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February 2023

Ed Caisse

Feb 9 2023

Virtual Networking Meeting

Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative
Meeting Notes

Date: February 9th, 2023
Time: 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Place: Zoom Meeting

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

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

Maria Pagan: Holyoke Public Library 1:05pm - 1:20pm

Thank you Ed, this is the first time that I am going to be doing a PowerPoint presentation, I usually just show one page but this is going to be multiple pages, so I am going to try to do my best. I am not going to take too much of your time, because I know this is a big group. This presentation is not going to be about the many library services, resources, and programs that the library currently offers but to announce a new project that the library is undertaking and ask for partnership and collaboration with interested organizations, especially organizations in the education, health, and welfare sectors. First I want to thank Ed for giving me the opportunity and the time to do this presentation, as well as some current partners; Michael Moriarty from One Holyoke and the Holyoke Publi School Superintendent Anthony Soto for providing letters of support to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners for the awarded Library Services and Technology grant that we just received a few months ago. The grant awarded by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is to create a community partnership “Together for Families, Unidos por Las Familias”, to foster family engagement in the education, health, and welfare of their children.

You might say, “But the schools are already doing that” or maybe your organization is already doing that but there is a difference between family involvement and family engagement. Family involvement is a one way interaction. Schools direct the parents’ involvement in the educational system. For example, parents join the PTO or attend parent-teacher conferences; they come to programs, or perform volunteer work, fundraising and other similar tasks. Family engagement is a two-way interaction. It shares responsibility among families, educators, and communities to support children’s learning and development from birth to young adulthood. It is not limited to family’s involvement in school, it is for caregivers to get involved and be engaged in the education, health, and welfare of their children. It is a teamwork where schools, other community organizations and parents work together and build relationships in collaboration. Parents are fundamental to identifying visions and goals. Why is family engagement important? Research shows that family engagement is important for children’s outcomes from birth through young adulthood and it happens anytime, everywhere children learn, including the library. For public libraries, family engagement is a natural next step in supporting children’s learning and development and it entails respectful partnerships that offer the information, guidance, and opportunities for families to be active in children’s learning and development. For families, family engagement is about knowledge, attitudes, values, and behaviors that enable children to be motivated, enthusiastic, and successful. Research has also shown a direct connection between families engaged in their children’s educations to higher achievement and educational success. When families are engaged, students achieve more regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnic/racial background, or the parent’s education level. Students also exhibit constant higher grades and test scores, better attendance, positive attitudes and behaviors, and completed homework. Family disengagement is one of the multiple risk factors of school dropout.

So if family engagement is so important, why is it difficult for families to be engaged and stay engaged in the children’s education, health, and welfare? Maybe because it requires a lot to fully engage families and keep them engaged. That is where you all come in; one organization cannot do it all. The Holyoke Public Library received the “Strength in Families” grant from MBLC. As an educational, technological, and social hub of the community, we believe that family engagement is the critical component to help children, families, and schools succeed, but it takes more than one organization to do it. Holyoke Library proposes that creation of a community partnership with local organizations in the educations, health, and welfare sectors to work with parents in meaningful and empowering ways, assisting parents to advocate and improve student outcome, building parents’ capacity to help their children and to help schools succeed. That is what “Together for Families, Unidos por Las Familias” is all about. I am here today asking for your collaboration, your support, and your partnership. You are all a piece of the puzzle and working together will benefit both parents and children.

Family engagement benefits both parents and children. The children’s benefits include increased support for learning at home; improved cognitive development and academic performance; developing a positive attitude towards learning; advancement in their educational journey; better social-emotional development; and improved health. Parent’s benefits include becoming empowered, knowledgeable, and confident parents; understanding how to be involved in children’s learning; strengthened relationships with teachers; improved family well-being; and increased bond with their children. How do we propose encouraging families to be engaged in their children’s education, health, and welfare? Traditionally, early literacy programs at the library have focused on children. Story times and other programs might model strategies parents can use to develop early literacy skills, but parent education was not typically the primary intent. The Public Library Association (PLA) and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) concluded that public libraries could have an even greater impact on early literacy through an association that focuses on educating parents and caregivers. If the primary adults in a child’s life can learn more about the importance of early literacy and how to nurture pre-reading skills at home, the effect of library efforts can be multiplied many times. Teaching parents and other caregivers how to support the early literacy development of their children is the basis of Every Child Ready to Read at Your Library.

“Together for Families/Unidos por Las Familias” is a community collaboration and partnership effort. Together with your partnership and collaboration, we will provide activities and programs that will educate and encourage caregivers in order to increase knowledge and engagement in the education, health and welfare of their children. We believe that our partnership can work together in a number of ways to directly address the critical problems of youth’s low scores and grades and high absenteeism, establish a system of family engagement that extends throughout that child’s life, and support children and families and prepare children for success. The Holyoke Public Library has joined a network of other community-based organizations around the United States that are helping create an educated home-town environment by conducting Parent Engagement Training events. They also provide toolkits, pledge cards, and report cards in communities around the U.S. Project Appleseed is a national partner that provides training to the members of Together for Families for doing the family engagement program. The training will help build capacity to effectively engage and empower families to improve students’ outcomes and advocate for all students. Another potential partner that I am looking into is Build the Out-of-School Time Network, they are out of Boston. They provide technical assistance, operational supports, and connection to community resources from local organizations. I thank everyone for listening to this presentation and welcome the opportunity to speak to you and your organizations to provide more details about this possible collaboration and the possibilities to help our students’ success in school and beyond. You have my contact information; I put it in the chat. My name is Maria Pagan, my email is I also provided the phone number and I appreciate you all for attending this meeting and Ed for allowing me to talk about this upcoming program. I hope that we can all get together at one point and see how together we can influence the school system by helping the parents. Thank you.

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

Yvonne Lomax - Westover Job Corps
Good afternoon everyone, and happy New Year, Yvonne Lomax here, outreach and admissions manager at the Westover Job Corps, here in Chicopee. I wanted to update everyone that we are open for in-person tours which we have every Wednesday. We have two tours one from 10am to 12pm and then another scheduled from 1:30pm to 3:00pm. We can also do tours based upon schedules if Wednesday is not good. We would love to have anyone come out and see and hear more about our center. We are also able to do live orientations on campus, as well as interviews for young people and partners. We are available for community outreach for anything any of you should need. My email and phone number are in the chat and I look forward to working with each and every one of you. Thank you, Ed.

Terri Lombardo: HCS Head Start
Hi everyone, Terri Lombardo, HCS Head Start. A lot of people don’t know that at HCS Head Start we actually start servicing children at six weeks of age up until the age of 5, which is Pre-K. We have a large center in Holyoke which is located on Commercial St. and there are about eight classrooms and we are currently accepting applications. I will put our website in the chat but everything is going great. Nice to see everyone.

Sheryl Maldonado: Way Finders/VISTA
Hi good afternoon, my name is Sheryl Maldonado, I am a VISTA member and the Resident Engagement Coordinator at Way Finders. I don’t have anything to report but we are having computer classes in the summer for basic and youth, so I will let you know when those start, thank you Ed.

Shellie Daries: Department of Children and Families
Hey everyone, Shellie Daries from the Department of Children and Families, I am a Foster Parent/Adoption Recruiter for the department. I am just trying to be out in the community as much as I can and do some networking with everybody here regarding the needs of our foster children in Holyoke and the surrounding areas. On March 11th I am going to send you all a flyer, I will be having a coffee hour in Springfield at my office on 140 High St, second floor. You will see a flyer come out, and I am going to do an information session about how to become a Foster Parent or how you might be able to help our youth. Thank you everybody.

Sean McBride: Holyoke District Court
Good afternoon everybody, Sean McBride Chief Probation Officer to the Holyoke District Court, nothing to report.

Sarah Lynn: MSPCC Prevention
Hello everybody, Sarah Lynn from MSPCC Prevention here. We have the Healthy Families program and the Parents as Teachers program, we are actively taking referrals for Healthy Families and for Parents as Teachers but there is a two week waiting list for that. As for events, we have the next installment of our Fathers and Family Network Series talk, totally free for anybody that is working for dads. It is Tuesday, March 7th, 2023 10am to 12pm on Zoom and the topic will be, understanding and addressing Post-Partum Depression in men. I will put that link in the chat as well as a referral link. Thanks so much.

Sandy Ward: Holyoke Public Library/Funeral consumers Alliance of Western Mass
Thanks Ed. I want to thank Maria for that presentation on the library. I am a volunteer who helps with one of the fundraisers for the library. It is coming up on April 29th, Mini-golf and Games at the Public Library. This accomplishes two things; getting some additional funds that can help with library programs, but most of all bringing families together at the library for some ridiculously silly fun as we turn five levels of that building into 18 holes of mini-golf for one day. Don’t miss it. If your organization would like to decorate one of those holes and become a sponsor, not only helping with the fundraising but also giving visibility to your organization. Hundreds of people come in throughout the day, so there is an opportunity there. I have put the link to the page on the library site that gives you the form. You can learn about the sponsorship, what the costs are, and what the opportunities are to participate. Later on we will want volunteers too but right now getting more sponsorship lined up will be very helpful, thank you so much.

Scott: Odyssey House
Hi everybody, I’m Scott, I am filling in for Brandon, he usually does these meetings. We’re Odyssey House, we are a locational rehabilitation program for adults with mental illness and we focus on education, housing, employment. We are located at 474 Appleton St. in Holyoke Mass. I don’t think we have anything to report right now. If you ever want to come in and take a tour, if you know anybody who could benefit from our services, please stop by. We are available for tours from 8:30am to noon and from 1 to 4 in the afternoon. We are all in-person, we just have a mask requirement.

Nolan Teixeira: Eagle Eye Institute
Hi everyone, I’m Nolan Teixeira, I use he/him pronouns. I work for an organization in Holyoke called Eagle Eye Institute. We work to connect youth organizations and schools with naturalists, people who are engaged with the outdoors and we offer programs in the outdoors. We have a land trust site in Peru, Massachusetts which is about an hour away from Holyoke where we do a lot of programs. Currently we are doing a lot of planning, so if you are youth serving organization or a youth leadership organization and you’re interested in getting the youth outdoors and involved with nature more than feel free to reach out to me and we can definitely set something up. We are also working at Dean Tech High School trying to rehabilitate their greenhouse that they have.

Nayroby Rosa: One Holyoke
Good afternoon everyone, Nayroby from One Holyoke. A lot going on with us, but next week we will be celebrating and assisting the Holyoke Public Schools with their attendance rewards and campaign. Focusing on being a part of the Attendance Task Force and helping our youth make sure they get to school so they are educated. It is going to be a nice event. I have put my information in the chat. We are continuing our COVID work through June and extending our lease at Key Foods and holding weekly vaccine clinics right at the supermarket, if anybody is interested in that. We are also helping support a lot of other events like the mini-golf and getting volunteers so you will be getting emails from me about that. I’ll mention is more as we get closer but on Earth day we kick off our clean-up campaign, so we are always looking for organizations to sign up and host a clean-up with their group. So, please email me and let’s start making this kickoff clean-up campaign a success this year. Thanks Ed.

Nancy Alvarado: EA Families
Hi my name is Nancy Alvarado; I am Domestic Violence Services Navigator working with EA Families. Any families that are in EA shelters assisting them with referrals, safety planning, safety checks, meeting them where they are at, even if they want to stay with the individual, we work with them as a family. We are working in Hampden County with the shelters in Holyoke and Springfield. If you know anybody that has dealt with some sort of sexual violence or domestic violence and you know they are in an EA shelter, they sometimes fall through the cracks, so you can contact me I am going to put my email in the chat. Thank you.

Professor Miguel Arce: Springfield College
Miguel Arce, Springfield College, Department of Social Work, nothing to report, thanks for providing this service, Ed.

Mercedes Murphy: UMass Medical School
Hi everybody, my name is Mercedes Murphy, I am here today as part of my fellowship in the Lent Program at UMass Medical School. The Lent Program is an interdisciplinary train in for post-graduate level work. We work with people with disabilities and helping families improve the health of children and teens, the children that have neurodevelopmental related disabilities and other forms of IDD. I am here today to learn more about the community and see how I can help in any way. I focus on policy advocacy and leadership skills, and trying to bring that to the community level here in Holyoke.

Megan Gross: Bilingual Language Development Lab
Hi everyone, good afternoon it’s good to be back at these meetings. I was teaching during this time last semester, so glad to be here again. I am from UMass Amherst Bilingual Language Development Lab and I have three quick things to share. First, Nayroby and I are continuing to collaborate on a group supporting families raising bilingual children, which has a particular focus on supporting Spanish-speaking families that have children with disabilities and I think we are discovering a lot of synergy with some of the other organizations in this group and looking to join forces with Enlace and some other groups as well. Our next meeting is likely going to be Saturday, February 18th, and I will put a link in the chat where families can sign up. The second is that we are doing a study on Zoom for children between the ages of 4 and 6 who speak Spanish and English, this is for children who are learning language typically, also for children who are autistic, or children who have language disabilities. They can participate as well and we do some language testing with them as well as some fun games that look at their communication skills. The last thing is that my colleague and I are offering language and hearing screenings for preschool aged children, ages 4 to 6 in English and Spanish. If any of your agencies are interested in having some help running screenings to identify kids who might need more support around hearing or language needs, feel free to email me and I’ll put my contact information in the chat. Thanks so much.

Maryann Linnehan: Westmass Elder Care
Good afternoon everyone, it’s been awhile since I’ve been able to join you on Thursdays, so it’s good to see some of your faces. A couple reminders, I am from Westmass Elder Care and we service seven towns; Granby, Ware, Ludlow, South Hadley, Chicopee, Holyoke, and Belchertown. If you have any seniors or know people that have disabilities that need assistance you can give us a call, my email is in the chat. I also wanted to share that we are able to grab a grant for a new program, Elder Mental Health Outpatient Treatment Program, the acronym is MHOT, we have a clinical Social Worker and a Psych Nurse Practitioner who work together to help treat these elders, many of whom who can’t leave home. The social worker is the outreach person. What we find is that the elders are not necessarily in need of medication, they are in need of being un-medicated. A lot of these people are over-medicated and so our team is helping them to live their best life. If anyone has someone in their caseload or their life that they think will benefit from this program or if you have any questions, reach out, my number and email are in the chat. Thank you.

Mary Hoye: OSHA
Hi, my name is Mary Hoye. I am the area director of the OSHA Office in Springfield, that’s the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. We’ve joined this group hoping to find ways to reach out to underserved workers, workers that we don’t traditionally see calling OSHA, who are working in unsafe and unhealthful workplaces. We want to let them know what their rights are and we are working on putting together an OSHA Listens sessions, so that we can hear from these workers who might be afraid to call OSHA, or who might not know what their rights are under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. So I put my name in the chat before I knew to put in my contact information, so I will put my name and contact information in the chat again, most of you on this call probably know somebody that is in a work situation and if there is any concerns or if you think of someone who might be at risk don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Thanks very much.

Marisol Fontanez: Picknelly Center
Good afternoon, I am the clerical assistant of the PACE Picknelly Center in Holyoke. We are still offering HiSET, GED, and ESOL classes during the day or evening, as well as, Spanish HiSET classes. Anybody who is interested should contact me; I am posting the information in the chat. We are welcoming people from Holyoke and the surrounding cities. I am the first contact, Adlyn Colon is the other PACE contact but she is not available today, but I included her information in the chat. I will screen the people who contact me for classes in English or Spanish, and we will give them the placement test date. We consistently try to get them in both or engaged if they are on the waiting list. If they miss the appointment they sometimes get nervous and retract because they think they are too old or not knowledgeable with the computers, we try to screen them to see what is going on and get them into PACE. Right now all the placement tests are going through Zoom but we accommodate them and give them a different date to do it in-person.

Stefany Garcia: Holyoke Public Schools
Hello everybody, Stefany Garcia, Holyoke Public Schools. We are having a parenting class with Families First, which should be coming out soon, here at Donahue, so we are recruiting parents for it. We are doing the re-zoning changes with the families for next year, so make sure that the families you are working with are aware. Since this is a big change in the district a lot of families are going to be impacted, about 50% of our families, so if you have a conversation with them just double check that they know what school their kids are going to be at next year. In case some of you have not heard, the district is moving away from the K through 8th model and next year it will be completely elementary, middle school, and high school district, with Sullivan being the middle school and Metcalf Middle and Stem being the smaller middle schools, until Peck is either rehabbed or fixed, depending on what the City of Holyoke decides.

Maria Chambers: Behavioral Health Network
Hello everyone, nice to see you all, my name is Maria Chambers. I am Senior Program Manager at the Behavioral Health Network; I put my info in the chat. I don’t have any updates today.

Madeline Martinez: Way Finders
Hello, I’m Madeline Martinez from Way Finders. I am the Employment Supportive Services Program Manager. We help clients that have Home Base, that have received RAFT, or are in EA Shelters get employment or trainings if they need them. So if you know anybody that is interested, or work with the shelters or with the Home Base program I put my contact number in the chat and you can call me. Thank you.

Lydia Pares: Big Brothers / Big Sisters
Hi, my name is Lydia, I am from Big Brothers / Big Sisters. We seek to change lives of the children facing adversity for the better through one on one mentoring. So if anyone is interested in becoming a mentor or enrolling your child, I will put my information in the chat so you can reach out. Thank you.

Liz Plouffe: East Hampton Social Work
Hi everybody I am your Holyoke neighbor over here in East Hampton. I am the Community Social Worker for the city. We launched an anonymous drop box harm reduction program in recent weeks. So if you have anybody in my direction, we have Narcan, Fentanyl test strips, condoms, COVID tests, face masks, there is a drop box outside my office here in the basement at City Hall in East Hampton. It is super easy request online, it’s totally anonymous. I leave a bag with the requested supplies in it for people. So if you have anyone this way who may be in need, feel free to send them, it’s all on our East Hampton City Website. The community closet that I have is also packed, I am actually sending a bunch of stuff over to Providence Ministries next week, and I have a ton of really nice dress jackets for adults. If you have anybody that might like a coat for work or anything, I have all of that. Not work related but I am a Foster Parent for the Holyoke DCF office and I am always happy to share my experience if anyone is considering it and would like to talk to somebody that is currently serving as a Foster Parent because there is a huge need, please feel free to reach out anytime on the fostering end. Thanks.

Lisa Carbonell-Correa: Alzheimer’s Association
Hi, I am Lisa; I do care consultation with the Alzheimer’s Association. We provide services in English and Spanish; we provide programs and care consultations. We also have a possible program in March that will be Savvy Caregiver in Spanish, it will be called Cuidado con Respeto and we are looking to send a flyer. When I have the flyer I will send it to Ed. That’s everything I have right now.

Kevin Noonan: El Colibri
Hi Ed, thank you for having this forum. I am with El Colibri, we are trying to start a shelter for women, it is an uphill climb but we are keeping at it. We have nothing definite to report other than to thank Professor Arce in joining us in this struggle; he has been very helpful in opening doors for us. Thank you and goodbye. I have left my website in the chat.

Kaydance Scotto: AmeriCorps DIAL/Self
Hello everyone my name is Kaydance Scotto, I’m an AmeriCorps program coordinate with DIAL/Self. We have a 10 month program that follows the school year and we are accepting applications for this upcoming school year, 23/24 term. So if you know anyone who’s interested in a leadership, professional development opportunity working with youth in schools or through community organizations feel free to reach out. I am happy to share more information. Thank you.

John McCarthy: USCIS Citizenship and Immigration Services
Thank you Ed. John McCarthy, I am the community relations officer for USCIS Citizenship and Immigration Services and I work out of the Boston office of USCIS. The role of community relations is to provide information on immigration with those seeking an immigration benefit regarding eligibility or the process of going through eligibility for an immigration application. Additionally we assist agencies working with immigrants; we provide them an immigration overview if they want to learn a little bit more about the background of immigration, when they are dealing with their clients or to provide a virtual presentation through either local libraries or agencies for people that have an interest in immigration. In particular with things like the CHNV process; Cuban, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans progress which came out last month, it’s a new program and if people want to know more about that I would be happy to put on a presentation for them. There are also the older programs such as the Temporary Protected Status; we can provide presentations on what it is and what it can do for you. There is a new Public Charge Rule that went into effect on December 23rd that people may be interested in learning about so we can provide presentations on that as well. My information is in the chat, we put on a presentation every month at the Boston Public Library, so if you go to their events calendar you can often find that we are on their event calendar on their website. I look forward to providing assistance where I am requested. Thank you.

Joanne Gilman: MSPCC Elliot
Joanne Gilman from MSPCC Elliot, we have in-home therapy services, TM, outpatient, and our IHT services are for children with severe emotional and behavioral issues. We offer services several days a week for two or more hours at a time. Right now we have openings for employment for IHT, TTNS, and TM’s, please send us your referrals for any of your clients. Our phone number is 413-532-9446 and I’ll put the information in the chat, thank you.

Jessie Berliner: GRIT Yale Street
Hi there, my name is Jessie Berliner; I am the Mental Health Coordinator for the Mental Health Associations GRIT Yale Street program. We are a residential recovery program for those with co-occurring disorders who are in the LGBTQ+ community and I have nothing to report.

Jen Santos: Way Finders
Hi Ed, I am Jen Santos, I am a System Navigator here at Way Finders. I am just here to gather other resources and information to assist our case managers and housing search workers for our portfolio that we have for our families in shelters.

Jason Comcowhich: Nuestras Raices
Good afternoon, I’m Jason Comcowhich the Terra Corps Community Engagement Coordinator with Nuestras Raices. We are going to have a number of upcoming volunteer opportunities with our community garden starting in March. There is going to be some structural repairs, as well as some clean up and preparation of the spaces if anyone is interested or if you know anyone who might be interested, I’ve put my email in the chat and feel free to reach out, thank you.

Jaime Santiago: Preferred Behavioral Health
This is Jaime from Preferred Behavioral Health; I am here other folks who will introduce themselves from Preferred Behavioral Health in Springfield. We are actively taking referrals; we just hired a couple new staff. We are looking for referrals for mental health services; we have no wait right now. I put my name early in the chat so you can scroll up there to find it.

Daniel Torres: Fishers of Men New England
Good afternoon everyone this is Daniel Torres with Fishers of Men New England, working with Pastors and churches in the local area. We are trying to connect with Pastors and definitely trying to connect Holyoke Pastors with all the great work you are doing. Thank you.

Israel Rivera: Families First
Hello my name is Israel Rivera, with me is my Supervisor Magda Rodriguez, we represent Families First. We are a new parenting initiative that has moved out to Western Mass. We run the “Power of Parenting”; it is a twelve week curriculum. We have already graduated five programs and we are working on graduating a sixth. We have graduated around 40 to 45 parents within Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield. We are currently running a program at Sullivan School and are about to graduate about nine parents out of that program. We are also working on collaboration with Stefany at Donahue; we will be launching about four more programs in March and April. I am hoping I can have a bunch of you help me with referrals and getting parents into the program. I also love the presentation that Maria put together because we can collaborate with trying to do programming at the library as well to help them out. I will also post our general flyers in the chat, there is a link and a QR code, if you know anyone, you can print out the flyers and have them scan the QR code or use the link and they can register and will receive a phone call either from me or one of my Parent Ambassadors. Thank you.

Magda Rodriguez: Families First
I am very excited to be here. I am learning so much about your community, you are all incredible, so many programs. I am also excited about the presentation because that is it what we do, I’ve done family engagement for many years and I am so excited that you are expanding those works. We are here to support parenting education and we have parent leadership. I hear a lot about advocacy and connecting and referring parents, so thank you for the opportunity and we are honored to be here with all of you.

Iris Colon: River Valley Counseling Center
Hi I’m Iris Colon, I work for River Valley Counseling Center for the Integrated Healthcare team. I am the Peer Recovery Specialist/ Case Manager for the team. We include a Clinician, a Peer Recovery Specialist, a Case Manager, a Nurse- we have two nurses, and a Medical Assistant for any needs. The only requirement is that you have to be in therapy to receive any other services. All of my information is in the chat.

Iohann Vega: Holyoke Media and New England Public Media
Thank you Ed, hello everybody I am Iohann Vega, I wear multiple hats, particularly with Holyoke Media and new England Public Media. Today I want to share with you, on behalf of New England Public Media, that we are going to have a February break intensive course that is going to be about the basic in mobile video content creation. This is going to be a four day crash course for teenagers in high school and anyone else who wants to sign up. It is going to be on Zoom so they don’t have to go out or be anywhere else. The idea is for them to have the idea on the approach of how to create content on platforms that they already know for example Snapchat, Tik Tok, or Instagram but with the lens and the approach of how public media and journalists do it for more professional work and use. It can also be an opportunity for some of these high school students to join us for our summer program which is a paid program for them to learn everything about media production. This is going to begin February 21st and it is open right now. I am going to post the link, so if anyone you know that may be interested in it can sign up. We also have ongoing cohorts of training high school students on everything related to media production, so we will be sharing with you as we continue doing this program, how to get involved, how to connect with youth that you are serving through your programs but also if you know anyone among your friends and family. We want to make this as accessible as possible and we are dedicated to serve youth in Springfield and Holyoke, and those who are bilingual so we can connect with our youth in our communities. The information is in the chat and I will be including the flyer, that’s all I have for now, thank you.

Heather Salerno: Western Mass Mom’s Program
Hi Ed, thanks for having us here, I’m Heather Salerno with the Western Mass Mom’s Program. We are still enrolling in our program, it’s for Moms in Springfield, Holyoke, and surrounding communities. It is a stress management course, as well as a way to provide resources to help them meet goals they have in their life. You can find my information in the chat, we are actively enrolling all the time, thank you.

Germaris Pinero: YWCA
Hello everyone my name is Germaris Pinero, I am with my team Hasanah Shah and Crystal Fedrick. We are with the Young Parents Support Program from the YWCA and we offer supportive services to pregnant and parenting youth. If you know of any teen parents in need of supportive services please refer them our way, we are going to put our information in the chat, thank you.

Greg Graustein: Recovery Connection Center
Hi folks, Greg Graustein, Recovery Connection Center , you are all aware that opiate addiction is a national issue and we treat for opiate dependency and alcohol right in Springfield in our small office to provide care. We can get everybody in within 24 hours to be seen by a provider. We take all insurances and make sure that people are treated decently and comfortably. We also are helping people off Methadone, who are motivated, as want to come off Methadone onto Suboxone again, potentially Sublocade. They have to be about 70mg or under and we can help them off. This is not usually offered because insurances won’t pay for that in a medicative state, but we have a new program to be able to help them off. Thank you for this forum and will give us your number, and I also posted my information in the chat. Thank you very much Ed.

Gabriela Santiago: Rewarding Insurance Agency
Hello my name is Gabriela Santiago and I work with Rewarding Insurance Agency here in Holyoke Mass, we are located on 177 High St. This is my first time connecting so I really thank you, it is my pleasure to be here. We work with serving the Spanish community in giving life insurance and we also serve in giving medical insurance to 65 and older families. At this time we are also looking to see if there are any activities going on in the area so we can put a table there. We are also looking for a location that we could use once-a-month, so we can put a table there. That’s all I have for now, thank you.

Frank Martinez: Enlace de Familias
Hey all, Frank Martinez here, Executive Director of Enlace, it has been a little while since I have seen you all here. I also have Jaycleen, she will be attending the meetings when I can’t so we ensure that we have somebody here at all times. Jaycleen works with the community in the Connections program. Enlace’s whole role was to engage the communities and families to school and everything that is going on around their area, especially programs. I will be sending four flyers out, I know we have a whole bunch of programs but I will try to day the most recent ones coming up. We have the Community Empowerment Lab which is to empower youth to create their own businesses, we are also creating a Holyoke comic book about migration into the city. We are also going to be doing internships and target 65 elementary and middle school kids to teach them financial literacy and how to open a bank account, all that good stuff. I will send the registration in a flyer, it will be a QR code and then we’ll create an info session. Our partners are MassHire Holyoke, E for A, The Sheriff’s Department, and The Print Shop, additional to that it starts March 1st, but your kids can apply and they get paid through the process as well. Than we have a program every single Saturday, that’s yoga 11 to 12 and from 12 to 1 we give out food to the community. We also have a support group that has a cooking class beforehand. This week we had around 32 participants, it was a fun time, like a party. We are also going to be providing free space, so any agency that is looking for space, as long as the service is going to be free to the community, can contact Jaycleen and she will schedule you for whenever is available. We don’t charge anything and we provide free coffee and Wi-Fi. We are looking to partner up with all the agencies that would like to be a part of that. We have also partnered up with Wayfinders to help them through the process of RAFT and utility assistance. Individuals will come into Enlace, they get a quick assessment, and then we help them with the applications that they may need moving forward. If that is something that you are interested in or find customers that may find this process hard and need support please send them our way. Our staff is trained in order to help with applications. If you have any questions just let us know in the future, we are here to answer any questions you may have and it is so good to see you guys.

Emmanuel Reyes: United Way of Pioneer Valley
Hello everybody, thank you Ed for having me, it is always a pleasure. Emmanuel Reyes from the United Way of Pioneer Valley. Hello to a lot of colleagues that I haven’t seen in a long time, I’m glad to see you guys here. The United Way always has new programs and initiaves going on for the community. I have two new ones to talk about, the first one is called Thrive for the Youth. We have the Thrive program that is a financial coaching program and now we are moving into Thrive for the Youth. This consists of a 45 minute seminar- talking about banking, savings, budgeting, credit, credit repair, how to open a bank account, how to open a savings account, and everything that has to do with financial wellness. We are trying to push this onto adolescents from ages 14 to 18. This is currently happening. We have another new program called Power of the Purse, we actually started this last year. We are collecting any feminine products such as purses, hygiene products, nail polish, and pocketbooks. Anything you ladies have in your closet that you can spare please bring it to us, we will put it to good use for ladies in the community who may be in need. We also have our food pantry which is right in the heart of downtown Springfield- 1441 Main Street. We are open Tuesdays 2:30 to 4:30 and Wednesdays 9 AM to 1 PM. We have another food pantry in Chicopee, which is located at 226 Exchange Street, right in the hear t of downtown Chicopee. It is open Tuesdays 9 to 11 AM, Wednesdays 3:30 to 5:30 PM, and Thursdays 11 AM to 1 PM. Thank you so much and I appreciate you.

Elizabeth Veillette: CHD Diversion Shelter and Housing
Hi everyone, Elizabeth Veillette, I am the Employment Specialist Navigator for CHD’s Diversion Shelter and Housing division. We are the largest shelter provider in Western Mass. DHDC just recently reclassified overflow from hotels to EA shelter, which took our family count up to almost 300. My responsibility is to work with anyone who is either training or employment ready to help them reach independence so they can move into housing and out of the shelters. Thank you.

Denise Kelly-Lachat: Hampden District Attorney Office
Good afternoon everyone, Denise Kelly-Lachat from the Hampden DA’s office, diversion specialist in Holyoke Juvenile Court and Holyoke District Court. Nothing to report at this time. Thanks Ed.

Corrine Ryan: Community Legal Aid
Hi everyone, Corrine Ryan, I am the managing attorney of CLA in Springfield. For those of you who don’t know, CLA is the civil legal aid provider for the five counties of Central and Western Mass. In Hampden County we have an office in downtown Springfield at Monarch Place on Main Street. We specialize in all the core substantive civil legal areas- so housing, eviction defense, access to affordable housing programs, fair housing. We have a robust family law unit where we help survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault with a full range of their probate and family court matters- so divorce, visitation, custody, child support. We have an education law unit that helps students struggling in school, so helping them to get services in the classroom and also defending against unlawful or unfair disciplinary actions like suspensions or expulsions. We have an elder law unit for folks above 60. We have benefits and employment units that helps folks get steady income, so anything from the state- state benefits, cash assistance, food stamps to federal disability benefits and unemployment. We have an immigration law unit in our subsidiary mostly for humanitarian based immigration relief- so cases for people seeking asylum, unaccompanied minors, and victims of certain crimes. We have a new initiative in Hampden County, it is about a year old, called The Family Preservation Project. We take referrals from community partners and DCF where the main allegation is not of abuse or neglect but of poverty related problems. For example, maybe there is an eviction or benefits are in jeopardy. We take the underlying civil legal issues that are involved in the case and work on those in house and then go back to DCF to advocate that they close the case so that families stay together and avoid the unnecessary trauma of the foster care system. We also have a CORI re-entry project in Hampden County that we are really getting off the ground. This is for folks post-incarceration who are facing barriers when reintegrating into society- so employment issues, housing issues, we also do CORI sealing clinics from time to time. All of those issues are fair game for Civil Legal Aid. I will put our Intake line and website in the chat so feel free to reach out to me directly if you have questions or to just refer your clients to us. Thanks.

Brett Fortin: U.S. Department of Labor OSHA
Good afternoon everyone, my name is Brett Fortin, I am Outreach Coordinator for the U.S. Department of Labor OSHA out of Springfield, Massachusetts. Part of what my job is is to put workers in touch with how they can make complaints if they have safety and health concerns about their jobs, particularly if they are afraid of any type of retaliatory actions. I put them in touch with Whistleblowers, show them their rights. We also work with employer groups. We provide them with free pamphlets of information on how to keep their workers safe, the regulations that they are required to follow, also some of the grant programs that are out there available to assist them with accomplishing some of that training and free training assets that are available for them. Thank you for your time.

Bill Courchesne: Hampden County Sherriff’s Department
Hello everybody, Bill Courchesne, Hampden County Sherriff’s Department. I am the Ward 6 neighborhood watch coordinator for Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiave. Nothing new to report at this time.

Angelimarie Mercado-Santana: Community Education Project
How are you, my name is Angie, I am with the Community Education Project in Holyoke. I am brand new to this project, I have been here for about three weeks already so I have nothing to report. It was nice to see so many faces and agencies that I would like to connect with eventually.

Alexandria Snyders Dykeman: Massachusetts Fair Housing Center
Hi, I am representing the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center and just joining for the first week after someone else had been coming to the meetings for us, so nothing new to report. Thank you.

Alejandra Delgado: Massachusetts State Police
How are you everyone, so I am with the Massachusetts State Police. I have nothing to report as of right now.

Abbie Germain: Western Mass Moms
Hey Ed, thank you, good afternoon everyone. My colleague, Heather, spoke earlier and gave a summary of the program so I am going to use my time just to give a little update. We recently partnered up with the Massachusetts State Police and Springfield Police and Fire to have a car seat safety inspection event. It was hosted by the Springfield Library, it was a really great event. It was an opportunity to offer a free event to all the community members, not just our participants but anyone who wanted to come. Thank you Ed for sharing that flyer. We were able to have about 20 car seats inspected. After the car seats were inspected, the folks were able to come inside and share some snacks and learn about Western Mass Moms. We were able to enroll some people because of those efforts, it was a very successful event. I am looking to do this event in Holyoke, so I would love to partner with the Holyoke law enforcement and fire departments. Second, I would like to thank Maria for the presentation, I think what you are doing is amazing, I am happy to collaborate. I know we have been in contact via email but would love to meet with you to chat more about how we can collaborate. Also, I would like to give a shout out to the Community Education Project from Holyoke as well as Indian Orchard Citizens Council. I just wanted to thank them for their support and spending time with us at the community car seat event. Lastly, I just want to thank the agencies that were willing to share the flyers with their clients and their community. That was NSPCC, BHN, CHD, Head Start, the CFCE program at Head Start, and Ed, thank you so much too, I know your network is really big and you sent that flyer out. Next time we hope to send the flyer out a little earlier, it took a little bit to get approved, but again we are looking to do this event in Holyoke. More to follow on that, but thank you so much.

Rondey Allen: CrossPoint Clinical Services
Good afternoon everybody, Rondey Allen, I am the Executive Director of CrossPoint Clinical Services. We do outpatient mental health and health and wellness services. I just wanted to let everyone know that tomorrow is the last day to sign up for a great marriage class that we have called Seven Principles That Make Marriage Work. It’s based on the work of Dr. John and Julie Gottman, and if you are not familiar, they are actually pretty well renowned when it comes to research and treatment of couples. The principles that are taught in this class I use all the time in my work as a therapist and they are really transformative. We really want to get this out there to folks, there is a fee for this class but we are absolutely willing to work with people so that isn’t a barrier. We understand that this information strengthens and stabilizes marriages and therefore families, which are very important, so please don’t let that be a barrier. If you know someone who is interested in signing up but has the barrier of the fee please reach out to me, I am going to put my email in the chat. Also, we are going to be updating a part of our website to feature our speaker’s bureau. We actually have therapists who are very community oriented, who love to come out and do psychoeducational workshops, especially in small community settings, smaller agencies, churches, places like that, and talking about mental health generally, maybe specific topic on strengthening marriage. I am going to be doing a couples workshop in a couple weeks, I am actually going to be teaching some Gottman principles. Please reach out, we love to be out and about in the community and so most cases in small agencies we don’t even charge. I am going to go ahead and put the link and my information in the chat. Thank you everybody.

Edward Caisse: Hampden County Sherriff’s Department
Hey, so in closing I just want to say that our next meeting is going to be March 9th. Just one update from me today, we are preparing for the All-star game at the Hall of Fame. We have both youth in Holyoke and Springfield that will be playing there. As I was putting the acknowledgements together for the different agencies, I did an insert for the program and we actually have 27 different agencies volunteering, being coaches and volunteering for the youth in the community. I just want to say thank you so much, a lot of the community agencies are on this call. I just want to say thank you so much for continuing to come to the network meeting every month, hope to see you guys next month, March 9th. Have a great weekend and we’ll see you soon. Take care and thank you for everything you do.

Chat Notes:
Israel Rivera & Magda Rodriguez Families First Western Mass
Lydia Pares Big Brothers Big Sisters
Lydia Pares-Big Brothers Big Sisters
Marian Vazquez
Marian Vazquez/Probation Officer Holyoke District Court
Liz Plouffe
Liz Plouffe, LICSW, Community Social Worker for Easthampton. 413-529-1400 x106,
Marisol Fontanez
Marisol Fontanez, HCC PAFEC, Adlyn Colon is not available today.
Miguel Arce
Miguel Arce, Department of Social Work, Springfield College, Resident of Holyoke
Greg Graustein Recovery Connection Center. MAT, We Provide Suboxone ,Sublocade, Vivitrol . We also now assist clt off methadone that are 70mg or lower. All insurnaces
Gabriela Santiago
Gabriela Santiago -Rewarding Insurance Agency- 177 High St, Holyoke MA - 413-317-0043
Bill Courchesne
Bill Courchesne HCSD HSNI Ward 6 NW 413-858-0015
Iris Colon
Iris Colon, Peer Recovery Specialist/Case Manager at RVCC's Integrated Health Care Team. 413-540-1214

Yvonne Lomax
Yvonne Lomax-OA Manager Westover JCC- Good Afternoon All.
Megan Gross
Megan Gross, Bilingual Language Development Lab,
Frank Martinez
Frank Martinez- Executive Director Enlace de Familias
Kaydance Scotto
Kaydance Scotto, AmeriCorps Program Coordinator, DIAL/SELF Youth & Community Services,
Denise kelly-lachat
Denise Kelly-Lachat, Hampden District Attorney's Office, Holyoke Juvenile Court, Diversion Specialist
Jennifer Santos Way Finders-System Navigator-413-233-1913
Sarah Lynn-MSPCC Prevention
Sarah Lynn - MSPCC Prevention-
Brett Fortin
Brett Fortin, US Department of Labor\OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialist ( Outreach Coordinator) Springfield Area Office, 413 785 0207
Heather Salerno - Western Mass MOMS; we provide stress management classes to caretakers in Holyoke and surrounding, along with tons of other resources. Call or text 413-561-7413 or
Rondey Allen- CrossPoint Clinical Services
Rondey Allen, Executive Director of CrossPoint Clinical Services
Elizabeth Veillette
Elizabeth Veillette, M.Ed. Employment Specialist Navigator, CHD, Diversion Shelter and Housing,, 413.266.9840. I provide employment services including training opportunities and employment readiness to individuals living in family shelters.
Frank Martinez
Jaysleen Gonzalez- Holyoke Community Connections Admin- Enlace de Familias
Kevin Noonan
Kevin Noonan, El Colibrí
Madeline Martinez
Madeline Martinez Way finders-ESS Program manager
Nolan Teixeira (he/him), Program Manager at Eagle Eye
Nolan Teixeira, Program Manager at the Eagle Eye Institute (Holyoke),, c: (413) 478-3857
Nayroby Rosa
Nayroby Rosa, Director of Community Engagement and Resident services for OneHolyoke CDC. 413-409-2004. Today I have to leave at 2pm. My apologies!
Madeline Martinez
Madeline Martinez Way finders-ESS Program manager 413-348-7022
Rondey Allen- CrossPoint Clinical Services
Frank Martinez
Frank Martinez- Executive Director Enlace de Familias 413-313-8788
Odyssey House
Odyssey House 474 Appleton st, 413-538-4377 Vocational rehabilitation Clubhouse program of Viability, Inc
Maryann Linnehan
Maryann Linnehan WestMass ElderCare 413-538-9020 ext. 538
john mccarthy USCIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services Community Relations
Shellie Daries
Shellie Daries, Foster Care Recruiter Department of Children and Families. Join me on March 11, 2023 at 140 High Street Springfield, MA 2nd floor for and information session focusing of fostering and adoption. 10:00 to 12:00 Light refreshments served!
Sheryl L Maldonado
Sheryl Maldonado, Residents Engagement training Coordanitor from Way Finders Holyoke and Springfield. 413-386-6898

Gabriela Santiago
Gabriela Santiago-Rewarding Insurance Agency-413-317-0043 - 177 High St, Holyoke, MA -
Shannon Burke
Shannon Burke Medical Home Care Coordinator at Holyoke Pediatrics. I am off camera today. I may be in and out of the meeting today multi tasking. Sorry.
Yadaris Rivera
Good afternoon everyone, Yadaris Rivera here from Holyoke housing. I am the HCV FSS & Community Engagement Coordinator.
Barbie Droz
Barbie Droz - Wayfinders - Resident Services Coordinator for Holyoke. (413)333-1048.
Emmanuel Reyes
Emmanuel Reyes, Manager of Community Outreach Department; ereyes
Jeana Burke
Jeana Burke Gandara Center, Springfield MA Project Amp Coordinator. For the Project Amp Mentoring Program.
Nancy Alvarado
Nancy Alvarado, Domestic Violence Services Navigator for EA families, CHD
Adair Medina
Adair Medina, Erica Vazquez, Shannon Burke from Holyoke Pediatrics. Nothing new to report.
Nolan Teixeira (he/him), Program Manager at Eagle Eye
Thank you!
Marisol Fontanez
Thank you!
Yadaris Rivera
Sorry I am having some trouble connecting the camera and audio. waiting on our IT guy to come down.
Jessie Berliner (she/they)
Jessie Berliner. Care Coordinator at GRIT Yale, MHA's Co-occurring Recovery Residential for those in the LGBTQ+ community. 413-417-6295
Terri Lombardo HCS Head Start
Sandy Ward
Sandy Ward, volunteer, sandy@nonotuck.usMini Golf & Games at the Holyoke Public Library, Saturday April 29, 2023Now seeking Sponsors! For details visit
Jason Comcowich
Jason Comcowich, TerraCorps Community Engagement Coordinator, Nuestras Raices-
Lisa Carbonell-Correa
Lisa M Carbonell-Correa MA CCHW CDPMemory Specialist - Dementia Care Consultantpronouns: she/ellaAlzheimer's Association, Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter309 Waverley Oaks Rd, Waltham, MA 02452 | 617-819 -8923 ext 2040 | / 24/7 Helpline: 800.272.3900 | Find all of our virtual programs and support groups here:
Sarah Lynn-MSPCC Prevention
Nancy Alvarado
Megan Gross
Megan Gross, Bilingual Language Development Lab, megangross@umass.eduGrupo de apoyo:,Study on Zoom: me if your agency is interested in hearing and language screenings for preschool-age children
Mary Hoye
Mary Hoye, Area Director, US DOL/OSHA
Marisol Fontanez
PAFEC: ABE Day or evening HiSET/GED classes, ESOL classes, Spanish HiSET/GED classes as well (day): For more information, to fill out an Intake and to register for the next Information Session & Placement test date, contact Marisol Fontanez 413-552-2990, 413-437-0608-calls & texts, The Information Session & Placement test is with the Intake & Referral Specialist: Adlyn Colon 413-552-2927,
Mary Hoye
Mary Hoye, US DOL/OSHA, Springfield, MA, 413-785-0123,, 1441 Main Street, Room 550, Springfield, MA 01103, translation available, Spanish speakers available
Maria Chambers
Maria Chambers, Senior Program Manager at The Behavioral Health Network 413-654-7639
Lisa Carbonell-Correa
Can you please email me. : I can call you /
Nayroby Rosa
Looking for organizations that can do one-hour presentation at our Elderly Building. Anyone interested please reach out. 413-409-2004.
Lydia Pares Big Brothers Big Sisters
Lydia Pares- Big Brothers Big Sisters. 413-781-4730
Kaydance Scotto
DIAL/SELF AmeriCorps is currently recruiting for our 10-month, full-time program for the 2023-2024 school year. AmeriCorps members are matched with a specific school or community org to support youth. Apply here: or email for more info.
Maria Pagan
Holyoke public Library will be hosting 2 COVID Vaccine Clinics in February 9 and 21. And 2 more in March. 2 additional programs during the week of Feb. 20 -- 2/22 in Buildwave and 2/25 multi-Video games including VR for people of all ages to try different video games. Flyers will follow later this week.
israel Rivera
Power of Parenting Flyer (please utilize link/QR code for registration.
Iohann Vega
Iohann Vega. New England Public Media’s Media Lab. Break intensive course on basics of mobile video content creation, for high school students. Feb 21-24 on Zoom. and more information to
Joanne Gilman
Happy to see everyone today. Joanne Gilman, LICSW, from MSPCC/Eliot CHS. 413-532-9446. We offer In Home Therapy with TT+S services, and Therapeutic Mentors, and Outpatient services. IHT offers services for children with severe emotional and behavioral services several days a week. We have openings for employment for all levels of services, and we welcome referrals for all age children and youth which can be made at the MSPCC website or by phone.
Abbie~Western Mass MOMS
Click here to request more information about Western Mass MOMS
Hasanah Shah
Germaris Pinero, Young Parent Support Program @ the YWCA in Springfield MA.
Iohann Vega
NEPM Media Lab’s Flyer
erica vasquez
Hi I don't have a speaker but nothing new to report. My camera doesn't work
Barbie Droz
Thank you Ed and everyone, as always, this is great. Unfortunately I have a 2pm.
Megan Gross
Thank you Ed and to everyone for sharing about your valuable services. I also have a 2pm. Have a good afternoon!
Thank you for everything Ed and other . Have a nice day
Gabriela Santiago
Gabriela Santiago - Rewarding Insurance Agency -413-623-4264 - 177 High ST, Holyoke, MA - You may connect with me if you have any questions on life insurance and/or health insurance for seniors. We are willing to have a table in community events and if any businss/agency would like for us to have a table every month. Thank you.
Emmanuel Reyes - United Way of Pioneer Valley
I have to jump into another call. If you want to connect with me feel free to email me at ereyes@uwpv.orgHave a great weekend!!
Yvonne Lomax
I have another meeting- Great to see you all- Please reach out for Jobcorps services-
Corrine Ryan, Community Legal Aid
Community Legal Aid intake: 855-252-5342, My direct info:, 413-686-9018.
Rondey Allen- CrossPoint Clinical Services
Rondey Allen-

Old Business / New Business
Next Meeting is Thursday, March 9th, 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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