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April 2022

Ed Caisse

April 14 2022

Virtual Networking Meeting

Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative
Meeting Notes

Date: April 14, 2022
Time: 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Place: Zoom Meeting

Mission Statement: The Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative is a partnership between local, state & federal law enforcement; city & state government; civic & human service organizations; faith based organizations; the business community; education providers; property managers; and residents coming together with a goal to create safe, healthy & economically viable neighborhoods through information sharing, identifying at-risk youth, referrals and community efforts in specific Holyoke neighborhoods.

1) Welcome & Introduction 1:00pm - 1:05pm

2) Patricia Chavez: HELI / Kashawn Sanders: Follow My Steps Mentoring Program 1:05pm - 1:35pm

Ron Fairchild (HELI) – We will be brief, we wanted to give you a quick update on the Holyoke Early Learning Initiative (HELI) and some of our strategic priorities, and perhaps to explore some opportunities for partnerships. Our vision and mission for HELI is to realize a vision or aspiration for every child in Holyoke to be healthy and on track for school success. Our mission is through mobilizing and connecting a network of parents, partners, providers, across Holyoke, so that we can achieve some specific things. One is to be able to speak with a clear and unified voice about the importance of early school success, reading proficiency by the end of third grade, and the critical importance of early childhood and early childhood development.

We create learning and leadership development across various organizations, agencies, and promoting deeper understanding of what high quality programing looks like in early childhood. We try to connect and amplify the various approaches that individual organization are perusing, so that we are trying to accomplish something big here for the entire city of Holyoke, than what any other individual organization could accomplish.

Our structure includes a steering committee and a number of coalition partners. The steering committee meets twice a year and provides overall strategic vision and direction. The partners really do the work of HELI, and that is they are connecting on a monthly basis, setting goals and working towards our desired results, and you will see our one that we have been focused on recently. Coming out of the Pandemic with an emphasis and focus on school readiness. We know our numbers are nowhere near where they need to be, or where we would like them to be, but to set a bold goal of aspiration over the next two years, close to double the rate of kids who are coming and are ready for that first day of kindergarten. We are doing that through supporting parents and caregivers as their child’s first and most important teachers and brain builders, we are trying to strengthen the quality of Pre-K programing across both Holyoke Public Schools and other providers, and create a more seamless and well-coordinated kindergarten transition. We know that is a critical point in a child’s developments where we pass the baton from early childhood and Pre-K to the kindergarten year and we need to make sure that it is as seamless as we can possibly make it.

A few recent highlights and key developments that we wanted to mention is that we are seeing partners continue to be interested in HELI, participating in our monthly meetings; they are doing a lot of work around strategic plan priorities. We have two members of HELI on mayor’s advisory councils. We have had a real concentrated efforts focused on language developments and purposeful play, that what learning looks like for kids and in early childhood, in the early years, it looks a whole lot like play. We have some near term priorities, and we are hoping some people will help out with some of these. One is to grow the number of partners involved with HELI. So if you have an interest in this work, if you are doing things that are aligned or could be aligned with this broader objective, we would love to hear from you. We are improving the coordination of partner activities, so that we have a common colander and schedule so that folks know about what each other are actually doing and offering to parents. We want to get more parents involved in getting this consistent message about the importance of engaging or interacting with their kids, prenatal to third grade, and this emphasis of talking, reading, singing, playing, and writing. We have posters that have been put up, and a number of activities planned to emphasize the critical importance of early learning and early school success. That is the kind-of quick update that we wanted to share, and I will also pass it back to Patty to see if there are any questions in the limited time that we have.

Patricia Chavez (HELI) – Thanks Ron, you did an awesome job with the overview. My role is that I work for the Holyoke Public Schools and I oversee the HELI initiative and I organize the meetings that we do. I will put my contacts in for anyone who is interested in joining, or if we can get connected at someone’s event by having a table there would be greatly appreciated. We do have partners in Holyoke who we do work with in doing this work, and really try to spread awareness and the word out on what we are trying to do. And working with partners to see how we can access families and provide resources to them.

3) Kashawn Sanders (Follow My Steps Foundation) – What we do is mentor high school aged youth, and provide resources in the communities. We provide them with mentorship that is tailored towards their career field so that the students and mentors can establish a healthy relationship.

Our goal is to turn followers into leaders’ one step at a time. Our mission statement is “overcoming socio-economic conditions faced by youth, in under-resourced communities, by providing mentorship, professional development, and financial literacy.” The vision overall is to eliminate economic barriers for youth in all under resourced communities. Our mentors are referred to as our “pioneers” and our mentees are referred to as “explorer”. These terms are used, like the pioneer, is encouraging and setting up a path for them and with their experience they can see that there is a road ahead.

This was founded to create a pipeline of success for individuals in under-resourced communities. Far too often we see that we say the kid never had a shot from birth. They were already chalked up to being some statistic, coming from a certain household, or a certain background, and to just eliminate those narratives and provide the youth with as many opportunities as possible. We want to create that clear path forward, develop more minority high level professionalism, and entice and invite so many different pioneers to mentor all of these different individuals of different diverse cultures.

Our overall Program is called “Thrive over Survive Program.” This speaks for itself, and we ask for mentors to step up and lead by example. We offer the overall mentorship program, where youth can have access to a vetted pool of mentors that are CORI checked. They have different career paths, different cultures and a lot of different experiences. On top of that it is career and skill development, placements at internships, and creates different opportunities for them. Right now, we are currently approved through handshake with thirty different universities for internship credits. We work with AIC, Baypath, and Springfield College as well as interns from Umass Amherst.

A few things we have done with the youth is to provide them will different opportunities to get involved and be a part of the organization and holster their own careers as they go forward. We provide some financial resources. Our financial literacy education is key, so we want to make sure that they know that “yeah credit cards are cool, but you still have to pay that back,” and understanding the checks and balances of that.

In addition, we provide scholarships to seniors as well. For the explorers, the opportunities are endless; we always want them to understand the importance of providing back to the community. Because a lot of students had faced that realm to where they get to this level where they are professionals, they high tail it and leave their communities. We want them to come back reporting to it. We developed certain workshops where we introduce them to Tech, job types, and introduce them to salary vs hourly, so they can figure out what that entails. We emphasize the importance to them on networking, and life and soft skills. We surround them with a bunch of different opportunities to help train them as a professional but also make sure they make the right choices

The rules of a Pioneer are simple, just talking about their career path, opening up, and just creating that relationship. We ask them for just one hour a week around their schedule. They send their schedule in advance. We lead a bunch of seminars that are champion by our professionals, by our pioneers. They talk about their career path, what had inspired them and what got them to go off in a different direction. You never know what student might gravitate towards their story and say “wow I can actually see myself doing that.” We ask them to volunteer for community events; we want them to give back to their community. We do one every month, so if you can’t one month, the next month there will be another event. We follow up with mentors and students to make sure their relationships are going well, and they are getting the best out of their engagement.

Our community impact has been on a very grass roots level for us. We have donated $4000 to homeless shelters since 2020. We have done a few back to school events, and we have been able to donate over 3 to 400 backpacks and at the end of each fall we donated another 100 backpacks. Through our partnership with neighborshare, we have been able to provide an emergency found for over 35 families, and giving out over $10,000 to people in need.

We had a career readiness event last month at AIC provided students with free resumes, photographed headshots, and coached students on interview skills. This month we have a video game tournament at the Boys and Girls Club in Springfield. What that is going to entail is students have to sit through three hours of professional development speakers before they get to play in the tournament. And at the tournament they could win prizes, but if they miss one speaker, then they are not eligible. During this they learn valuable lessons like what to say during an interview and what to wear during an interview. They learn how to be successful. We have a 5K coming up next year. Call of Acton is to spread the word, volunteer for community events, and to join the mentoring team. Thank you we appreciate the time you gave me to present, we are passionate about what we do with this nonprofit organization.

4) Agency Overview and Updates
Yvonne Lomax: Westover Job Corps
Outreach and admissions manager at Westover Job Corps - Good afternoon everyone. My announcements for Westover is that we are so excited, we are taking our young people in person, so any young people that have applied, and have been waiting for two years and have been doing distance learning, we are bringing all of those young people on campus. We are also working with our non – res students who are commuting back and forth to campus, they are also coming to center. We are also doing small guided tours, with the proper COVID protocols. So if anyone is looking to have young people or partners tour Westover job core, please reach out to me.

We are also looking to come out and partner with anyone who may want a presentation in regards to Westover Job Corps. We would love to get back into the libraries. We made a great connection with Jane Gapredy at the mall, so we are very excited about that. I also want to put a plugin for anyone who is looking for employment. Westover has several open positions for professionals and for young people who are looking for a profession.

Yajaira Marquez: CFCE
We work a lot with families and children 0-8. We have three programs going on right now, one of them starts with a story and it is in collaboration with Enchanted Circle Theatre that is on Friday, April 29th. We also have a date with that program, of Coach Chris with learning in motion; we are doing that outside at the Jackson court. That starts on April 22nd. Everything we do is free events for families and for kids to enjoy. The last thing is we are starting an in person play group from 0-5, that is going to start on May 2nd, at the Holyoke Housing.

William Hadley: First Justice of the Holyoke District Court
Most importantly, of all the things we are doing, I just want to let the people know that we are continuing to provide access to treatment and recovery for substance abuse users who are going through the court. We have some terrific recovery coaches from Gandara. They are in our courtroom every day. They are helping lots of people get into treatment. We are trying to expand our availability of clinicians to do assessments to provide opportunities, if possible, to provide more diversion to the community who comes through the court and is seeking treatment. We are continuing to work with the community, so I would invite anybody who thinks they have anything to offer who might want to become more court involved with your services to call any time. We want to help as many people as we can with the many problems that come with Substance Abuse Disorder, Mental Illness, Homelessness, etc. Thanks for all everyone is doing.

Yesenia Cruz: AdCare
Community Service Representative in western Mass and CT at AdCare hospital – AdCare stands for Alcohol and drug care, so we provide addiction services for folks in need. As the community service representative, I work out in the community with providers or folks who are working with people that are seeking services. We have two detox facilities in Worcester, Rhode Island, that we provide transportation to and from. And an outpatient office that is in West Springfield, along with their outpatient offices across New England. The closest one is in West Springfield, includes outpatient therapy, intensive outpatient programing, groups and individual counseling, family therapy. Reach out of anyone wants to connect.

Tyler Drubych: River Valley Counselling Center
Wise Clinical supervisor at River Valley and the outpatient clinical in the Holyoke office – We are now looking for a full time bi-lingual case manager. If anyone is interested, I had put my information in the chat. We are focusing on spring events and spring baskets for the kids, giving them a nice little earth garden to do with their guardians, as well as a tie-dye kit. We are hoping to partner with anyone in the area with upcoming events like spring or summer events and things like that. We are trying to get something moving for the kids who don’t have a summer camp or something planned. Thank you for your time, it is great being here.

Stephanie Marshall: Best Life MHA
Recovery Coach – The services that we have here are ABI division which is brain acquire. DDS which is developmental and we do counseling services and outreach as well.

Sophie Chambers: Community Legal Aid
Case manager at Community Legal Aid, I work in the family stabilization project. We are a relatively new initiative that works with families that have an open DCF case, or open investigation, to help stabilize them and to prevent an avoidable of the kids from their family. We do this by referring them to civil legal service within Community Legal Aid, as well as providing some point of case management services. If you don’t know Community Legal Aid, I will let Julia Popkin do a longer speal when she gets to speak, but is just civil legal service for western mass to Worcester west.

Sarah Lynn: MSPCC
Intake and outreach coordinator MSPCC Prevention – I do want to let everyone know that there is a media opening for healthy families programs and our parents as teachers program. We were lucky enough to just hire a new bilingual Parent Educator for parents as teachers. So now we have a bilingual staff member for both programs. And I am going to put the online referral link in the chat. Thank you.

Sandy Ward: Volunteer with Holyoke Public Library
We recently had our mini golf and games fundraiser. Thank you so much to all of you, who helped, volunteered, donated, or sent families our way. It was a lot of fun in spite of crazy weather that day, games indoors and out. And we did make our financial goal for the fundraiser.

I am also a volunteer with the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Massachusetts and I will be doing a presentation, which is free, at the Holyoke Senior Center on Thursday morning on April 21st at 9:30. I am also available to come to any group where you’d like to have someone come and talk in a neutral about that the options and choices are, and what the law is and the rights, what you can and cannot do. We are not connected with the funeral industry, we are just advising people about the difficult subjects.

Rosa Tobin: Mass Fair Housing
Communication Associate for Massachusetts Fair Housing Center – I also do education and outreach. I am available and really want to get out into the community organizations and community to do fair housing training. If your or an organization is looking to learn more about the housing rights and housing discrimination, please reach out to me. Another update for our organization is that we are currently hiring for a temporary staff attorney and an experienced staff attorney.

Rondy Allen: CrossPoint Clinical Services
Our CrossPoint specializes in Christian Faith based mental health counseling. We also have a great wellness component. And we really substantially expanded our staff, which is really cool; we have a wonderful staff with a diverse experience, all licensed counselors and very kind, respectful client centered, caring people. For the first time in about three years, we have no waiting list. We accept most insurance, MBHP, HNE, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and so bill these guys up. Secondly, I’d like to announce that we have an opportunity for people who are interested in working on their fitness. It is a free webinar called “Beginning your fitness journey.” A few meetings ago, we had an on-line workout. There is a free webinar that people can sign up for and get tips and advice to start their fitness journey. It is great to be here.

Pedro Alvarez: Tapestry
Assistant Director of Urban drug use and health and outreach at Tapestry – Just a quick rundown, at the Holyoke site we will be doing our community needle pick up the second Saturday of every month, moving forward with this nice weather. Just being proactive about the discard of syringes in the community. We have a hotline for specifically Holyoke for any disgardance of syringes. If interested in narcan training, overdose prevention and acquiring narcan, please feel free to reach out. We are gearing up; we will be working a musical festival this weekend that is in Northampton. We will be providing education, harm reduction, overdose prevention, messaging and providing narcan as well. If anyone is interested in having our agency come in and providing some education, some in service, please reach out.

Nicolas Duenas: Attorney General’s Office
Community Engagement Division at Attorney General Office – Through the Attorney General’s Office we are trying to get the word out on resources, informs people on their rights. We are a resource for them, whenever something happens, they are victims of scams, or feel like they have been afraid because of unfair business practices or anything like that, they can always reach out to us. The way we get out word out is through our training. We have free webinars, and one specifically we have one for college students, so they can learn more about their rights, so for when they are doing things such as renting an apartment or buying a car, they are not getting ripped off or scammed, and if they are they know who to reach out to. Aside from that, there is a whole bunch of different trainings that we can bring to you or your organization. I will provide the link, you can reach out, and we try to reach people where they are at so if it’s after 5pm or on the weekends, so whenever it works for you reach out and we will do our best to work with you.

Nayroby Rosa: OneHolyoke
Director of community engagement and resident services. We have a lot going on but I will try to be as quickly as possible. We continue to offer our weekly vaccine clinic, and we have a rented space at Key Foods Marketplace, which we are able to share with the community if any organization would like to utilize that space. Right now we have Holyoke Medical Center doing some outreach. We give PPE to the residents. We continue to offer our vaccine clinic on the fourth Friday of each month. Our next one will be April 22nd, which is also our Earth Day Kickoff for our Keep it Clean Campaign. Vaccine clinic also happening on May 6th, Vaccines and Safety is still the top priority. We offer a monthly parent support group, for caregivers raising bilingual children, this is on the fourth Saturday of every month. We run our mobile food bank. We are always in need of volunteers. Keep it clean campaign 2022. Anyone can join the efforts. We are also doing a career exploration date at Kelly School on April 26th. I shared the flyer in the chat, plus the google link to sign up. The hours of opening will be 10-2 for students, to open opportunities for the motto “I can be anyone I want to be”. And 4-6 for parents who are seeing employment. A meet and greet for all elected officials also going on, so the community of the flats can meet them their ward counselor and school committee representative.

Nasir Islam: Roca
Outreach Coordinator, I am currently stationed in Holyoke. We serve a population of high risk youth ages 17-24. ROCA consists of classes, trainings, one on one support, CBT skill building. The classes and trainings consist of GED prep, employment training, one on one support. We dedicate ourselves, we are youth workers. The CBT skill is learning relatable and simple versions of cognitive behavior therapy, which we help the youth identify with their emotions so they don’t act on their emotions and make more wise decisions.

Mo McGuinness: Holyoke Community College
Assistant coordinator for the line cook in hotel training at HCC – Great meeting, always inspiring. I want to let you know, I put it in the link, a lot of free courses available, and they are great opportunities for anybody, so reach out if you feel you want to connect.

Michelle Daries: Department of Children and Families
Foster care and adoption recruiter – Looking to get back into the community from this Friday and every Friday until the 24th, we are doing some community outreach. Come down to 299 Main Street in Holyoke. The department will be there giving out information on how to apply to be a foster parent. Unfortunately the numbers are on the rise of kiddos coming into the foster care system and we are at a constant need of foster parents and constantly adding people to our foster ranks. If you know anybody who wants more information, reach out, contact information in the chat.

Melany Mendoza: Mass Mentoring Partnership
We do have an event for mentoring program and youth development programs set up, we will have youth to the Youth mentoring night at Fenway Park, if you have request tickets for that event, reach out to me, I will put my information in the chat.

Megan Gross: Umass
Piggy back off of what Nayroby said about our parent support group. We are meeting on Saturday April 23rd at 3pm on zoom and there is also an in person option at the flats community building. The topic will be (AAC) Audminative or Alternative Communication, which are systems that can help children who have complex communication needs and who have difficulty speaking, and we will have presenters giving that topic in Spanish as well. Please encourage families who may be interested. We also have activities for the children, so they can participate and engage in the presentation. We also have an ongoing opportunity for children ages 4-6 who speak English and Spanish to participate in an online Zoom study, flyer in the chat.

Maureen O’Neil: Public Defender’s Office in Holyoke
Social service advocate in the new public defender’s office in Holyoke – I’m just here to learn out about all the services available for our clients from all of you.

Mary Jamieson: Holyoke Medical Center
Community Navigation Department – Inter disciplinary team, we have nurses, community health workers, our registered dietitian; we do complex care management, chronic disease management and education. We have integrated behavioral help that we fulfill in our primary care offices. We are partnered with CDC and Public health institute of western mass for Holyoke Healthy Homes, which is a program to try and improve asthma rates within the city. We go out and assess for environmental triggers for children or families that are affected by them. We are accepting new referrals for that, so if you have and individual or family who has asthma and might be experiencing those environmental triggers, we can get them enrolled in those services, which are free, information is in the chat.

Mark Gaudet: Valley Opportunity Council
English teacher for non-native speakers. In house at the Mass Hire Career Centers to talk to and refer people to adult education programs for both English and non-native speakers. Two programs I would like to remind people of: The first of which is an Accelerated Career English Class that is through HCC. They may offer classes as soon as this summer. It is a good time to get on a waiting list. Another program at the STCC called Hampden Prep that focuses on digital literacy. Those are two program opportunities that are occasionally being underserved. I suggest applying to multiple programs at one time to get in quickly.

Marissa Chiapporino: Holyoke Medical Center
Registered Dietician on the community navigation team in Holyoke. We are still doing our monthly community dinner for free, on the last Thursday of every month. The next one will be April 28th. Anyone can come up to the front of the hospital, and grab some meals and head on their way. We are also going to be taking our diabetes classes live again, and we are going to be going into some of the housing communities from June through August to do chronic disease education. We are also active members of the Lets Move Hampden County 50210 initiative with the Holyoke Health center and other community partners. We are going to be present at events, and help to spread chronic disease management education, at Enlace and OneHolyoke CDC.

Maria Pelchar: Holyoke Fire Department
Nothing to report

Maria Pagan: Holyoke Public Library
We are working on many projects where we are trying to put a calendar together for next month. In a couple of weeks we are going to engage a community outreach coordinator. She will be connecting with many of you to let you know about the resources that we have that can benefit the clienteles that everybody is serving in one way or another. And also we have an opening for maybe a college student who is looking to learn the field of library, or make extra money, for evening hours, 25 hours a week, library assistant. A great start for anyone wanting to learn the library field or just earn some extra money.

Margery Jess: Support Network
Co-director of the Support Network – We are founded by the Department of Mental Health, to provide help and assistance to parents and caregivers whose children have mental health needs. You don’t have to be getting DMH services to get services from our programs. We provide individual support, support groups, and help families navigate through the different systems of care they are involved with. We cover all of Western Mass. We do have bi-cultural and bi-lingual support specialists on 20-30 hours a week. We have a children’s mental health in first week of May. May 5th we are doing a conjunction with families for depression awareness, and evening entitled understanding teen depression. Coming up in April and May, Holyoke Community Nature walks, to provide families and children with opportunities to see some green spaces in Holyoke and parks, to help them identify wildlife, flowers, birds etc.

Mareike Muszynski: River Valley Counseling Center
Director of Substance abuse programs at RVCC. We offer traditional outpatient with substance counseling at the Holyoke, Springfield, Chicopee, Easthampton, and Westfield offices as well. We have a relatively short wait list for anyone on MAT who needs therapy. We will also soon be offering two remote groups for this population, partly because our clinics are spread apart and we want to be able to offer them to the current folks that we serve.

Maddy Leue: Community Education Project
Community Engagement Specialist with community education – We provide literacy in native language, GED, and highest classes. Right now we are remote only, but that might change soon. It is a good time to make a referral, I am excited to see what a healthy ecosystem of services there are in Holyoke.

Kimberly Maende: Public Health Institute
Project Coordinator for 413Cares – I hope all of your organizations are listed. You should take the time to check if you are, the information needed will be provided in the chat. Other than that, the other project I am working on is The Led Prevention Podcast for Springfield Healthy Homes.

Kate Murdock: Public Defender Office
Attorney in charge for the new public defender office in Holyoke. We are thinking of different ways we can be more community involved. As of the last meeting we had, we met with Kayhsawn Sanders, and since then we have gone to a mentorship fair. We connected one of his youth to a juvenile judge for mentorship. We have discussed a young person case and connected them with their attorney so they better understood what was going on with them. I am hopeful that engaging more will be helpful within the community. If anyone has any ideas on how the Publics Defender’s office can better serve you, I am very open to hearing your ideas as well.

Julia Popkin: Community Legal Aid
Attorney for CLA in Springfield. CLA is the civil league aid program for all of central and western
Mass, Worcester west. Primary offices are Worcester, Springfield, Northampton, Pittsfield and Fitchburg.
Specialize in a range of civil legal services; housing work, eviction defense, access to affordable housing programs, fair housing, family law for domestic violence survivors, divorce, visitation, custody, child support, also have an education law unit, which she is an attorney in, mostly students with special education needs or may be facing disciplinary proceedings or language access issues. Also have an elder law unit, for people 60 and older, help with most pressing civil legal needs, benefits and employment unit to help people get steady income; we also do immigration work, cases for people seeking asylum, unaccompanied minors and victims of certain crimes. Sophie spoke about our newest initiative the Family Stabilization Project, also committed to community outreach and engagement; we have special projects to help veterans and formally incarcerated people. We also have medical and legal partnerships that imbed attorneys in health centers serving medicaid patients. Available to do Know Your Rights Trainings, and other community outreaches, so if you want to have us come to an event or if you are thinking of starting an event, feel free to reach out, will put website link in the chat, which shows the different ways folks can apply for services; can apply on-line or over the phone, or can walk into any of the offices, right now on Tuesdays and Thursdays they are open to the public. In general, we primarily serve people at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines, there is some wiggle room around that and have higher income guidelines for elders, people who are 60 and above.

Officer Josh Colon: Holyoke Police Department
Working out of the office at 208 Race Street with the Sheriff’s Department, no updates.

John McCarthy: USCIS
Community Relations Officer for USCIS. One of three agencies of federal agencies are involved in
immigration. We are the agency that is not law enforcement related, no authority to arrest or detain people,
making the point, because we are a resource for information for the immigrant community, want to put it on two
tiers. One is, if you are permanent residents of the United States and eligible for immigration and if you want
information or want a presentation on immigration, on eligibility requirements for naturalization, give me a call
my name and contact information is in the chat. If you are not a permanent resident of the United States and
despite whatever type of status you may or may not have in the United States, if you are interested in what
immigration benefits are available and where you can find out the eligibility requirements on how to apply for
those benefits, I am also available for any group who wants that information. The last thing I am going to say is
that I am connected with the Boston Public Library and also collaborating with the Boston Mayor’s Office with
immigrant advancement. Monthly we put on a presentation, hosted by the Boston Public Library, this month
on April 25th at 1:00pm, we will be put putting on a presentation on Temporary Protected Status (TPS), it’s a
general type TPS presentation, if you wish to join on to that, go to BPS,, go to events
section and sign up for the class.

Jill McKeon: Department of Children and Families
Works at Holyoke DCF, from here on out, I will be the Holyoke DCF representative on this meeting, excited to
continue on. The update from the Holyoke area office is that the Director Margie Gilberti, as of next Friday
will be leaving for a new position, and our office will be managed in acting by our current area clinical
manager Nichelle Brooks, she has been with the department for well over 30 years, most of her career has been
in Holyoke, we are very excited to have her. I am excited to continue on with this team.

Jessica Booth: Homework House
Out of school time director. A tutoring and mentoring program for the youth of Holyoke. Have a couple of
updates; 6th Annual Homework House Adult Spelling Bee is coming up on April 29th at 6:30pm. Also looking
forward to our summer program. We have a couple of positions open for our lead teachers for our elementary
program and middle school program, will add into the chat. Also enrolling students into their summer program,
which runs from July 5th to August 5th, will add that to the chat as well.

Janette Vigo: Way Finders
Chief Program Officer at Way Finders overseeing the housing center division at Way Finders, which is all of our clients facing services. Have an extensive list of services to offer in our community, but the one I will focus on today is our Emergency Financial Housing Assistance Program. Just for a little background, pre-COVID, our Emergency Financial Assistance Program would typically service about 600 hundred households in a fiscal year; this year alone we already serviced over 11,000 households in our region. We are still receiving over a 100 applications per day, for emergency financial housing assistance. If you know of anyone that is in need of support for prevention eviction, please send them our way, our application is right on-line on our website. We have housing centers that are located in Springfield, Holyoke and Northampton. The Holyoke Housing Center is located at 193 Chestnut Street; we are open 8:30am to 4pm. We have housing consumer and education center staff available Monday – Friday, we have emergency financial housing assistance staff that are also available there to be able to support someone with application assistance. All of our services could be presented at the time of entering our housing center and needs assessed. We are also available to provide presentations to community partners on all of their services, don’t hesitate to reach out, contact information is in the chat.

Iris Sosa: Boy Scouts of America / Western Mass Council
We have Cub Scouts for the youth kindergarten to fifth grade. Also have scout BSA, which is for middle school aged youth 11 and up. Many different programs that cover all ages of kids. We are currently working hard to have units active in Holyoke. Scouting is a great program that offers many different skills for kids. Have some story walk materials that are available to the community to use, Scouts also does a monthly program in the scout reservation, don’t have to be a scout to participate, families can attend and such as; it’s an outdoor activity, every month they have various activities, fishing, climbing wall, hiking, will place the Western Mass Council website in the chat, so you can find out more about our information about our programs.

Ileana Carrion: Office of Planning and Economic Development Office in Holyoke
Senior Project Manager, thank you everyone for what you do, this is amazing that we are living in such hard times and everyone is bringing me joy with the things that their doing. Just want to bring attention to one event and one opportunity. We will be putting artistic bike racks in different locations in Holyoke. Calling out to any local artist to submit proposals if they are interested we received a grant from the local cultural council for $4,000. If anyone has any artistic abilities and they want to submit something, you have until June 30th to submit it. We have an event coming up its Explore Holyoke Restaurant Week, which will be happening from June 6th to June 12th. It will be a bunch of participating restaurants, we will have a passport and stamp that the restaurants will get, folks will get a passport, which will get stamped when you attend the restaurant, depending on the amount of stamps you have, you will get a discount that you can use three months after the event. For any restaurants that want to participate, only requirement is to agree to the passport and discounts. There is no fee to participate, calling to all Holyoke restaurants to please be involved in you would like. We are also collaborating with HCC and students, so the students can go into a restaurant and create some free fixed meals. Great opportunity and we want to get as many people involved as possible, we have those two opportunities coming up. Placed my email in the chat and also the link to our planning website, which has information on Explore Holyoke Restaurant week and the Bike Ped Committee that has information on the call to local artists on the

Heather Salerno: Western Mass Moms Programs.
Stress management courses for mothers, work with them to gain and maintain employment. If you know any stressed and depressed moms, we need to enroll a thousand mothers into our program in the next two years. You can reach out to me or my colleague Abby Germain who you will hear from a little later.

Greg Graustein: Recovery Connections Centers
Small opiate recovery program located on Cottage Street in Springfield. We are a small program that relies on soboxin, suplicate and vivitrol. We take all insurances, all state, commercial and federal insurances, we have immediate access. Offer services to everyone, has a background in addiction medicine for over 30 years, worked for greater of recovery medications, can answer a lot of questions to support all the agencies serving the community.

Gabriel Maldonado: Greater Holyoke YMCA
School aged director at the YMCA. We had a visit from the HCSD and HPD, visiting one of our kiddos, who were phenomenal with him. Held a basketball game with Senator Velis and Ed Caisse had youth play against city and state leaders, can see on our Facebook gage. Things happening moving is our Healthy Kids Day on April 30th 10am to 12pm, it’s free to the community, join us for a fun day of activities and celebrate kids being kids. Will have resource tables, if you are interested in attending you can reach out to us at the YMCA, also placed a link in the chat. We are promoting our Five Days of Action, it’s a week long campaign how to take action to protect children from abuse. Three key steps for this campaign is to know, see and respond. This campaign runs from the 18th to the 22nd. We are getting ready for our summer program and are looking for camp counselors, if you know anyone interested, please send them to the YMCA.

Eileen Crosby: Holyoke Public Library
With the Holyoke Public Library history room. Alex Santiago and Eileen are still developing a bi-lingual set of virtual tours of Holyoke that will feature both older history and more resent history including the history of the Puerto Rican Day Aspera in Holyoke. Excited they are having this workshop on community history and story sharing; it’s coming up on May 21st here at the library, in the morning, in person. Should be a fun event, low commitment, you don’t have to commit to the project to come to the workshop to just find out more about what we are doing and to find out what community history is and why it’s important. We have a really terrific facilitator in Diana Sierra Becerra and she has worked for the Pioneer Valley Workers Center and the National Domestic Workers Alliance on communities histories for those communities. Placing a link in the chat that will take you to a way to sign up for a workshop or a way to get you more information or if you have a thought on a person, a business, a club, a church, someone’s who’s history should be included in this project, get in touch with us.

Debbie Gonzalez: Hope for Holyoke: Gandara
Director of Hope for Holyoke Peer Recovery Center. Open for anyone seeking recovery, many pathways to recovery, including peer led support groups. Highway to Hope Program provides transportation for any Holyoke resident to any treatment location in the state and will pick them back up and bring them back or bring them to the next level of care or to other recovery related appointments, such as MAT, information is in the chat if you want to inquire about any of those. Also have a brand new LGBTQ Plus Group, peer led recovery support for that population, which is Tuesdays at 4pm.

Caitlin Goodbrake: Mental Health Association
Works for MHA at the Best Life Outreach Clinic in Springfield, Recovery Support Navigator there, also serves clients in Holyoke as well. Role is to connect adult clients who are suffering from substance abuse disorder and co-occurring disorders to services that will support them in recovery. Hear to learn about services you offer and how we can collaborate.

Ashley Jediny: Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
Program Coordinator for Rapid Response and Connection Team. Provide post overdose outreach to individuals in Hampden County. Work with recovery coaches, as well as harm reduction, do community outreach to the residents and try to connect individuals who experience non-fatal overdoses or those at risk and try to connect them to services, as well as meeting them where they are at and getting them connected to other services. Great to be here and hearing about all of the great resources out there if anyone would like to connected regarding resources, please feel free to reach out.

Bill Courchesne: Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
Neighborhood Watch Coordinator for Ward 6 for HSNI, looking for people to join the leadership team.
Grassroots group effort, first goal is to get out there and knock on doors, so we can help the community help themselves and to identify folks in need. If you or someone you know wants to join us, please reach out, it’s not a huge time commitment.

Abby Germain: Western Massachusetts Moms Partnership
So grateful to hear all the wonderful things that you are all doing. My role includes educating the community about the services that we offer to mothers and other caregivers experiencing moderate to mild depressive symptoms. Services include an 8-week stress management course to help them learn skills to manage stress and improve their lives. We also offer employment services to help participants gain and maintain employment. We refer participants to local agencies within the community, such as yours, when additional resources are needed. There is a lot more to what we are doing, I would love to connect with everyone here personally and individually so that we can further to discuss our program eligibility requirements and process for referrals. If I have not reached out to you already, I will be planning to do so. We are part of a study called Next Gen Project, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration. Study participants will have the opportunity to be part of a project that can lead to nationwide change for mothers and other caregivers across the country. I would like to emphasize that this is very much a community initiative, we hope to partner up with community agencies, schools, providers and programs like yours, so we can offer this great opportunity to as many individuals as possible. We are now accepting referrals to our program, my colleague Heather Salerno spoke briefly to let you know that we are accepting referrals. On a last note, we are looking for community hub spaces to host our classes once a week. If you have community rooms as your agencies or you know of any we are looking for community hubs. I will place my information in the chat, if anyone is interested in hearing and learning more I would be happy to chat, looking forward to speak to you all.

Abby Mahoney: Holyoke Community College
Career pathway grant: supports early childhood educators. Earn free childhood development certificate starts January 24th. Information is in chat and email flyer will be sent out soon.

Adlyn Colon: Holyoke Community College
Adult education free hiset prep classes during the day and night. Only program in the area that offers the HISET in Spanish. Free trainings and certifications for the work community.

Walter Rice: United Way of Pioneer Valley
We have a lot of great things happening here with our service centers, here in the Springfield Office, as well as
our Chicopee Cupboard. We really want to promote our upcoming 100 Celebration Anniversary, we want
everyone to come, it’s on June 2nd here in the Sheraton, it’s FREE, please come, bring agency partners as well.
I am going to place the information I the chat, but I will be sending it as an email as well.

Eddie Caisse: Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
Spoke about the Holyoke Hub training, thanked everyone that participated there was (91) on Friday and (79) on Monday counting those on Zoom, we only had capacity for 75 in person. Explained the Holyoke Hub is a replication of the Chelsea Hub and you can read more details on that by going to our website because last month Dan gave a detailed overview of the Hub, which is listed under our March meeting notes.

Please mark your calendars for our 2022 Back to School Event, which will be held on Saturday, August 20th from 11am to 3pm at McNally Field in Holyoke. Last year we had 45 service providers in the Service Provider area, this year we would like to expand to 50 service providers. If you are interested in having your agency at the Back to School Event, please reach out to me and I will get you connected to Jennifer Gonzalez who is handling the service provider registration. We are going to need 300 volunteers at the event and love to have agency representatives as our volunteers, so if you are interested send me an email. We will be providing 2,500 backpacks to the youth that attend.

Open registration for the Summer Basketball League, please consider forwarding the flyer to families that you service in Holyoke, this is a Holyoke league, youth will need to either attend school in Holyoke or live in Holyoke or both.

Thanked all of the agencies involved in the Holyoke Hub, and invited other agencies to join the Hub, please reach out to me if your agency is interested in being involved in the Hub. Explained the process of the Hub and how it encourages agencies to wrap around services to an individual or family. There is a level of accountability by the agencies reporting out on their work on a specific situation. We will be holding our kick-off on Tuesday, April 26th.

Personally thanked every agency representative for all they do and the resources they provide for the youth, individuals and families in Holyoke, have a great weekend. If you know about a resource agencies that have services for youth and families, and they are not currently attending our networking meeting, please consider inviting them to the next meeting. The meetings are always the 2nd Thursday of the month at 1:00pm and the next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 10th.

Information placed in the Chat:
Brianna Hernandez
Hello my name is Brianna Hernandez. I am a part of the Gandara Impact Center. We are a non-clinical, peer run, resource center that serves young adults ages 16-24. I am the Recovery Specialist at my agency. If you have any questions or would ever need to contact me about the Impact Center here is my email and number. 413-707-2857 I have to run unfortunately but just in case you missed my first message here It is again. I'm from the Impact center through gandara. I'm the recovery specialist here. We are a non-clinical, peer run, resource center that serves young adults ages 16-24. I am the Recovery Specialist at my agency. If you have any questions or would ever need to contact me about the Impact Center here is my email and number. 413-707-2857

Patty Chavez
HELI FB page - HELI Contact Patty Chavez I have to hop off for my next meeting. PreK and Kindergarten enrollment for Holyoke Public School is now open for SY 22- 23. Families can enroll their children at HELI FB page my contact information is Have a great day everyone.

Kimberly Maende
Kimberly Maende413Cares & Springfield Healthy Homes Project CoordinatorPhone: 413.794.3042Email: I encourage all the organizations here to claim your program on! If you need assistance on how to do so please contact me at are also available to present at your regularly staffed meeting or with your organization. Just let me know. Contact me for 413Cares informational material. Please share and listen to our lead prevention podcasts

Tyler Drubych
Tyler Drubych, WISE clinical supervisor and outpatient clinician at River Valley Counseling Center, Holyoke,, 413 505-4801

Mareike Muszynski
Mareike MuszynskiDirector of Substance Use ProgramsChair of Diversity CommitteeRiver Valley Counseling Center1-413-540-1106

Giselle Gaines
Giselle Gaines Adult Day Health Centers 4133173100 I have to go in 7 min to another meeting. I look forward to speaking to you all next month and making some connections. If you would like to tour our 3 Adult Day Health Centers please reach out 413 317-3100

Nayroby Rosa-Soriano
Nayroby Rosa-Soriano, Director of Community Engagement and Resident Services for OneHolyoke CDC. 413-409-2004 and email at Ivonne, please sign up to attend out Career Exploration day at Kelly School. above is the flyer Anyone interested to feature their job/organization/company/ to the Kelly School students and their parents please sign up. We still have some open times. Link to sign up: Looking to hire a Community Support Specialist through LISC AmeriCorps. Please reach out and share service description send above.

Ron Fairchild (HELI)
Ron Fairchild, HELI consultant,, 443-986-1275

Aliza Ansell
Aliza Ansell, Youth Advisor, Valley Opportunity Council., 978-505-3922 Hi everyone, I need to meet a student. Thanks everyone. Aliza

Megan Gross
Megan Gross, Bilingual Language Development Lab,, partnering with Nayroby onSupporting Families Raising Bilingual Children (parent support group for Spanish-speaking parents of children with special education needs):

Janette Vigo
Janette Vigo, Way Finders- Chief Program Officer 413.233.1635

James Geraghty
Get Hired Job Fair Event Holyoke Mall, Thursday, May 5th, Great for high schools, colleges and universities in the Holyoke area. I have another meeting, please reach out to Jim Geraghty at Holyoke Mall if interested in participating in the Job Fair Event - Thursday, May 5th - 3PM to 6PM - or 617-840-2998

josh colon
off. Josh Colon Community Police Officer Holyoke Police Dept. 413-650-0546

Mark Gaudet
Mark Gaudet, Referral Counselor for adult education @ MassHire Springfield 7 Holyoke, 413-588-8043; recommending multiple application to AE programs for Literacy, GED-HiSET, and ESOL English classes in Hampden County Mark Gaudet, adult education at Masshire

Dr. Milagros Martinez-Schettini
I need to step out. I have a visit at work that I need to take care of. Hoping to see you in our next meting! Thanks!!!

Iris Sosa
Iris Sosa; Outreach specialist Scout BSA Western Mass Council,, 413-594-9196 x 7030

Eileen Naughton
River Valley Counseling Center. Eileen Naughton. Intake: 540-1234

Maureen McGuinness
Hello Everyone, Mo McGuinness workforce development program at Holyoke Community College. we are running a Free Hotel & Training program starting April 26th. & we have Line Cook Trainings during summer. Contact me HCC has many different Free Training Program through Workforce Development

Stephanie Marshall
Good afternoon everyone , I am Stephanie Marshall a recovery coach Best Life (MHA)

Ana Jaramillo
Ana Jaramillo Holyoke Health Center Let’s Move Hampden County 5220 Program Coordinator/ Foster Care Program Ed Navigator

John Mccarthy
USCIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services) Community Relations Boston Public Library/ Boston Mayor's office and USCIS presentation on Events hosting a TPS (Temporary Protected Services presentation Monday 4/25/2022 @ 1PM

Luby O'Connor
Luby O'Connor- Outreach Coordinator at Health Care For All ,

Sarah Lynn healthy families and parents as teachers online referral link

Yesenia Cruz
Yesenia Cruz- Adcare Hospital CSR- 508-713-1710-

Rosa Tobin
Rosa Tobin, Communications/Education & Outreach, Massachusetts Fair Housing Center. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss collaborating on a Fair Housing Training! MFHC Job Postings:

Rondey Allen

Abbie Germain
Abbie Germain~ Western Mass MOMS~ 413-561-7413 (Sorry I was late today. I was in another meeting until 1:30.)

Nicolas Duenas (AGO) this is the link to submit an event request! and this is our event registration website

Edward Caisse
If you had not had a chance to read our March meeting notes and want to know more about the Holyoke Hub, click on the link:

Melany Mendoza
Melany Mendoza

Jessie Berliner
Jessie Berliner, MHA GRIT Yale St. We are a residential recovery program for those in the LGBTQ+ community with co-occurring disorders. We are always looking for LGBT and recovery friendly community connections as well as housing resources. 413-233-5354

Mary Jamieson
I attached the basic Healthy Homes Flyer. The only change is that to be eligible you just need to live in Holyoke and asthma I've gotta run, but feel free to reach out with any questions

Ileana Carrion

Julia Popkin- Community Legal Aid

Kashawn Sanders
Kashawn SandersFollow My Steps FoundationPresident/Co-FounderKashawn.sanders@followmysteps.orgPlease contact me if you'd like to partner, sign up or learn more about our program. I have to head out.

Yvonne Lomax
I have another meeting great to see every one-- Please contact me if anyone should need more information on Westover JCC

Debbie Gonzalez
Debbie Gonzalez, Hope for Holyoke Recovery Support Center / Highway to Hope 561-1020 100 Suffolk St

Gabriel Maldonado Gabriel Maldonado-School Age Director at The Holyoke YMCA,171 Pine St. 413-534-5631, Gabriel Maldonado-School Age Director at The Holyoke YMCA,171 Pine St. 413-534-5631,

Jessica Booth
Jessica Booth OST director, Homework house a afterschool tutoring and mentoring program. A couple updates we have our adult spelling bee April 29th at 6PM. Looking for guest speakers for our afterschool program to discuss careers with our students. Looking to hire lead elementary school and middle school teachers for our summer programs. Jessica Booth OST director, Homework House a afterschool tutoring and mentoring program. A couple updates we have our adult spelling bee April 29th at 6:30PM. Looking for guest speakers for our afterschool program to discuss careers with our students. Looking to hire lead elementary school and middle school teachers for our summer programs. As well as a couple assistant positions.Please reach out with any question 413-887-2012*

Eileen Crosby-Holyoke Library- City of Stories Project
Information and story-sharing session on Saturday, May 21, at 10:30 AM. use the above link or email us just to find out more about the project.ciudadhistorias@holyokelibrary.orgEileen Crosby or Alex Santiago

Ashley Jediny
Ashley Jediny, Hampden County Sheriff's Department, Program Coordinator for our Post-OD Outreach Team,, 413-278-5561

Walter Rice

Old Business / New Business
• Next Meeting is Thursday, March 10th, 2022 (ZOOM).

Close Meeting 2:30pm
Contact Information:
Edward Caisse
Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
(413) 858-0225

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