Networking Meeting 8/13/20

Networking Meeting 8/13/20

Below is a link to our Networking Meeting on Zoom that was held on Thursday, 8/13/20 at 1:00pm.  After clicking on the link, you will need to add the password to view the video. Video: https://bit.ly/3g7eA3V...
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Meeting Notes 9/10/20

Meeting Notes 9/10/20

The Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative has a goal of getting youth and families in Holyoke connected to resources they need to assist them to get to better places in life. Below is a link to a video from our monthly networking meeting that was held on Zoom on 9/10/20. The networking meeting is a...
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Meeting Notes 7/9/20

Meeting Notes 7/9/20

Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative Meeting Agenda Date:   July 9, 2020 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...
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Meeting Notes 10/8/20

Meeting Notes 10/8/20

The Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative has a goal of getting youth and families in Holyoke connected to resources they need to assist them to get to better places in life. Below is a link to a video from our monthly networking meeting that was held on Zoom on 10/8/20.  There is an overview...
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Agency Updates 6/11/20

Agency Updates 6/11/20

Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative Agency Updates June 19,2020   Because the Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative had to cancel our monthly networking meeting, we are providing the updates below, which we received from various agencies that typically attend our monthly meetings. Ed Caisse: HSNI We are...
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Networking Meeting 8/13/20
Networking Meeting 8/13/20
August 18, 2020
Meeting Notes 9/10/20
Meeting Notes 9/10/20
September 11, 2020
Meeting Notes 7/9/20
Meeting Notes 7/9/20
July 17, 2020
Meeting Notes 10/8/20
Meeting Notes 10/8/20
October 09, 2020
Agency Updates 6/11/20
Agency Updates 6/11/20
June 19, 2020

The Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative has a goal of getting youth and families in Holyoke connected to resources they need to assist them to get to better places in life. Below is a link to a video from our monthly networking meeting that was held on Zoom on 10/8/20.  There is an overview presentation from 413Cares, which will assist families in getting connected to the specific resources they need.

https://bit.ly/3jJcD06

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The Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative has a goal of getting youth and families in Holyoke connected to resources they need to assist them to get to better places in life. Below is a link to a video from our monthly networking meeting that was held on Zoom on 9/10/20.

The networking meeting is a platform for agencies to share what resources and support they have for the Holyoke community. It's encouraging to see many people are working together, because they want to see the Holyoke community, healthy, happy and viable in all areas of life.

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/8ZdaJas4vVAIT8UM3M-DvFlp_YqVruy6Y9LC8btlycJkkhk1xVwBSbcvLk8RKNFg.ZcyFesr9PX2X3YGj?startTime=1599757404000

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Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative

Meeting Agenda

Date:   July 9, 2020

Time:   1:00pm to 2:30pm

Place:   Zoom Meeting

Stigma

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        

                                                                       

Talene Jermakian: Robbins Associates - 413 Families                           1:05pm - 1:20pm 

Chrissy Howard: Manager of Reading Success by 4th Grade

Chrissy Howard: Reading Success by 4th Grade 

Works with Talene and together they partner and run the 413 Family Texting program. Families can sign up and opt in to the texting program. Texting program is direct to families. Launched in 2016 for families in Springfield and the surrounding area; expanded to Holyoke in 2018. Program has grown to 3,800 families. Typically sends 2 messages per week and families have the option to receive the message in English or Spanish. Provides families with young children, birth to 8 years with reading and parenting tips and resources information about events, giveaways such as (free or close to free) tickets to community events, bookstore gift cards, Pride Store gift cards etc. two way access, you are able to text back to our text messages. Ways to access: Working on a card with a QR code, 413families.com and physical distribution.

Talene Jermakian: Robbins Associates - 413 Families                                     

The PowerPoint that was presented today is attached here

What kinds of information do we share through the texting program? Our content is geared for families with children birth to 8 years. We share tips and resources for families, and information about community events. We also engage with our families through giveaways such as free tickets to community events, bookstore, grocery store or other types of gift cards (for example, we ask them to share how they are learning at home during the COVID pandemic, through a photo or text, for a chance to win a gift card). We keep our messages short and sweet, and try to stay within 160 characters. We also are able to share flyers/links to additional information that may not fit within a text.

How do organizations contact 413families to share information? If you have information for families with young children, please send to me, Talene Jermakian, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also contact Chrissy Howard, Manager of Reading Success by 4th Grade, with information.

To receive printed materials about 413families, contact Chrissy Howard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and she will get them to you.

To opt-in to Holyoke-specific messages, text the keyword 413familiesH to 313131. To receive Holyoke-specific messages in Spanish, text the keyword 413familiasH to 313131. 

413families has a website, www.413families.com.

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

Denise Kelly-LaChat: Hampden County District Attorney's Office

The courts were starting to gradually open.   We are hoping to move forward with Holyoke District Court Diversion once things are back up and running.

Maria Pagan: Holyoke Public Library

Started doing curbside services for everybody. Doing the summer reading program where the kids will be joining virtually. Also have packets that the parents can come to the library and collect. We’re not letting anyone come into the library as of now but working slowly towards that. People can call us or they can put books on request and we will call them once the books are available for them and we call them and make an appointment to stop at the library and we bring out to their cars. So just pass the word that we’re open and functioning and still have a lot of online resources from Kindergarten, preschoolers and beyond. Also have online non-credit courses for adults, we have classes for professional development and everything is FREE, all you need is a Holyoke Public Library card. Free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for any information that you like and I would like to work with a lot of you in providing information to our patrons as they come get books, and also for the parents as they come for the summer reading program. It would be nice to be able to offer your services to them too.

Sandy Ward: Friends of the Library

Help with fundraisers like mini-golf in the Library. Could not do it in April, so was postponed to September. Now thinking it will get postponed again to April 10th. Thinking of virtual games at the library on September 26, 2020. Trying to learn how to use tools to do a fundraiser.

Flor Diaz: Community Coordinator WIC

WIC offices only open to staff, not seeing any participants in person, not allowing anyone in the building. All appointments will be held over the phone, so participants are still able to communicate with a nutritionist. Documentation can be sent via email. The WIC Dept. now has a new breastfeeding website page. Farmer’s market coupons will be sent to participants by mail. Typically participants come to the office to pick up farmers market coupons, but they will be sent by mail. For now the offices won’t see any participants in person until the end of September.

Anna Jarimillo: Holyoke Health Center

Operating on a limited basis are open providing telehealth visits. Everyone should call (413) 420-2200 to make an appointment. Covid19 testing in the parking, must call main number to make an appointment to be tested. Testing capacity has been improved.

John McCarthy: Community Relations Officer USCIS

Agency adjudicates applications for immigration benefits like becoming a permanent resident or citizen etc. Reopened field offices in Lawrence and Boston for interpersonal engagement as of 6/4/20. There’s a requirement that you have an appointment. If anyone needs assistance with providing information to anyone in the general public about immigration issues, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Terri Lombardo: HCS Headstart

Getting ready to reopen 3 classrooms in a couple of weeks at 50% capacity. Have all sorts of safety precautions in place and it’s going to be very challenging. Great event on Tuesday!! Thank you to Maria from the Holyoke Fire Dept. for letting us use the thru-way and thank you to Eddie for the freezer for the ice-cream, the kids loved the ice-cream. Gave free back packs to kindergarten kids with lots of great books and fun things for them to do. Families loved it! Hoping to do something like this in the fall on a smaller scale. It’s been challenging but hoping to plow through and get the kiddos in there. So that’s it for now.

Amanda Ortiz: Young Life Springfield

Thank you for inviting first time at the meeting. Give hope to teenagers through relationship and then inviting them to have relationship (baby crying so she skipped). Christian organization that brings hope to children by building relationships with kids. We do skits, fun events, we feed them dinner. We were supposed to have camp this summer for about 63 kids from Springfield, but due to COVID, it was cancelled. So instead, we are planning some unique things like barbeques, paintball shooting, etc. Young Life is an organization to bring hope and to get the kids focused on something positive. Can be reached via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Amy Karangekis: Chief of Springfield Office of the Mass Attorney General’s Office

Amy stated her office serves four Western Counties. Attorney General’s Office has seen significant increase in scams and fraud during the pandemic. Ed mailed out an advisory flyer this morning. Types of scams and fraud on the uptick are robo calls, telephone phishing scams, insurance and Medicaid fraud, specific Covid-19 scams. There are others we’ve seen before, but are also on the uptick are; grandparent scam, lottery & sweepstake scams, door to door scams and mail scams. Tips on how to avoid identification theft and how to report scams and the fraud, as well as, contact information for certain hotlines and in office information on how to contact our office. Flyer that was circulated is in English. Team is working on preparing a Spanish flyer, as well as, in other languages. I’ll circulate to Ed to circulate as soon as those are done. Any issues or questions, contact me or go on our website. Fully operational, hotlines are working.

Art Lobdell: Boy Scouts of America Western Mass Council

First time joining. Having a Family Fun Day event on 8/8/2020 which is an online activity hosted by the National Office of the Boy Scouts of America. Aiming at families with young children. It is open for folks not currently part of the organization, hope to have folks join. Don’t have current meeting protocol to send just yet but will send to Eddie to pass out to others when it becomes available. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Family Fun Day 8/8/2020 413 594-9196 ext. 7034

Bishop Neal Boyd: Outreach Crisis Counselor for Mass Support Network Riverside Trauma Center

Bishop Boyd explained the Mass Support Trauma Center is funded by FEMA to give help to those who’ve been traumatized through the businesses no matter where you’re from, it’s a FREE service. Invited everyone to town hall meeting that is being held tonight @ 6pm. Gave out data reports concerning COVID not only in Western Mass, but the state of Mass and the nation. Will be talking about ways to cope, people having problems coping with this situation, managing your reaction. Will put information in chat and email to Ed.

Brenda Carroll: Commonwealth Care Alliance

Hi everyone! Brenda Carroll from Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA). We provide FREE benefits to seniors 65+ (SCO) who have Mass Health standard. We also provide FREE benefits to our 21-64 age population with our One Care program (Mass health and Medicare). Our model of care supports members with coordination of care and wrapping around services/supports; in both the community and in their homes. Please visit our website for more information: Commonwealthcarealliance.org Please reach out to me directly with any questions 413-302-0770 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. CCA is dedicated in supporting our members needs during this pandemic. Our clinical teams are assessing members needs and supporting them now more than ever with implementing services/supports in the home. We have a dedicated field team who continues to visit members in their homes; wearing PPE to assess any urgent medical/social needs. We continue to work with many community agencies/resources to keep everyone healthy and safe at home.

Ruth Tirado: Community Education Project

Due to the virus, we have gone through a long transition. Specialize in adult literacy. Offer summer ESOL classes. Actively looking for non-English speaking adults to improve their English. Provide basic, intermediate and advanced level classes for improving English. Holyoke Tutor Mentor Program is seeking bi-lingual volunteers to help provide support to our learners. This is related to other adult programs through the Care Center and Holyoke Public Schools Opportunity Academy. For more information check the comment box. The Community Education Project focuses on expanding ESOL literacy for adult non-English speakers. CEP is offering free adult ESOL classes this summer and fall and we are recruiting students of all Spanish/English literacy levels to come join our classes. All classes are being conducted online, so the only requirement is handheld mobile device with access to internet. Folks interested are encouraged to apply by contacting our intake specialist, Ms. Adlyn Colon. Her contact info is as follows: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 413-534-3741. Or you can contact me directly @ 413-561-0254, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you'd like some flyers to share. We will also be featured in a virtual open house organized by our HCC coordinators for July 30th and August 27th. Orgs like career readiness trainings programs we partner with. ~VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE for ABE~July 30, and Aug 27 at 10 a.m and 6 p.m. HPS Opportunity AcademyCare CenterCommunity Education ProjectHCC Adult Learning CenterHCC Workforce ProgramsHCC Jump Start

Chief Febo: Holyoke Police Department

Holyoke PD is a model department for departments across the country. Trying not to get caught up around the negativity surrounding the police. Staying positive! Wants to be good partners to everybody.

Cindy Stovall: Springfield Family Resource Center

Runs an open pantry site 3 days per week at the Springfield Family Resource Center. Everyone is welcome. Drive-thru pantry, so you will have to call in so we can get information. Open Mon., Thurs., and Fri. from 10:30-3:00. Call the Springfield Family Resource Center 413-733-7699. You don’t have to be a Springfield resident to come to the pantry.

Cynthia Espinosa: City of Holyoke Social Services Emergency Response Team

Weekly meetings on Fridays at 2pm to look at First response when it comes to mental health.

Meet every Friday for next steps and future planning strategies. If interested I recommend people to join in. Will send a handout about social services available during COVID, will update this week intention to make it front and back in both English and Spanish. Feel free to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 413-322-5655. Also will update the handout (front and back) for you all to use. Feel free to reach out if you want to be added on it. Stay hydrated everyone and thank you!

Dee Ward: Girls Inc.

Starting summer program. Starting virtual program on Monday for 4 weeks. Not taking registration for July program but gearing up to take registration for August and fall programs. Once it’s all put together will let Ed and everyone know about them.

Emmanuel Reyes: Career Development Counselor HCC ESOL Culinary

Recruiting for ESL culinary class. Program began yesterday, still accepting bi-lingual students and underemployed students. https://www.hcc.edu/courses-and-programs/workforce-development/free/subsidized-classes-for-unemployed-and-underemployed/culinary-and-hospitality/esol

and Line Cook Training: https://www.hcc.edu/courses-and-programs/workforce-development/free/subsidized-classes-for-unemployed-and-underemployed/line-cook-training

Will help to obtain a job after successful completion of the program.

This is my phone number, +1 (413) 302-3871 if you need to get in contact with me directly.

Gina Nelson: St. Paul’s Church

Veterans Program closed because church is still closed have stayed in contact as much as possible. Directing Vets to Senior Center Lunch Program. Mobile Food Bank Site starting 7/14/20 (2nd & 4th Tuesday from 11-12pm) through food bank of W. Mass at St. Paul’s Church, 45 Appleton Street, Holyoke, MA. We welcome volunteers. Spread the word, Eddie has the flyer.

Glendalia Vargas: YWCA

No updates, just here to get resources and keep kids busy. I am the child support specialist at the YWCA domestic violence shelter. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I can use any and all resources for children and adults.

Greg Williams: Boy Scouts of Western Mass

Initiative to get scout programs in Holyoke but obviously they are on hold, looking forward to returning as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Jennifer Gonzalez-Morales: Holyoke Public Schools

Online enrollment for PreK-12th grade. Sent a link and a flyer in the chat. Families have questions about enrollment can call the hotline at 413-561-0862. Office is open but not to the public. People can call with questions. Families can email if looking for work permits, can be requested online and permits will be sent by email. Working with Ed on the Back to School planning committee. Looking for flyers to add to the backpacks for families, if you want to provide your agency information and what services you are providing, please send to my office at 57 Suffolk Street, Holyoke, MA and we will need 2000 copies, preferably bi-lingual copies if you have them, have a lot of families that speak Spanish only. I will put information about the flyer in the chat and I will also send to Ed to forward.

Also Pre-K spots available, so if families are interested, they can call the hotline as well. Child must be 3 or 4 years old on or before 9/1/20. HPS is enrolling student online. Web page is www.enrollholyoke.com . Due to COVID-19 this year we are not hosting the Back to School event instead we are having 11 individual school events. We are not having community agencies tabling. If you want to share your agencies resource/information please send me 2000 copies of the brochure so we can add it to the backpacks. Send/drop-off at 57 Suffolk St. Holyoke MA 01040. If you are planning on dropping off the flyers/brochures please call ahead 413-512-5308.

Jesus Pereira – Holyoke Veterans Service Dept.

Crazy times. Still open via email or phone calls. Vets w/ financial hardship, food insecurities, rental problems will be connected to a resource. Call 413-322-5630, or email. Find information on website. Huge resource and can extend money pretty quickly do everything to set veterans up with benefits.

Jimmy Pickett: St. Paul’s Church

Partnering with Atkins Farms at St. Paul’s Church. Starting a monthly Farmers Market at the church, 3rd Saturday of every month. Farmers Market 12-3pm, 45 Appleton St. everyone is welcome. Accept cash, card Snap and WIC.   We’ve working with a group that Cynthia’s involved with…There’s Good Food in Every Hood to donate any leftover produce at the end of the market. Trying to increase food security to the city so if you want to learn more about what we’re up to check our Jeremiah’s Garden and Good Food in Every Hood on Facebook and I can share that information with Ed to get to everyone else. Next weekend on the 18th we will be having our market.

Joanne O’Toole: Homework House

Currently not using volunteers due to COVID. Free Summer program – our Lady of Guadalupe, 340 Chestnut Street for kids going into 2nd -5th grade 8:30-3pm until 8/7/20. Having a virtual trivia night (don’t have a date yet) – free for adults. Taking donations.

Josh Colon: Officer, Holyoke Police Dept. Community Officer

Continue to go out and offer outreach in South Holyoke and Churchill. Along with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Deputies that are assigned to the task force. We continue to do that on a daily basis and offer services to individuals who need recovery. That’s it for now.

Justin Chellman: Springfield Department of Health and Human Services

Quick question are you going to talk about the FB for the healing communities study today at all? I was just going to mention unfortunately that in Springfield and in Holyoke opiate overdoses have gone way up since the corona virus especially in the last few months and I was just thinking of going to plugging Narcan because obviously that people can get now can be a brief way of connecting folks to the resources on the Facebook page, Healing Communities Study, and getting people involved with this Narcan would be a really good push right now for that. The hospitals have been seeing double the amount they normally would see for overdoses, most of those are not fatal, which is great, but when they come to the hospital but then also Chicopee police and Springfield police have been reporting numbers much higher than they normally have prior to all this. So that aside, I also wanted to say that the Springfield Health Department has a Covid-19 hotline to basically answer statewide questions and local questions. We have a lot of local (City of Springfield) information about what the state is doing and the phases and all that and questions about the virus in general, what is does, that’s what folk from Holyoke and Chicopee and other communities have been calling in for. I’ll put the number in the chat but I’ll just say it now, its 413-750-3250. It’s staffed M-F 8:30-7pm and then on Saturday 9-5pm so if you have any questions – Holyoke, Chicopee, Springfield- you can call in for that and they’ll do their best to get you answers. And just from Chelsea, who I work with, just want to say thank you Ed for sharing the substance abuse prevention team parent perception survey a few weeks ago regarding substance abuse programming efforts so that we know what parents would like to see happen in the cities of Chicopee, Springfield and East Longmeadow, also trying to push that into Holyoke as well too. As far as I know, the Springfield schools websites have it on there with a link to the survey. Chicopee schools website has a link to the survey and I can put my contact in there as well for anybody who thinks that parents would like to talk about some programming they would like to see they can contact me and I can put them in contact with Chelsea.

LaShonda Stone: Department of Children and Families

Just wanted to underscore that the Volunteer Case Review program is one of the few opportunities where someone from the community is invited into making the decisions that are made on behalf of kids in care. When we have these foster care reviews, there are many ways we can serve our children. We are really asking for folks to come forward, folks that represent the community and be a part of the decision making on their behalf. So if you are interested. I also wanted you to know that we are also doing interviews remotely so the train keeps moving and so we really want to bring people in to participate. I can, I guess put in the chat box more information and the link to apply online and that’s it. Additional information about the program via the following link https://www.mass.gov/guides/about-the-volunteer-case-review-program

Our online application can be assessed here: https://www.mass.gov/how-to/apply-to-be-a-volunteer-case-reviewer. Please feel free to reach out with any questions.

Laura Mackie: Springfield College

Thank you for the opportunity to be here. I am the new Assistant Director of Guild Education at Springfield College’s Department of Social Work. So we are still planning to have internships for MSW students in the fall and looking for any opportunities as we can whether it be remote or in person so I can put my information in the chat. I’m really looking forward to knowing as many of you as possible. Thank-you. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , working from home number is 802-497-7277. Hoping for opportunities to connect our wonderful graduate social work interns!

Madeline Fernandez – AISS, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department

I haven’t been to any of the meetings, due to my position and meetings that kind of fall on the same days but this is my first zoom meeting. I am the Ward 5 coordinator, Neighborhood Watch Coordinator working with Donahue School. I work for AISS, what do we do? We help anyone with any services out in the community, so we’re actually closed right now; we’ve been closed since 3/13/2020. We used to only help ex-offenders coming out of jail with services anything from MassHealth, to SNAP benefits, to employment leads, substance abuse, you name it. Now the Sheriff has opened it to anyone, so anyone you know that you’re working with or you feel needs help, we can do that over the phone right now until the Sheriff gives us the green light to open the doors. It’s a lot that we do, we do a lot of great stuff, so feel free to call me, you can call me at the office at AISS or if you don’t know how to reach me you can call Eddie, but I’ll just throw my number out there, 413-781-2850 x.8308 and there’s two Madeline’s here, so make sure you ask for Madeline Fernandez. Thank you.

Mark Swygert: Donahue School

I have a couple of HPS things. I want to reiterate what Jennifer said earlier about online registration. Especially if you have any young kids going to school for the first time this fall or anyone who has moved into the district, please help them make sure that they go and register online. School offices are now staffed, not open to the public, but most offices, most of the days if you want to contact them during regular office hours can call the office if you have school specific questions for Holyoke Public Schools. Also I want to make everyone aware, I’m sorry if I’m stepping on your toes, but there was a survey sent to all families on behalf of our district, we are trying to get a good sense of what families are planning for as far as sending their students back. If you work with any families, please encourage them to fill out that survey. It should only take 5 minutes and it’ll be available on the Holyoke Public School website. It’ll be posted on social media as well. That will need to be completed by the 15th, so please encourage any families that have students in the Holyoke Public Schools to complete that survey that will help us for our planning for August.

MaryAnn Linnehan: West Mass Eldercare

I am the Community Action Supervisor relatively new just came on board just before Covid started but I have learned a lot about the Holyoke area and all the different services provided. Shout out to the Holyoke Police Department for providing tons of toiletries to our consumers and AT surgical down in Holyoke also for helping us to provide 2,000 masks to each and everyone of our consumers. We have more than we need and that was great. We are still open, fully staffed and trying to do whatever we can via video and telephone, but we are visiting some of our consumers that are in need and again we are still connecting with them trying to keep them safe. But again if you need anything from me I am the new Community Action Supervisor, thanks for all you do for us Ed – you give me lots of good information.

Nathalie Vicencio: Wayfinders

Hi everyone, happy to be able to see everyone, it’s been a long time. Just reminding everyone that I’m here to provide any type of housing counseling and support to people that are experiencing a housing crisis and also reminding people that Wayfinders received a substantial amount of money to help people experiencing any Covid-19 related delays in regards to rental payments, any homeowners that are behind on mortgage payments can also apply. People can apply for these services in English and Spanish and any type of housing issues. I’m also happy to help people and guide them on their rights. I’ve added my number to the chat. Feel free to share my mobile number 413-222-0048 with clients looking for housing resources, financial assistance and information about their tenant rights. We also counsel property owners on their responsibilities and obligations.

Nayroby Rosa-Soriano-Director of Community Engagement, One Holyoke

One Holyoke has been busy; we haven’t closed, so we continue to provide service to our tenants. We have apartments throughout Holyoke and we have an elderly building which every month I have been providing groceries for and things like that, so they are able to stay safe in their homes. So we’ve been going to Margaret’s Pantry and every month we’ve been bringing them groceries. We’ve also received some stuff from W. Mass Eldercare and from the Senior Center on hygiene products and toilet paper for the elderly that we’ve been bringing to them. One Holyoke received a grant from the Mass Census Equity Fund, as well as, from the Secretary of State and with this grant we’ve been able to work closely with folks in the community to get our response rates better. Currently right now, Mass is at 64%, Holyoke is at 57% and the US is at 61% so we’re doing pretty good in Mass, we should be doing a little better in Holyoke. We have set up some mobile QAC’s which are Question and Answer Centers. We’re going to be available for folks in the city in different locations from Enlace, to C-Town to Margaret’s Pantry to Kate’s Kitchen so you’ll see census folks there if people need help filling out their census. We will be at these different locations on different day to be able to provide support. We were at the Farmers Market last week and had 11 people filled out their census form right with us, right there. So please send them our way!! If anybody has any issue with filling out their census, we also are doing a raffle for people who fill it out they get access to receive a $50 gift card for doing their census and inform One Holyoke of it. So pretty neat and they get a lot of goodies too, backpacks, water bottles, things like that.

We are kicking off our Clean Up campaign finally; we were a recipient of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). We are going to be kicking off our clean-up campaign on 7/25/20. Ed, I will send you the press release, as well as, the flyers this afternoon. We will start cleaning on 7/25/20. One Holyoke will clean the 4th Saturday of the month, a different street in the Flats. Looking for other organizations that want to set up a clean-up. We will provide all the cleaning supplies, we will make sure that the trash is picked up; we just need organizations to sign up and be able to pick a street in Holyoke and clean it up. We did last year, now of course, continue to use safety guidelines, make sure people wear masks, no more than 10 people things like that. So just following those guidelines and we should still be able to clean the city. Also kicking off a show, a virtual show. Calling it One Holyoke Goes Viral. A lot of information around community engagement what we’re doing and things of that nature. So look for that show, it’s going to be posted this week and then we’ll be putting a show every week. And finally, we will be kicking off our City that Reads campaign with a Read Aloud program. We were hoping to do pod casting and interview folks but our Flats community building, our Center for the Community is currently closed for the public, only providing training for census hired folks and some individual trainings. We are going to be collaborating with different companies that are trying to have a space for training, which they can utilize our space. If anybody is in need of that, you know our space holds about 200 people upstairs and downstairs and we can maintain a good amount of folks, maybe 10-12 people on each floor in keeping that distance needed for training. We have a smartboard, a projector on the 2nd floor as well so if you’re interested in that you can reach out to me. I’ll send my contact information with Ed. Thank you very much nice seeing everyone.

Pedro Alvarez: Tapestry

Syringe access & disposal, Narcan training & distribution, Screening and counseling for HIV, HEP C and STI’s, and a lot of Community Outreach.

I’ll start by saying we have a new location in Holyoke, so we have moved from our 15A Main Street location to a couple blocks down on Race St. 306 Race on the corner of Race & Cabot. Same building where we have sexual reproductive health clinic, soft hand off in case someone gets tested and we need to send them to the clinic. Because of Covid, we have scaled back on some of our services. Beginning 7/20/20, we will be offering screening & counseling. So we will start the testing back up HIV, Hep C & STI’s. We haven’t been doing it since Covid hit, but we’re starting to open back up. We’re definitely taking precautions and wearing the required PPE and having discussions with participants when they come in about certain safety precautions we’re taking. But we are offering screening & counseling on Mon & Wed. 8-2pm beginning 7/20/20. Scheduling a community syringe pick-up on Saturday 7/11/20. We do these periodically when the weather is nicer, in Holyoke, the 2nd Saturday of every month. We ask community members to volunteer and join us on some syringe pick-ups in the community. It a great opportunity for members of the community to learn a little more about the program, ask questions of staff and get to know what we do for work a little more. There are a lot of misconceptions about some of the work that we do, so it’s a good opportunity to add Q & A with some of the staff members. Providing vaccinations for Hep A, Hep B and meningitis every Thursday doing that remotely. Have a mobile unit going through certain areas of Holyoke trying to engage the community and we’re providing vaccinations for Hep A, Hep B and meningitis. Scaled back on some of the services we provide due to Covid. But we do have virtual Narcan trainings available for individuals or agencies. Please reach out, we can provide Narcan in bulk for agencies. Have a mobile service where individuals can call and we’ll come to them. 413-270-3277. That’s it for Tapestry. I’m also a member of the Community Advisory Board for the Healing Community Study, part of the communications team.   Have posters to hang in the community that deal with healing community studies, how to obtain Narcan, providing MOUD’s.

Rafael Rodriguez: Healing Community Study Holyoke Coalition

Involved in a 4 state study which includes Massachusetts, Kentucky, Ohio and New York. We are in Phase 1 of the starting process. Just submitted rules of our action plan, strategies and trying to implement things such as MAT’s, easier access to MAT’s, getting outreach workers, finding better ways to support and reaching our goals of decreasing overdose deaths by 40% within our community. Involved in all facets of this and all parts of the subcommittees so if there is anyone willing, trying to reduce the stigma of MOUD’s, trying to make Narcan accessible and destigmatize it as much as possible because everyone has an active role in supporting this community and saving a life. Anyone willing to be involved can reach out to me or Eddie.

Ron Thompson: Cross Point Clinical Services

Offers faith based mental health counseling. We are open and have stayed open. Patients receiving clinical care via telephone and computers worked out well. Some patients actually prefer, less stress of having to drive somewhere. Want to echo Bishop Boyd’s comments about the fact that there is great need out there. Really urge everyone to keep close eye on all of their constituents in this particular area. We have added clinicians along the way to keep up with the community need. We have also opened an additional office. Besides the clinical care, we offer, we also do some other services just launched recently a brand new health and wellness program, all web based, called Purpose Posse. You can find out about our services including Purpose Posse on our website – crosspointclinical.org.

Sean Garvey: Deputy, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department

Works closely with Josh Colon and other deputies, Josh covered the bases so I will pass.

Sophie Maki: Massachusetts Fair Housing Center

Physical office in Holyoke is closed. Everyone is working remotely. People are welcome to call – information in the chat box. Anyone with experience in housing discrimination, are welcome to submit a complaint to us. Recent case of someone who was the victim of a scam. Landlord had them pay money, gave them the keys to the apartment and the keys did not work. If you know anyone with section 8 voucher and looking to move, we can provide counseling or advice about the moving process. Information in the chat. If someone has experienced housing discrimination they can contact our office at (413) 539-9796 or online at massfairhousing.org. Additionally, we’d like to provide counseling to anyone with a Section 8 voucher who is looking to move. If anyone has any questions for me personally, they can reach me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Stephanie Garcia: Holyoke Public Schools

Survey for families to update their contact information. Want to make sure we have the right contact information. Phone numbers and emails.

Silvia Ruiz: Fallon Health & Navicare

Still open and out there enrolling and getting great benefits for the ages 65 and older population. Chair for the Metro West Conference for Women. Just formed first conference board in Pioneer Valley. Our parent company is called She’s Local (sheslocal.org). Looking to have a conference for women, and it’s women from your own community to acknowledge women and their efforts and what they have done to sort of join forces and it’s an opportunity for networking. It’s a one day event. We’re looking to have the event Spring 2021. Right now the conference Metro-West, this is my fourth year, and we have sold out conferences and over 100 people are on the waiting list. We do 600 women and it’s an amazing event. Looking for people who would like to be a part of this whether you want to be sponsors, looking for folks to be part of one of our committees. The way we form our conference is we ask everyone to join what we call an open meeting and we do that virtual and we base it on what you want. The five local committees we do have are: communication, outreach, speakers, sponsorship and exhibitors. This year for the first time we’re having our virtual conference. Looking forward to it. Think it’s something needed, we’re not taking away from any other women conferences going on in Hampden County. Price per person is $52, breakfast, lunch and break-out sessions. All local women!! Fortunate to have the only man on the board and it is Ed. Ed has contact information. Looking for volunteers. Great opportunity for women to join forces and acknowledge someone.

Vida Zavala: Community Education Project

Taking over the Holyoke tutor mentor coordinator position. Revamping the program now merged with the community education project. Working on more outreach, and using all of your references and help to publicize new changes and recruit some more volunteers. Planning on expanding our volunteer base which currently consists mainly of tutors and mentors that are supporting teachers. Hoping to include other types of volunteer opportunities to enable other members of the community to become involved. Will publicize through flyers and outreach.

 

Yesenia Cruz: Adcare Hospital (Alcohol and Drug Care)

Offer telehealth services, Offering intensive outpatient programming, early recovery groups, Individual and Family Counseling, Support for family members at the office via phone and meetings for groups.

Transportation provided if there’s a bed available for detoxing. Will travel from here to NY, southern VT, southern ME and NH.

Free family support virtual set 3rd Wednesday of every month for families struggling with someone that has an addiction. Can speak to a licensed clinician to get support.

Marisol Guevara: Springfield College

Springfield College, Regional, Online and Continuing Education department has been serving adult students in the region for more than 35 years. As graduates, they are leaders in human service organizations throughout the region, strengthening communities and improving lives with an emphasis on social and economic justice.  Busy adults have an opportunity to take courses on the weekends, online, and in the evenings.  Please attend our next virtual information session on Saturday, July 18th from 1-2.  To RSVP Contact Marisol Guevara at (413) 271-7692 or by email.

 

Angela Callahan: River Valley Counseling Center

RVCC's Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA) Program is accepting new clients. The Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA) Program is brief, intensive, evidenced based treatment for 12-24 year olds to support substance use recovery. A-CRA is a minimum of 10-14 sessions, which includes 1-4 sessions with Parent/Caregiver. Therapeutic groups will be an additional intervention offered during treatment to support peer connection, education and skill building/practice. For more information, please contact Amanda Hichborn at (413)540-1137 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

This fall, RVCC will be partnering with the Westfield School District to provide School-based Therapy throughout Westfield Schools. Currently RVCC partners with Holyoke, Chicopee, Easthampton, Granby, Amherst, Hadley, Hatfield, South Hadley, Springfield, and East Longmeadow school districts to provide School-based Therapy Services. During COVID-19, RVCC has continued to provide services via telehealth.

River Valley Counseling Center (RVCC) is excited to announce that we will be holding our 5th Annual Golf Tournament on Friday, September 18, 2020 at the East Mountain Country Club in Westfield. We're on par and going fore it! As we stay the plan of course for this year’s tournament, we invite you to consider joining us as a sponsor, golfer, or by donating an item towards our raffle. Registration is $100 and includes golf, golf cart, goody bag, lunch, and dinner. Click on the following links for the Registration form and Sponosrship Opportunities form. For more information visit www.rvcc-inc.org

 

Sierra Forney: MSPCC

MSPCC in Holyoke continues to service families through telehealth during the COVID crisis. We are currently accepting referrals with immediate openings for In-Home Therapy, and Therapeutic Mentoring (*Please note: Current CANS, COMP, IAP are needed when making TM referrals.) We also have only a 1-2 week waitlist for Outpatient Therapy services at this time. Referrals can be made by phone (413) 532-9446, fax 413-534-0047, or online at www.MSPCC.org

If there are any questions or in need of assistance making a referral, they can reach out to Sierra Forney, at 781-698-5462, or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Ed Caisse: Hampden County Sheriff’s Dept.

Back to School Event:

Not doing large back to school event. Looking to do many of them in several different schools in Holyoke. Looking for 11 different events, events will go from 8/20/20 – 9/10/20. More to come, look out for email.

Healing Community Study:

Asking for agencies support

Study is trying to reduce opioid deaths by 40%

Lots of other issues in Holyoke around substance abuse

Issues youth are faced with either come from one or two of the folks living in their households that are actually using some sort of substances

Did a 2 1/2 month Narcan distribution plan in terms of getting information out to the Holyoke Community. Asked agency representatives, if you have lists and you service folks in Holyoke consider helping getting the information in the hands of those people in Holyoke that probably need it the most. Want to get Narcan training and Narcan in the hands of every family that might have someone in their families using drugs, so we can prevent the overdose. Many of our ultimate goals is to try to reach folks using drugs and try to develop a relationship with them and to get them to turn away from using drugs and get them the help and support they need. When you see emails from the Healing Community Study, forward the information to the folks that you are servicing in Holyoke, so we can get this information in the hands of those that need it the most.

Getting ready to kick off our Stigma Campaign

Campaign is important because some people don’t want to get treatment or go to counseling, because of the stigma attached to it.

Help get stigma information out there.

Graphics on posters may make them feel more comfortable in terms of reaching out to an agency that can actually help them with their substance use issues.

So if you have large distribution lists, please forward the information out to those people and then ask them to forward, to get in the hands of all the people in Holyoke, so we can make a great impact to try to get people to get off of opioids and get off of substance use and prevent overdose deaths.

Melissa White: Valley Opportunity Council

Valley Opportunity Council is open for business but business looks different. Please feel free to reach out to me (Melissa white) for more information about our programs or about potential referrals. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Back To School Events / Supply Drive                                                    2:20pm - 2:25pm

We are looking to collect 2,000 of (18) different items to place in backpacks to be give out to 2,000 Holyoke youth during one of our back to school events.

We are still in need of the items below:

Notebooks

Erasers

Eraser Caps

Glue Sticks

If any agency wants to donate a number of any of the items below, please contact Ed at the contact information below:

Old Business / New Business

  • Next Meeting is Thursday, August 13th (Zoom)

Close Meeting                                                                                                2:40pm

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.

Friend Request us on Facebook @ Shsni Holyoke

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Below is a link to our Networking Meeting on Zoom that was held on Thursday, 8/13/20 at 1:00pm.  After clicking on the link, you will need to add the password to view the video.

Video: https://bit.ly/3g7eA3V

Password: c7.bR5GZ

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Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative

Agency Updates

HSNI logo blue

June 19,2020

 

Because the Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative had to cancel our monthly networking meeting, we are providing the updates below, which we received from various agencies that typically attend our monthly meetings.

Ed Caisse: HSNI

We are updating our About Us tab on our website at www.Shsni.org. We are listing all agencies that have submitted an Agency Participation Form. If your agency is not listed on About Us tab and you would like it to be listed, please send an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I will send you out an Agency Participation Form.

In lieu of our large Back to School event that is normally held in August, due to COVID-19, we will be doing smaller events in multiple neighborhoods in August where we would be able to control social distancing.  We are receiving 2,000 backpacks from Cradle to Crayons via the Holyoke Public Schools, but will need to supplement the supplies, so we will be doing a virtual supply drive, more information to follow.

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Rob Rizzuto: Hampden County Sheriff’s Department

Following testing of all of the people in custody at each of its facilities, the Hampden County Sheriff's Department is proud to report that there are presently zero active COVID-19 cases among the people in its care. The testing revealed just 12 positive cases among the people in custody at the Main Institution in Ludlow, and zero at the Women's Correctional Center and zero at the Western Massachusetts Treatment and Wellness Center. All the men who tested positive have since recovered and been medically cleared to return to the general population.

Since the onset of the pandemic and ahead of CDC guidance, the Hampden County Sheriff's Office has been operating under some of the strictest protocols in the Commonwealth. The department made wearing masks mandatory early on, and completely reorganized the way it does business to limit the number of people coming into contact with the people in its custody. New arrivals to the facility who are at much higher risk of being COVID-19 positive are placed in preventative medical isolation units for at least 14 days. These units are not locked down but are managed with medical oversight to best mitigate any spread of the virus. All staff undergo a medical screening procedure before clocking in for their shift, and are also required to wear masks while on the job.

As of Tuesday, June 16, the department has had a total of 13 inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19, with zero active cases. There are four staff members currently positive for COVID-19 and 15 staff members who previously tested positive but have since recovered and been medically cleared to return to work.

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Chief Manny Febo: Holyoke Police Department

The Holyoke Police Department continues to operate at full staff. We are continuing to take all precautions against COVID 19. We having been dealing with an unusual uptick in fireworks this year city wide. We have implemented foot and bike patrols in most areas to have officers visible. We will be deploying our MCP truck at some point in the next month or so and encourage agencies to join us in the community outreach events. More information will follow.

We have partnered with the Sheriffs Department and have several full time officers and Sheriffs working with recovery coaches to assist those struggling with addiction in our community.

Please let us know how we can assist your agency. 

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Chief Sean McBride: Holyoke District Court Probation

The Holyoke Probation Department remains closed to the public until at least July 1st.  During this time the probation department continues to actively supervise probationers and are available by phone to speak with both probationers and victims of crime.  We are also available to speak with individuals who may be looking for assistance with section 35 petitions, whether that is for the individual or a family member who wishes to file a petition on behalf of a loved one.  As always, as updates on when our office will open becomes available we will effectively communicate with Ed Caisse.

Thanks and stay safe!

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Amy Karangekis: US Attorney General’s Office

I hope you are doing well.  The AGO is launching a series of AGO Summer Online Educational Trainings for the public and/or private for organizations that would like to host a training for their members and/or clients.  The following information is detailed in the attached flyer.  

For the public:  The AGO will hold weekly presentations to educate individuals about their rights in different contexts and how our office can assist.  To register and view an updated schedule, visit:  https://MassAGOsummertrainings.eventbrite.com

For private virtual trainings for a class or community group:  The AGO is offering private virtual trainings for class or community groups.  To schedule, email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   Presentations are offered on the following issues:

  • Teen Workers’ Rights
  • Landlord/Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
  • When You Turn 18
  • Scams and College Budgeting
  • AGO COVID-19 Assistance to Immigrants
  • Financial Literacy
  • And more

Thank you for spreading the word.

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Tony Simmons: Hampden County District Attorney’s Office

HCAT continues to meet monthly via zoom. We continue to support the efforts of Tapestry and other organizations having to address the issue of addiction and homelessness.  

Our YAB just wrapped up on Monday and we hope to debut their projects soon.  We have a summer YAB starting in July,

and last, we’re  close to completion of an eye opening documentary for middle school students and parents on “Navigating Social Media”

We’re working on some other initiatives but we are too early in the process to mention at this time.

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Aaron Vega: State Representative Holyoke

The legislature is still holding off on the FY2021 Budget; waiting to see what the Federal Government may do for State support.

Most likely a 1/12th budget for July that will be funding to keep everything going for the month.

Black & Latino Caucus is leading along with support from the Speaker, Senate President and Governor on Police reform focused on training, use of force and civil service. Bills HD.5128/SD.2968

Pat Duffy from my office continues to work with a number of constituents on their unemployment claims.

We continue to use my Fifth Hampden Facebook page for daily updates on reopening and COVID-19 data.

Aaron 
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Heidy Fontanez: Bethany Assembly of God

Bethany Church continues to provide food pantry services to the community. We need supplies and are reaching out for donations.  You can drop off items like canned goods, dry cereal, rice, and pasta at Bethany Assembly of God, 580 Main St, Agawam, MA M-F 8:30 to 4:30 or send a monetary donation of any amount to P.O. Box 422, Agawam, MA  01001. 

Food Pantry hours, unless on a holiday:

  • •             Mon & Fri, 1 to 3 PM
  • •             1st Tuesday, 6 to 8 PM
  • •             Saturday, 9 to 11 AM

If you have any questions, please contact our office at 413-789-2930.

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Bud Delphin: MassHire Holyoke Career Center

MassHire Holyoke Career Center reminds everyone that we are open and operating remotely. Please visit our website to learn how to register and have access to free services, such as career counseling, resume reviews, and job postings. There also are a number of virtual and interactive workshops, including On-lIne Job Search, On-line Applications, How to Write a Resume, Interviewing Skills, Spanish Language Job Search During Covid 19, Training Opportunties, and How to Work a Virtual Job Fair.

Don’t forget to check-out the Virtual Hot Dogs for Hot Jobs Job Fair form June 24th 8:30 am to June 26th 5:00 PM.

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Cass Pastorelle: Eagle Eye Institute

We are recruiting a 2020-21 TerraCorps member for a little while longer. This position will work hands-on with Holyoke students, engaging them in transformational learning opportunities outdoors, as well as with the general public, organizing educational programs and events. Someone from the community is a plus, with a passion for youth development and the environment. We encourage individuals from communities of color to apply. Contact Program Director Cass Pastorelle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out more.

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Maryann Linnehan: Western Mass Elder Care

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the way we live and work these last few months, WMEC staff is actively responding to the needs of our clients and delivering services in the safest way possible throughout this evolving situation.  Our staff is available telephonically, by email or by video chat Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm.  Here are some of the many ways we can help: 

 

    • WMEC Care Managers provide frequent telephonic support and phone “check-ins” for all program consumers.  We work with our direct care vendors to plan for services in the home.  Direct care staff are equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE). 
    •   Our Community Resource Specialists (CRS) continue to take new referrals for home care services daily.  They listen, assess needs, answer questions and help navigate referrals and resources to our programs and other services in the community.  
    • We can provide PPE for consumers and family caregivers.  Masks, gloves and face shields are available upon request. 
    • New services have been designed to both meet COVID Care recovery needs and deliver care safely in the home.
    • WMEC Nursing Staff conduct telephonic assessments to assess and monitor consumers’ physical and mental health. They assist with discharges from nursing facilities back to home.
    • Our Meals on Wheels staff and drivers wear masks and gloves, follow strict social distancing protocols, and make contactless deliveries to protect their health and that of our consumers.  Meal options include daily delivery, a seven day frozen pack option and meals for the weekend if needed.
    • A virtual gathering is held weekly to connect and support our LGBTQ Community.  Visit https://www.wmeldercare.org/lgbtq/ for more information.  
    • WMEC provides critical Caregiver Supports including strategies for those caring for a loved one with dementia or chronic conditions, or raising grandchildren.  

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Freddy DeJesus: Gandara Center

We are continuing to provide services remotely to the community. Our physical location will continue to be closed for the public until further notice.

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Angela Callahan: River Valley Counseling Center

River Valley Counseling Center (RVCC) continues to provide compassionate and quality services. All our clinics are open utilizing safety protocols and we offer telehealth services. Talk to one of our caring and professional therapists using your computer, mobile device, or your home phone. Please call our Central Intake Department for more information or to schedule an appointment at (413)540-1234 or email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website www.rvcc-inc.org

RVCC's CBHI Programs (IHT, IHBS, TM) are taking referrals.  We currently do not have long wait lists for most of our services.  We are starting to do some limited services in the home/community again as long as we can use proper precautions (meeting outside, wearing masks, washing hands and/or carrying sanitizer, etc). More exciting for us is that effective July 1st, we will be able to provide IHBS and TM services to those clients who have Tufts/Network Health in addition to those with MBHP that we have always been able to serve.  At this time, we are still not able to provide IHBS or TM to those with BMC Health Net or Fallon but we continue to work on amending this contract as well. Please find our referral forms attached.

For questions/more info please contact Natalie Lavallee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call her at 413) 594-2141 x2165.

RVCC's CONCERN Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is accepting new clients. Currently offering deferred payment options to those who need support for employees. Contact Joy Brock, Psy.D. at 413-534-2625 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

RVCC's Director of School-Based Clinical Services, Alexa Mignano, spoke to Zydalis Bauer on WGBY Public Television's news program CONNECTING POINT to discuss youth mental health during COVID and how RVCC's school-based teams are supporting clients during this challenging time. Check it out: http://connectingpoint.wgby.org/youth-mental-health-during-covid-19/

RVCC is grateful to the Community Foundation of Western MA for being selected as one of their COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley grant recipients! We are so grateful to all the donors who have given to the fund.  

RVCC is excited to announce that our 5th Annual Golf Tournament will be taking place on Friday, September 18, 2020 at the East Mountain Country Club in Westfield. Join us for a good time while supporting a great cause! Please visit our website for more information www.rvcc-inc.org. The link below will get you to a page with a list of referral forms:

Here's the link:https://www.rvcc-inc.org/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=63612

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Mara Shulman: Health Law Advocates

My organization, Health Law Advocates, has prepared a remote training on advocating for special education students during COVID-19 and I would be happy to present to your agency at no cost at a time convenient for your staff. In this training, we address the guidance received from the U.S. Department of Education and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on the provision of special education services during extended school closure. Even if your role does not include formal advocacy, knowing the parameters of the above guidance will help you navigate better this unusual time for already vulnerable youth.

We also have trainings in English and Spanish for parents of special education students, available also at no cost and at times convenient for parent groups.

Please contact me to schedule a remote training.

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Shelly Lenn: The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children and Teens / Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice

Bereavement Support Group

For adults remembering someone who died during COVID-19

When: Wednesdays, August 5 through September 16

When: 5:30 - 7 pm

Where: This weekly support group will be virtual using Zoom until further notice.

The group will help you:

  • Cope and connect with others
  • Remember and share about the person who died
  • Discuss and learn about grief

Facilitated by:

Shelly Bathe Lenn, M.Ed., Bereavement Coordinator

To register, call or email:

413-727-5749 |This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A brief interview is required for participation. This group is free of charge.

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Angela Baez: Behavioral Health Network

Behavioral Health Network's Opioid Treatment Program offers methadone in a supervised

setting with counseling services for individuals 18 and older. Admissions are scheduled on a daily basis.

Clinic Hours: Sunday - Saturday, 5:30 am - 1:30 pm

Dosing Hours: Sunday - Saturday, 5:45 am - 12:00 pm

For more information call (413) 272-1333.

Most insurance plans accepted, inquire for details.

https://www.bhninc.org/services-and-programs/telecare-counseling

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Sarah Schmidt: Holyoke Community College

We will be offering free sessions in July and August for How to Work & Learn Online: 

How to Work & Learn Online

Working and learning remotely have made computer skills even more critical. In this four part workshop series, you will learn how to navigate computer settings, create and organize files, and safely use the internet, including digital communication tools such as Zoom. These sessions will also cover best practices of being an online learner, including tips on study habits, expectations of online learning, and how to use Google Drive and other computer applications.  Participants will be sent a link to join the class and can join using a computer, laptop, Chromebook or smartphone.  

These sessions are done virtually over zoom. The July and August dates aren't posted yet, but I'll send the link along when we have it.

We are also accepting new students for HiSET prep and ESOL classes, contact Marisol Fontanez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Jennifer Fernandes: United Way, Thrive Program

THRIVE is up and running and we are doing appointments over the phone.  We are always taking new clients and we have a coach that speaks Spanish.  If anyone needs assistance with stimulus checks, student loans and unemployment due to the pandemic they can call 1-833-308-4748.

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Thais Rivera: Career Connections

At Career Connections we are continuing to serve our clients in the community while working from home. We are still waiting on an update on when clients will be able to return to our offices. We are working with clients on budgeting, self-care, soft skills, study skills, and more all virtually with the help of our staff. 

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Iohann RashiVega: Holyoke Media

Holyoke Media. Public Access TV and local media information source. We are reporting the most recent updates in the local, state, and federal level related to the COVID-19 emergency, through interviews, posting on our social media platforms, the Information Brief / Síntesis Informativa service that is broadcasted through Facebook Live, Channel 15, Instagram, and is available in two segments, one in English the other is Spanish. 

We are on holyokemedia.org and social media:

Facebook:       facebook.com/holyokemedia

Instagram:       @holyoke_media

Also we have daily interviews in Spanish as part of el Colectivo de Medios Latinos, in partnership with the latino journalists from Presencia - New England Public Media; and El Pueblo Latino (The Republican). 

Facebook:        Facebook.com/colectivodemedioslatinos

Web:                 colectivodemedioslatinos.info

People interested on sharing information, interviews, stories, content of relevance for the community can reach out to us via email to:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or through messaging us on social media.

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Monica Baldyga: Girl Scouts of Central and Western Mass

While schools are closed and students are home, I’m excited to share that the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts is offering virtual programs to families!  We ask that you present this information to your families. If your families do not have a computer, access to the internet or a printer? No problem, let us know and we will mail you or them the activities. Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is anything the Girl Scouts maybe able to do to assist you and the families you serve

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Jennie Adamczyk: Providence Ministries

Kate’s Kitchen will begin serving lunch on the weekends again starting Saturday June 20th at noon. This will put us back serving the community 7 days a week.

Margaret’s Pantry is still open Monday - Friday by appointment only. Please call Brenda at 413-538-8026

St. Jude’s Clothing remains closed and is not accepting donations. The store is set to re-open on 7/14/2020 with donations being accepted starting 7/1/2020

Sober Living Houses (Loreto House, Broderick House and McCleary Manor) are currently accepting new residents ONLY from document Covid-19 free facilities. We will be accepting/interviewing other new residents and self-referrals beginning 7/1/2020.

All of the above is subject to change given the status of the pandemic, guidelines and community safety recommendations.

Please take a moment and complete our quick survey!

Thank you,

Jennie Adamczyk

Interim Executive Director

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Yesenia Cruz: Adcare Hospital

Adcare is still fully functioning. Our outpatient sites are continuing to provide tele-health/virtual individual and group sessions (Intensive Outpatient, Early Recovery, etc). Accommodations can be made for folks who do not have access womans

to a phone or computer to be seen on site-individually- with proper precautionary measures in place. Our detox facilities are still providing transportation to/from. 

We have also transitioned our family education program to a virtual group. The Education Program focuses on Addiction 101- coping techniques/skills, family dynamics of addiction, how substance use changes the brain, resources available, and so forth. It is open to anyone who has a loved one suffering from a substance use disorder. Information is presented by a licensed counselor. 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if there is a need. I’m happy to help any way I can.

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Jesus Pereira: Holyoke Veteran’s Services

Holyoke Veteran’s Services are still working remotely with one person in the office to handle phones. If any veteran is having a hard time and needs financial assistance they can still reach us via email or phone. 413-322-5630 

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Brenda Carroll: Commonwealth Care Alliance

Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA) continues to do great things in the community with both our One Care and SCO members; especially during these unprecedented times.

Our clinical teams are actively in the field assessing our members health and social needs. They continue to assess and implement services for our members; such as personal care, home delivered meals, medication management, and many more individualized needs. Our member services department is available 7 days per week with 24/7 on call Clinician coverage for any health, social, and behavioral health needs for all of our members. We continue to support our members with transportation needs and will approve a PCA or caregiver to utilize our transportation for food shopping/pharmacy trips for the member if they are too vulnerable to go out d/t pandemic.

If you know of any seniors age 65 + in the community that may benefit from CCA SCO please feel free to contact me or send a referral

Eligibility requirements for Commonwealth Care Alliance SCO plan:

-65 years of age and older

-have Mass Health Standard

-not have a diagnosis of ESRD meaning they are on dialysis (this is a CMS guideline)

FREE BENEFITS:

  1. No co-pays on Medications
  2. Tele-Health is 100% covered at no cost
  3. Transportation for Medical appts. and outings such as food shopping, pharmacy, church, etc.
  4. Healthy Savings Card to purchase OTC items without a RX at no cost
  5. Dental benefits
  6. Vision benefits
  7. Care Team supports available 24/7 365 days/year
  8. Integrated Behavioral Health support 24/7 365 days/year

Also please reach out to me if you have any dual eligible clients Mass Health and Medicare part A & B to learn more about our One Care Plan age 21-64

Attached is my referral form and information on our free benefits for our SCO plan in both English and Spanish; I also speak Spanish.

Due to Covid-19 our enrollment team is currently completing enrollments applications via phone and DocuSign and also via postal service for those who may not have email access. As soon as we are able to be out in the community; outreach will resume back to normal practice; in the prospective members home or somewhere in the community of their choice.

Please feel free to share with any agencies that may have access in sharing this information within our communities. We serve Massachusetts and have an awesome Provider network.

Please reach out to me directly should you have any questions or would like to refer an individual. Best way to contact me is on my work cell 413-302-0770.

Stay well,

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Ehra Rodriguez: Womanshelter/Compañeras

Womanshelter/Companeras main office 208 Race Street #303, Holyoke, MA remains closed due to COVID-19, until further notice.

 Hotline operational 24/7 at 413-536-1628. 

Safe Plan Advocates available to assist with Orders of Protection/Restraining Orders (209A) and Harassment Orders (258E), M-F 8:30am to 4:30pm. Chicopee/413-537-0478: Kathy; Holyoke/413-537-0336: Brenda S. and Nashy M/413-537-0057; Springfield/413-537-0089: Flo P.

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Judy Taylor: Holyoke Public Schools

We would like to share information with you about the following topics in this week’s Holyoke Update:

  • Reopening Leadership Team Update #4
  • Enrollment for PreK and New HPS students is Happening Now at www.enrollholyoke.com
  • Summer Learning Update – Register Today!
  • School Choice Information
  • FY 2021 Budget
  • Show us Your Mask
  • COVID-19 Resources
  • Grading
  • Chromebooks and iPads
  • “Cone of Excellence” Awarded to Richard Rodriguez, HHS North
  • Holyoke High School News – 
    • Graduation and Car Parade
    • Salute to Our Seniors  – Signed College Recruits, and More!
  • Food Service – P-EBT Access, Grab and Go meals, social service resources, 
  • MCAS Update for High School Students
  • Contact Us During the Closure
  • News Briefs – Dr. Zrike’s Facebook Live Sessions and More!
  • HPS in the News
  • Upcoming Events
  • Reminders – Students’ Medications & Belongings, High School Fall Sports Sign-ups, Work permits, Scholars Lounge, Provide your updated contact information, Census

We would like to share information with you about the following topics in this week’s Holyoke Update:

  • Summer is Officially Beginning
  • Do we have your Current Contact Information
  • How to Contact Us
  • Updated Summer Learning Information for Families - Register Today!
  • Reopening Leadership Team Update #5
  • LBGTQ Pride Month
  • Enrollment is Happening Now at www.enrollholyoke.com 
  • Social Media Challenge - Slow the Spread of COVID-19
  • Panorama Survey Results
  • COVID-19 District Closure Communications and Resources
  • Grading
  • Chromebooks & iPads
  • Food Service - P-EBT Access, Summer meals, social service resources, 
  • Cone of Excellence Awarded to Corrine Moguel
  • High School News - 
    • Salute to Our Seniors, Seniors Earn Seal of Biliteracy, Class of 2020 Future Plans, 
    • Students Participate in Commissioner Riley's Team Building Challenge, and More!
  • News Briefs - Dr. Zrike’s Facebook Live Session
  • Upcoming Events & School Calendar
  • Reminders - Students’ Medications & Belongings, High School Fall Sports Sign-ups, Work permits, Scholars Lounge, Census

We hope that you have an enjoyable weekend and a Happy Fathers Day!  

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Sylvia Ruiz: Fallon Health

I have attached our Fallon NaviCare Referral brochure along with some of our benefits that are important to the times we are living currently.  I am also available to complete the “Frail Elder Waiver” (FEW) for those that are not eligible for Mass Health due to being over the financial threshold and have some complex medical conditions that require assistance with their “Activities for Daily Living” (ADL’s).

  1. Transportation – If seniors are having issues getting to the early hours shopping we can help them get there.
  2. Telehealth – Is a free service that gives our members 24 hours/day access to a doctor on the phone, online or through a mobile device.
  3. Silver Sneakers – A way to stay fit at home.
  4. Save Now – Card is pre-loaded with dollars that can be used to purchase eligible every day, health-related item with mail order option.
  5. Healthy Foods Incentive – Earn up to $100 per year with the Fallon Health Food program

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly at my cell listed below.

Please stay safe and healthy!

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Edgar Robles: Holyoke Public School

HPS has open enrollment on line at the Holyoke Public website from preK -12 grade 

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Deb Flynn-Gonzalez: Hope For Holyoke

Attached is the link for our virtual calendar- we are still providing recovery supports virtually, 40+ groups a week,through Zoom and Facebook Live- all info is on our FB page. We are also present at the purple tent at the library MWF 10-12 and at& TR 2-4 for info and ref, assistance in getting treatment, and supplies including water, Narcan, snacks, personal items. HFH is planning to reopen in July and will keep you updated on details.

Hope For Holyoke Online Meeting Guide June Esperanza para Holyoke Grupos en linea (virtuales) Junio 

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Rebecca Neubardt: Girls Inc. of the Valley

Hello Girls Inc. Families and Community Members,

We hope that you are all healthy and safe. We understand that with the pandemic and current events with racial injustice that this is a difficult and overwhelming time. During this time we want to emphasize that we are here to offer support and connect families to any resources that they may need.

Meanwhile, we have a fantastic virtual program planned for the summer! Our virtual summer program will run for 4 weeks from July 13th - August 7th. It is open to all girls in the area, not just our current Girls Inc. girls! We plan on having 3 Zoom calls per week - two for virtual hands-on lessons and one for a special guest pertaining to the weekly theme. Our weekly themes will be: Mind & Body, STEM-inistas, Girl Power and Literacy!

The program is completely free, and families will be given a package containing all the supplies needed to complete the program. Girls will also be able to win prizes for each Zoom call they attend! Likewise, we will have an orientation for parents about virtual programming. All parents and guardians will be awarded a gift card for their attendance (one per household)!

Although we know that this won’t be the same as seeing everyone in person, until then, we want to emphasize that this virtual program will be very engaging and rewarding for everyone involved, and we look forward to a fun summer together!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out!

Warmly,
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McKenzie Umrysz: Healthy Families Program, MSPCC


Healthy Families is a voluntary home visiting program for first time pregnant or parenting individuals who are 20 years old and younger. A Home Visitor works with the individual on parenting skills, child development, goal planning, and connecting to local resources such as food, shelter, financial aid, education, and counseling services. We normally meet the individual out in the community where they feel most comfortable (in the home, at a library etc.), but during this time we are still doing telehealth visits. We have Spanish and English speaking staff, and serve the communities of Holyoke, Chicopee, and Westfield.

If anyone would like to make a referral, they can reach out to McKenzie Umrysz, at this number: 781- 482-4324, or by email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Sophie Schouboe: Food Bank of Western Mass

The Food Bank and most member programs are still open. We are keeping this searchable map as up to date as possible: https://www.foodbankwma.org/get-help/covid-19-food-pantry-meal-program-schedule/

There are three Mobile Food Banks in Holyoke. One at Beaudoin Village on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month 11-11:45, one at Providence Ministries on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 2-3pm and one at the Olde Holyoke Development (70 North Bridge St) on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month 1-1:45. There are no verifications required at any of the mobiles and if anyone has questions they can call us at 413-247-9738.

SNAP purchasing is now available online at Amazon and Walmart. Our SNAP department is still doing SNAP applications and answering SNAP questions over the phone in both English and Spanish. The SNAP direct line is 413-992-6204. The line will go to voicemail but the voicemail will be returned within 48 hours.

Best,

Sophie

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Angel Coriano: Homework House Inc.

We are promoting our free summer Reader and Leaders Program. It is open to student entering 2-5 grades. I have attached the flyers in English and Spanish. 

Homework House is also providing remote tutoring to students.visit our Facebook page or contact me

Any questions please let me know contact Angel Director of Programs at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 413-887-2012.

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Ron Thompson: CrossPoint Clinical Services

We continue to offer Christian-based Mental Health Counseling via Teletherapy during the COVID-19 crisis. Sessions are typically covered by insurance and require no special technology beyond a smart phone of computer. Call us to schedule an appointment (413) 73-CROSS

We’re excited to launch our new online Health and Wellness program – Purpose Posse on July 1st. This group of like-minded individuals will work to become the physical and spiritual person God intended them to be! The Posse will enjoy access to “live” and prerecorded workouts and Christian meditations as well as professional coaching and guidance. This program is for people of all fitness levels. Beginners are welcome. Both group and individual training options are available. To learn more or sign-up, follow this link to the events section of our website.

Stay well everyone!

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Victor Nunez-Ortiz: VA Central and Western Mass

VA Central Western Mass (CWM) is operating under special conditions:

With mission of geriatrics, mental health, and primary care, CWM closed its Community Living Center (CLC) early; is conducting drive-through testing; is supporting over 150 Soldier-On residents on its campus; patients are seen by appointment only in their CBOCs; practicing social distancing; and 90% of care is now being delivered virtually.

All VA locations are screening for respiratory illness and exposure to COVID-19.

Our Greenfield, Fitchburg, Worcester-Plantation Street, and Worcester-Lake Ave Clinics are closed effective Tuesday, March 24th, 2020, until further notice. For questions or concerns please contact the call center at 1(800) 893-1522. 

Veterans Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day for urgent issues: 1(800) 273-8255, Press 1

When using telehealth services, VHA will provide a first line of defense by virtual screening for symptoms or exposure. Standardized screening questions are in place for all administrative call centers and Clinical Contact Centers (CCC).

At medical facilities, VHA is screening at all points of entry.  Facilities will use standardized screening questions at appointment check in and during initial clinical screening.

In addition, VHA is strongly encouraging Veterans to call their local medical center before visiting the facility and advising Veterans to consider using VA’s telehealth and virtual care options like VA Video Connect. VA’s telehealth providers can evaluate their symptoms and provide a diagnosis and comprehensive care. 

For updates, please visit http://www.centralwesternmass.va.gov  or our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/VACWMASS

Stay well everyone!

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John McCarthy: USCIS District N-11 

USCIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services)

USCIS closed its offices for interpersonal services on March 18, 2020 to limit the spread of the Corona Virus. On June 4, 2020 our offices began to reopen on a limited basis.

During the office closing USCIS personnel continued to work cases mostly by telework, with only essential personnel in the office buildings. Field Offices began to open, for appointments only, first. They will be followed by Asylum offices and Applicant Support Centers will follow.

USCIS is following follow CDC, and Massachusetts guidelines and consults with industrial hygienists and Medical advisors to ensure that our re-opening is as safe as possible for employees and the public. Please go to https://www.uscis.gov for information on the requirements for admission to USCIS offices. Services are by appointment only and at present are limited to Naturalization Oath Ceremonies. USCIS personnel and those with appointments are limited to less than ten persons at present. The expectation is, that as the data and guidance allows our offices will begin interviews and we will increase service both in type and in size. Field offices will begin with N-400 and N-600 interviews and they onto other applications as circumstances allow.

Presently Field Offices in Lawrence and Boston are focused on Naturalization of candidates whose Oath Ceremonies were delayed by the closing of USCIS offices and the Federal Court.

USCIS Office openings will be staggered. Field Offices began to open on June 4, 2020. Applicant Support Centers are planning to open beginning in mid-July. Please check our web site at https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/uscis-office-closings to insure that the office you are intending to visit is and remains open before you go.

Asylum Offices have some different requirements regarding interviews, particularly regarding who must attend the interview in person. Those with appointments, will receive instructions with the Notice of Appointment. See https://egov.uscis.gov/office-locator/#/asy for additional information.

If you seek information about a filed application, or petition, you may create an on-line account and; obtain status of your application/petition, provide requested documents, or communicate through the account. Accounts may be opened at https://myaccount.uscis.gov/users/sign_up . If you seek an appointment, wish to follow up on the status of your application/petition, or have an emergency, you should call our contact center at https://www.uscis.gov/contactcenter .

For other general information you can connect with “Ask Emma” at our home page at https://www.uscis.gov . Emma allows you to ask questions and points you to locations on line where information about your topic of interest can be found. USCIS also provides online tools to assist you to fine important information https://www.uscis.gov/tools . In addition Explore my options is an on line utility which can assist you to find information about most immigration based benefits it can be found at https://my.uscis.gov/exploremyoptions or at the Tools subdirectory mentioned above.

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Amneris Narvaez: Generation Teach

My Name is Amneris Narvaez, Director of Western MA Programs for Generation Teach. I am excited to share information about our Generation Teach Virtual Academy. The GT Virtual Academy is a newly-designed dynamic and engaging 6-week online program for rising 6th, 7th, and 8th graders(please share flyers attached). Students will learn, debate, and grow together in small classes with caring teachers. They will connect with friends and compete for daily gift card drawings. Students will connect virtually from 9:00 a.m to 12:15 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, from June 29 to August 7. Families can learn more at www.gtvirtual.org and enroll at https://www.hps.holyoke.ma.us/families/summerlearning/.  

Please contact Amneris at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions. The enrollment deadline is June 22, 2020 or when all spots are filled.  

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Ali Pinschmidt: Don't Take That Receipt

Before COVID-19, our youth-adult collaboration Don’t Take That Receipt! was scheduled to present at the Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative meeting this month. As our group is wrapping up our programming, we were excited to have a farewell presentation to celebrate our successes and showcase our new educational video about toxic chemicals in places that will surprise you! In lieu of our presentation, we are sending you this email update, so please read on : )

 

We just released a new funny video! Bet you didn’t know that toxic thermal papers are used in so many products you handle multiple times a day. This 2-minute video called It’s Not Just Receipts Anymore... shows the many paper products that pose a health risk to us all, and especially to essential workers at grocery stores, warehouses, post offices, pharmacies, and hospitals. 

 

If you have 2 minutes: please watch the video on Facebook or Youtube.  The video is also available in Spanish! Check it out aquí on YouTube or aquí on Facebook.

 

If you have 3 minutes: please also share it through your networks on Facebook: bit.ly/NotJustReceiptsFB, or on any other social media platform: bit.ly/NotJustReceipts

 

If you have 6 minutes: please take this pre-survey before watching the video, watch the video here, and then take this post-survey! This will help us learn more about the effectiveness of our message.

 

And, if you have 30 minutes: please first do the steps listed above and then listen to our farewell interview show with Holyoke Media! Don’t Take That Receipt! has provided paid health educator jobs to 7 youth over the past two years, and has hired local actors to star in our two collaboratively-made public health films. In this interview hear more about the making of our funny health videos, our face-to-face outreach to over 300 regional stores, the positive experiences youth had working on this meaningful campaign, and so much more! 

 

To see our first video about toxins on receipts and learn more about all of this, visit our website at www.donttakethatreceipt.org. Our new video is there as well.

 

Please spread the word, and thank you for all that you do!

Ali Pinschmidt

Director of Don’t Take That Receipt!

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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