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August 2023

Ed Caisse

August 10 2023

Virtual Networking Meeting

Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative
Meeting Notes

Date: August 10, 2023
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.

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

Mandy Goulet: Hope for Holyoke 1:05pm - 1:20pm
Good afternoon everybody, my name is Mandy, I am he peer outreach coordinator here at Hope for Holyoke. I actually started as a volunteer then made my way up to staff, so let’s get started. So what is Hope For Holyoke? We are a peer recovery center, this is our mission statement, it’s not a corporate mission statement. It wasn’t written by our parent-company Gandara, it was actually written over several community meetings by our memebers. They sat down and got together, they wanted to to get their ideas out on paper, they figured out our mission, what do we want to see at Hope For Holyoke. So this is what they came out with; Hope For Holyoke is a safe place where people in all pathways of recovery can come together and grow in their own recovery. We are people from differing backgrounds working together for the common goal of recovery in a supportive and serene environment.

We help each other to expand our recovery by sharing our own experiences and learnig ways to to give back to our community. We provide opportunities through groups, trainings, and networking to learn how to communicate effectively and how to love ourselves. Hope For Holyoke offers not only recovery but discovery in ones hopes and dreams. It is a place where the impossible becomes possible. This center offers hope. We use this mission statement in our mornig motivation meetings, we read it before our community meetings, it’s a staple here in our center.

This is where we are now, we have our safety protocalls in place. We have daily groups, we’re open 9:00 to 9:00 Monday through Friday now. We’re open 9:00 to 2:00 Saturday and Sunday. We have a hybrid group on facebook. You’ll see we have gambling support on Facebook Live, we have a Noah’s Ark show at 8:00 every night. COVID helped lean us in that direction, we have something like forty plus meetings weekly because of COVID. So we have two projects under our Hope For Holyoke umbrella. We have our Highway To Hope program, which is amazing.

We have a van that will drive with a recovery coach anybody seaking services like detox, CSS, TSS, or even to a halfway house, we’ll drive you there. If you complete your detox we’ll even pick you back up. And then we have our Gambling Ambassador Project. So we do outreach events to different recovery homes, TSS, CSS’s to educate about the risk of gambling because people in recovery or people struggling with addiction still are at higher risk to develop a gambling problem.

So this is what recovery is; It’s commonly viewed as an abstinence from drugs but there are many pathways available, and that’s what peer recovery centers model. We have multiple pathways here, we have multiple pathway meetings here. You’ll see in the morning we have morning motivational. It’s not just AA and NA, however we do have NA and AA meetings. There’s also publistic approaches like our inviting groups, we also offer those here. So there’s emerging definitions. Beyond abstinence based on resilience, health, hope. Harm reduction is absolutely a pathway, as well as medical assisted recovery. So, we offer peer assistance with housing, educational, employment opportunities, uilding constructive family, Stress management assistance, alcohol and druge-free social and recreational activities, referrals to services, wellness support, training opportunities. We have narcan trainings here regularly.

Recovery comes first in what we do. It’s all inclusive, it’s a big tent there’s room for everybody. Recovery is being authentic, so members of this recovery community use our direct experience to identify our problem and needs for recovery and find ways to address them. We also follow the PEER Participatory Process. So what’s unique about a PEER recovery center is the staff doesn’t decide what goes on here. We don’t decide what trips we’re going to take or the new meetings that are going to take place here. It goes to the community and the advisory board and they decide. So the members are actually at the top and that’s what the PEER Participatory Process is. The recovery process can help in leadership development. We develop new leaders in recovery, which enriches our community. So, in fact our staff have all started as a member. Many have volunteered for quite some timw then they became staff.

We offer recovery coach traininjg which is paid for by us, peer leadership, staff in-service training, outreach commitments, community education, speaking engagements. We have our overdose vidual coming up on August 31st, which will be at Veterans park from 2:00 to 5:00. Like I said we have Narcan trainings regularly, CPR and first aid trainings, we are on social media, audio and visual communications. We have a studio if you ever come here. We actually built a studio, we have all of this equitment to help us when we go on Facebook Live, hence the cameras and all of that.

These are some of the social activites that we’ve taken part in; we travel out to Boston to take part in the Massachusetts Organization of Addiction Recovery. They have a holiday party every year so we network with them we go go there. We have our own holiday parties here, we have a family fun night every Friday. We like to include family in all of our events. We like to have arts and crafts the third Saturday of every month we have a sober sip and paint. As I was saying, music and poetry, writing groups; we go to the hockey games in the winter time. This is free at no cost to the member and we provide transportation as well.

Now, Hope for Holyoke and the Recovery Support Center staff operate under DPH and the BSAS and Gandara guidelines. Members form a board, along with staff, create tools for peer goverance. Hope for Holoke RSC staff and members of the board engage in specific skill building workshops including evaluation, public speaking and much more. So if something were to happen here, God forbid, if there’s paraphernalia, if there was an altercation, just something that happened, it would go to the advisory board. We’d follow the steps in, I don’t want to say punishment, but there comes a plan in place. So there is an advisory board that takes care of all of those things. Staff is included in making that plan. So we don’t want to exclude someone from coming here for a period of time, but there has to be repercussions for whatever happens. Because in our code of ethics and in our code of conduct, you have to come in unimpaired, clear headed, and engaging in recovery. We don’t want to trigger anybody else.

So this is the tier; I was saying the advisory board is at the very top, members of Hope for Holyoke and you have our director, Ray Rodriguez. So you have the members, the director with the advisory board, then you come down and you have our assistant director, our peer resource specialist Sarah, myself the outreach coordinator, our virtual oureach coordinator Kevin you’ll see him on a lot of our Facebook Lives, our volunteer coordinator Marcos, our gambling ambassadors Phil and Marcos, and then our highway to hope team Nasir and Juan, which are recovery coaches that’ll take those rides and help people get into treatment or further their treatment.

Hope for Holoke peer members are governed by our articulating their shared values and experiences, using critical incidents to dicern ethical principals. As I was saying, if something happens we make sure we tak care of it in house and that the members have a say. The advisory board makes sure that it’s fair and it’s taken care of. We draft ethical codes obtaining and incorporating feedback, building and monitoring organizational components of the center, continually assessing and reassessing the needs of the center, meaningfully collaborating and working with staff as a team. So, one thing I do want to say is that we are going to be moving to a temporary location very soon, possibly this month. We’ve had plans to move for quite some time now. We’re looking for a permanent location, but we will be moving to a temporary location which we will do outreach to let everybody know where that is. Are there any questions?

Agency Overview and Updates 1:25pm - 2:25pm
Ed Caisse: Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
Mandy thank you so much and I really appreciate you giving us more information, even the structure of your staff. I just want to say this, I guess for years its always been important to me to hear what resources are available, so when you’re working with youth and families you can get them connected to services in the community. But ever since we started the Holyoke Hub it’s just like I’m hypervigilant now. So, hearing more detailed information from the resource agencies is so important for us, as we go into filter four teams and try to get people connected to resources in the community, and try to help people get out of acutely elevated risk situations. So it’s very important for us that you guys come every month, we appreciate you being here and as I always say, we’re a team!

Even though we’re sharing resources, if you can help build the team of people coming, so we can hear more about what other resources are out there in the community. So when we do engage with youth and families and particularly with the acutely elevated risk folks in the community that we can get them connected to the services that they need. So if we don’t have that detailed information about what Hope for Holyoke does or any other agency, sometimes you don’t know that that could have met some of those risk factors that a particular situation had. So I want to thank you guys for coming and Mandy I just want to thank you again for sharing. Now, at this portion of the meeting what I’m going to do is go around and call on everybody as I see you on my screen. We’re going to go in alphabetical order, starting with the beginning of the alphabet.

Bill Courchesne: Hampden County Sheriff’s Office
Hey everybody, Bill Courchesne, Hampden County Sheriff’s Office. I am the ward six watch coordinator for the Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative. Nothing new at this time, but I am available to anybody in the ward six area that’s looking to put on any events or anything like that, building the community. Anybody that wants to become part of my leadership team, we are building from the ground up. Trying to get out into Beaudoin Village and Jarvis Heights and start engaging in all those residents to get them involved in the community to eachother.

Adair Medina: Holyoke Pediatrics
Hi everyone, Adair Medina, care coordinator from Holyoke Pediatrics. No updates.

Adlyn Colon: Holyoike Community College
Hi everybody, good afternoon. I work for Holyoke Community College, adult community colllege program. We are located downtown Holyoke, at 206 Maple Street. We offer high set preparation classes during the day and also during the evening. In collaboration with the community education project, we also offer English classes to some people who don’t speak English or want to improve the English they are speaking right now. That’s all for me and have a good day. I’m going to put all of my information in the chat.

Alicia Thomas: Transformative Justice
Hi friends, my name is Alicia Thomas, I’m the director of Youth Organizing and Leadership with Transformative Justice. We start out summer program next week, 9:00 to 4:00 political education and community building sessions with our peer leaders. We’re still taking applications for peer leaders so if you know anyone whos interest please encourage them to apply to our program.

We accept peer leaders ages 14 through 19. That’s young people who are interested in political organizing, developing youth leadership skills, and interrupting the school to prison pipeline with restorative justice circoles that we’re also offering to the community. A couple of things we’re doing this year that’s really exciting is we have a drop in space for teenagers, we just bought a house on Linden and Cabbot that’s getting renovated so we’ll have a house for our youth. Also, really excited we’re starting midful rage series. We’re doing three a year and they basically meet the need or address the need for anger management courses and I write letters to the judges explain our curriculum.

We have a couple of youth offenders that have done community referrals for our youth to do circle with community members who also might need some support with family. So we have community circles that are held for any healing that’s needed but also mindful rage series to address the anger management requirements. Thank you so much.

Elijah L: MSPCC
I work for Eliot MSPCC over in Holyoke. MSPCC stands for Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. I’m a clinical supervisor here for the in-home therapy and therapeutic mentoring program. Currently we have no waitlist for IHT’s, so accepting refferals. You can refer eligible children and families on our website, Very short waitlist for therapeutic mentoring services as well.

Angie Mercado: Holyoke Community College
Hi everybody, Angie, I’m the advisor for projects and I just want to share that they just posted on the chat we’re going to be having an activity on September 15th. It’s an event to kind of promote what we’re doing with the classes for the bilingual students. We’re also doing summer courses, we’re almost done with that. So the 31st of this month we’re done with it.

Betty Perez: MassHire Springfield
Hi my name is Betty Perez, I’m a job developer at MassHire Springfield Career Center and I assist with customers, give them tools to get a job. I made it short and sweet.

Bianca Frederick: RFK Community Alliance
Hi I’m Bianca from RFK Community Alliance and I oversee the Ink Program, and at this time we don’t have any updates.

Clara Wagner: Kilis Cooperative Healing
Hey I’m Clara, I’m with Kilis Cooperative Healing, it’s a group therapy practice on High Street in Holyoke. Right now we have a few opening for adults who want therapy, and just had someone new start who specializes in working with children and adolescence so we have a bunch of opening for younger folks. We’re starting a new group on trauma healing and we’re looking for a community partner to wrok with on that. I think that’s probably it, oh and we do take insurance, especially MassHealth.

Diana Biagioli: Federation for Children with Special Needs
My name is Diana Biagioli, and I work with the Federation for Children with Special Needs. We’re the Parent Center in Massachusetts for children zero to twenty-six who have any kind of disability. So we offer training, support information to families of those children with special needs to their parents, to any profesionals working with them.

In particular right now I’m working with Mass MRC (Mass Rehabilitation Commission) on the new initiative they have. They have an alternative to the regular VR program, I put it on the chat with a link. So if you know any young person eighteen to thirty who has a disability, and this can be even anxiety, it can be anything. So don’t judge it yourself, don’t let them judge it ttheirselves. Have them talk to MRC because it’s a free program, i6t provides a full team, anyways the details are in the chat so I won’t take up your time. Thank you.

Diosdado Martinez-Lopez: Support Network
Thank you Eddie, Diosdado Martinez-Lopez, I work for the Support Network on High Street, Holyoke. Basically, what we do is work with families and children that have emotional and mental health issues and we do our best to help with the schools. Especially with the IEP, 504 plans, and all of that. We also are having an event on the 24th in Springfield, Mason Square. I am going to send you the flyer and see if you can send it out please. Thank you.

Faith Sarisley: CrossPoint Clinical Services
Hey everybody, my name is Faith Sirisely and I’m from Crosspoint Clinical Services, the marketing Team. I left my contact info and our website link in the chat. At Crosspoint we continue to provide faith based and mental health counseling from our three offices in MassachusettS. The closest one is in West Springfield. So I wanrt to highlight a couple of thisngs we have coming up this fall that are virually taking place over zoom. The first one is called a body revelation, it’s a virtual thirteen week health and wellness group that cost $150.00 it’s open to anybody.

We’re also running another seven principals for making marriage work course starting on September 18th. This virtual eight week course cost $199.00 if you sign up before September 4th. And the last thing I want to mention is respect 101 anger management for men class that starts October 7th and goes ten weeks online. I know it’s a lot of events thrown at you but they’re all in the event section of our website that I put in the chat with my name Faith Sarisley, so thanks everybody and have a great day.

Gloria Penagos: Holyoke Community College
We will have in September the line cook training again. This time we are working in the halls for the day into the evening. So we hope we can get enough people to have both programs. Also on October 17th we have the hotel one. We probably will run another one during fall. We don’t have the days exactly now, but we are planning to also do that again. One more thing, Ed you you where talking about how good this connection is, how good sharing this information is, and I received an inquire. And guess who reffered that person, was a therapist from Baystate Hospital. This connection has been amazing. Thank you to everybody and that’s it for me. Thank you.

Healther Maclnnes: Boy Scouts of America
Hi I’m Health Maclnnes, I’m with the Boy Scouts of America. The program specialist for the exparment program and the membership specialist in regards to scout in. And we’re working hard to bring the scout in into the the community to youth from kindergarder up to ages of twenty-one. We are working with National as well, to start a program with young adults, college aged students so they can actually have a scouting experience as well. All of my contact information is in the chat.

Iris Sosa: Boy Scouts of America
Hello everyone I’m Iris Sosa the outreach specialist from Boy Scouts of America Western Massachusetts Council. I also work here with all of the membership programs and all of the scout programs. We always looking for partnership with organizations that want to be part of this and part of the scouting, and anyone that wants to be a leader and have the program in the community. Thank you.

Art Lobdell: Boy Scouts of America
On scouts they got it covered. I will shout out the Holyoke Rotary Club. We’re a group that does community service work. We just now are producing the community concert series. I’m the incoming president for the incoming ’24-’25 year, so if you’re interested in doing community service for the residents in and around Holyoke please reach out.; Thank you.

Jeffery Hayden: Holyoke Community College
Hey good afternoon Ed, good afternoon everybody. Jeff Hayden, Holyoke Community College. Gloria and Adalynn covered a lot of ground already. The only thing I’ll add is we’re finally in possession of our food truck, which hopefully with our programing this fall will include many community outreach events. We’re not necessarily using the food truck just for training people how to cook; we’re going to use it for community outreach. Things like diabetes, education, wellness, family education on health issues, and those types of things more to come on that.

We also have finally moved the freight farms over to the Mass Green High Performance Computing Center. We’re in the process of planning to restart the apprenticeship program for that, it’s hydroponic growing and we’re hopeful that we can get many people in the community engaged in that, so we can make products to distribute to some of our partners here like Kate’s Kitchen, and the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club, and others. So thanks Ed, thanks everybody.

Jenneke Reynolds: Health Department, Holyoke, Chicopee and South Hadley
Hi I’m Jenneke Reynolds and I work with the health departments for Holyoke and also South Hadley, and Chicopee for a shared service grant. So I’m really interested to hear all of the great programs that are going on in Holyoke. We’re kind of looking at where there are unmet needs and gaps that need to be filled, and so this is always so valuable to hear all of the great stuff that’s going on. Thank you.

Jennifer Elkas: Lorenzi Health IHT
Hi I’m Jennifer Elkas, I’m the program direct for in-home therapy at Lorenzi Health. So this is my first time being here so it’s nice to be here with all of you. For Lorenzi Health IHT we have both outpatient, primarily telehealth, and the in-home therapy department. We have media availability for the outpatient department, and we also have lots of availability expected for in-home therapy within the next three weeks when we have lots of staff starting. That includes availability for Spanish speaking families, as well as for trauma focused in-home therapy, The TFCBT model. I put my information in the chat so you can reach out to me directly with any questions or to make a referral, and you can always go to our website which is just There’s an IHT page that will get you to the IHT specific information as well as the outpatient information. Thank you.

Jennifer Yekel: MSPCC/Eliot
MSPCC/Eliot in the survivor services program. We offer individual counseling, case management, trauma assessments, victims compensation assistance and group therapy.We currently have a caregivers group, DBT group for teens and we have a new group stating next month for kids ages 5-8 in person at the Holyoke office that will cover topics of safe and healthy relationships, friendships, different types of relationships and how to communicate needs with others. The group is free and 8 weeks long. If you know anyone interested please send them our way. Ed I did send you the flyer for the group as well.

Kaitlyn DeBlois: Clean Slate
Hi everyone my name’s Kaitlyn DeBlois, I’m the community relations liaison with CleanSlate. We provide outpatient substance use treatment right out of Race Street in Holyoke. If there’s anything you need from me or CleanSlate in general, please reach out to me, my information is in the chat. Thanks Ed.

Lani Ortiz: DIAL/SELF AmeriCorps Program
Good morning everybody, happy to be here. I am from the Dial/Self AmeriCorps Program, I am the community coordinator. Currently, we are recruiting members for our ’23-’24 service term that is beginning at the end of August. It is a rolling application so candidates are welcome to apply even in September, October, and just do less than the program year requires. So basically, members serve full time for ten months at a school or at a local agency supporting youth in the community. During that time they make a lot of community connections. They gain practical experience; they gain personal professional transferrable skills as well.

Requirements for members to apply for this program is they have to be eighteen plus, they have to have a high school diploma or a GED, and they have to be a US citizen. Also members do receive an educational reward at the end of their service term. So after serving ten months each member receives a $6,895 education award to be put towards education expenses. So if they have student loans, or if they want to go back to school or get a certificate in something they can use that money to do so. So send them my way if you know anybody, and I will put all of that information in the chat. Thanks Ed.

Leslie Diaz: My Ombudsman
Hi everyone, great to see you all, and meet many of you for the first time. I haven’t been part of these meetings before but it’s so great to see these really wonderful services and programs you offer. I’m the director of My Ombudsman which is a program that serves MassHealth members free services for anyone who is struggling to get their benefits covered. We help people who are getting denial letters and they need help with the appeals process. We help people who are getting bills in the mail and they’re not sure why, or just any other sort of complaints or issues people are experiencing with MassHealth.

We are here to supply one on one support. We currently have folks who speak Spanish and Haitian Creole. They are looking and just started with someone who is deaf and uses American Sign Language. We hope to continue expanding our language capacity. We do have an opening right now for community outreach manager to help get us out into the community. We’d love to know of any events you’re having that we could table at and share information about us as a resource. We’re really happy to be here and thank you nice to meet you all.

Magda Colon: Learn to Cope
Hello everyone my name is Magda Colon. I am the regional manager for learn to cope. Learn to Cope is an organization that offers support to families and loved ones affected by addiction and recover. We help families manage the process and systems, in regards to helping the loved one recover. We offer in person, and via Zoom meetings and support groups. We have a family center in Easthampton, right down the hall from the registry of motor vehicles, so it’s not far from Holyoke at all. And we offer supporting English and Spanish and you can contact me to learn more about learning to cope. My information will be in the chat in a minute. Thank you.

Maria Pagan: Holyoke Public Library
My name is Maria Pagan; I am the Holyoke Public Library Director. We just finished our summer reading program with the children’s, the teen’s, and even the adult’s summer reading program. It went very well. If you remember I was telling you how we have this initiative about Together For Families, which is to bring different organizations in the community together to bring the same message. To encourage parents to be involved in the in education, the health, in the welfare of children. The partnership we have so far is working very hard. We came up with the logo that we’re going to be using.

We had a training and we have a lot of amazing ideas we’re going to try to implement to help the schools by helping the children increase their grades, and the scores in the schools. The only way to do it is through the parents being involved in those three areas. We are meeting on Monday’s at the present time. If anybody wants to join us and learn more about this initiative and we’re hoping to have some kind of pledge that everybody will be giving to the families, so they commit to being engaged in those three areas to the children. And see if slowly but surely we can help the school with their scores and their grades. So thank you Ed for being one of our partners, and all of our other partners that are present today. Thank you for your support.

Maria Pelchar: Holyoke Fire Department
Hi everybody, just to remind you if you need a fire safety workshop, if you need a visit from a fire engine for any of your events, car installations, if you want to bring a group to tour the fire department, or anything from the fire department for your activities or events, I am your contact. Thank you.

Melanie Mendoza: Mass Mentoring Partnership
Hello everyone, I am Melanie Mendoza from Mass Mentoring Partnership. Excited to be here part of this meeting, I see forty something people here in the middle of summer when people are taking actually vacations. So I work for Mass Mentoring, we do a lot of capacity building. We’re excited to say that this year our line item for a state line item for mentoring funding for this at a state level it was increased to 1.8 million dollars. So programs will apply this year will be able to give to some improvements to be part of that cohort, and also increase some money to those who are receiving.

So usually our cycles go in 2 years, so for this year we will be a little late. But just so for in the future they could apply if they are running for a mentoring program. And if you are not running it for a mentoring program, and you’re running what you call a peer mentoring program, what you call an after school program, whatever program you work I want to connect with you. So I am sending some private messages to people that I have been hearing of all of the work they are doing. I will also add my information and my email address so you can contact me directly. That’s it, thank you.

Molly Jane Thoms: Community Legal Aid
Hey everyone I’m Molly Jane Thoms, I work at Community Legal Aid. Where our office is based in Springfield and I work in the law education unit. So I’m an attorney that represents children in special education; 504, bullying harassment, language access issues. If any of that is coming up for the kids of the families you’re working with, we love referrals from our community partners so feel free to reach out with any questions and I’ll put our information in the chat. I’m in the education unit like I said but we also have housing services, disability benefits, and a stew of other services through office.

Nancy Ortiz: United States Handballers Association
Hi everyone, this is my first meeting here. It’s nice to see everyone, that some with familiar names and organizations that I want to network with. I am the State Chair for the United States Handballers Association. So everything handball related, wall ball related that’s me. And I do it with my husband William and we have an upcoming tournament at Jackson Park Hamble courts on Saturday, September 16th. And I wanted to let everybody know that if you have any youth or adults that need to do some affordable recreation, a positive outlet to let out some stress, some anxiety, and do something positive. Not just handball, but we’ll introduce paddleball as well and do something in conjunction you know modify it and even teach it. Please bring my way and I’ll put my information in the chat and I represent the New England Handball Inc.

Rosalyn Rodriguez: YMCA of Greater Holyoke
Hi I’m Rosalyn Rodriguez; I’m the program director for the YWCA Holyoke Teen Living Program. I do not have any updates at this time.

Ruth Lati: Bay Path University
Hi everyone my name is Ruth. Like Nancy, this is my first meeting today, so great to see all of you. I’m a new dean at Bay Path University, and here to just share we offer online and on ground undergrad education to women. Online education and on ground education to both women and men, and across the gender spectrum. What you may not know is that we partner closely with community organizations to provide education and training. Something that we’re very excited about are our leadership training programs that are spate from academic credit. They are training programs that happen on site.

We’re getting ready to launch a trauma informed practice certificate and training for folks who are working with youth. We have a host of other training opportunities if your organizations are interested. So feel free to reach out to me I put my email in the chat. We love partnering in the community, so thanks for having me here today.

Sandy Ward: Funeral Consumers Group of Western Mass
I’m a volunteer with the nonprofit group Funeral Consumers Group of Western Massachusetts, and we aim to answer people questions about their rights and options. We’re not selling anything; we’re just helping people understand what’s legal in Massachusetts, what the choices are, how to keep costs low. I will be at the Holyoke Senior Center on August 23rd for two different open sessions. We’re just calling questions to answer; it’s not a presentation this time. It’s a follow up to the presentations I’ve done, but just for people who have a question that are concerned about final arrangements, funerals, how to pay for it, or what things are. I’ll have lots of information that I’ve brought in from different organizations that are related.

I’ve put the information in the chat. I think nit’s 10 to 11 in the morning and 12:30 to 1:30, so before and after the 11:30 lunch at the senior center. Either one of those sessions will be in an upstairs room that’s quitter. My last presentation was in a very noisy room and a lot of people had a hard, you know they couldn’t hear, they couldn’t hear and what not. So we’re doing a follow up just for questions and I realized we can open that to the community. I can answer a wide range of questions in death care, but I also have the ones I can’t answer, I’m not a lawyer, we can make referrals to organizations that could help with the legal part of it.

We have a lot of information about how to have affordable dignified meaningful services. Without a sales pitch, we’re just telling you what the choices are and our website I’ve put in the chat, has a price list that we have gathered from as many as the eighty-five funeral home location in Western Massachusetts as will cooperate with us. We’ve got a pretty high, we’ve got 81% of them, gave us their prices the last time we asked for that. So, we’ve put that up on the web for sharing, it’s very informative you could save thousands of dollars. Just one firm verses another, and you wouldn’t realize that. So we try to inform people a heads up, there’s lots of complexity in this but we’re friendly and we’ll answer the questions. Thank you.

Juan Anderson-Burgos: State Representative Pat Duffy’s Office
Hello everybody, sorry I was late I had a lot of things going on. Anyways, Juan Anderson-Burgos, I’m the Legislative Aide to State Representative, Patricia Duffy. Our office basically handles a lot of things, what I’m most known for is my success with unemployment cases. And as we all know during COVID a lot of families had issues with that department, knowingly obviously because of the influx of calls coming in. I’m also pretty good with the RMV. If you lost your license or you have any issues with RMV, I can technically tackle those as well. But anything you have constituent concerns in Holyoke, please send them my way I’d be more than happy to assist. Thank you.

Shannon Burke: Holyoke Pediatrics
Hi I’m Shannon with Holyoke Pediatrics, I have nothing to report today. Thank you for your time.

Sharon Connors: MassHire Springfield
Good Afternoon, this is my first meeting so thank you for having me. I am one of the job developers, another job developer at MassHire Springfield Career Center. My coworker Betty spoke a little bit ago. So what I do is really assist job seekers with their job search process, which looks very different for everybody. The career center is huge, I highly encourage people to take a lot at all of our career center services. And I will include my contact information in the chat f anyone would like to follow up with me. Thank you.

Sicry Garcia: Nuestra Raices
Okay, so we have the Hybrid Festival in September. So I will be sending the information next week, but at the moment I don’t have it prior.

Sunibel Guerrero: Community Education Project
Good afternoon, my name is Sunibel Guerrero. I’m the office administrator at the Community Education Project. So I just want to highlight that I shared on the chat the flyer for the next event that we have this 15th of September in Fiesta Café. So please share this an support us.

Isabel Garcia: I Am Here
My name is Isabel Garcia, I use she/her pronouns and I am the founder of “I Am Here.” That is a training in consultancy agency. So basically I provide training, workshops, healing circles to organizations, in relation to suicide, mental health, and social justice. So, all of my training programs are connected to those three topics. Right now I am promoting one of my workshop series called “The social Influences of Latina and Black Mental Health.” So if you’re looking for training workshops, healing circles, for your staff, youth, etc.; then feel free to contact me especially because Latina and Hispanic heritage month is coming up. So I’m going to put the link the workshop series in the chat and my email. Thank you.

Ed Caisse: Hampden County Sheriff’s Office
The big thing I have coming up is, we as a team really, is the Back to School Event. So right now, we have approximately two hundred volunteers, we could use about another twenty or so. That’s not counting the people that are going to be servicing tables in the service provider area. We do have a resource area; I think right now we have thirty-seven agencies registered. There are three slots but you’d have to send me an email and I can send you the link to that. It is on a first come, first serve basis, just want to throw that out there.

The Back to School Event is going to be August the 19th from 11:00AM to 3:00pm. Like I said we’re still in need for some volunteers, I just placed the volunteer registration link in there. What I’m going to do is actually grab the other link for you. If anyone is interested in having a community service table in the community service area, I’m going to get that link right now. But I will tell you this; it’s probably going to be full today. So I just wanted to throw that out there.

We’re trying to get the volunteers registered by today as well, so we can get all of the area leaders the contact information of those that are going to be volunteering in their area. So if you think you might be interested in volunteering for the Back to School Event, I am asking you to consider registering today. So we can definitely get all of the teams connected. So I just now put the link in the chat. If you’re a resource agency and you feel like you have resources for the youth and families in Holyoke and you want to be at the Back to School Event. We do ask the service providers to be there from 10:00AM until 2:00PM, the events going to go into 3:00PM but we need the service providers to get there early and to get everything set up. Even though we market the event from 11:00AM to 3:00PM, we may let them in at 10:30AM; we may let them in a little early if everybody is in place and ready to go.

At 2:00PM we are going to do a drawing of two, sixty-five inch T’s that are going to be raffled off. Nobody has to pay, they’re just going to get their stamps in the resource area. The forty tables are going to get stamps then when they turn in their passport we’re going to do a drawing at 2:00PM. That’s why it’s important to us that the service providers stay until at least 2:00PM. After we get all of the stamps if you guys want to leave after 2:00PM and feel like it’s kind of dying down the event, and you don’t really want to stay until 3:00PM. You can feel free to leave after 2:00PM. That’s it and thank you guys so much for all you guys do in the community. Look forward to working side by side with you guys, have a great rest of the week. Hopefully we see you guys at the Back To School Event next Saturday.

Buenas Tardes a todos - Gloria Penagos from HCC -

Faith Sarisley
CrossPoint Clinical Services, Inc.

Adlyn Colon
HCC Adult Education.

Rosalyn Rodriguez
Program Director - YWCA - Holyoke Young Parent Program.

Betty Perez
Mass Hire Springfield-Job Developer

Shannon Burke
Holyoke Pediatrics Medical Home Care Coordinator

Ysabel Garcia
Suicide Upstream Prevention Trainer/Educator, Estoy Aqui Founder.

Edward Caisse
Our meetings are always the 2nd Thursday of the month at 1:00pm.

Jeffrey Hayden
Holyoke Community College;;

Ruth Lahti
Bay Path University;

Jennifer Elkas, Lorenzi Health IHT
Hi everyone! I'm Jennifer Elkas, Director of the In Home Therapy (IHT) program at Lorenzi Health located in Holyoke. It's a pleasure to be here at my first meeting with you all! We have lots of availability for English and Spanish speaking families for IHT. Any youth referred this week or next should be assigned an IHT team the first or second week of September. To make a referral, you can use the referral form on the IHT page on our website, or contact me directly at or 413-200-8585.

Sunibel Guerrero
Good Afternoons - Sunibel Guerrero from CEP - we have this activity scheduled for September 15th, please share with other folks. Thank you.

Bill Courchesne
HCSO, HSNI Ward 6 NW Coordinator 413-858-0015

Diana Biagioli
Federation for Children with Special Needs, NextGen Careers Family Outreach Coordinator,

Alicia Thomas
(, Director of Youth Organizing and Leadership- Pa'lante Transformative Justice About (

Leslie Diaz
Hi everyone, sorry to join late. I'm Leslie Diaz, Director of My Ombudsman at the Disability Policy Consortium -, 617-906-8801. We provide 1-on-1 support to MassHealth members with access to their benefits, appeals, and complaints. Happy to connect :)
clara wagner
Clara Wagner, Therapist at Catalyst Cooperative Healing in Holoyke. We have a few openings currently, both for adults and children/youth. Feel free to reach out

Kaitlyn DeBlois
Community Relations Liaison with CleanSlate

Sicry Garcia
Hello Everyone, from Nuestras Raíces

Diana Biagioli
If you know of anyone 18-30 years old with any type of disability (anxiety, ADHD and other issues count) who is looking for employment, the Mass Rehabilitation Commission has a new free Initiative to help them in the process. Please see details here:

Magda Colon
Hello everyone,

clara wagner
Thank you for the presentation and info!

Sandy Ward
the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Massachusetts, an all-volunteer nonprofit educational organization. We answer questions about rights and options for final arrangements. On I’ll be available at the Holyoke Senior Center for two Question & Answer sessions, open to all: Wednesday, August 23,10-11pm and also 12:20-1:30pm. Our website: Email us:
Or call and leave message for our FCAWM volunteers: 413-376-4747

Iris Sosa
Boy Scout of America Western Massachusetts Council., 413-594-9196 x7030. cell 787-512-1375
Thank you for the presentacio

Mandy Goulet- Hope for Holyoke
Peer Outreach Coordinator-Hope for Holyoke

Lani Ortiz
DIAL/SELF AmeriCorps Program, Community Coordinator.

Sheryl L Maldonado
Resident engagement leadership training VISTSA, from Way Finders, 413-386-6898,,

Adlyn Colon 413-552-2927. Hiset/GED classes and English ESOL.

Heather MacInnes
Western Mass Council Boy Scouts of America- Membership Specialist/ Exploring Program Specialist. 413-218-2798.

erica vasquez
HI, no new updates and my camera is not working

Alijah Leombruno, Eliot/MSPCC
Clinical Supervisor with Eliot/MSPCC in Holyoke. We offer In home therapy and therapetic mentoring services. Very short wait for TM and no wait for IHT at this time. We accept masshealth, beacon, and some Tufts. Please click here to make a referral

Diosdado Lopez-Martinewz
The Support Network 413-887-2771

Jennifer Yekel
MSPCC/Eliot in the survivor services program
We offer individual counseling, case management, trauma assessments, victims compensation assistance and group therapy.
We currently have a caregivers group, DBT group for teens and we have a new group stating next month for kids ages 5-8 in person at the Holyoke office that will cover topics of safe and healthy relationships, friendships, different types of relationships and how to communicate needs with others. The group is free and 8 weeks long.
If you know anyone interested please send them our way. Ed I did send you the flyer for the group as well.

Lani Ortiz
Currently recruiting members for our 2023-2024 service term, members serve full time at local schools/agencies in Western MA supporting youth and community. (requirements: 18+, HS diploma/GED Equivalent & US Citizen) Members gain practical experience, gain professional/personal transferable skills and build community connections. Members receive a living stipend of $17,800 along with an $6,895 education award upon completion of term. Apply Today:

Magda Colon
Regional Manager Learn to Cope. we offer support for families and those affected by their loved one Substance Use Disorder. we offer peer support groups in person and via zoom- english/ spanish /bilingual. Narcan and Narcan education. We have a family resource center at the eastworks building in east Hampton near the RMV.

Lani Ortiz
DIAL/SELF AmeriCorps Program, Community Coordinator. We currently have open positions all through Western MA!

Leslie Diaz
Director of the My Ombudsman program. Feel free to reach out to me., 617-906-8801. We provide 1-on-1 support to MassHealth members with access to their benefits, appeals, help with billing problems, and complaints. Happy to connect :)
Sheryl L Maldonado
Sorry everyone I need to go, Thankyou for all resources that you are giving for the community Have a nice day See you tomorrow Ed

Melany Mendoza Mass Mentoring Partnership She/Her/Hers
Mass Mentoring Partnership

Molly Jane Thoms - community legal aid
education law attorney at Community Legal Aid,,

Nancy Ortiz
New England Handballers Association Inc. - Check us out on Youtube under nehainc. Handball Advocate and Activist. Keep Handball alive in Holyoke, Springfield, and in New England.

Ysabel Garcia Estoy Aqui LLC
More Garcias in the room!

Sharon Connors, Job Developer, MassHire Springfield Career Ctr.
MassHire Springfield Career Center, Job Developer, ph 413 858-2822 and

Ysabel Garcia Estoy Aqui LLC
Training: Email:

Edward Caisse
Back to School Event Volunteer Registration Link:

Alicia Thomas
I can personally attest to the power and transformative experience that Ysabel's trainings provide. Our staff did a training with her, it was amazing!

Edward Caisse

Old Business / New Business
Next Meeting is on Thursday, September 14th on Zoom.

Close Meeting 2:30pm
Contact Information:
Edward Caisse
Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
(413) 858-0225
Friend Request us on Facebook @ Shsni Holyoke

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