPES going," Sacco said. "Fortunately for us, we live in a community where no matter how hard the economic times are, people always step up."
Cummings said he was inspired to perform at the benefit by both of his sons' experiences. Now 13 and 16, they've attended ROPES more than once, he said.
"For a while, I never understood what it was," he said.
Cummings said he finally got to see the adults and children interacting during a visit this past summer when his younger son was participating.
"It was emotional to watch what was going on with Dave, all the EMTs, firefighters and police," he said. "Everyone that worked in the program, you could just feel how much they wanted to help the kids."
When he saw the program volunteers' passion for helping children, he said, offering to help by playing was a no-brainer."
"I just thought, what a great way to help Dave and all of the volunteers," he said.
The gates will open at 5:30 p.m.
Pittsfield-based band Deja Vu will open for Cummings and begin at 7 p.m. Cummings will perform at approximately 8:30 p.m.
The North Adams Steeplecats will also run a concession stand and attendees can also enter to win a 50/50 raffle.
Tickets for the event are $20 in advance and can be purchased online at www.northernberkshireropes.com. Tickets will cost $25 at the door.
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Albert Cummings concert to benefit ROPES program
What: Night of live music, refreshments
When: Saturday, Sept. 28, gates open at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Joe Wolfe Field
Cost: $20 in advance online, $25 at the gate
More information: www.northernberkshireropes.com