Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative

Meeting Notes

Date:   January 11, 2018

Time:   1:00pm to 2:30pm

Place:   Holyoke Public Library

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        

Aimee Funk and Milissa Daniels HCC Jump Start Program / Workforce Trainings  1:05pm - 1:20pm

Sara Schmidt introduced Deborah and Milissa of HCC to talk about the Jump Start Program.  Deb informed the group that program offers many different certifications for those that have an open transitional assistance case.  Typically, program is 6-8 weeks in areas such as nursing assistance, Pharmacy Technician, Culinary, along with educational services.  They work with families and have a need for more daycare assistance.

Milissa continued to speak on the workforce training programs through SNAP benefits.  Overall it is a job readiness program of where you would be working with someone outside of the training programs.  They have a new grant funded program at no cost to participants with a WIOA voucher.  It is 180 hors training program for a career in the restaurant, food service and hospitality industry.

Kermit Dunkelberg, Assistant Vice president for Adult Basic Education and Workforce Development stated that they will be offering a new program in July for a career as a medical assistant.  They are working with many counties and employment agencies such as REB to create and ‘Learn to Earn Program’.  The end goal of HCC for everyone to get a job.

Sara informed everyone if they were looking for more information visit HCC.EDU or Facebook HCC adult learning program, in the areas of adult learning and business.  People can also visit her staff at Picknelly center to get connected to HCC resources.

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

Antonio Padilla: Holyoke District Court Probation/Boys and Girls Club of Holyoke

Young Marine program will be starting in January and focusing on ages 8-18.  Interested applicants will be screened for acceptance to program through interviews with youth and parents.  Headquarters will be at the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club.  They have just partnered with AMR and Baystate to offer a CPR and First Aid training.

Chakai Duany/Mel Antuna: Wayfinders

They are starting their Resident Leadership Program for ages 16 and up on 5/9/18.  Will send digital flyer to Ed Caisse to distribute. 3 Kings Celebration will be 1/12/18 at Lawrence School from 6:30-8pm.

Giovanna Randazszo: Massachusetts Fair Housing Center

Offering free education and training about housing rights. Provide trainings for community groups, healthcare providers, tenants, landlords, property manager, realtors, first time homebuyers, newspapers and others. Offering a Fair Housing Tester training on 2/10 for 3 hrs and volunteers has opportunity to make up to $75,

Yessenia Sanchez: BMC

New program for 65 and over; masshealth or medicare.  They will provide transportation to appointment through a private company.

Khalil Rodriguez: Vanguard Movement

Khalil stated that they just secured a location at 401 Main Street in Holyoke for the Vanguards.  Recently started a men’s group with a harm reduction approach.  They are one of the only ‘Pro Gang’ agencies around. He continued to say that they view a gang as a tribe and they attempt to mediate issues between gangs.

Israel Rivera: 1 Holyoke CDC

Israel stated that there community dinner was a success on 12/6/17.  They served upwards of 350 people and special thanks to the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts of America, and RVCC.  1 Holyoke just closed on the Portuguese American Club. Their hope is to use as a community center or rent out space.  He is looking to do a movie night monthly but is looking how to deal with expense.

Gabriel Quaglla: Tapestry Syringe Access

Syringe access program in Holyoke, Greenfield and North Adams.  Open from 8-4pm and provide Narcan training along with dissemination.  They have a syringe hotline to report and they will go out and pick up.  He also talked about an uptick in sexually transmitted diseases and provided testing to the community.

Michael Lewis: Providence Ministries

Michael explained that he is the Director of housing for Providence Ministries.  They currently have 3 buildings for sober living and Peer Recovery. They are: Loreto House, Broderick House, and McCleary Manor.  Applicant needs to be one year sober and be able to show stable income.  Providence Ministries also has Kate’s kitchen of where they provide a community meal 7 days a week.  Michael stated that there Christmas drive was a success and they were able to give out many toys to the community.

Jen Moulton: United Way

Stated that you could visit website at UWPV.org to view basic needs grants.

Pat Duffy: Rep. Vega’s Office

Pat asked if any agencies had issues with resident who have arrived from Puerto Rico.  Deb stated that she has had problems getting someone enrolled through her programing at HCC.  Sara talked about the numbers in the ESOL classes that have created waiting lists with limited funding.  Mel stated that Wayfinders have identified that most need a stable home before they can proceed.  Pat stated that she will forward concerns along to Rep. Vega.

Sarah Schmidt: Gill Technology Center/HCC

Sarah talked about the strategic planning process and inviting community and new students to HCC.

Kermit Dunkelberg: Assistant Vice President HCC

Kermit talked about the partnership with Hampden County Sheriff’s Dept. in offering programs for re-entry.

Miguel Arce: Springfield College

Acknowledged the work of the HSNI and ability to provide forum for agencies to give updates.

Sandy Ward: Holyoke Public Library

Announced the return of their Mini Golf fundraiser for the weekend of 4/6/18 with a team tournament on 4/7/18.  Children under the age of 5 can play for free.  They will have a full 18 hole course throughout the library.  Sandy talked about her work in terms of providing education to families on funeral expenses. 

Sandy is also a volunteer representing the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Mass which can be reached at the link below:


 Sandy also provided information for the model railroad exhibit on 1/27 & 1/28 at the Big E.

Sage Inglis: Treehouse, Heroes Youth Leadership Project

Program for anyone that lives in foster care 14 and above.  They will teach them life skills/arts and crafts/ and create a family atmosphere for them.

Laura Banks, River valley counseling center:

8 module curriculum for ages 15-19 in sex education.  She has been to local high schools and career centers and would be willing to come out to agencies.

Liz Whynott: Tapestry Syringe Access

She explained Tapestry’s initiative to give out portable Sharps boxes to those who use needles, in an effort to reduce the number of used needles being discarded on the ground. She also talked about some of the diseases associated with sharing of needles, (i.e. HIV, Hepatitis C), as well as the risk of using needles to inject drugs. She advised that a large majority of drug overdoses are due to IV use. Liz also advised that Tapestry has noticed an uptick in Hepatitis C for the ages between 18-25.  She is looking to work with Springfield and recently gave presentation based on the preventative measures that Tapestry offers opposed to cities that don’t have same resources.

Luis Arzolo: CHD

1/27/18 from 1-3pm at the Springfield Public Library they will be doing presentation to those families involved with DCF.  Luis is the employment and career coaching specialist at CHD.  They are located at 184 Mill St to rent or collaborate.  Issues with some Puerto Rican arrivals in that the shelters are full and being able to fund hotels. Urged agencies to reach out and collaborate This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tamara Ghiet: Odyssey House/Viability

They are a transitional program that can help reintegrate into workforce. They are looking for new staff in their housing department. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Kim Colwell: Girls Inc. of Holyoke (elementary)

Academic based afterschool program for girls ages 5-17 concentrating on growth, education, and independence.

Brandy Wilson: Girls Inc. of Holyoke (teen)

Open to 13 and over for afterschool program.  Participants need to be dropped off and staff will bring home.

Mikee Guzman: Valley Opurtunity Council

They are located in Chicopee and Holyoke. Their programs include WIC and fuel assistance. They have programs for teens and young adults, programs involving schooling and adult education, a senior companion program, and child care. You can contact them through their Website or Facebook page.   Four levels of ESL classes and still have some space available.

Laura Farnsworth: MSPCC

Looking for 14-24 parents to engage in young parenting program.

Sgt. Hart: Holyoke Police Department

Sgt. Hart mentioned the Moblie Community Policing and encouraged agency representatives to come out with they have their MCP assignments in the community.

Dori Digenti: Breathing Space Yoga & Mindfulness

Dori Offers yoga, mindfulness meditation, and related events to Holyoke and surrounding communities. They are dedicated to connecting with others to support the vibrant health of body, mind, and spirit. Non-profit studio, where Tuesday classes are by donation.

Spanish speaking yoga instructor is needed. Breathing Space is located at: STEAM Building 208 Race Street Suite 301 Holyoke. 413-437-0747. Online at: breathingspaceholyoke.com

Rachel Dowd: Holyoke Public Library

Rachel passed around January calendar for the programing in the teen room. 


Winter All-Star Game: Basketball Hall of Fame, January 22nd from 5pm to 9pm            2:20pm - 2:25pm

Old Business / New Business

Next Meeting is Thursday, February 8th at 1:00pm Holyoke Public Library

Close Meeting                                                                                                                                2:30pm

Contact Information:

Edward Caisse

Hampden County Sheriff’s Department

(413) 858-0225

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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