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December 2022

Ed Caisse

December 8 2022

Virtual Networking Meeting

Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative
Meeting Motes

Date: December 8, 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.

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

Ramona Reno: MassHire Holyoke 1:05pm - 1:20pm
Hello everybody, nice to see you all. My name is Ramona Reno; I’m the executive director of Re-entry Recovery Program for MassHire Holyoke. I want to talk a little bit about MassHire Holyoke and MassHire Springfield. We are lucky to have two awesome career centers in Hampden County. There are 23 across Massachusetts and we are in 15 regions. Under MassHire Holyoke and Springfield we have employment services for people looking for a job or training. We have specialty services for veterans; we have a veteran’s representative at each location. We have someone that works with someone who has disabilities and wants to re-enter the workforce. We have youth programs at both locations. They [the centers] are not exactly the same because at MassHire Holyoke we have 54 call centers, and that means 54 different grants, so we have different initiatives that are unique to each center, but across the state all the centers have the core things which are usually youth services, disability services, veteran services, and job search services. People can become a member by going to our website and signing up for an orientation. Our orientations will give you an overview of everything that we do, in detail. One of the challenges that we have out there is that right now more than ever, we have hundreds of thousands of dollars spent for training, for instance through our workforce board we have a welding training, CNA nursing, Culinary Arts, CDL, and Manufacturing 101. I bring those up because those training courses are the ones that are needed in our area, but we have very low enrollment in those training courses. If people fit the income guidelines, are out of work, long-term unemployed they can go to the career center in MassHire Springfield or Holyoke and see if they are eligible, but they can utilize these trainings. Most of them are four to six weeks, possibly eight weeks. Some are longer, some are college based but it is one hundred percent free if they qualify. If you are looking for that I can direct you to our career centers websites, they both have them marketed there and we really need help recruiting them.

I gave you a short synopsis of what the career centers do but I also want to talk a bit about my program. My program is the Re-entry Recovery Program. I have been working with Ed Caisse and the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department for over twenty years and we grew it. The Sheriff, back in the day, approached us and said he wanted some employment groups in the jail and throughout the community at aftercare, the Western Mass correctional center, the women’s center, and we do that now. We currently offer 180 hours of workshops, some of them are work readiness workshops, and some are CBT/DBT groups where we are working with individuals to help them establish their self-esteem and self-worth. Those are mostly at the jail, but we are starting to come into the community, and we are going to be looking at different locations to offer digital literacy and financial literacy, in our communities in Hampden County. We just received a grant and will be starting, probably in February, and we will be reaching out to different places for people that are in early recovery, homeless, or have been incarcerated. People that have barriers to employment. I will be sharing that information with Ed, I know he will get it out to you because he is a super-sonic email person and send them out faster than you can get back to your desk, but I wanted to mention that.
The other initiative that we have is our Recovery Ready Workforce Initiative. That was launched in March, and we have quite a few employers involved. We are meeting with employers who are willing to take the pledge to be an advocate to support and educate their managers and employees, on substance use disorder, what it is, and the impact it is having in our community. Our goal is to break down the stigma; we know that if people recover aloud others will not suffer in silence. That is what we are going by, we are trying to educate our employment places to help broaden our scope to educate the severity of this disease and how we as a community can help solve the problem by just talking about it. I can tell you of several incidents, we had Narcan training two years ago from Tapestry health, and within six months we saved a life in the back alley of our building, just by having it in the building. We had another person overdose in the bathroom and luckily we had Narcan. Our staff is fully trained, I have two licensed drug and alcohol counselors on staff, and we do a lot of talking and community outreach. We had someone overdose on camera and we were able to recognize those symptoms and talk to him, but we had online groups going on and we had to have the sober house go there and call the police when they could not get in to save that person’s life. Educating employers and employees makes a difference for all of us. It is about the grandparents knowing what their grandkids are doing and understanding the signs of things. You will hear a lot more about the Recovery Ready Workforce Initiative in the media. We have a lot of different activities coming up in January and February, but if you see something please share the information with others. Please join us, we are going to be having a big event in February, I do not have the exact date yet, but we want it to be a community event. We want to make sure that the people who work in the community know where to find resources, so we can better help people. We do trainings with the employers around stigma, recovery, and one of the things we are talking about are leadership and communication skills because a lot of employers are not comfortable having that conversation and saying “hey I have seen that you are looking a little different. I feel like something is off. Are you okay?” We have a CORI clinic now. If you go to our website and you go to the Re-entry Recovery section, we have a new process in collaboration with Western New England University where we are able to run CORIs at no cost. We have a funding source that will help with that. But they have to be Massachusetts CORI’s only and we are doing Western Mass right now and they have to have an ID they can show so we can run the CORI. All the information that I have talked about is on our website and I will put that in the chat.

Agency Overview and Updates 1:25pm - 2:25pm

Yvonne Lomax: Westover Job Corps
Good afternoon and happy holidays everyone. My name is Yvonne Lomax; I am the outreach and admissions manager here at Westover Job Corps. I also have Karina Castro who is the outreach and admissions specialist, and she covers the Holyoke area. We wanted to extend the fact that Westover is now accepting virtual, and in-person tours every Wednesday, and we are starting back up the first Wednesday in January. Our morning tour is from 10 am to 12 pm and an afternoon tour from 1:30 pm to 3 o’clock. We are also enrolling young people in-person now and we would love to come out and present any orientations, interviews, and assist in the community for any community service. Everyone have a wonderful holiday season and please feel free to reach out if Westover can do anything for you and the community, thank you Ed, nice to see you all.

William Courchesne: Hamden County Sheriff’s Department
Hey everybody, Bill Courchesne here from the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department. I am the Ward 6 Neighborhood coordinator for HSNI. I have nothing new to report at this time. Hope everyone has a great holiday.

Tony Simmons: Hampden County District Attorney’s Office
Good afternoon everyone, Tony Simmons, community, safety, and outreach director for Hampden County District Attorney’s Office. I have nothing to report. Thank you very much.

Therese Ross: Rick’s Place
Hi, I am Therese Ross, and I am the Executive Director at Rick’s Place. We provide peer grief support groups to youth ages 5 to 18 and their caregivers. We offer those services in Wilbraham and in January we will be opening up Westfield. Our programs are free to families; people can come for a death due to any circumstances. If folks have questions they should reach out to us and thanks for having this great network of people.

Thais Rivera: Trulieve
Good afternoon everyone, I am Thais, I work for Trulieve in Holyoke. I have nothing to report I am just here collecting information and resources. Thank you.

Stephanie Marshall: MHA and Magazine Street Commons
Good afternoon everyone, my name is Stephanie Marshall. I am a recovery coach at MHA and also the resident coordinator at Magazine Street Commons and I have nothing to report.

Sintique Carrillo: En Centro
Hello everyone, my name is Sintique. I am the senior community outreach counselor for En Centro. I am at Holyoke Community college, and we are a program that serves Latinx, Hispanic, Spanish-speaking students on campus. So if there is anyone you feel would be interested in higher education feel free to send me their information. I have also added my contact information in the chat. We will also be posting an open position in a couple of weeks so keep an eye out for that and I will forward it to you all.

Sheryl Maldonado: WayFinders
Hello, good afternoon, my name is Sheryl Maldonado. I am a resident coordinator at WayFinders and a VISTA member. I have nothing to report. We have some upcoming events in Holyoke, so I will be reaching out when we have something new coming. Thank you.

Chief Sean McBride: Holyoke District Court
Hello, good afternoon everybody, Sean McBride from the Holyoke District Court. I have nothing to report. Thank you.

Sarah Lynn: MSPCC Prevention
Hi everybody Sarah Lynn from MSPCC Prevention and we have the Healthy Families as Parents and Teachers Program in the area for young parents and we are actively accepting referrals. Thank you.

Sandy Ward: Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Mass
Thank you, Ed. I am with the Funeral consumers Alliance of Western Mass and the big news from us is from the federal government. The Federal Trade Commission is proposing to mandate that all funeral homes post their prices online on a website if they have a website. We have been lobbying for this for years trying to update the funeral rule which protects consumer rights. That rule has not been amended since 1994 when websites were not a big deal and now, particularly since COVID, it is clear that when people have a death they should have 24/7 easy access to look for prices online. I will put in the chat a page that I have put on our website that explains the updating of the funeral rule, how to comment some tips on what else they should change while they are updating the rule. We have summarized what we think are the key points. This is a historic moment that we can lobby for improving consumer rights. I think this will be a real game changer, it may take two years to be implemented but we want to lobby for it at this point. So I will put in a page on updating the funeral rule next to my name when I put it in the chat. Thank you, Ed.

Rhakeem Kinard: RFK Community Alliance
Hey, how is everybody doing? My name is Rhakeem Kinard. I am a life coach at RFK Community Alliance. I have no major updates however we are always looking for community service opportunities for our youth. We have been able to connect with a few great organizations through this lovely community here and we are always looking for more, so please feel free to send them over. I put my contact information in the chat. One of our team members is also looking to put together clothes drive within the next month or so. If there are any facilities or shelters, or locations that would love to receive donations please let us know. We are looking for places that are truly in need so we can provide some good clothing, possibly toys, and a few other things to people in need. Thank you.

Jessica Gilmore: Hampden Superior Court Probation
Hey everyone, Probation Officer Jessica Gilmore form Hampden Superior Court Probation. I have nothing to share today. Thank you.

Officer Josh Colon: Holyoke Police Department
Hello Ed. Hello, everyone, Officer Colon from the Holyoke Police Department. I have nothing to report at the moment. Thank you.

Milagros Martinez Schettini: Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School
Hi Ed and hi community leaders. I am Milagros and I work at Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School. This is a high school, and it is the only social justice charter school in New England. We are currently putting together the Humanity Day and Social Justice Exhibition where we are having our students do a project-based activity. So we are hoping that some of you can join us on December 21st from 5:30 pm to 7 pm and it is located at 134 Springfield Street, thank you Ed.

Miguel Rivera: Rewarding Insurance Agency
Hello everyone, Miguel Rivera with Rewarding Insurance Agency. We are the only bilingual health insurance agency in Holyoke. We focus on serving seniors and their families. We want to let you all know that this year we established partnerships with three of the strongest health insurance companies here in Hampden County and we can now sell from Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA), Fallon health, and United Health Care. We were able to help a lot of people with eyeglasses, dentures, hearing aids, transportation to medical appointments, OTC card, and medical things. Many of these plans are zero premiums, so if you know someone 65 years old or older send them to us, we are happy to help. Thank you.

Professor Miguel Arce: Springfield College
Thanks Ed for providing us this opportunity to gather and to share resources. The only thing I would add beyond that, which is a critical thing to reinforce, is that if you are providing a service, I am also able to talk with anyone about furthering their education.

Michelle Daries: Department of Children and Families
Hello everybody Michelle Daries from the Department of Children and Families. I am a foster care and adaptive recruiter for the department. As you all know when I come on most months and plug that there are so many kids in Hampden and Hampshire county, across the state of Massachusetts that have to come into the foster care system. We are out there at community events. And trying to spread the word and educate the general public about the needs of our kids. So if you think you want some information about foster care I did put my email in the chat, you can definitely get a hold of me. If you are an agency that has an opportunity for us to present or have a table if you are doing a resource fair we would love to be a part of it. We want to be in the community, educating and letting people know that there are many kids across our state that need foster care and eventually adoption. Thank you and I hope everyone has a good holiday season.

Marissa Maheu: Holyoke Medical Center
Hello everybody, my name is Marissa Maheu. I am a community nurse navigator at Holyoke Medical Center. I have nothing new to report, but I am here to get as many resources as possible to help our community.

Marissa Chiapperino: Holyoke Medical Center
Hello, my name is Marissa Chiapperino, registered dietitian here at Holyoke Medical Center. We continue our free diabetes classes on Wednesday nights in December at the Holyoke YMCA. I have shared that information in the past, but it starts at 5:30 and it is open to everyone and anyone. We continue to offer our free community dinner on the last Thursday of every month, which will be December 29th at 3:45 pm and people can drive up to the main hospital. Thank you.

Lt. Maria Pelchar: Holyoke Fire Department
Hello everybody, just to let you know that we still have our smoke alarm installation program going on. If anyone needs a fire safety workshop, inspections, any tours of the fire department, or visits from the fire truck let me know. Also car seat installations, if you know anyone who needs a car seat send them my way. Thank you.

Maria Chambers: Behavioral Health Network (BHN)
Hi, good afternoon everyone. My name is Maria Chambers. I am a senior program manager at the Behavioral Health Network, and I have no new updates to share.

Marangely La Santa: Holyoke Community College
Hello, good afternoon my name is Marangely La Santa I a bi-lingual senior community outreach counselor at Holyoke Community College under career pathways and we want to share that we can pay for courses for early childhood educators that are interested in taking some of our free courses.

Luby O’Connor: Health Care for All
Hi, good afternoon my name is Luby O’Connor, and I am coordinator here at Health Care for All. I have nothing to report today.

Liandro Gonzalez: Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
Hello everybody, Liandro Gonzalez, Hampden county Sheriff’s Department. I am also the Holyoke Safe neighborhood Initiative Ward 1 coordinator and I have nothing to report at this time, thank you Ed.

Krystyna Boisjolie: RFK Community Alliance
Hi Ed, how are you? Krystyna Boisjolie with RFK Community Alliance, thank you so much for having me today; I do not have anything new to report, but I did shoot you an email that we would love to be considered to do a presentation in April. I do not know if you will have a long list of people that are interested too but I would love to be able to join and talk about our community-based services and also have some folks in the community-based services pop in a talk a little bit about the services we provide if possible. Thank you.

Kathy Veins: Greater Holyoke YMCA
I do not have anything new to report. There is a lot going on but nothing new.

Kashawn Sanders: Follow My Steps Foundation
Hey everybody, Kashawn Sanders from the Follow My Steps foundation we are a youth mentoring organization that pairs kids with their future selves. We try to pair any kid that is interested in being an electrician with an electrician, an entrepreneur with an entrepreneur, and anybody in higher education with the same type of professional in that field. In addition we talk about professional development, financial literacy, and community engagement. We are holding a toy drive tailored towards kids in Holyoke DCF. We have identified seventy kids and they sent in their wish lists. If there is anyone that is interested in sponsoring a kid for this year please let us know. We have an updated link, and we would like to connect, but again, we are always looking for different opportunities to collaborate with other organizations, so feel free to reach out to us.

Julie Finn: Community Resource for Justice
Hello, thank you for having me. I am Julie Finn, implementation manager at Community Resource for justice, Social Justice Service’s division and we run a number of residential reentry centers, one of which is located in West Springfield. This is my first time at this meeting, so I am just sort of absorbing it all. Thank you for having me.

Jill McKeon: Holyoke DCF
Hi everybody. Jill McKeon from Holyoke, DCF, nothing new to report, but I did want to give a shout out. After the last meeting rise above reached out to me and we collaborated were able to provide nine different children in DCF placement some funding for some things that they were interested in. It was a wonderful collaboration and I thank you so much.

Jennifer Gonzalez: Holyoke Public Schools
Hi everyone, Jennifer Gonzalez, manager of homeless services and enrollment for the Holyoke Public Schools. I oversee the McKinney Vento program, which is a federal law that protects the educational rights of students who are experiencing housing instability. So if you know any family who has lost housing, live in shelter, or are staying at a hotel, and their student is attending the Holyoke Public schools please feel free to reach out. We also recently got donations from Cradle to Crayons; winter coats, hats, and gloves, and we have seasonal clothing packs. So if you know of any student or any children residing in Holyoke that need a winter coat, we have tons of them or seasonal clothing, please reach out to me. You can call the Enrollment Office 534-2000 option one and ask for Jennifer Gonzalez or Aida Rivera. Thank you.

Jen Fernandes: United Way of Pioneer Valley
Hello everyone, I am Jen Fernandez. I am a senior financial coach with the Thrive program with the United Way of Pioneer Valley. It is our financial literacy program, and it is free and open to everybody in the community. A few updates in regard to Thrive. Ed, you sent out a couple of flyers yesterday and I thank you for that. We are offering six-week classes and each week it is broken down into a particular topic. So one would be banking the next one's budgeting, savings, credit, and the Cliff effect, so if people are interested in those six classes, I have done a bunch of these seminar classes and they have gone really well. They are more like a round table style as opposed to just PowerPoints, and we do exercises in each class, so people get a lot out of it. It is very interactive and engaging, I just wanted to let people know about that. Also with Thrive, I know we usually talk about Holyoke, but I am going to be having an open house/meet and greet on January 18th at the Chicopee Public Library from three to five. It is a good way for people from Holyoke or wherever to learn about Thrive. I am going to have some ongoing clients there who can talk about thrive itself and Ed sent out a flyer about that. The other really exciting news is that here at the Picknelly building in Holyoke, we are going to be having a pantry here. We have two pantries through the United Way in Springfield and Chicopee and having this one here in Holyoke is huge. We are very big on food insecurity at the United Way, so having this pantry here in Holyoke right at 206 Maple Street the Picknelly Building is really exciting. That is going to happen after the New Year. Last, we have hope for the holidays going on, so we are collecting toys for kids. If people are interested in donating, they could drop off anything directly to the United Way, which is in the TD Bank building in Springfield. I put my information in the chat if anybody has questions or wants to contact me. Thank you, Ed.

Jeana Burke: Gandara Mental Health Center
Hello everyone, I am out in the field so forgive me for being in the car. I am parked in a safe place. I am Jeana Burke from Gandara Mental Health Center here in Springfield. I am the program manager for the project and Mentoring program. I am looking for youth 13 to 17 living with or struggling with mental health, substance use, alcohol use or whatever stresses they may be experiencing, whether at home, in school, or in the community. Please contact me in the Springfield area. Hopefully, we will grow into Holyoke and in Westfield soon. I am also looking for toys and coats for them. I asked them for a wish list, and they are giving me their wish list so I would like to see if I can get some help around that area. I will put my name and contact details in the chat. Thank you so much.

Jason Comcowhich: Nuestras Raices
Hi, I am Jason. I am the community engagement coordinator with Nuestras Raices. I am actively seeking community partners who are interested in youth programming around food justice leadership, food skills, nutrition, and community gardening. We are also doing our Nuestros Finqueros farmer training program coming up this year (2023). I will be posting a link to a survey for that and that also has a sign up for the program, so if you know anyone interested in farming who could give us relevant feedback for that or wants to participate direct them that way. That is all I have for today. Thank you.

James Maloney: Hope for Holyoke
Hello, good afternoon everyone, my name is James Maloney. I am the assistant director of Hope for Holyoke. There has been a couple of changes here, our former director, Debbie has moved on to the state, so we are happy that she is in a new position and new job, so we wish her well, but we have a new director that's Raymond Rodriguez. We have a couple of things happening. We have an open house on the 30th during our New Year's Eve event will be open from 4 to 8, so we will be having live music and some open house information, so if people want to stop in and get some more information as to what Hope for Holyoke is and what we offer the community. We have a couple of drives that are taking place as well, a food and can drive and coat drive because we have had a lot of people coming in seeking coats and assistance. We are a peer recovery center that help people in recovery and find recovery, get into multiple pathways, and learn what they need to do and where they can go. So I am willing, and we are ready to connect with people. If you want to reach out to me, my information is in the chat, and I will see you all later. Take care.

Adam / Jaime Santiago: Preferred Behavioral Health
Sorry Jamie had to step out really quick to take a phone call. My name's Adam. I am the assistant clinical coordinator here at Preferred Behavioral Health. Right now we have a turnaround time of around two to three weeks for all of the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership clients and also Beacon clients. We are trying to keep the turnaround rate fairly quick, seeing that now, especially at the holiday season, there is a lot of stress, anxiety, and depression. So we are here at 125 Liberty St suite 202, here to help in whatever we can.

Iris Sosa: Boy Scouts of America Western Massachusetts Council
Hello everyone, my name is Iris Sosa, I am from Boy Scouts of America Western Massachusetts Council. Right now we are looking for a group that wants to have a program partnership. We have a program starting, it is about Explorer Aviation in Westfield, at Butters Airport. It is for kids ages 14 and older, so if you know any kids that are interested in an aviation career just reach out to us. They have a very good schedule for them with speakers and all about aviation. It is a good opportunity for those youth. Thank you.

Iris Colon: River Valley Counselling Center
Hi, I am iris Colon. I am with River Valley Counseling Center. I work with the IHCT program which is the integrated healthcare team and the peer recovery specialist. The program offers clinicians, case management, peer recovery, a medical assistant, and a nurse. That is basically the gist of the program, and I do not have anything else.

Ileana Carrion: City of Holyoke Economic Planning and Development
Good afternoon everyone. My name is Ileana, I work for a city of Holyoke Planning and Economic Development, I do not have any updates. I hope everyone stays warm and has a really good holiday. Thank you.

Heather Salerno: Western Mass Moms
Hi, I am Heather Salerno with the Western Mass Moms program. Usually you see Abbie, our intake coordinator, in the meeting, she is out unexpectedly on bereavement leave for a while. Our program takes all mothers and caregivers, we are still accepting all referrals into the program. It offers a chance for an 8-week stress management course as well as working on goal setting with the moms around education, employment, and training programs. So if you think any of your clients are a good fit for the program, you can e-mail me or, I will put that in the chat. Thank you so much.

Hannah Taylor: Community Legal Aid
Hi everyone, nice to meet you. I apologize, I have no voice because I am getting over something. I am an attorney with the CORI Reentry project at Community Legal aid and because I have no voice, my colleague Annie Connor will talk more about our work. It is our first time here, and we are really excited to meet everyone.

Greg Graustein: Recovery Connection Center
I thought you were going to call me Ebenezer. Greg Graustein, Recovery Connection Center business development coordinator. We are an MAT program in Springfield with many other offices in Massachusetts. We treat with Suboxone, Sublocade, and Vivitrol. Our biggest update is that we changed our protocol a little bit more to help people transition from Methadone onto Suboxone. The big issue has always been that if someone had commercial insurance, you could go into a detox and then have that transfer happen there. If you do not have commercial insurance, you really did not have any option. We take all insurances to treat people with addiction and we now can help the person who is motivated to come off their methadone and try to go on to Suboxone. That is my update and happy holidays to all.

Erica Letson: Caring Health Center
Hi everyone, I am Erica Letson. I am the project manager of outreach and enrollment at Caring Health Center. Our Health Navigator program provides assistance with enrollment in Mass health and Health Connector Insurance plans as well as enrollment in SNAP. We are always accepting referrals for new patients and always looking for partnerships with other Community organizations to attend outreach events. Or potentially table on a more regular basis depending on the needs. So I will put my e-mail in the chat if anyone is interested in reaching out about partnership, please let me know. Thank you.

Ellen Broadhurst: Hampden County Courts
Hi, good afternoon everybody. I am here just to get all this amazing information. So thanks. I am a private social worker working with the Hampden County courts. Thank you.

Elizabeth Veillette: CHD
Sorry, I sound awful because I am just getting over something, which is also why you are not looking at me. I am the employment specialist navigator for CHD Employment and Housing division. I work with people who are residents of family shelters or in subsidized housing to attain employment and education. I help them meet the barriers that get them closer to being employed and my information is in the chat. Have a wonderful holiday everyone.

Ernst Jean Louis: Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
Good afternoon everybody. My name is Ernest Jean Louis, I am a deputy with the Hamden County Sheriff’s Department. I work here in Holyoke at the Holyoke Police Community Center. I do not have anything to report at this time and have a blessed holiday everybody.

Danielle Hartner: CHD
Hi there, Danielle Hartner from CHD EA family shelter system. Do not have anything new to report, just that it is great to be here and always hear about holiday activities for kids and families. So I am vigorously taking notes, Thank you.

Corinne Ryan: Community: Legal Aid
Hi everyone, Corinne Ryan, managing attorney of Community Legal Aid in Springfield for those of you who are new or who may not remember, I am just going to give you a really quick overview. My colleagues, Hannah Taylor and Annie Connor are here from our CORI Reentry unit, which is our newest unit and certainly the very robust and growing unit in Hampden County. So I will turn it over to them to speak more specifically about that. In general, just remember us, keep us in mind. We are the only free civil legal aid program for all of the elderly and low-income residents of Central and Western mass. We primarily serve folks below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines, but we can go up to 200% in certain cases. We specialize in housing, mostly eviction defense, access to affordable housing programs, and fair housing. Family law for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Education law, which includes helping kids with special needs get services in schools and also helping kids with discipline issues like suspension and expulsion. We have an elder law unit for folks above 60 where we help them with their most pressing civil legal needs. We have benefits and employment units to help folks get steady income, and our subsidiary, the Central West Justice Center, takes immigration cases for folks seeking asylum, unaccompanied minors, and victims of certain crimes. The family Preservation Project is another new initiative where we have a really great partnership with DCF. We take referrals directly from DCF and also Community partners like all of you of Hampden County families, with open clinical cases or investigations where the main allegations are not of abuse but of poverty related problems like inadequate housing or lack of benefits. So the goal of this project is to provide legal services and other resources to stabilize families so that kids remain with their parents, avoid the trauma of separation, and do not enter the already overburdened foster care system. So I will put our intake information in the chat. Please feel free to e-mail me separately if you have any questions or if you have folks in mind who might be eligible for our services and again, I will leave it to my colleague Annie Connor to talk more about our CORI reentry work when we get to her. Thanks.

Cesar Cruz: Planned Parenthood
Good afternoon everyone. Cesar Cruz Western Mass community outreach specialist for Planned Parenthood. We just do general Community tabling events that people may have going on or know of. We could do material drop-offs, information group or staff presentations, and we can also refer to other departments within PPLM such as education for any other organizations that are interested in additional training.

Brianna Owens: Rise Above
Hi everyone, I am with the Rise Above foundation. We provide funding for fun activities for youth and young people who are in the care and custody of DCF. We fund direct activities such as sports, gymnastics, dance, art classes, laptops, iPads, and fun activities for foster families to participate in. I will leave my e-mail in the chat and the link to our online application.

Ashley Jediny: Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
Hi everyone, Ashley Jediny, Hampden County Sheriff's Department. I am the program coordinator for our post overdose outreach team, and I also co-coordinate the Hampden County Addiction Task force with the DA's office. I just wanted to mention an event that is occurring next week on December 13th. It is “Preventing Accidental Overdose, Counterfeit Pills, and What You Need to Know” that is going to be held at Westfield Technical Academy. The Youth Advisory Board students from the DA's office will be speaking to educate and bring awareness to easy access of counterfeit pills and there will be other speakers. If there is any other communities that are interested in doing an event like this, please feel free to reach out. I also have the flyer if anyone is interested.

Annie Connor: Community Legal Aid
Hi everyone, Annie Connor with Community Legal Aid. Our new CORI unit which Corrine just spoke about. I am a staff attorney with the unit, we have about 5 attorneys. We provide free legal representation to individuals with criminal records with CORI records and we help them with sealing and expungement. We also represent clients who have been denied, subsidized or public housing or been terminated from subsidized or public housing because of their CORI. We also provide assistance with people who have been denied employment opportunities or lost an employment opportunity because of their CORI, and also licensing and certification related issues because of criminal records. So if you know someone who might be able to use our services, I have put my contact information in the chat. I will put it in again so you do not have to scroll up, but please feel free to reach out if you think we can be of help.

Ami Jackson: Youth Advocacy Division
I am Ami Jackson, the staff investigator for the Youth Advocacy Division. Our office is located in Springfield. We cover all of the juvenile courts in Western Massachusetts. Essentially we are the juvenile Public Defender's office and there is nothing new to report. My information is already in the chat, thanks.

Alison Schoen: Hope for Youth and Family Foundation
Hi everyone, my name is Allison Schoen. I am working with the hope for youth and Family Foundation in Springfield, Mass. I do not have anything to report, just here listening to all the great work that is being done. Thanks so much.

Adlyn Colon: Holyoke Community College
Hi, good afternoon everybody. I am Adlyn Colon from Holyoke Community College Adult Education program. We are continuing with the high set preparation classes in English and also in Spanish. We are the only program in the area that offers the classes in Spanish, and we do also have ESOL classes. You can reach out to me anytime, I already put the information in the chat. I am also going to put the website information and information for some free certification programs that we have at the college. Thank you and happy holidays to all.

Art Lobdell: Boy Scouts of America Western Mass
A couple of new programs to let you know about. We have mentioned them before. We have the Aviation program that is running for all students, boys, and girls, from 6th grade up to age 20. We are also launching a Communications Explorer post. They will primarily be doing some podcasting, webcasting, and radio. Again for the same age group, 6th grade up to age 20. We are still looking to partner with a number of agencies in Holyoke to be able to bring proper Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA to the town. We have been meeting with several schools and several agencies, but we are not quite there yet. We are very hopeful that we will have something to announce very soon, something concrete. So if you want to have youngsters involved in a program, reach out to us, we have a number of outreach workers. We attend all the events that we can in town, so invite us to any tabling events, any special holiday events we will be there if we can. Thank you.

Nayroby Rosa Soriano: OneHolyoke
Hi everyone, Nairobi Rosa here from OneHolyoke. We are a Community Development Corporation here in the city of Holyoke. A few things going on, as always, we hosted some parent focus groups last week with HELLI from the Holyoke Public Schools as we tried to continue to support parents. A lot of changes are coming to Holyoke Public Schools, so we heard a lot about that, and we are looking for some follow-ups to provide more support to parents in dealing with the changes. We are also hosting our Annual Community Dinner. I put in the chat our sponsorship form as well as the flyers and the promotional. stuff inviting people to come join us for this community dinner. We are going to serve 500 families with food. We are combining both Kelly and Morgan school family events there that night, and there will also be some outdoor activities and Enlaces will be providing boxes with a meal kit for families. 500 boxes of food will also be distributed, so we are looking for a lot of support for our event so please come down. It will be December 14th at Kelly School at 5:30 PM. Thank you so much to anybody who is on here that has provided us with support. We can never have enough volunteers, there's always room for people to do anything there. So come on down and enjoy the event. Thank you.

John McCarthy: USCIS Citizenship and Immigration Services
Thank you, Ed. John McCarthy. I am with USCIS Citizenship and Immigration Services. I am a Community relations officer and I work out of Boston. A couple of items that may be of interest. There have been a release of two extensions for temporary protected status TPS, both of them affecting the Haitian community. There has been a renewal of the old TPS for a multitude of countries; Sudan, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Haiti. Those TPS’s which were held up by the Ramos, the Batahari, and the Satic cases, the injunction have been extended. The TPS has been extended and the employment cards have been extended until June of 2024. In addition to that, there has been a notice that has been released that the new TPS for Haiti created on August 3rd of 2021 that was due to expire on February 3rd of 2023 has been designated for extension for 18 months. The federal release notice has not been posted as of yet, so the dates when people can renew their TPS for the new TPS has not been posted yet, we are waiting for that to happen. My job is to get information about immigration out to the community. So if there are any agencies on this call that deals with immigrant communities. You may want to reach out to me just to ask what services we can provide. Oftentimes, what I will do is I will be on a question-and-answer call for people who work for agencies who provide services to immigrants and want to know a little bit more about immigration. I am available to do that. I am also available to do that same type of presentation for people who put on the ESOL classes or even for citizenship classes. I am here and I am available if you want to reach out to me, and Ed has my contact information, I hope you will share it with me. I am on the phone. Thank you very much, Ed.

Rondey Allen: CrossPoint Clinical Services
Hey, good afternoon everybody. Rondey Allen I am the executive director of CrossPoint Clinical Services. We are an agency that specializes in Christian faith-based outpatient mental health services and Wellness services. We also consider ourselves advocates for mental health within the faith community. We really try to reduce stigma and build connection between mental health resources and people there. We have a very ethical, diverse, licensed staff that sees many people who do not come from a faith perspective. I wanted to mention that as we wrap up the year and people are thinking about making changes, we offer a lot of educational experiences to help people to make changes. One such resource is a class called “7 Principles That Make Marriage Work”. This is based on the work of Doctor John Gottman and if anybody does couples therapy he is famous for his research, and this is not a faith-based program. It is just so sound in all the principles that that he teaches. There is an 8 week that is going to be on online starting January 9th, and I will post a link to that in the in the chat. We also have a Wellness program. We have 2 personal trainers who teach group fitness online and personal training coaching, as well as other Wellness coaching, nutrition or what have you. They are a great resource that I hope you can tap into. They do a class called “The Wellness Revelation” which is kind of a faith and wellness program that deals with nutrition and fitness. So I am going to put the links there. Also, as part of our advocacy for mental health in the faith community, we recently did a program promoting mental health coaching curriculum. An average person can learn how to deal with the mental health crisis similar to how we would with first aid, and you learn CPR and other skills so that people can be stabilized and get to a higher level of care. I am going to post the link to that, it is a video that you can take advantage of and check out. It is a very nominal fee if those things would be helpful to you, thank you everybody. Happy holidays.

Ed Caisse: Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
I do not know how many of you are aware of the Holyoke Hub, but I just want to give a quick overview of the Holyoke Hub. Every Tuesday a bunch of agencies get together, as I listened to the agencies speak, there's a couple of agencies on the call that we would like to see join the Holyoke Hub. It is a space where people can bring situations of folks that are in acutely elevated risk situations and really need to get connected to wrap around services. The Holyoke Hub acts as a vehicle to get those folks connected to wrap around services. So one of the criteria is that folks have to be in an acutely elevated risk situation and the 2nd criteria is that it has to overlap several service sectors. An example would be if somebody had mental health issues, maybe a mental health agency could handle if that's the only issue that the person had; but if the person had mental health issues, addiction issues, housing issues, employment issues, that's when a filter four team wrapping around services to that situation can be very helpful to get that situation or individual out of that acutely elevated risk situation. So if any of that interests you or you think your agency may be interested in being part of that, I just ask you to send me an e-mail. We will certainly reach out to a couple of you that we feel should be at the table based on the resources that some of you mentioned today. Your agency really should be at the table because some of the situations that have already come to the table need to be connected to services that your agencies have. That is all I have today. I just want to say thank you. This is going to be our last networking meeting of the year, so I just want to say happy holidays to everybody. Thank you for all the work that you do and hopefully we'll see you at our next meeting, which would be January 12th. I will put that in the notes when we send them out. Happy holidays to everybody. Thank you so much for the work that you do and have a great weekend. Take care.

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

Jen Fernandes
Jen Fernandes, senior financial coach with the THRIVE program with the United Way of Pioneer Valley. THRIVE is our financial literacy program, it is FREE and open to everyone in the community. 413-333-8365.
Jen Fernandes with THRIVE- we do six-week financial classes, each class focuses on a particular topic. Also, I'll be having an open house to learn about THRIVE at the Chicopee public library on Wednesday, January 18th from 3-5. If anyone wants to donate toys to United Way's Hope for the Holiday, please drop them off at our main office at 1441 Main street, in the TD Bank building.

Ramona Reno
Ramona Rivera Reno
Ramona Rivera Reno MassHire Holyoke rreno@masshire

Jason Comcowich
Jason Comcowich, Nuestras Raices-
Nuestros Finqueros farmer training program survey link and sign up:
Thanks so much, Ed and everyone in attendance. This is such a great resource for the community.

Miguel Arce
Miguel Arce, Springfield College

William Courchesne
Bill Courchesne HCSD HSNI NW Ward 6 413-858-0015

Ami (She/Her) Jackson, Investigator- YAD
Ami Jackson Staff Investigator Committee for Public Counsel Services Youth Advocacy Division-">
Thank you for your time, have a great holiday season. Have to go.

Greg Graustein
Greg Graustein, Recovery Connection Center. MAT

Elizabeth Veillette
Hi everyone, Elizabeth Veillette from CHD. My apology - I am working from home due to being ill, so I'll be attending with my camera and microphone off, rather than miss another meeting. Ed, I have nothing new to add to the notes.
Elizabeth Veillette, Employment Specialist/Navigator for CHD's Shelter, and Housing Division. Enabling shelter residents and subsidized apartment heads of households to attain education and employment., as well as meeting peripheral needs that impact employability. 413- 266-9840,

Michelle Daries
Shellie Daries Foster Care Recruiter Department of Children and Families. Please e-mail me if you’re interested in foster care or adoption in Massachusetts.
I forgot to add my email

Annie Connor (she/her), Community Legal Aid
Annie Connor, Staff Attorney with the CORI Unit at Community Legal Aid. 413-686-9056 (direct dial).
Annie Connor, Staff Attorney, CORI Unit, Community Legal Aid. Email me at or call 413-686-9056 (direct dial).

Corrine Ryan, Community Legal Aid
Corrine Ryan, Managing Attorney, Community Legal Aid, Springfield
Community Legal Aid Intake: 855-252-5342;; My Contact Info:; 413-686-9018

Marissa Maheu, RN Holyoke Medical Center
Marissa Maheu, RN Community Nurse Navigator Holyoke Medical CenterMaheu_Marissa@HolyokeHealth.com413-535-4718
I need to leave for another meeting. Thank you for all of these resources. Happy Holidays everyone!

Rondey Allen
Rondey Allen, Executive Director, CrossPoint Clinical Services.
Love that saying!

Adlyn Colon
Adlyn Colon - Holyoke Community College Adult Education at PAFEC. 413-552-2927. HiSET and ESOL classes. - www.hcc/pafec

Jill McKeon

Erica Letson
Erica Letson, Project Manager, Outreach & Enrollment, Caring Health Center,
Erica Letson, Caring Health Center,

Yvonne Lomax
OA Karina Castro- Covers Holyoke area.
Ed- I have another meeting see you all next time- Happy Holiday

Iris Colon
Iris Colon- Peer Recovery Specialist at River Valley Counseling Center. 413-540-1100 ext:1214
Thank you all! Happy Holidays!!

Heather Salerno
Heather Salerno-Western Mass MOMS

Krystyna Boisjolie
Krystyna Boisjolie RFK Community Alliance (413)244-3199
Thanks Ed! Happy Holidays to everyone!!

Marissa Chiapperino-Holyoke Medical Center
Marissa Chiapperino-Dietitian at Holyoke Medical Center
Have to run. Happy holidays!

Julie Finn, CRJ
Julie Finn, Implementation Manager, Community Resources for Justice;
Thank you everyone - lots of excellent resources! I need to leave to get to another meeting but look forward to upcoming meetings! Contact info:, 617-413-3364

Thais Rivera
Thais Rivera- Cultivation Administrative Assistant for Trulieve- manufacturing facility in HolyokeThais.Rivera@Trulieve.comAlways looking for information and resources to share with my incredible team.
Sorry, I forgot to include that we are still looking to fill the cultivation intern position listed with Mass CultivatED

Sarah Lynn MSPCC Prevention
HI everyone Sarah Lynn- MSPCC Prevention- we have the healthy families and parents as teachers program available for young parents in our community. Here is our referral link
MSPCC Prevention referral link: or

Sintique Carrillo
Sintique Carrillo - Sr. Community Outreach Counselor for El Centro at Holyoke Community College,

Edward Caisse
Eddie Caisse, Hampden County Sheriff's Department,
Alison Schoen, can I get you connected to Jen Gonzalez from the Holyoke Public Schools, she mentioned a donation they received, would like to discuss.
Thanks Yvonne
Thanks Jason, thanks for being part of this resource.

Sheryl Maldonado
Hi, I’m a VISTA member as Resident Engagement Training Coordination, with Way Finders. Phone number 413-386-6898, email I work with Holyoke also in Springfield.

Marangely La Santa
Marangely La Santa- Bilingual Senior Community Outreach Counselor Career Pathways at Holyoke Community College,

Ashley Jediny
Ashley Jediny, Hampden County Sheriff's Department, Program Coordinator Post Overdose Outreach/HCAT,

Abigail Ragland
Hello, my name is Abbie R.V.C.C Clinical Case Manager

Ellen Broadhurst
Hi Everybody!
Ellen Broadhurst Private Social Worker with Hampden Co. Courts.

Jennifer Gonzalez
Jennifer Gonzalez Morales, Manager of Homeless Services and Enrollment at Holyoke Public School. I oversee the McKinney Vento Program. 413-512-5308 413-524-2000 option 1 direct line 413-512-5308

Brianna Owen
Brianna Owen, Rise Above: funding youth in foster care to participate in extracurricular activities
Brianna Owen,

Therese Ross
Therese Ross, Ex. Dir. Rick’s Place. We provide peer grief support groups to youth ages 5-18 and their caregivers at our site in Wilbraham and in January we will also offer our programs at the Westfield YMCA. Groups are 2 evenings a month and there is no cost for participants. 413-279-2010

Liandro Gonzalez
Liandro Gonzalez HCSD HSNI Holyoke Ward 1

Off. Josh Colon
Off. Josh Colon-Community Police Officer, Holyoke Police Dept.,

Stephanie Marshall (she/her)
Stephanie Marshall Recovery Coach @MHA (413)302-0514
I am sorry I have to leave. Everyone have a great weekend.

Maria Pelchar - Holyoke Fire
Maria Pelchar, Holyoke Fire

Kashawn Sanders
Kashawn J. Sanders President of Follow My Steps Foundation INC Cell: 617-297-8031E: W: We're a Western Mass based youth mentorship organization that pairs youth with their future selves. In addition we educate on financial literacy, professional development and community engagement.

Alison Schoen
Alison Schoen, Hope for Youth and Families

Jeana Burke
Jeana Burke
Project Amp Mentoring Program Coordinator
Jeana Burke
Project Amp Mentoring program 413.949.4420 looking for youth ages 13 to 17 living with Mental Health challenges, Substance Use, stresses at home, school and community or just needing support. please contact me! Thank you☺️
Great Idea!!
Happy Holidays everyone!!

Iris Sosa
Iris Sosa, Boys Scout of America Wester Massachusetts Council. 413-594-9196 x 7030, 787-512-1375.

Rhakeem Kinard
Rhakeem Kinard - YASL Life Coach (413)575-4391 (Looking for community service opportunities for our youth. Also shelters and programs to donate clothes and toys?) Thank You!

Miguel Rivera, Rewarding Insurance Agency
Miguel Rivera, Rewarding Insurance Agency, 413-317-0043. 177 High St, Holyoke, MA

Sandy Ward
Sandy Ward, Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Massachusetts, Big news re FTC’s proposal to mandate ONLINE porting of Funeral home prices; for more info see our webpage about “Updating the Funeral Rule” at

Maria Chambers
Maria Chambers, Senior Program Manager BHN, 413-654-7639
I also have to step out for another meeting. Happy Holidays to everyone!

Milagros Martinez-Schettini
Dr. Milagros Martinez Schettini, Instructional Leadership Team, and New Programs Coordinator
Dr. Milagros Martinez Schettini, Instructional Leadership Team and New Programs Coordinator134 Springfield St. Chicopee, MA (413.536.3201 Ext 313)

Cesar Cruz
Cesar Cruz, Western Mass Community Outreach Specialist for Planned Parenthood. / 413-426-8330 (Personal Number). We can do community tabling events, safer sex supply and informational drop offs. We do group or staff service overview presentations, STI workshops, and lastly can refer to other departments within Planned Parenthood such as education for any additional training.

Danielle Hartner
Danielle Hartner- Center for Human Development- Emergency Assistance Family Shelter programming-

Nayroby Rosa OneHolyoke CDC
Attached is our flyer for the Community Dinner. Nayroby Rosa from OneHolyoke. We are putting together this dinner that is happening next week for all Holyoke Residents.

James Maloney
Take care everyone! Sorry have to run! Happy Holidays to you all! James Maloney, Assistant Director of Hope for Holyoke,, 413-315-5798

Old Business / New Business
Next Meeting is Thursday, January 12th, 2023 (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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