Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cass Pastorelle: Eagle Eye Institute
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.
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.
Angela Callahan: River Valley Counseling Center
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.
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
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.
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
Shelly Bathe Lenn, M.Ed., Bereavement Coordinator
To register, call or email:
A brief interview is required for participation. This group is free of charge.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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).
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
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!
Interim Executive Director
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.
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
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)
- No co-pays on Medications
- Tele-Health is 100% covered at no cost
- Transportation for Medical appts. and outings such as food shopping, pharmacy, church, etc.
- Healthy Savings Card to purchase OTC items without a RX at no cost
- Dental benefits
- Vision benefits
- Care Team supports available 24/7 365 days/year
- 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.
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.
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
- 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
- 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!
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).
- Transportation – If seniors are having issues getting to the early hours shopping we can help them get there.
- 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.
- Silver Sneakers – A way to stay fit at home.
- Save Now – Card is pre-loaded with dollars that can be used to purchase eligible every day, health-related item with mail order option.
- 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!
Edgar Robles: Holyoke Public School
HPS has open enrollment on line at the Holyoke Public website from preK -12 grade
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
Stay well everyone!
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.
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/.
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 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!
Please spread the word, and thank you for all that you do!
Director of Don’t Take That Receipt!
Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
Friend Request us on Facebook @ Shsni Holyoke