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Friday, Nov 16, 2012

Phil Kaminstein honored for 50 years of dedicated service to Berkshire Farm Center

CONTACT Keith Toomey, Dir. Communications
Tel. 518-781-1805

Phil Kaminstein, who joined Berkshire Farm Center as a staff trainer and researcher in 1962, was honored at a special luncheon and celebration. After many years of full-time employment at Berkshire, Mr. Kaminstein became "semi-retired" and works part time as the child welfare agency's historian. He takes great care of Berkshire's 125 year history as chief steward of the thousands of documents and photos dating back to 1886 when the agency was founded.

imageAt the luncheon, Berkshire's CEO Timothy Giacchetta (shown at center in photo) presented Mr. Kaminstein (left in the photo) with a certificate of appreciation for his commitment to the agency and to the youths it serves. Mr.Giacchetta also gave him a citation from New York State Senator Stephen Saland honoring his many years of service and dedication. "Phil is a genuine treasure," said Mr. Giacchetta. "He has kept Berkshire's remarkable history alive and well for many years."

Mr. Kaminstein spoke about his time at Berkshire with stories from days gone by, some which happened before many of Berkshire's current staff were born. On hand with Mr. Kaminstein was his wife, Rhoda Kaminstein (right in the photo above), who shared some stories of her own, to the delight of those attending.

During his long tenure at Berkshire Farm Center, Mr. Kaminstein produced and hosted an award-winning radio show called "Listen to their Voices," which aired for several years on dozens of radio stations across the United States. He interviewed institutionalized at-risk boys and girls from the region. He also interviewed boys who lived at the residential center for at-risk adolescent males, most of whom were sent to the residential treatment center in Canaan, New York by various family courts.

"I was genuinely moved by the their stories," said Kaminstein. "Many of these kids had real tough lives at home and had been beaten, abused, neglected, and sometimes abandoned by their families." Mr. Kaminstein often gets phone calls, emails, and letters from men who had lived at Berkshire Farm Center as teenagers. "Some of our alumni actually come to visit the farm to see what has changed . . . some of them from as far away as California!" he added. Kaminstein scours the archives, often finding photos and mentions of the alumni when they were at Berkshire. "They get a kick out of seeing old pictures of themselves and old friends," he said.

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