We are so pleased to announce the 2023 Good neighbor Award Recipient is Jessie Downer of Berkshire Dream Home, Inc. in Dalton. This award is given to a REALTOR who has played an instrumental volunteer role in the success of any local civic, charitable, cultural, youth or school group project or program. The recipient is someone who has shown an extraordinary commitment to volunteer service that has helped make our community a better place to live. Jessie’s history and commitment to volunteer service within her community is why she was honored with this award.
When Jessie joined the Board as a new REALTOR in 2021, she dove right into the business and learned all she could – and immediately joined the community service committee. It was through this that we learned of her devotion to volunteer work. Quickly she was asked to chair the first ever Cornhole Charitable Fundraiser Tournament and did so with dedication. After only one year, she had proved herself to be so committed, she was asked to chair the RCS Committee, our most active committee and have a seat in the board room. She has excelled. When I asked her why she volunteers like she does, this is what she wrote: “Being born and raised in Berkshire County, I have had the opportunity to spend all of my life in the same community. This has largely shaped who I am as a person and now, as an adult, I have felt a strong pull to give back to the community that helped raise me.”
Over the past year and a half, she has dedicated many hours to volunteering at local food pantries, participating in a community build day, holding a drive for hygiene and comfort items for foster kids, sponsoring and volunteering at community events, coaching youth sports, mentoring youth, and sponsoring families during the holidays. In addition to volunteering time and services, she has organized multiple fun, community based events which have raised over $25,000 for several organizations. Here are her volunteer highlights:
- Berkshire County REALTOR Community Service: We work together as REALTORS in Berkshire county to raise funds through events to support local charities and nonprofits with a focus to help with housing. After joining the committee in February of 2021, Jessie was asked to chair the subcommittee for cornhole tournament, raising funds for the Berkshire Taconic Foundation Neighbor-to-Neighbor which provided emergency funding for people in need. As chair, she ran three very successful battle of the bartenders events that raised money for the Elizabeth Freeman Center providing housing for domestic violence survivors of $14,300, the Louison House also a housing service organization for those in need raising $8,200 and Breaking Bread Kitchen helping families make ends meet in our southern Berkshire region raising $5600. She volunteers a day to assist for the Habitat Humanity REALTOR build days was a participant in the Pittsfield 4th of July parade as a REALTOR balloon wrangler and set up and breakdown of events that our association offered for the community.
- Dalton Board of Heath Co-Chair: As the Board of Health performs crucial and important duties relative to the protection of the public health, control of disease, promotion of sanitary living conditions and the protection of the environment. As a member of the board, Jessie helps to enforce state and local regulations, investigate nuisance complaints and discuss and vote on matters deciding to keep our community safe.
- Berkshire Dream Home Community Volunteer: Berkshire Dream Home gives back to multiple charities every year for every transaction. For the last two holiday seasons, they have adopted a family in need. Jessie personally collect the funds, shopped and wrapped the gifts for the company’s agents.
- Wahconah Regional High School Career Fair and Job Shadowing: She hosted a table at WrH’s career fair to talk about becoming a REALTOR and a junior high school student spent the day with her as a shadow to see what real estate is all about. She thoroughly enjoyed that mentoring experience.
- Dalton CRA Benefit Association: Jessie coach’s youth sport teams through the CRA and volunteer annually at the Dalton fair association and sponsor many community events, for example May Race Day. She excels at mentoring others.
- BCARC: The Down Syndrome Family Group hosts a buddy walk annually, which she has participated in since elementary school for 15 years for the past eight buddy walks. Now, she is able to sponsor the event as an adult.
- Strong Little Souls: Strong little souls is an organization that provides care packages to children fighting cancer they also grant wishes and provide financial relief to families with critical expenses. Jessie is part of a planning group that is hosting gala fundraiser for strong little souls, to be held in may of 2024 our goal is to raise $50,000.
- Berkshire County Totes for Tots: To provide comfort items, toys hygiene products and a personal duffel bag to foster kids removed from their homes and placed in foster care. Along with my colleagues at Berkshire Dream Home, collected items and purchased 25 duffel bags for children placed in foster care with little personal possessions of their own.