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January 2024

Ed Caisse

January 11, 2024

Virtual Networking Meeting

Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative
Meeting Notes

Date: January 11, 2024
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

Professor Miguel Arce / Springfield College 1:05pm - 1:20pm
Thank you very much, Ed. We really appreciate the opportunity that you are providing us to be here today. So folks, here's the deal; we've created a project. “We” that’s the operative word here, it's “we.” We, we, we, I can't say that too much. We've created a project titled “Fostering Equity and Inclusion for Latinos, Latinas in Child and Family Welfare.” I've been given the honor of being the distinguished professor of Humanics at Springfield College for 2023-2024.

I thought to myself, what can I do that is critical, that needs to be done? That's substantive enough where I feel like I've had an opportunity to make a difference. And what I realized very quickly is that one person cannot make a difference. It would be like spitting into the ocean and hoping that it will stop creating waves. We have a major problem in Springfield.

The second slide shows it's a lot of information, and it doesn't actually provide everything that could be provided. But if you look at the first line where it says Springfield, Massachusetts you can see in 1990, in 2000, in 2010 Springfield, Massachusetts was the most segregated White-Hispanic community in the whole United States. That might be shocking to most of us, because you think of places like New York, or maybe even Hartford and stuff. But no, in fact, it's Springfield, Massachusetts, and it actually includes Holyoke, and includes Chicopee, and includes Westfield. So it's larger than Springfield only, it's a massive problem that we have.

What we found is that people who live in these neighborhoods, and I would call them segregated neighborhoods, live in unacceptable housing, have inadequate primary and secondary education, are significantly underemployed, and don't have access to a lot of urgent issues that they have in their lives. So this historic pattern of segregation, because you can see it was started in 1990, and actually I could not find the numbers for 2020. I know they exist out there, but the person that published this, his name is Doctor Frey, I communicated with him, and I believe that his particular office has been closed maybe because he just aged out.

What we found is there's inequality stemming from the segregation and it manifests itself in disparities of income and wealth in status, and access and opportunity. One of the countless issues that we're talking about when we're talking about disparities is poverty in general. It has constant countless consequences. Springfield College has allowed me to begin a one year project, and the project is three parts.

The first part is bringing awareness to the community about this horrible situation that we find ourselves in. The awareness is not only exclusive to Springfield College. What we're trying to do is bring awareness to the whole Springfield area, and that includes you. That you're my folk, right? You're the people that are in the trenches doing the hard work. What we're trying to do is so we're trying to bring awareness to the college and bring awareness to you, because even though you're doing the hard work you may not realize the impact of segregation, or that it is so pervasive and actually leading the country and the negative consequences. So the first goal is to bring awareness.

The second part of the campaign is community development and awareness to respond to these specific problems that we've identified and to bring solutions. So, this is not a complaining session. We're not trying to complain. We're looking for results. We're looking for things that can be brought forward as solutions. We've invited a wide variety of people to become part of this development effort. So we reached out to very early, probably in late summer, we reached out to good old fashioned community organizers that I've known for many years, for decades in fact, and asked for their input.

Then we went to elected body officials. We spoke with a variety of different individuals; including the Governor's Office, including State representatives and State Senators and talking. We didn't reach as many people as we wanted. We went out into the community.
We met with community organizations and larger organizations about bringing this issue, asking people to respond to this issue.

We've reached out to the faith-based community. I've met on two occasions with probably around twenty or thirty ministers, kind of fundamentalist Christian ministers, to seek their input and to try to see what we can do to tweak the project. In addition, we reached out to a wide variety of people, and it's really into the hundreds that if not into the thousands. For example, we reached out to over eight-hundred college people. I didn't know any of them, but we send them a blind copy. In addition to that, we use Western New England College’s conference list that they had. They unfortunately only had mailing addresses, so we mailed out to all of those individuals saying could they give us their interest by responding by giving us their email addresses.

In addition, we've reached out to former graduates of our program and seen soliciting their interest to either; number one attending, number two providing tables or workshops or sponsoring the event in some fashion, and finally being present. I provided a simple list of different type of projects that are going to be highlighted at the conference. So far we've screened into the conference, thirty-seven different workshops and thirty-seven different workshops in three major categories.

The first major category is individual and family welfare. We have morning sessions and afternoon sessions, and you can see quite a wide variety from this screen. I'm not going to read them all, but just to give you a smattering of what we're looking at; A3 is ‘collaborative case work, women emphasizing Latina women.’ If you look at number A7 ‘using wrap around and other innovative approaches to access to care in the Hispanic community.’ I'm going to jump down a little bit and go down to A20, ‘culturally responsive neurodiversity affirming care.’

I'll jump down into an afternoon session just because we don't have enough time. But for instance, B5 is actually, he's here today, and that's Disdado Lopez Martinez. Disdado has agreed to highlight in Spanish by the way, his program called The Support Network. We have other sponsors who I haven't mentioned, Ed has agreed to two things; he's hosting a workshop on the Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative, and the Hub program. Also, Mr. Caisse has agreed to be the keynote speaker. So this is significant. Anyone that's ever heard Mr. Caisse talk, absolutely understands the dynamic influence that he has on crowds, and he's agreed to speak to three things.

The first thing is the power of belief; how he believes in people, how people believe in him, how he believes in a greater power. So that would be his first point. I'm not going to take away all his thunder, but just to let you know that what he's planning to do. Number two, to talk about the importance of support; the importance of what he's done as an employee of the Hampden County House of Corrections to support people in the community, how families have to support their children, how he's created a cadre of literally hundreds of people that support the community. The last thing that he's going to be talking about and what I'm trying to convince you of, is we need to take action. He's going to be talking about action as a modality of the work we're doing.

The other area that we're going to be talking about is creating a strong social fabric. The first one is creating well-being for individuals and families. The second category is creating a strong social fabric. For example, we talk about A1, ‘fostering equity in schools.’ A6, ‘Latinos in politics,’ that's being done by Zeta Govan, court appointed special advocates. All of these seek to try to create the fabric in which families and youth live in.

Finally, the last category is creating a just social society. This is more expansive in its nature. What we're looking for is we've talked about how we support families and children, and we've talked about how we can create a better fabric and where people can survive. This last category is a little bit more radical in its orientation, and what we look at is trying to create changes in the system that will allow us to create a better world.

I'll just give for example A2, which is ‘systems impact on family and community local correctional involvement in Latinas and Latinos.’ That's by the way not Ed Caisse, and then jump down to the afternoon, B3 Pa’lante Transformative Justice; youth driven community change.

First of all, I would encourage all of you, all of us, to participate in the conference. You can see it's very well thought through. There's going to be a lot of opportunities to grow and to develop. If you're interested in becoming an exhibitor, you could recruit people at this event. If you're interested in being a sponsor, major sponsor you for $5,000, you can be a major sponsor, and a sponsor for $2,500. I won't talk to you all about those benefits about doing that, but just to let you know that in fact, the Conference will facilitate public discussion and raise awareness to the broader community about the crisis that our families are living through

I cannot understate this; what we're proposing here is dealing with a very dreadful consequence of living in segregated poor communities. I cannot understate that it has to be a multitude of people that step forward. I'll probably never have the cadre of individuals that Mr. Caisse has, but he's worked so hard at creating the resources for the community. And this talks to a larger response, right? That resilient families have to overcome many of these challenges and that we have to have a shared sense of responsibility to pursue better living for people that live in this area. That we believe that we have a positive, affirming solution based non deficit approach to trying to bring awareness to the situation here in Springfield.

Mr. Caisse, I really appreciate your support and I do not have a landing page yet. Now we're finalizing the brochure. As soon as that brochure is finalized it will be sent out. Mr. Caisse has agreed to send it out, and I hope that you will become participants. It's too late to offer you an opportunity to be workshop presenters, but at least you can be participants and help us identify solutions to in any one of the thirty-seven workshops that we're going to be sharing with you.

I was playing with the numbers this morning and for the thirty-seven workshops that we have, that means that we have to pay for breakfast and lunch for all of the presenters. I was just playing with the numbers this morning, and it will cost for just the presenters, and if they just keep to the numbers, people will be dragging other people along with them, it's going cost us $2,267.00 to do it.

We are looking for sponsors. We have right now two for sure. We have Community Clinical and Support Options who has agreed to provide some money and also Gandara Center has provided us with some money to move forward with the project. We have not finalized it at a quick cost without the support of those two sponsors, and we're still looking for other sponsors. We were thinking it would cost about $150.00 per person.
There are continuing education units involved, and there are professional developments.

Agency Overview and Updates 1:20pm - 2:25pm

Ashley Jediny: Hampden County Sheriff's Office
Hi everyone, Ashley Jediny, Hampden County Sheriff's Office. I'm the program coordinator for our post overdose outreach team, and I coordinate the Hampden County Addiction Task Force with the District Attorney's Office. I do not have any updates at this time. Thank you.

Laura Krishnan-Mackie: Springfield College
I am Laura Krishnan-Mackie, I am Miguel's colleague. I'll add I'm the Director of Practicum Education for the Department of Social work at Springfield. Ashley is our one of our alumna’s, so it's nice to see your name and face again. If folks have any interest in social work interns or seeking a social work degree, we’ll be launching an online program this fall too. If folks are interested, Springfield has a new PhD in educational leadership program that I'm a part of. So I'd be happy to talk with anyone one on one about that. Thanks for everything you do Ed.

Carl Borden: Western Mass Boy Scouts
Good morning, Carl Borden, from the Boy Scouts of America. We are doing a lot of different projects right now. Heather is going to cover some of them when it's her turn. But right now, we are looking for more sponsors to help us with the new units we're establishing in the Holyoke Metropolitan Area. If there's anyone who's interested in sponsoring an explorer program or two, we are having a lot of growth in our explorer’s career outreach programs. If you have questions, I put my information at the very top of the meeting chat this morning. Thank you.

Alyssa Golden: Community Legal Aid
Hi everyone, Alyssa Golden, I'm the supervising attorney of the CORI and re-entry unit at Community Legal Aid. Our unit provides legal assistance to individuals who want to seal and expunge criminal records in Massachusetts, folks who have been denied public and subsidized housing, or denied from a voucher program because of their criminal record, or folks who are being denied or terminated from employment or educational programs because of their criminal record. We also do a lot of outreach work, “Know Your Rights” trainings, and things like that. Feel free to reach out to me, if you want to talk more about ways we can collaborate. Thanks.

Ana Jaramillo: Holyoke Health Center
Hi, I don't have many updates, and I'm from Holyoke Health Center. The Holyoke Health Center is invited the community in Holyoke to a walk with the dog program at the War Memorial every Thursday from 12:15PM to 1:15 PM. It is a great opportunity for our providers to really make that direct connection with the patients. Seniors are highly recommended to participate, because at the time that the people walk with the dog, they can also learn about different medication treatment, diabetes, help eating, and healthy living. They have a provided assigned to run this program, and it’s at the War Memorial. That's it for now.

Angelica Fontes: Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
Glad to be here with you all today. My name is Angelica Fontes, I'm the director of organizing with the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. We are a statewide entity that utilizes for main approach towards addressing gun violence, so utilize public education and awareness, community organizing, advocacy primarily through a legislative means, and member support. So just really glad to be here and learn from you all today and see how we can best engage with the Holyoke community.

Angelique Rodriguez: Holyoke Community College
Hi everyone, my name is Angelique Rodriguez, and I'm the community outreach and admissions counselor and the admissions office at Holyoke Community College. A few updates from me today. So our semester starts on the 16th, this upcoming Tuesday after MLK Day. We also have a couple of late start dates for those who are inquiring about our accelerated courses. Those classes start for the fifth of February, as well as the 18th of March.

The last thing I know some of you may have heard about this already, whether it be from me or other places, but MassReconnect is a new initiative that's been bringing a lot of students into HCC and other local community colleges. This semester and just as a reminder, it's free community college for adults who are Massachusetts residents, 25 and older and do not have degrees yet. If you want to inquire about that, want me to talk to you and your colleagues about that feel free to connect with me and I'd be happy to do so.

Art Lobdell: Holyoke Rotary Club
Today I'm here to represent the Holyoke Rotary Club, just wanted to announce that we will have a big day of service happening on May 18th in Holyoke. One of the things that we'll be doing that day is we're installing a memorial flag plaza at the library. So we will be looking for additional folks to help us do that, putting up fifty American flags around the library.

Coming this fall will be having a new event, and we want to involve as many of the folks in this group as we can. We're going to have a volunteer recognition event. We're going to be looking at having people from various sectors recognize their volunteers in the city of Holyoke, so we're looking to do one big event. Some agencies are able to do it on their own. Others can come together and work in a big event. Art Lobdell from the Holyoke Rotary Club.

Brianna Pereira: Clean Slate
Hi everyone, my name's Brianna. I'm the community relations liaison for Clean Slate. I cover all of our Western Mass centers. This is my first time attending this meeting, and I hopped on a couple of minutes late. So I'm sorry if you already spoke about it, but the Hub meeting I would be happy to be a resource at that.

Charlie Knight: 32 Byers Street, Inc.
32 Byers Street Incorporated. We provide housing for homeless people, a straight rental housing for the area, and nothing else to say.
Diana Biagioli: Federation for Children with Special Needs
Hi, I'm Diana Biagioli from the Federation for Children with Special Needs. I work in transition which in special education refers to transitioning from high school to the adult world. We've been working with Massachusetts Rehab Commission on ‘Next Gen Careers.’ Some of you have already heard from me about this, but just to remind you, this is for young people with disabilities in a very broad [sense], a disability could even be anxiety so don't think they have to have like an IEP or a 504 plan or anything.

Anyway, young people ages eighteen to thirty with disabilities, they get a wraparound team to help them gain and retain employment. I put a link in the chat, I also put a save-the-date for a great event that we do every year at the Federation. It’s “Visions of Community” with a ton of workshops and resources pertaining to special education. Then, March 9th date is a virtual conference. You don't have to attend both, but there's also an in-person opportunity in Western mass probably at UMass. Ed, I will send you the flyer next week.

I'm also happy to report that at the in-person conference, which will be April 6th, I and one of my colleagues will be presenting in Spanish. So we'll have obviously English workshops and presentations, but we will also have presentations in Spanish. And that's a large community, as I know, in Holyoke and the vicinity.

Diosdado Lopez-Martinez: The Support Network
Gracias, Diosdado Lopez-Martinez, from the Support Network. Basically, what we do is we work with families and children with a type of disability; HEID, anxiety, depression. We do our best to work with the school just to make sure that they get the right accommodations in school. So I don't want to take a lot of time, but the other thing that I want to mention is that the Western Mass Training Consortium is doing it an event; February 7th at the Holyoke Public Library at 4:00PM, with Professor Caldwell. The topic will be Black History Month with an emphasis on black woman, especially what they did for the Civil Rights movement in this country. So that's going to be great, and thank you.

Efrain Baez: Gandara Center
Hi everyone, my name is Efrain Baez, I work for Gandara Center as a senior director of six recovery centers across the state and I oversee all of them. This is my first time being in this meeting, due to the fact I supervise Hope for Holyoke in Holyoke and in Springfield. So please reach out and we focus more on substance abuse disorder. This is a center where everybody's welcome, the many groups. We have a program, Highway to Hope, where we bring people to a detox. We transport people to detox. My colleague over there can elaborate a little bit more of that. Thank you for allowing me to be here.

Erica Vasquez: Holyoke Pediatrics
Hi, sorry my camera is not working right now, but I was an MACC with Holyoke Pediatrics, and I recently switched to behavioral healthcare coordinator role with Holyoke Pediatrics. I'm just here to learn more information.

Faith Sarisley: CrossPoint Clinical Services
Hey great to be here! My name is Faith, and I'm the marketing and community Relations Coordinator for CrossPoint Clinical Services. I've left my contact info in the chat as well as our website, if you want to check that out. At CrossPoint we continue to provide faith based and traditional mental health counseling for our four locations in Massachusetts, the closest one being West Springfield.

I want to quickly highlight a few things we have coming up this winter and spring that are taking place in person and virtually over zoom for you or anybody you may know. We're starting the wellness revelation on January18th, coming up next week. It's a nine week online journey to physical and spiritual wellness they don't want to miss out on. We have a ‘Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts’ workshop. That's eight weeks starting in February. Please share information with any newlyweds or pre-marriage people you may know.

We also have new life coaching and personal training programs open to anybody. It's a great resource for any of your clients or people you may service, so you can learn more about any of these programs and sign up. The events and coaching section of our website listed in the chat with my name, is on our website, or we have a new app as well. You can download in the app store, which is awesome. So thank you guys for your time.

Fernando Mattei: Latino Counseling Center
Hello, I'm working for Latino Counseling center, and I am the clinical director of operations here. We offer in home therapy, mental services, and outpatient services bilingual to the community as well. We're also hiring, so hey, let us know. Thank you.

Germaris Pinero: YWCA
Hello everyone, here with Hassana and Crystal. We are with the young parent support program from the YWCA. We provide supportive services to pregnant and parenting youth. If you know anyone who is in need of parenting services and supported services, send them our way. Thank you.

Gloria Penagos: Holyoke Community College
I’m Gloria Penagos of workforce development department in Holyoke Community College. No updates for now, but just a reminder that we have free jobs trainings available. They are available on the website.

Heather MacInnes: Boy Scouts of America
I'm Heather MacInnes, I'm with the Boy Scouts of America. I'm also the Cub Master for the Cub Scout Pack in Holyoke, which we finally got up and going. So we have a good, decent amount of kids from kindergarten to fifth grade in the program. We just recently started the boy’s troop and a girl’s troop. We have it from youth from ten and a half to the age of eighteen years old.

We also have a partnership with the junior achievers in Springfield Tower Square. I will include all flyers for the programs, and it starts the 22nd and ends for the junior chambers on June 24th. That's going to be every Monday with junior achievers. And we also of course, have the aviation program. We meet at Barnes Airport regional airport a couple of times a month on Saturday, so it works with everyone’s schedule. You heard also from Carl as well, and we have Iris and Art that we've worked very hard to get these programs going.

With the business explorer with the junior achievers, it's an exploratory program where it helps the kids in their dream goals in their career fields. As well as in with the aviation, you have the programs where they help them become pilots or stewards, or whatever the cases in their aviation careers.

Then, with the Cub Scouts we have from kindergarten to fifth grade, and the boys and girls troops are from ten and a half to the eighteen. Both the units in Holyoke are sponsored by Masonic Lodge. The Cub scouts we meet at the Holyoke Library, again will be in the chat, and then we are working on setting the meeting dates for the boys and girls troops to meet at the Masonic Lodge. Thank you.

Helena Dixon: Valley Opportunity Council
Good afternoon everyone. I work at the Valley Opportunity Council with at risk education. We have two locations in Chicopee and Holyoke. We offer classes for the GED or HiSet preparation. The high school diploma equivalency for adults and also for youth ages sixteen to twenty-four, and we offer an incentive. For those who enroll in our program, ages sixteen to twenty-four, receive a $25.00 gift certificate card to join the program.

We also offer a free CGL training for those who speak English as their second language. We are the first and only program which offers free CGL training in Western Massachusetts. If you have any participants, any friends, anyone who speaks English as a second language, you can contact us. We have an information session on Monday, January 29th, at 10:30AM. On the same date we have the GED information session the 29th at 10:30AM. I will add my phone number, my information in the chat. In addition to that, we also offer a free US citizenship class. So you prepare those who have a green card permanent resident part of the United States to become naturalized citizens. Thank you.

Iris Sosa: Boy Scouts of America Western Massachusetts Council
Hello everyone, my name is Iris Sosa, I’m from the Boy Scouts of America Western Massachusetts Council. Heather mentioned all the programs that we have in right now. But I want to add, if any families are interested in the program, but they don't speak English, please let me know. I can help them with the Spanish language, so I can help them to the register, and get the information they need in Spanish. So please send it to me and my information is in the chat. Also, we have an outdoor program that is for everybody to enjoy. The information is in the chat, so it's got to be January 28th and everybody's welcome to come and participate.

Jennifer Yekel: Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Hi everyone, I'm Jennifer Yekel, and I work at MSPCC/Elliott in the survivor services program as a VOCA Clinician. In our Holyoke office we provide individual therapy, group therapy, and case management for survivors and their caregivers. We are accepting new clients and are able to assign rather quickly. So please reach out if you'd like more information, and my information is in the chat.

John McCarthy:
Good afternoon, I’m John McCarthy. I'm from USCIS, US Citizenship and Immigration Services. I'm the community Relations Officer. If there's anyone who needs any types of informational programming, or you have a question in regard to immigration, if you're providing services for an immigrant group, please give me a call. I put my information into the chat.

One item I would like to bring up is that on our website, USCIS.Gov, there is a ‘News Directory,’ and on the News Directory on December 13th there was notification that the six countries that were terminated for TPS during the prior administration and that would be El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Nepal, Sudan, Haiti. Those countries have been extended, their TPS has been extended, and also the determination of their TPS has been rescinded. So there's new information in that news item. It's important for the people who have TPS from those countries that were affected by the terminations, that they take a look at that website, and they become aware that they are required now to refile for TPS and also for their work cards.

You should look at that documentation because what had happened during the period of time that the court case was going on, those TPS and the work cards were being automatically extended. That's no longer happening. You have to re-register for it. So take a look at the website, and if you have questions, give me a call, and if somebody wants me to put a presentation on it, I'd be happy to do that. Additionally, I am putting on a presentation virtually through the Boston Public Library, and that is likely to occur on the 13th of January to present about the post termination of those six countries. Thank you.

Juan Anderson-Burgos: Legislative Aide to Representative Duffy
My name is Juan Anderson-Burgos I am the legislative aide to Representative Duffy. I handle a lot of things, but what I'm really known for is unemployment. Any issues that you have with your driver's license or ID, and that's it. I don't have any updates right now, and thank you so much for everything you do.

Laura Jansen: BayState Family Advocacy Center
I'm Laura Jansen from BayState Family Advocacy Center. I'm a vocal project specialist here. We provide services for victims of trauma ages zero to twenty-four, and victims or survivors of homicide, and homicide bereavement throughout the life span. We do have a wait list right now, but we are still accepting referrals. So please get in touch with me. We also offer some workshops throughout the month and activities for families. So you can also upload my information in the chat and you can contact me if you'd like to be added to our list to receive some information regarding those things.

Lavagn Claudio: Gandara Center
Hey, my name is Lavagn Claudio. I am the director for family support and training in Gandara. What we do: CBHI, CSA, ICC, IHT, therapeutic mentor, in-home behavioral. For updates, we currently hired a lot of new staff from overseas that are bilingual speaking. We have a very small wait list for ICC. I'm talking like maybe seven days which is really unheard of for us. So if you guys have any families that you think would need ICC services, I put my email in the chat. You can give me a call or send me an email. I could send out any referral sources for you guys. Also, Ed, if you need me to be a part of the Holyoke Hub let me know.

Liandro Gonzalez: Hampden County Sheriff’s Office
Hello everyone, Liandro Gonzalez, Hampden County Sheriff's Department. Nothing to report at this time. Thank you.

Mandy Goulet/ Sarah Colby: Hope for Holyoke
Good afternoon everybody, my name is Mandy Goulet. I'm the Peer Outreach Coordinator at Hope for Holyoke. I'm Sarah Colby, Recovery Coach at Hope for Holyoke. Hope for Holyoke offers peer recovery coaching. We have a ‘Highway to Hope’ program which brings people to detox and we don't bill insurance. We also offer rides for Medicaid assistant recovery up to seven rides until people can get their PT-1ne forms. We now have a gambling group at month on Mondays, at 11:00AM. Becoming a member is free, and we also offer volunteer opportunities. Once you are a member, we're open Monday through Sunday. Come, check us out, we're at 100 Suffolk Street in Holyoke.

Marinna Kaufman: UMass Medical
Hi everyone, my name is Marinna. This is my first time on this meeting. I actually work for UMass Medical in Worcester. We have behavioral health intervention at our lab that focuses on individuals struggling with substance use, mental health disorders for co-occurring disorders. So we are recruiting out in Western Mass as well for one of our studies. That's specific to opioid use and mental health. So feel free to reach out, I'll put more information in the chat for my contact details.

Marissa Chiapperino: Holyoke Medical Center
Hi everyone, Marissa Chiapperino, registered dietician in community navigation at Holyoke Medical Center. Right now we are offering our free virtual diabetes classes. The first one was last night, and they're going to be a three part series that take place once in January and once in February over zoom to accommodate for weather, and in March we'll be hosting them at the Chicopee senior center.

Then, for the spring and summer we go back into the community, so I will share the flyers. They are completely free, no questions asked. You don't even have to have diabetes; you can be someone who's caring for a family or a friend. I also am an adjunct instructor at Holyoke Community College, and I'll be running cooking classes in the evenings. There is a cost associated with them. But if you know anyone interested they can go to the ‘Personal Enrichment’ section of the Holyoke Community College’s website.

Michael Daley: Hampden County Superior Corporation
Hello, Michael Daley of Hampden County Superior Corporation. First time on, glad to see a lot of agencies out here offering supports, I'm copying them as we speak to use them. I have experience a little bit as a former clinician, and I was Miguel Arce’s best student. I'll put my information in the chat, and I look forward to seeing some of you in the future.

Mike Pratt: Hampden County Sheriff's Office
Hi, I'm Mike Pratt. I work for the Hampden County Sheriff's Office and the Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative. I primarily work with Ed in the community with the youth in Holyoke. No further updates at this time.

Nia Johnson: Attorney General's Office
Hello everyone, my name is Nia. Johnson. I am the Western Mass community engagement coordinator for the Attorney General's Office. I'm located in the TD Bank building. We have tons of trainings that we offer; we offer landlord tenant trainings, we have cyber security training for parents and students. I think that's about it for right now. Thank you.

Nicole Arnold: Holyoke Medical Center
Hi guys! This is my first time on here, so thank you for having me. I work at the comprehensive care center at Holyoke Medical Center. So we treat AUD, OUD, and stimulant use disorder. We do take walk-ins, which is really important. So please let us know if anyone that you may know needs help. Know they can come in; we'd love for them to call and come see us.

Rafael Santos: Hampton County Sheriff's Office
My name is Rafael Santos, and I am a High-Risk Offenders Transition Counselor here at Hampton County Sheriff's Office. I actually work out of Eddie Caisse’s office and I also support the same neighborhood initiative programs, the basketball leagues, and any other events that they have in the city of Holyoke surrounding communities.

In addition to that, I am partnering up with the parent coordinator for the HB Lawrence School in Holyoke. Together we're working on restructuring a leadership team to be able to help us put together some kind of events and different activities for the community supporting the children and the parents. Holyoke has an influx of different people from different countries, and we're trying to connect with them and connect them with different resources. Thank you.

Robert Crawford: Springfield Department of Health and Human Services
Hello everyone, good afternoon. Thank you so much for having me. Rob Crawford, Springfield Department of Health and Human Services use substance prevention. I have nothing to report, but I look forward to the work with the community. I'm looking forward to ’24, Happy New Year everyone.

Rosa Tobin: Massachusetts Fair Housing Center
Hi all, my name's Rosa. I work with the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center. Just as a reminder, we provide free legal services to people who've experienced housing discrimination. I also just want to highlight. I am always available to schedule training on fair housing. Know your rights for either staff or community members. Additionally, we've revamped our housing counseling program.

We're doing more in depth and ongoing like a four week housing counseling for clients. Typically those are clients with vouchers, but there are cases where we can take on clients that are in precarious positions that don't have vouchers and could use additional support and filling out applications, following up on the status of applications, etc. So if you want more information on that as well, please reach out. I will drop my information again in the chat.

Sandy Ward: Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Massachusetts
I'm a volunteer with the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Massachusetts. I'm available to come out and talk to groups. If you people would like to know what your rights and options are in dealing with the death care industry. We're independent of that industry, but knowledgeable about it, and we don't charge anything for our services. I've put information in the chat about our website, and our contact information. Thank you.

Sarah Lynn: Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC)
Hi everybody, I am Sarah Lynn, from MSPCC Prevention. We have the ‘Healthy Families’ program which serves prenatal and postpartum parents, ages twenty-three and under, with a child that is one or under in the areas of Holyoke, Westfield, and Chicopee. We also have the ‘Parents as Teachers’ program which opens up that age capacity and opens up the number of children that parents can have, and I will put both of those easy online referral links in the chat. We do have immediate openings and healthy families and a very short wait list for parents as teachers, thanks.

Shaundell Diaz: Three County Continuum of Care
Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Shaundell Diaz, I'm the Coordinated Entry Coordinator with the Three County Continuum of Care. We cover Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire counties. Although I am born and raised Hampden County, Springfield, Mass, thank you very much. We are very close partners with our Hampden County, COC; I have a couple of updates.

One update is the ‘Point in Time Count’ will be happening on January 31st, the coldest night of the year. We are looking for volunteers for the Hampshire, Franklin and Berkshire county areas for tabling events during the week after the night of the PIT Count. If you're interested we will be presenting on this at the Hampden County Resource Network on Tuesday. If you don't have the link for that, please email me, my emails in the chat.

Also I will be presenting alongside Tanisha Arena from Arise for Social Justice, Rose Webster Smith, from ‘Springfield No One Leaves,’ and Galad Morone from the Community Resilience Hub with community action at the fostering inclusion conference. We will also be presenting at the 2024 Fair Housing Civil Rights Conference on our reimagining interim Housing Framework project.

In regards to that project we do have a work group that covers our four counties as well as through MHSA grant that we got for that project we are in the process of loading up and creating and recording trainings for uniform trainings for all of Western Massachusetts. That's all four counties, and we are working in partnership with the Hampton County, COC for HMIS trainings as well. So again, my email is in the chat. I have to jump. Thank you so much.

Tania Jacobs: Hampden Superior Court Probation
Hello, good afternoon everyone. I am probation officer out of Hampden Superior Court Probation. I do not have anything to add. This is my first time at this meeting, so I'm just here to gather information and see how it could be useful to the probationers.

Yaurelí Colón: Enchanted Circle
Hi, I'm Yaurelí Colón, I'm with Enchanted Circle. It's my first time at this meeting. Enchanted Circles is a nonprofit organization that specializes in Arts Integration. We work with youth from preschoolers to elderly and senior centers. Sometimes community partners invite us to work with them, and sometimes we get our own grants and do programs in house with youth and adults and teachers. It’s my first time, and I'm just listening in and it's amazing what everybody does. I'm floored, it's amazing.

Lauren Carpenter: Holyoke Medical Center
Okay, my name is Lauren Carpenter. I'm an addictions nurse, at Holyoke Medical Center with Nicole. So Nicole's on the outpatient side, I'm on the inpatient side. So basically, I follow people from when they come into the ER through their admission. People with substance use disorders. I help manage their withdrawal, make sure people stay comfortable while they're here. And get what they need to get taken care of.

I will actually put my information in the chat. If you guys have anybody out there in the community that needs to be seen for an abscess, or whatever, and they're nervous to come to the hospital for whatever reason. You can contact me. Let me know that they're on their way, and I will meet them in the emergency room and try and make it the best experience possible.

Edward Caisse: Hampden County Sheriff’s Office
The only thing I wanted to add, I wanted to throw out a soft date for our Back-to-School event. The Back-to-School event’s a big event. We give away twenty-five-hundred backpacks. It can't be done without all of us coming together. It takes about three-hundred volunteers to drive it. About a hundred people in the community service area at the event. So I wanted to throw the date out of August 24th. I'm going to try to harden that date up today. If I get a confirmation from one of the providers, I'll have it confirmed that it will be the 24th of August, and I'll send an email out to everyone on that.

Probably two weeks prior to the event, you can look for the emails. I will be sending out a ‘Pack the Backpack’ event; we usually get about fifty or sixty people that help us pack up twenty-five-hundred backpacks. We have an assembly line, and we get it done in about three hours.

The other thing that I wanted to say is Rafael mentioned it. So, Rafael, and it's not just his area that's trying to reestablish leadership teams. But we want to have six leadership teams in the six neighborhoods in Holyoke that really are seeing pockets of crime, or like Professor Arce talked about those areas, have large pockets of poverty and other social issues. What we're trying to do in those six neighborhoods is develop leadership teams that can really work close with the school to drive activities, family fun nights like we do at Morgan every month. So what we're looking to do is get folks from different agencies, especially if you're close to one of the neighborhoods.

I'm going to try to show a poll. I did this poll about two years ago and I'm going to try to do it again today. And what I'm asking, and if the poll doesn't work, I'll send out an email. What I'm asking you to do is you can see the schools that'll be listed on the poll and the six neighborhoods. If you feel like you would like to partner with that area to be part of a leadership team to really drive activities, whether it's clean ups, whether it's a family fun night, whether it's activities they're going to be done within that neighborhood like community meetings. I just ask you to click on the area that you might be vested in. So as you guys are taking your time to fill it out.

Kelly school is in the Flats and Nayroby actually runs a leadership team down there. For the Morgan School area I actually facilitate that leadership team. We have some good support for the Morgan area. At Morgan we've been consistent in doing family fun nights down there every month for I don't know how many years. We provide a meal every month and activities that are fun. It's about getting the families to come out to give them a positive activity to try to meet some of the needs of the family. But most importantly, it's about building relationships and building community and getting the folks that live in particular neighborhoods to be part of the solutions within their neighborhood.

Whether it's focusing on quality of life issues, whether it's talking about crime issues in those neighborhoods. So I handle Morgan. Peck is no longer there, so in Ward 3, we're going to be looking to partner with Metcalf in that area. But we still want to get a leadership team started. Rafael already mentioned that he's going to be part of the leadership team at Ward 4 in Lawrence School. We have Miguel Ramos from our department that works real close with Stefany Garcia from Donahue School. She's the Family Access Engagement Coordinator, and the last area is Sullivan school.

I've been meeting with Mr. Moguel, who really oversees all the Family Access Engagement Coordinators, but what Mr. Moguel and I have done is for the last couple of months since November, we've been meeting monthly to really strategize on how we can take this work to a new level.

I know, Professor Arce said it. I'm going to say it again. It takes more of us working together to deal with the comprehensive issues in our community. You can look and take a quick glance; like I did in 2011 I almost threw in the towel. I said the issues in the neighborhood are way too comprehensive for us to deal with, so I thought about throwing in the towel. But I said, you know what, if we throw in the towel we're not going to make any impact. If we don't throw in a towel, even if we can reach 1, 2, or 3, but the cool thing is, we as a community have seen the graduation rate go from 48% in 2011 all the way up to 70 something percent where it's at. And it's because of all of you working together and getting youth and families connected to the resources to get them to better places. And for that, I want to say, thank you. And I also want to say, thank you if you clicked on one of those areas that you can actually work with us.

I want you to know this, If you didn't click on the poll, but you've been thinking about it and you're still interested in getting involved in one of the areas. Please send me an email and there are a couple of you that will be getting an email from us. I heard at least 3 or 4 people from different agencies, that thinking about what the risk factors have been to those situations that have come to the Holyoke Hub. Your agencies actually have resources that can help those folks get to better places, so we'll connect. I hope you guys can sign an MOU and be part of the Holyoke Hub. And I just want to say, Thank you for all the work that you guys do day in and day out, and thank you for coming to this networking meeting monthly. I will say this, as I told our basketball leaders last night, it takes all of us to recruit and get more and more people involved. What's really important for us, especially when we look at the Holyoke Hub, if some of you are new, so you don't really know what the Holyoke Hub is, and I'm not going to get into it too much detail right now. But I want to say, this, situations are brought to a table. A team of multiple agencies are coordinated to be a Filter Four Team that everyone works with a situation and tried to assist them to get to better places. It's absolutely fantastic, but we have to grow it, so to help us grow the Holyoke Hub, please consider inviting more agencies that you have relationship with that are not on this monthly networking meeting to join. We can then hear about what resources they have and we can pull them into the work of the Holyoke Hub together. We're going to not just reach that next generation of youth; we're going to get those single moms and families connected to services and resources to help them get to better places.

I believe in a few years from now, we are going to see that graduation rate very high. And we're going to see our community much more successful and a lot less quality of life issues and a lot less crime issues. So for that, I just ask you to consider being in it for the long run. When somebody asked me 11 years ago how long we were going to do this, I let them know it's not going to be a quick fix. We're working with generational and systemic issues that have been plaguing our communities for years. It's going to take continued work. It's going to take a few more years to really get us to get to where we feel like we're making great impacts. But I can say this,
I have seen the graduation rate go up and I have seen kids that were destined to get locked up in juvenile facilities graduate high school, go to the military, some are in college, some are working career jobs, and it's because of all of you. And for that, I say, thank you, and have a great week. Thank you so much for being here.


Rosa Tobin
Massachusetts Fair Housing Center,

Gloria Penagos
Can I still say: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Laura Krishnan-Mackie
If you are interested in hosting MSW or BSW social work interns for fall 2024 I would love to connect with y'all!

Faith Sarisley
CrossPoint Clinical Services, Inc.

Lauren Carpenter
Holyoke Medical Center, Addiction Nurse/in patient Addiction Consult Service

Carl Borden
Western Massachusetts Council, Boy Scouts of America, Senior Membership Executive. In charge of membership development for the entire western part of Massachusetts west of the Quabbin. 413-594-9196

Lavagn Claudio
Director of Family Support and Training at Gandara

Yaurelí Colón
Enchanted Circle, Holyoke

Nicole Arnold
Happy New Year! Nicole Arnold here, Addiction Nurse with Holyoke Medical Centers Comp Care outpt center!

Diosdado Lopez-Martinez
from the Support Network 413-887-2771 Email:

Marissa Chiapperino
Dietitian Holyoke Medical Center and Instructor at Holyoke Community College

Angelique Rodriguez
Hello! Angelique Rodriguez (she/her) here. I am the Community Outreach & Admissions Counselor at Holyoke Community College in the Admissions Office. Feel free to contact me at or (413) 552 2243.

Marinna Kaufman
Research Assistant at UMass Chan Medical School, Smelson Lab. We have a behavioral health intervention (MISSION - that helps individuals struggling with both mental health and substance use disorders

Tania Jacobs
Hampden County Superior Court

Heather MacInnes
Boy Scouts of America Western Mass Council- 413-218-2798- Membership Specialist- Cubmaster for Pack 235 in Holyoke and Scoutmaster for Scouts BSA Troop 235 (Boys and Girls Troop)

Sarah Lynn
MSPCC Prevention - Healthy Families and Parents as Teachers

Gloria Penagos
Holyoke Community College - with FREE JOB TRAINING - Link:

Jennifer Yekel
with Eliot/MSPCC in the survivor services program as a VOCA clinician.

Angelica Fontes
Hello everyone glad to be here! Angelica Fontes, (She/her) I am Director of Organizing for the MA Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. If interested in connecting feel free to email me at

Efrain Baez
Hi Sara and Mandy

Edward Caisse
Hampden County Sheriff's Office,

Mandy Goulet
Peer Outreach Coordinator Sarah Colby Recovery Coach HOPE FOR HOLYOKE

Diana Biagioli
Transition Coordinator at the Federation for Children with Special Needs, We work with and for children and youth ages 0-26, we provide information, guidance and training for their families and support networks on anything related to special education. Our website:

Mandy Goulet

Carl Borden
W.Mass Boy Scouts
Upcoming Scouting and Exploring Events. Various Thursdays Cub Scout Pack 235, Scouts BSA Troops for Boys and Girls 235 meeting in Holyoke for boys and girls 5-17. For More Information contact Heather MacInness. Junior Acheivement Business Explorers Mondays 3:30 pm Starting Jan 24 until June @ Tower Center in Springfield. for boys and girls 14-20

Ashley Jediny
Hampden County Sheriff's Office, Program Coordinator Post Overdose Outreach,

Germaris Pinero
Hasanah Shah and Crystal Frederick-Ladunni from the Young Parent Support Program at the YWCA.

Brianna Pereira
Hi, everyone! Brianna Pereira - Community Relations Liaison for CleanSlate Centers. Email:

Helena Dixon
Valley Opportunity Council Adult Education Advisor

Diana Biagioli
SAVE THE DATE: March 9th Federation for Children with Special Needs - Visions of Community Virtual Conference, offering a large array of workshops and resources pertaining to special education. April 6th, in person event with workshops and resources -will probably take place at UMass,Amherst but it has to be confirmed. Flyer to come out next week and I will send it to Ed

Alyssa Golden
CORI/Reentry Unit Supervisor at CLA
Supervising Attorney of the CORI/Reentry unit at Community Legal Aid. We represent individuals seeking to seal and/or expunge criminal records, appeals of public and subsidized housing denials because of criminal records, and employment/educational program denials because of criminal records. You can contact me at: or 413-582-1377

Efrain Baez
Hi everyone I work for Gandara Center, as Senior Director for the ecovery Centers. We have two location in the west part of the State, Hope for Holyoke and VALOR in Springfield. my email is 774-257-5660 ext 2304.

Diosdado Lopez-Martinewz
Gender Affirming Families and Community February 5th at 6pm at Holyoke Public Library 250 Chestnut street, Holyoke, MA Speaker James Shultis. Free event. RSVP at

Shaundell Diaz
Coordinated Entry Coordinator, Three County Continuum of Care/CAPV. I along with Tanisha Arena, Rose Webster-Smith, and Gilad Meron will be presenting at this Conference on "Building Strong Communities': A Workshop on Individual and Family Welfare, Social Fabric, and Justice in Addressing homelessness in MA.

Diana Biagioli
NextGen Careers is an alternative to traditional MRC (Mass Rehabilitation Commission) VR (Vocational Rehabilitation) model including a wrap around team to help young people with disabilities gain and retain employment. This is a pilot project in 117 towns and cities in Massachusetts and Holyoke, Springfield, Chicopee and other neighboring towns are included. Look at the “Service Areas” option on this link to see if you city/town is included:

Shaundell Diaz
I will also be presenting at the 2024 Fair Housing and Civil Rights Conference in April alongside Matthew Dougherty, Nan Sibley, and Tim McCarthy on the Re-Imagining Interim Housing Framework!

Diana Biagioli, Federation for Children with Special Needs
This will take place at Springfield College, correct? Also, can you tell us from what time to what time?

Ana Jaramillo
Ana Jaramillo Holyoke Health Center love these project

Mandy Goulet/ Sarah Colby- Hope for Holyoke
How do we register to participate in the conference?

Laura Krishnan-Mackie
to be on the list to get more information - you can sign up on this webpage-

Carl Borden
I believe the Boy Scouts are helping that day. I just want to make sure that is still a go.

Sandy Ward
with nonprofit Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Mass. Our website provides information about rights and options, tips for saving costs, and a comparative chart of prices charged by funeral homes in 4 counties of W. MA. We answer questions from the public via a 24/7 voice-mail service (413-376-4747) and our email at and we can do presentations to groups. No charge for our services. We do welcome donations. We are all volunteers.

Carl Borden
W.Mass Boy Scouts
A Charter Sponsor in Exploring helps Career oriented High School Aged youth run programs for those youth through the Boy Scouts of America Exploring Division. We provide the secondary accident insurance and training for all adults. we also provide the syllabus to run the courses. If needed we can also provide a Program Specialist from the Council. Availability is limited since we are running over a dozen programs currently throughout the Pioneer Valley. for more information contact me at
to see some of the concentrations go to:

Angelica Fontes
Also happy to highlight the MA Coalition’s upcoming quarterly meeting on Wednesday, January 17th at 5PM for folks interested in learning about additional updates from my organization and our members. You can register here:

Iris Sosa
Boy Scout of America Western Massachusetts Council, phone 797-512-1375,

Charlie Knight
32 Byerss Street, Inc;, straight rental housing for homeless indiviuals..
For those tha might wan to know. 32 Byers Stree, INc. has provided straight rental housing for homeless people for the past 28 or so years. Ourse is SRO housing and our current property managemet company is Way Finders proeprty management.
My pesonal email is
For the most part this is rental housing with no additional progrm requirements

WE were found with the late Michaelann Bewse and other intered in providing a solid rental housing for the homeless that is safe and secure and yet not a 'progrm'.

John McCarthy
USCIS Citizenship and Immigration Service Contact information (617356-5441

Charlie Knight
32 Byerss Street, Inc;, straight rental housing for homeless indiviuals..
am sorry but this camera on tis loned laptop is not doing so well today. So I might have it off often

Helena Dixon
GED/HISET Preparation Classes: info session on Monday, January 29th at 10:30 AM. Youth out of school ages 16 - 24 receive a $25.00 gift card for joining the program. FREE ESOL CDL Training. Citizenship classes in the spring. 413-612-0206, ext. 208. Helena Dixon

Carl Borden
W.Mass Boy Scouts
Upcoming event for all Youth 5+WHOA in Russell Massachusetts

Laura Jansen Trauma Services 0-24, Homicide Bereavement -lifespan. Case management, trauma focused therapy, drop-in workshops and activities.

Nia Johnson
Western MA Community Engagement Coordinator for Attorney General's Office,, 413-867-1619 (I'm in the TD Bank building)

Michael Daley
Superior Court Probation Officer.

Gwendolyn Hardrick
I am the Business for Alianza DV Services Inc

Marissa Chiapperino
Healthy cooking classes-

Marissa Chiapperino
Free diabetes classes

Rosa Tobin, Massachusetts Fair Housing Center, email me about scheduling a fair housing training, resources, or for more information about our housing counseling program

Sarah Lynn
MSPCC Prevention
You can learn more about Parents As Teachers here.

Miguel Arce
Fostering inclusion and equity for Latina/o children and their families will take place on March 13 (inclement weather date 3/14). The program brochure will be completed in the next two weeks. WE WOULD LOVE YOUR PARTICIPATION. Contact me directly before the brochure is completed at

Angelica Fontes
Thank you all for this space, this afternoon! I do have to join another meeting but look forward to connecting with you all! Contact:

Yaurelí Colón -Enchanted Circle (Holyoke)
Enchanted Circle/Arts Integration

Lauren Carpenter
Lauren Carpenter 413-534-2897

Carl Borden - W.Mass Boy Scouts
2,500 backpacks?

Nicole Arnold RN: CCC HMC
Lauren and I would love to do an educational session at the schools regarding addiction :-) Q&A or health related , whatever you need!

Old Business / New Business
Next Meeting is a special meeting on Thursday, February 8th on Zoom.

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